Art challenges

There are a TON of art challenges on Instagram, and if you are an artist, you NEED to be participating.

Hi, my name is Leah, and if you are new here I do drawing tutorials and also create information to help artists pursue their dreams of having an art career that can support their lifestyle.

Today we are going to talk about art challenges on Instagram, and why you need to participate in art challenges as an artist to get noticed and get your name out there.


Why you NEED to participate in Instagram art challengesInstagram Art Challenges

So the 3 art challenges over on Instagram that I am VERY familiar with are

  • MerMay
  • Inktober

I have participated in MerMay 2 years in a row and done lots of #dtiys challenges. Inktober I will be participating come October this year, and have been on their email list for some time.


MerMay is my all-time favorite art challenge, and this year was an AMAZING year for MerMay and its contestants.

We had so many talented artists show their work! (One of mine below)

What I noticed this year during MerMay is that doing challenges like this really helps you to build community with other artists.

Building community within the art community is a great way to find inspiration as well as gain followers.

Also, make new friends!

During this year’s (2023) MerMay event, I gained around 150 followers just during the contest month, and more after!

I also know people personally who had a greater increase in followers than I did.

MerMay is also a great chance to unlock your creative potential.

I know that during this month-long challenge, I always get pushed out of my comfort zone, and that can be a really great thing for us as artists.


Another great type of art challenge are #dtiys challenges.

You can find a TON of them if you type in #dtiyschallenge or just dtiys into the Instagram search.

DTIYS stands for Draw This In Your Style, and this is an ongoing challenge over on Instagram.

Unlike MerMay, it is not a challenge organized by one particular group, but by individual artists.

DTIYS art challenges are very popular and a great way to gain followers and attract more attention to your art!


Inktober is not a challenge I have participated in yet, but I am hoping this is the year!

Inktober is an art challenge in which you can only participate with traditional media, ink on paper.

This might be challenging for some artists that are so used to drawing digitally, it can also be a nice break from drawing on a screen.

Benefits of Participating in Art Challenges

If you are an artist wanting to grow over on Instagram, there are a lot of amazing reasons to try out art challenges!

The reasons I am going to briefly go over are these:

  • Gaining Followers
  • Community
  • Artistic Growth
  • Exposure

Let’s get into it!

Gaining Followers

If you’re trying to grow your Instagram account, then you are obviously concerned with gaining more followers.

As an art account, it can be really challenging to grow on Instagram.

At the same time, I know a LOT of great artists with an enviable following.

Participating in challenges like the ones I listed above helps more people (who are likely to KEEP following you) see your awesome artwork.

Like I said, this last month in May I gained about 150 followers just during MerMay.

These challenges can be an excellent way to help other artists and art enthusiasts to see your work.


Building Community

The next reason to join challenges is community.

During MerMay, I made some really close friends!

In general, I have not had any friends that I could talk to about art, or art career things.

No one in my life had the same interests, at least when it comes to art.

But during MerMay, you have a WHOLE community of people who are dedicated to drawing for a month straight, and they all want to cheer you on.

I made 3 new friends and got to bond with a couple I knew beforehand who also participated. I even met one who by happenstance, lives 20 minutes away from me.

How cool is that?

These are people I would have never known if I didn’t participate in this art challenge.

They cheered for me, shared my artwork on their stories, motivated me to keep drawing, and pushed me out of my bubble to do hard things (like doing Instagram live drawings!), and I did the same for them!

If you are an artist, I highly recommend finding your art community, it’s so worth it.

Artistic Growth

Artistic Growth

As an artist, I know that I can get in a rut of drawing the same type of things pretty frequently.

Doing art challenges is a great way I’ve found to break out of that rut, try new things, and draw stuff that I typically wouldn’t.

During MerMay, I drew an illustration of Harry Styles as a squid-man, sitting on a giant sushi roll.

While that is not something I would have EVER thought about drawing prior to Mermay, it was so much fun and I think my illustration turned out really good!

Art contests challenge you in ways you might have never thought of.



The word “exposure” is like a dirty word or taboo in the artist community.

Usually, it means someone wants you to work for free.

But sometimes, free exposure really can be good for your career.

When it’s from the right people.

Doing art challenges on Instagram is probably one of the BEST forms of free exposure!

During these contents, a lot of people share each other’s art, and sometimes those people work for Disney.

You really never know who is watching you as a participant, looking for new artists to hire.

How I Gained +150 Instagram Followers in a Month

Last week I filmed a short video about art challenges, and how I was able to gain

over 150 followers in just one month!

This may not seem like a lot, but at the time I am writing this I am still a small artist with a small following, so this feels like a big win.

I invite you to hit the play button below and check it out!

You can see more videos from me on my art channel here!


Go ahead and read this article next:

How to create unique drawings from references

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Hi there! My name is Leah, and I am going to help you learn how to draw, and take your pictures to the next level. I have college-level experience with form drawing and multiple art classes under my belt that have helped me create these tutorials. Let's learn how to draw together!
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The following two tabs change content below.
Hi there! My name is Leah, and I am going to help you learn how to draw, and take your pictures to the next level. I have college-level experience with form drawing and multiple art classes under my belt that have helped me create these tutorials. Let's learn how to draw together!