MAKING A MARK: Portrait Artist of the Year Series 10: Call for Entries

MAKING A MARK: Portrait Artist of the Year Series 10: Call for Entries

Artists who featured in Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year Series 9
cannot apply for Series 10 – but can apply for Series 11.

Only one entry can be submitted per person.
(If you’re not successful you can try again in subsequent years).

Entries on behalf of another person will not be accepted.
(You can tell it’s happened in the past!)

How do I enter?

Artists enter with a self-portrait created within the last 5 years
– submitted as a digital image.

Interestingly the first episode of Series 9 suggested that the
self-portrait submission could be regarded as evidence of what an
artist can do when not constrained by time.

In other words, the submission can indicate what sort of commission portrait this person might be
capable of.

There’s a lot to be said for giving some very careful thought to the
design and composition, level of finish and the size of your

Also bear in mind you have to transport the real painting to the Heat
if you get selected! Big is impressive – but also more difficult to

Bear in mind also that the submission gets considered alongside the
heat painting in determining who wins the heat from the three artists
who are shortlisted. 

Heat winners invariably have a close and good connection between
their submission and the heat painting

(i.e. apart from issues of maturity of approach and consistency of style this also confirms that this artist really painted their submission!)

– and keep up with my Calls for Entries posts

and get an email to your inbox every time I publish

The Digital Submission

The DEADLINE for Entries is 12pm (midday) on Friday, 24th February 2023.


You need to submit 

  • the online application form


  • A photograph of a Self Portrait.
    This image should NOT  include the frame.
  • A second photograph of an additional painting. This should also be
    a Portrait.
    This image should NOT include the frame or surroundings.
  • An optional third photograph of your work.
  • One headshot photo of yourself.

The Self Portrait Entry submitted must be a Self Portrait – ie a
portrait of the applicant, by the applicant, and can be produced
in any material excluding photography, video, sculpture and all
forms of digital media. Collage and mixed media works are all
allowed. The work may be abstract or expressive as long as it is
recognisably a representation of a Self Portrait that has been
produced within the last five years. It should be a maximum of
1220mm high x 914mm wide.

All photographs submitted MUST:

  • be a JPEG file (no less than 800KB and no more than 5MB)
  • well-lit, composed
  • show relevant detail e.g. brushstrokes and mark-making
    (i.e. it needs to be a decent size and resolution for zooming
    in and you can see detail)

The judges will view artists’ submissions on a screen so we’re
keen for all photos to have the maximum impact and do the
paintings justice.

Further details on how to photograph your work can be found


Artists participating in one of a number of heats are selected “on
merit” by a panel of expert Judges. 

Note they don’t say “THE Panel of Expert Judges” i.e. the ones
participating in the programme. That’s because this competition will
attract thousands of entries and if it’s anything like competitions
I’ve judged in the past there are people who filter out the ‘no
hopers’ / ineligible artists before the submissions reach THE Panel of

Your job is to make sure you are eligible and produce the best
portrait you are capable of
– and one which doesn’t look like everybody else’s. Note how selected
artists very often have an unusual self-portrait and NOT the “same old
same old”.

Other things you really need to think about 

Dates of Heats

The first stage of the Competition will consist of eight heats (the “Heats”) intended to take place at a location to be decided in
London on the following dates: 

  • Heat 1 – Tuesday 18th April 2023 
  • Heat 2 – Wednesday 19th April 2023 
  • Heat 3 – Thursday 20th April 2023 
  • Heat 4 – Friday 21st April 2023 
  • Heat 5 – Monday 24th April 2023 
  • Heat 6 – Tuesday 25th April 2023 
  • Heat 7 – Wednesday 26th April 2023 
  • Heat 8 – Thursday 27th April 2023

If you are a Shortlisted Artist, You will be given the opportunity
to specify which date You would prefer but it may not always be
possible to accommodate Your preference and the Producer reserves
the right to invite You to any of the dates.

Followed by:

  • Semi Final – Wednesday 3rd May 2023
  • Final – Thursday 18th May 2023

If You are chosen as the Winner, You must be available between
the Final Date and 4th August 2023 to produce the Winner’s Prize
Artwork on exact dates to be determined by the Producer.

Note dates may change.

You will be told whether or you’ve been successful on
27th March 2023 – and, if
successful, you must get back to them within 48 hours or you may be

So make sure you put that date in your diary and note what it says in
the T&Cs.

There are no expenses as such

There’s a nominal (small) sum as a contribution to expenses you will

This is the same for everybody
irrespective of where you live and is only intended as a
contribution towards  the costs of travel and overnight
accommodation costs (if required). Most people travelling from outside
London will be out of pocket.

They do feed you when you arrive (basic) and at lunchtime, plus
provide coffee and tea and refill water bottles.

It’s a VERY, VERY long day – as in c.12 hours

  • You are required to be there at 7.15 am – so most people stay
    overnight nearby.
  • The day finishes at 6.30 and you MUST stay to the end.
  • However if you want your painting back, they will wrap it for you
    and you might not get away before 7.30pm. 

Basically there’s a LOT of things which have to be done with nine
separate people and there’s a LOT of waiting around e.g.

  • photograph you with your painting in the early morning before you
  • interview you at the end about what you thought about the winner’s

You also need to be

  • introduced to people working on the show, 
  • get kitted out to participate
  • be briefed about how things will work and 
  • shown where you will work. 

This is a quote from a past participant

Before painting starts we were held in a waiting room. They came
and wired us up for sound, got us to record the pronunciation of
our names, got introduced to our runners and various producers
came and told us what would be happening.

It’s emphatically NOT a day for 

  • people who like to “do their own thing” or 
  • those who have a tendency to get uptight about being told what to
    do or how things will be. They have had meltdowns before now…..
  • people who don’t like a lot of other people around them or need
    absolute quiet while they paint.

If you get selected. you are recommended to get some earphones and
plug in to block out other noises and keep you “in the zone”.

Tips if you are successful

Past heat winners, finalists and competition winners have told me
they read my reviews with tips for things to think about before
participating in the heats

You can find the links to my past reviews listed on 

Have a game plan but not one that is so rigid you can’t change
it. Plan with 3 Cs in mind: composition, colour and contrast… it
helps your work stand out.
Series 9 / Episode 1 participant

More information about Art Exhibitions, Juried Shows & Art

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