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Dulwich Festival Children’s Art Competition open for entries!

April 24, 2016

The Dulwich Festival is inviting children of all ages to enter this year’s Children’s Art Competition.

Edward Alleyn had a dream 400 years ago to create a better future for young and old in Dulwich –  now we’d like you to let your imagination soar and draw or paint your dream for today!

We spoke to one of the judges of the competition, writer and illustrator Nigel Blackman, for his tips on entering.


Nigel, you will be helping to judge the Children’s Art Competition for this year’s Dulwich Festival – what will you be looking for from the entries?

I love pictures that tell a story. I think you can tell if somebody had enjoyed creating a picture and that makes it enjoyable to look at. But the judges can never tell in advance what kind of picture they’ll like best – colourful or plain, bold or detailed – when we sit down to look at  the competition entries there’s always something to surprise us. Sometimes it’s very hard to choose so it’s a good job we can pick more than one!

As an illustrator yourself, what tips could you offer to everyone taking part?

Have lots and lots of fun creating your picture. Don’t worry if things go wrong, just do another  – in fact do as many as you want then choose your favourite one. I find that it doesn’t help to sit down with a huge blank sheet of paper and think ‘this has got to be my best picture ever!’ Big expensive bits of paper can be scary – little rough scraps are much more friendly, they just say ‘draw on me quick, tell a story!’  The best pictures come when you aren’t thinking about it too much but just having fun.

We’re asking competition entrants to take inspiration from Edward Alleyn and draw or paint their dream for today. What would your dream be?  At this time of year I’m definitely dreaming about the great outdoors – nature is bursting into life all around us after months of winter and it just makes me want to get outside and run around in it! Adventure awaits, go and find it – that’s what my dream would be.

Nigel’s most recent book – The Secret Dinosaur book 4, The Night Rescue (pictured) is available now.

steg pix flame eats siggy

How to enter 

There are four age group categories:

Under-5s / 5 to 7 / 8 to 11 / 12 to 18

The artwork should be two dimensional, a maximum size of A3 and should include the entrants name, age, parents’ name, telephone number and email address on the back so winners can be identified.

All entires must be submitted by 4pm on Friday 6 May to R Woodfall Opticians on Lordship Lane, East Dulwich.

1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes in each category will be vouchers to spend at the Art Stationers in Dulwich Village and prize-winners will have their work displayed in the windows of R Woodfall Opticians  or Dulwich Books.

Good luck to all!