DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year FAQs 2023

DSWF’s Wildlife Artist of the Year is an internationally renowned wildlife art competition and exhibition, attracting entries from some of the most talented and passionate international artists who come together to celebrate the beauty of the natural world. With eight unique categories, DSWF encourages all artists, both amateur and professional, to take part in this global competition.

Please note that our 2023 Exhibition will be returning to an in-person event at the iconic Mall Galleries in London.

For more information on the Wildlife Artist of the Year competition and how it came about, click here, and to enter this exciting competition, please click here. Below are some of the competition FAQs. If you have any further questions having reviewed all the available information below, please contact the DSWF team on [email protected]

Entering WAY

Who can enter WAY?

The DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year competition is open to all artists, both amateur and professional, aged 15 years and over on the closing date (29 March 2023). Artists aged between 15 – 19 years old at the closing date are entered into the Youth Exclusive category.

How can I enter WAY 2023?

You may enter WAY by filling out the online form on the entry page and uploading a digital copy of your piece. All entries, without exception, must be sent in a digital format with the following specifications:

  • High res (300dpi) jpegs.
  • Cropped to just show the art piece.
  • Ensure the file is a minimum of 2200 pixels and no larger than 6MB.
  • For 3D pieces, please include up to a maximum of 3 extra images per entry to show the different angles of your piece for the judges.  The extra images should not be uploaded on the entry form but be emailed direct to [email protected] with clear labelling as artist name/artwork title.

You may also enter WAY using the postal form (link). Please note that all postal entries for WAY must be sent at least 5 working days prior to the closing date to ensure that they are received in time for judging.

For the digital copy of your piece, we recommend using a high quality camera, scanning your image or getting a professional photograph taken.

How important is the quality of the artwork photograph I send?

Please note that the image quality of your entry is extremely important. This is the only exposure to your artwork that the judges will have for the shortlisting judging. If you have a poor representation, this will reduce your chances of being selected as a finalist.

Please ensure that the image of your piece is not blurred, affected by a glare, and is cropped correctly. Due to being a small team, DSWF may be unable to contact you if your image is not of enough high quality.

How will I know that my entry has been successfully received?

Upon completion and submission of your entry form with the associated payment, you will receive an automatic email confirming safe receipt. If, after 24 hours, you still have not received this, please contact [email protected] or call our office on 01483 272 323.

Can I make changes after submission?

Unfortunately, we cannot accept any changes to submitted pieces once an entry has been received. However, if you are aware that you have made an error on your entry form (e.g. listing the wrong dimensions), please email [email protected] and we will look into this for you. 

When/how do I find out the results of the competition?

Every artist who has taken part in WAY 2023 will be advised after the second round of judging has taken place, in early June 2023, as to whether or not they have been shortlisted and selected for exhibition. This will be sent via email to the email address provided on your entry form. Please ensure that your email address is correct.

Those who are unfortunately not shortlisted will be informed by email at the same time.

The winners of the competition will be selected by our expert judging panel from the finalists of the competition and therefore will all be selected artworks that are physically in the Mall Galleries exhibition. The overall winner, category and award winners will be judged in person at the Mall Galleries after hanging and before the exhibition opens. Winners will be announced in the WAY 2023 Awards Ceremony on 11 September 2023 which will be available to watch online.

I am having issues submitting/completing my entry form?

Please be aware that we have experienced a few issues with artists trying to submit their entry using the Safari browser. Please try accessing the form via an alternate browser (e.g. Chrome) and try again. If the problem persists, you may either send a postal form or email our team at [email protected]. We have also found that entries being sent in the last two weeks before the deadline can be held up by the sheer volume of traffic on the website. Please do try and submit your entries early to avoid this problem. Thank you for your patience. 

Can I enter if I don’t live in the United Kingdom?

Yes. Wildlife Artist of the Year is open to all international amateur and professional artists from across the world. All artists will receive equal consideration by our judges. Please just be aware that by entering WAY, you are agreeing for your piece (if shortlisted) to be displayed at our in-person exhibition.

What is the maximum number of entries?

Please note that there is no maximum number of entries, however there is a maximum of 10 entries per online entry form. If you are planning to submit more than 10 entries, please submit 10 via the online system and contact us at [email protected] and we will help with processing further entries at the correct discounted price.

Entry fee

How much does it cost to enter the competition?

