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Answers to frequently asked questions about entering the Young Archie competition.

General questions about the Young Archies

Can I start the artwork before the dates you’ve given?

Yes. We specify only a time period during which the work has to be finished.

Can I enter a self-portrait?


Do I have to know the person personally, and do they have to know me?

Yes. We specify that the portrait must be of a person who is special to you – someone who is known to you and who knows you and plays a significant role in your life. So if you paint your best friend as if they were a superhero, that would be eligible, but a portrait of a superhero would not. A portrait of someone you knew who has since died is eligible too.

What does ‘painted from life’ mean?

It means that you have one or more ‘live sittings’ with your subject (where you and your subject are together and you are working on their portrait). You do not have to finish the portrait at the live sittings. You can take photographs and do sketches as references to help you to complete the portrait. This is how artists work for the Archibald Prize and we encourage Young Archie entrants to do the same. However, you may also create your portrait from memory or take a photograph to use as reference.

Can I use a photograph to help create the portrait?

Yes, but it should be a photograph that you have taken yourself.

Can I copy?

The judges are looking for originality and only original work is eligible for the competition. You must not copy an artwork or photograph created by another person or an image from another source such as the internet or a print publication.

Do I have to enter a painting?

No. You can use any physical materials you like, including paint, pencil, oil pastel, crayon and collage, as long as the artwork is dry, has no sharp edges, is two dimensional and doesn’t sit higher than 5mm above the surface of the paper. Print-outs of digitally created drawings (eg those drawn with a stylus on a tablet) are not eligible for entry.

Can I use a canvas board or similar material, rather than paper?

No. For the Young Archie exhibition, we must display the artwork in a set kind of frame mounted by our conservators. This is one of the reasons we have restrictions on both size and material, and specify works need to be between A4 and A3 and on paper.

Can I enter more than once?

No. You can only submit one entry and one artwork. If you are submitting a personal entry, you cannot submit one as part of a class entry, or vice versa.

How do I enter?

You must complete the entry form first online and press ‘submit’, then follow the instructions to send the completed printouts and your artwork to the Gallery.

Questions about the online entry form

I made a mistake or want to change information on my form. What should I do?

Do NOT submit another (corrected) entry. Just write your changes on the printout that accompanies your artwork, and we’ll adjust our records if necessary after the artwork has been delivered.

I’ve filled in the form and clicked submit but I’m not sure if it’s worked. What should I do?

If the form HAS been submitted successfully, you will see a message on a new screen saying ‘Thanks. Your entry has been submitted successfully.’ and giving you some more information.

If you DON’T see that message, take a look at all five sections of the form again to see if there are any messages in red telling you it hasn’t been filled out correctly. If so, fill in those parts again then click submit.

If there seems to be an issue, we suggest you wait and try again later or on another day.

If you’re still in doubt about whether the process has worked, email with your details, including your phone number, and we’ll let you know.

Questions about artwork delivery and return

Where do I go if I want to deliver my artwork in person?

Go to the ticketing and information desk on the ground level during Gallery opening hours before the cut-off date.

How do I know that the Gallery received my artwork?

You’ll be sent an automatic email from the Gallery when your artwork has been processed (after the QR code on your printout is scanned by Gallery staff, which will take some time after the work is actually delivered). Do NOT reply to that email.

When will you return my artwork?

After the competition has been judged and the finalists announced.

If you are one of the finalists or highly commended entrants, we will organise the return of your artwork with you directly.

If you have not been selected, your artwork will be handled as you indicated on your form.

If you enclosed a stamped, self-addressed envelope, we will mail your artwork. Due to the large number of entries, this may take several weeks.

If you have changed your mind about the return of your artwork, email with your details, including your phone number, and we will try to assist.

Can I pick up my artwork in person?

No. Due to the large number of entries, it is not possible for the Gallery to safely store artworks and make them available on demand.