Click here for photo help

Do I need to ship my paintings?
No, the competition will be held 100% online. No shipping of fragile artwork!

Is the contest international?
Yes! You can enter from anywhere in the world. 

Why can't I log in? 
Your competition account is separate from your account for ordering pastels. Registering your email on the main website will not automatically enter you in the contest and you will still need an ArtCall account to join the competition.

I'm not a beginner. Should I enter the Emerging or Established category?
The Emerging category is the appropriate choice for most artists who are not professional pastelists. We use "emerging" to describe artists who are eager to show their work, but are not career pastel artists and/or have not gained wide recognition in pastel societies, competitions or by teaching workshops. That said, it's up to each artist to decide the level at which they'd like to compete!

What if my painting won in Pastel Journal's Pastel 100?
Dakota considers all grand prizes and placed awards (i.e. 1st through 5th place) to be "major" awards in the Pastel 100, including category winners. If you are entering as an ESTABLISHED painter, please refrain from entering the winning painting (congrats on the win!) Honorable mentions are still eligible.

Can I use my iPhone/tablet/mobile device to take photos of my painting?
Yes. Just make sure that your photo follows the guidelines on the submission & image upload pages. For best results, make sure that your photo is oriented upright, well-lit and cropped so that no background (such as a mat/frame, tabletop or easel) is showing.

Do pastel pencils / hard pastels count?
Yes! We use the term "soft pastel" to differentiate from oil pastels and other media. Harder pastels such as NuPastel, Cretacolor, etc., and pastel pencils are still eligible as Soft Pastel.

Can I use reference photos?
Yes - use of reference photos is not prohibited, but please make sure you are using photos with permission! We want to encourage the spirit of originality in your submissions, and suggest that if you use someone else's photograph, your painting should be artistically distinct to stand alone from the photo. Avoid using photographs that a painting instructor used in demonstrations.

Can I edit my entry?
Yes! You can edit the details of each submission, even delete and re-upload images, up until the deadline of each contest period. Deleting your image will not erase your submission or entry fee. 

My image won't upload. What's wrong?
If you received this error: "Image must be at least 960px on longest side", that means your image file is too small. If you received no error message, but the image does not load: your image may be too large, or may be the wrong file type. Review instructions in the ArtCall image upload portal and see tips below. 

What are the image size limits?
See tips below.

Is there a naming convention for my image file?
No - you can name your file any way you like. The default assigned by your camera is fine too. Some contests require a file name like "Smith_image1.jpg", but that's not an issue in our contest. 

What subject matter should I paint?
Please submit whatever you enjoy painting! There is no breakdown by landscape / figure / portrait of your cat / etc. All subjects are welcome.

21 Masters Share Advice: a fantastic blog post curated by Gail Sibley on juried art competitions




The size parameters for this contest: Your image must be between 960px to 4800px on the longest side, and no larger than 8MB when saved. 

Supported file types are: .JPG, .PNG, and .GIF

Your picture should include the painting only. Do not include the frame, mat, easel or studio space in your image. Photos that are not well-cropped won't be disqualified, but are much less likely to do well in a competition. 

Use a tripod if available. Check that your artwork is centered and flat. Natural light is the best lighting. Full spectrum light on a bright overcast day is best.

If you are using studio lights, the lights should be on both sides of the artwork. Light it equally, about 45 degrees from each side. It should be preferred that the artwork photographed is removed from behind glass.

Setting your camera to take a photo on a timer will help reduce any movement of the camera when the picture is taken.

Use your preferred software to make any corrections to color and sizing (this includes cropping the image to show only the artwork to be submitted.)

The optimal size for an image to be uploaded should be approximately 1920 pixels wide (at the longest side) a resolution of 72 pixels per inch. When saving as a JPG, adjust the compression settings to 12 (low/no) compression, or quality at 100%.
These are simply guidelines for making sure your artwork is neither too low of quality to be viewed onscreen nor too large to upload. Basically, use your best judgment to see that your painting is represented well with the photo that you upload.

Save your image(s) as .JPG or .PNG for best quality.

This page has good information on photographing artwork.

21 Masters Share Advice: a fantastic blog post curated by Gail Sibley on juried art competitions

If you need further assistance, please email Dakota Art here.