  • The entry fee is £25 per an artwork for the first two entries, thereafter it is £15 per entry. (There is no limit on the number of entries).
  • Youth Exclusive entrants pay £15 per entry. The Youth Exclusive category is only available to young artists between the ages of 15 to 19 years at the closing date (29 March 2023)

Important note: If you wish to qualify for the reduced entry fee of £15 for third and subsequent entries, please submit all the artworks you are entering at the same timeFor submitting more than 10 entries please see the note above.  

Payment methods

Payment via online entry can be made by debit or credit card (hosted by Paypal) or by direct payment from a Paypal account. You do not have to have a Paypal account to use the card payment option.

We have had instances of where the two payment options are not available in certain countries. Please contact us at [email protected] if you are experiencing difficulty.   

Is the entry fee refundable?

No, the entry fee is not refundable in normal circumstances. We may refund the amount to you if there is an error in the transaction that prevents you from submitting your piece or results in your submission being made more than once. If this is the case, please call our office on 01483 272 323 or email us at [email protected]

If I live in a country where it is not possible to make international payments can the entry fee be waived?

Unfortunately, we are not able to accept entries without the entry fee.  DSWF is a small charity, with the Wildlife Artist of the Year competition being an incredibly important part of our fundraising efforts to support endangered species and the work of our ground-conservation partners across the world.  If you have problems regarding the methods of payment of the entry fee and would like advice, please do email the team at [email protected].

Can someone else pay for my entry?

Yes, this is possible and the payer details are required on the online entry form.  If payment is being made offline, it is vital that the person paying the entry fee makes it clear who the entrant is by providing entrant name and address.

Excluding the entry fee, are there any further costs involved in entering the competition?

Yes. But only if you are a shortlisted finalist and your piece is selected by the judges to take part in the annual exhibition. In this case there will be additional costs for shipping your piece to and, if unsold, from the Mall Galleries, London.

Artwork

Which mediums are allowed?

Mediums can include oil, acrylic, watercolour, pencil, mixed media, bronze, plaster, wire, collage and textiles with styles encompassing traditional, abstract, monochrome and many others – the choice is yours.

We also accept ‘original prints’ which are defined as a print either in black and white or in colour, drawn from one or several plates, conceived and executed entirely by hand by the same artist, regardless of the technique employed, with the exclusion of any and all mechanical, digital or photomechanical processes. Every stage must have been completed by hand by the artist. Examples are woodcuts, etchings and linocuts.

Unfortunately, photography or digital artworks are not accepted in this competition.

Can artwork that is not for sale be considered in the competition?

No. Please note that all submitted artwork must be the original piece and must be available for sale by DSWF for the duration of the WAY 2023 exhibition.

Is there a timeframe for when the artwork must have been produced?

Please note that all submitted pieces must have been completed by the artist within the last five years. Artwork produced before the 29th March 2018 will not be considered.

Can I use an image I found on the internet count as a reference image?

Yes. However, please ensure that you have permission from the photographer, company or individual that you can use it for artistic purposes (see terms and conditions).

Are there any restrictions on the species chosen for the final piece?

Please be aware that this competition is for wildlife art , and all entries that include animals should be of wild animals. Any domestic animals (e.g. dog, cat, cow, sheep) will not be accepted and will not be considered as a finalist piece. For entries to the ‘Facing Extinction’ category, please check the species is listed as under threat on the IUCN’s Red List.

Can I submit a piece that has been entered in a previous WAY?

Unfortunately, DSWF cannot accept a piece that has been entered into a previous Wildlife Artist of the Year competition.

Can my signature show on the artwork?

Yes. Whilst judging is done anonymously, we understand that the majority of artists ‘sign’ their work, and therefore to avoid dramatically changing the image of the artwork we do allow pieces with the signature showing.

Is there a maximum size/weight restriction for entries?

No, there is no maximum size limit but please do bear in mind the logistics of delivery of extremely large pieces if your artwork is shortlisted.

Can collaboration work be accepted?

All pieces submitted need to be completed by a singular artist. No collaborations or group pieces may be accepted.

Judging

Will the judging be based on the actual artwork or the images that are sent?

Please note that initial judging to shortlist stage will only be based on the image submissions sent with the entries. Therefore it is extremely important that a high resolution, clear, cropped photograph is sent of your artwork.

Who is on the panel of judges?

