DSWF Global Canvas – Children’s Wildlife Art Competition

Global Canvas 2023 is now closed for entries

Global Canvas children’s art competition is an annual international art contest run by David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF), to encourage creativity from young people, to display thought and concern for our planet’s environment and the incredible wildlife that inhabit it.

Set up in 2004 by DSWF’s founder, wildlife artist and conservationist David Shepherd, each year, the competition receives thoughtful and creative entries from all over the world, with an amazing array of interpretations of the year’s theme.

In 2022, the competition received over 800 entries from groups and individuals across 50 countries. Winners and runner-ups came from USA, UK, Greece, Lithuania, India, Dubai, China, Russia, Portugal, and Spain.

Global Canvas 2022 – Ding Workshops (group winner of the 8-11 year age category)

Global Canvas 2023

The entry period for Global Canvas 2023 is now closed. To receive notification about the 2024 competition about next year’s competition, please get in touch with us here.

Judging will take place during February and March.

A live online final to announce winners in each category will take place on 25th April 2023, and further information on timings, how to join, as well as our guest speakers and hosts will be added here and emailed to all participants in due course.


The 2023 Theme is “Biodiversity – the complex web of life”. Our inspiration for the Global Canvas 2023 theme comes from the UN Convention on Global Biodiversity which states we are ‘completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy’. Biodiversity is the foundation that will enable us to build back better. Scientists believe there are around 8.7 million species living in the world today, many of which are yet to be discovered. Biodiversity includes all these animals and plants along with the vibrant and complex ecosystem of the planet’s habitats. Biodiversity also celebrates and highlights the importance of the intrinsic relationship and co-dependency of all living matter and the interrelationships between animals and plants. A complex web of life.

Previous themes have included ‘Forests of Land and Sea’, ‘It’s Our World’, ‘We Can Heal the World’, ‘Wild Wonders’, ‘Our Precious Planet’, ‘Into the Wild’, ‘Habitats of the World, Endangered’, ‘Healing Nature – A Planet on the Edge’.


We are delighted to announce new prizes for Global Canvas 2023.

Group Prizes

There will be a first, second and third prize for the 4-7 year old age group, 8-11 year old age group and the 12-16 year old age group:

  • First prize: £500 worth of art vouchers
  • Second prize: £200 of art vouchers
  • Third prize: £100 of art vouchers

Should art vouchers not be possible, a prize of an equivalent value will be offered.

Individual prizes

There will also be a first, second and third prize for each of the individual age groups (4-7 years, 8-11 years and 12-16 years):

  • First prize: £100 worth of art vouchers
  • Second prize: £50 of art vouchers
  • Third prize: £25 of art vouchers

Should art vouchers not be possible, a prize of an equivalent value will be offered.

All group and individual winners will also receive a certificate and a digital adoption!

Who can enter Global Canvas?

The competition is free to enter and is open to children and young people aged 16 and under. We welcome entries from both groups and individuals. A group can be as small as 2 children, or as large as a whole school!

Entries for group and individual categories will be judged separately and in the following age groups:

  • Ages 4-7 years
  • Ages 8-11 years
  • Ages 12-16 years

Any art techniques can be used to create entries; including painting, sculpture, textiles, collages and we always like to see recycled materials.

Group entrants are asked to make a display based on the theme, please see our post about displays.

Individual entrants can create an artwork of any size that they like, as long as their entry is based on the theme.

Please note that budding young wildlife artists between the ages of 15 and 19 are invited to enter the ‘Youth Exclusive’ category in ‘Wildlife Artist of the Year‘. The Wildlife Artist of the Year competition typically runs from September/October to February.

Competition winners will receive vouchers for art supplies, digital animal adoptions, and certificates.


The theme for Global Canvas changes each year but if you’re seeking inspiration, have a look at last year’s winners, how to create a display and how to use recycled materials.


Thank you to our generous partner Michael O’Mara Books, who have supported the Global Canvas children’s art competition for many years, allowing education and art to flourish as we work to spread awareness about the plight of endangered wildlife.

Michael O’Mara Books is an award-winning independent publisher, producing a diverse range of best-selling biography, science, and well-being, lifestyle and environment titles, plus children’s and art titles with Buster Books and LOM ART imprints. 

“Global Canvas is the only competition we know of with the environment as its central theme. The future belongs to children so it is vital they are made aware of the challenges we now face.”Lesley O’Mara, Artist and Co-Founder of Michael O’Mara Books