The judging panel is made up of artists, conservationists, gallery owners, editors and interior designers. There will be a separate panel formed for the Youth Exclusive category, with winners announced alongside the other category winners.

What are the judges looking for?

The judges are not only looking for beautifully executed artworks but also imaginative and innovative interpretations of category titles. As well as an understanding of your subject, the judges are looking for originality and a genuine love and understanding of your medium.

For the Youth Exclusive category, judges are looking for freedom of expression but expect that artworks represent the natural world as specified in the wide breadth of all categories. 

You can of course get your inspiration from a photograph or other artwork but be sure to make this your own interpretation of that image. Straight copies are not only breaching copyright but may also be judged to be unimaginative. Please see the specific terms over the use of photographic images in the Terms and Conditions.

Prizes

How many prizes are awarded?

The judges will close an overall winner, an overall runner up and a winner of each category. In addition to this there is the Elizabeth Hosking Prize for the best painting in watercolour, the David Shepherd Art of Survival Award, the Michelle Lee Howk First Time Entrants Prize and The Artist Editor’s Choice Award. The BBC Wildlife People’s Choice Award is voted for by the public during the exhibition period.

What are the prizes?

Prizes are detailed in the Terms and Conditions. During the competition period additional prizes may be added.

All cash prizes are fully sponsored.

Exhibition of finalists

If I am shortlisted what happens next?

Shortlisted artists will be asked to complete an Artist Agreement that provides DSWF with detailed information on the artist and the artwork for exhibition, sales promotion and artist payment purposes. Artists will be provided with detailed information regarding the exhibition logistics including delivery and hanging.

When is the exhibition for WAY?

The DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year 2023 Exhibition will be held at the Mall Galleries, London SW1 between Monday 11th September – Saturday 16th September 2023.

There will be also be an online exhibition, where WAY 2023 finalist work can be viewed and purchased remotely. The online exhibition will open on Friday 1st September and close on Saturday 16th September 2023. 

Should my pieces be unframed or framed?

At entry stage it does not matter if artwork is framed or unframed, as long as the image sent is very clear and not distorted by a frame.

Artworks selected  for exhibition must be delivered to the Mall Galleries exhibition/hanging ready, including framing if relevant. If you need any assistance or advice with this, please contact us at [email protected].

Do you help with the delivery to the gallery?

Delivery is at the artist’s cost but DSWF pay for the services of Picture Post who will organise delivery on your behalf, including packing and import considerations. All details will be provided to shortlisted artists.

What artist details will be shown at the exhibition?

All shortlisted artists will be asked to submit a biography and a description of the shortlisted artwork. These will be used in the online gallery and as part of the labels at the exhibition. It is therefore advisable to provide up to date and engaging copy, within the word count specified.

Sales, Commissions and Deliveries

What is the commission structure on the artwork sold?

All artwork sold during the WAY exhibition will be split 50/50, with 50% going to the artist and 50% to DSWF.

Any artwork sold after the exhibition closes, or from commissions taken from the exhibition, will be split 70/30, with 70% of the sale price going to the artist and 30% going to DSWF.

Delivery of sold artwork

DSWF will handle all sales and the delivery to buyers, with costs charged to buyers.

When can I expect payment for artwork sold during the competition exhibition?

Upon receipt of payment from the buyer, and confirmation from the buyer that the artwork has been safely delivered and received in good condition, our Finance department will be alerted and will arrange transfer of your portion of the sale proceeds to your nominated bank account.

If the artwork does not sell during the exhibition, will it still remain available for sale on your website?

If an artwork does not sell during the exhibition it will no longer be available for sale by DSWF unless it is agreed between DSWF and the artist for the artwork to be used for future fundraising.

If the artwork does not sell during the exhibition what happens to it?

All unsold artworks must be collected from the Mall Galleries shortly after the exhibition and by a date which will notified to shortlisted artists. Picture Post will be able to assist with pick up from the gallery and onward delivery back to the artist.

If my artwork is chosen for the exhibition do I have to sell the original?

The original piece of artwork for all shortlisted artists must be available to sell during the exhibition.  No substitute will be accepted.

If my artwork is chosen for the exhibition can I offer multiple editions for sale?

If your artwork is either an original print (see definition above) or a cast sculpture produced in a limited edition then we can offer multiple editions of your artwork for sale at the exhibition. This will be discussed with artists on an individual basis.

Any further questions, please do contact the team at [email protected], or call the office directly on 01483 272 323.