Visual Arts Centre

Here are 10 Tips for art students who are embarking on their journey to create an original artwork!

You’ve registered yourself for an art competition. Now it’s time for the most exciting part—brainstorming ideas! Remember: art is a way of looking at the world. Art creation, then, is the exact same thing. 

What captures your attention when you look at the world? More specifically, what comes to your mind when you think of courage, hope, and love during the COVID-19 pandemic? Perhaps the news reports on the ever-changing pandemic situation are what makes you think. Perhaps it’s your personal experience of having to take classes at home and being only able to see your friends through a screen that creates an idea in your mind. Maybe it’s even your parents’ stories of how they have to adapt to the new work situation, or the various ways people use to cope that feed your imagination. 

Whichever it may be, people usually find inspiration in their environment, so take the time to carefully observe the people, things, and happenings around you. It might just be what you need to plant the seed of an idea in your head!

You have an idea, but how do you express that seedling of an idea in a piece of art? In order to have a better grasp of what you want to put on paper, you might need to do some research.

Take a look at what other artists in your chosen medium are doing and how they express themselves stylistically. Get inspired by their work and learn from other artists, so that you get a better idea of what you want to achieve in your artwork! Remember to not directly copy or trace from their works, though. You want to create an original piece of artwork, not an imitation!

Various art styles might also help you find inspiration for your submission art piece. Figurative art, for instance, realistically represents what you see in the real world, while abstract art simply takes an element from the real world and represents it using shapes, forms, or colours, and as such might not look exactly like or even similar to the object it represents. If you’re trying to create something close to reality, then you might want to do something more figurative. On the other hand, if you’re interested in highlighting your interpretation of reality, abstract art’s ability to enhance your perspective might be what you’re looking for. 

For example, you could use figurative elements to set the context for your artwork and include abstract art shapes and colours to represent your hopes and dreams and emotions. If you’re a fan of architecture and spaces, perhaps you can utilise concepts of space and geometry in your artwork. If you’d like to express certain emotions or set a mood, you may find the use of colours helpful in conveying ambience.

Now that you have an idea and perhaps some art styles that you wish to incorporate into your artwork, you should think about your overall message.

What do you want your artwork to say? What do you wish people would take from it? If you want to translate strength and resilience into your piece, what sort of colours would you use to express that idea? Perhaps bold, striking colours like red and yellow might be good, or something warm like orange and pink. 

You could also use symbols to express your message. Research common symbols to know what they stand for, and how you could utilise them in your art. Doves, for instance, are seen as a sign of peace, while fire could refer to new beginnings. 

It is important for you to know what you are trying to convey in your artwork, so you know what elements to incorporate to best drive home your message!

Everyone is a unique artist and may have different ideas, artistic direction and vision. You now have your message, but you still need to learn to connect and arrange your ideas so that you can convey your message coherently.

Explore artistic approaches and methods that will help you to express your artistic vision. It could be a scene that you depict through your artwork that reflects the courage, love and hope between individuals in your community, or a storyline of special moments. It could even be comfort items that have helped you tide over this difficult situation, or role models that you look up to for hope and courage. Once you have connected and arranged your ideas in a cohesive manner, you will have a concrete idea that you can soon put to paper!

You should also take note of your artistic strengths and accentuate your skills by using them as your main feature in your art submission! 

Good at drawing? You can choose to submit a drawing then! Focus on going in-depth into your chosen subject, and make use of the black and white nature of the medium to accentuate tone and shadows in your drawing! You may also explore using colour pencils, pastels and various mediums that would work well with paper. 

If you’re stronger at watercolour painting instead, you could consider how the softer, fainter strokes and colours unique to watercolour painting make you feel, and how you could use this medium to best express your emotions and ideas. For instance, the light, slightly-translucent colours could be useful to highlight emotions of loneliness or even comfort, as compared to the bolder strokes that acrylic painting affords.

Now that you know exactly what you want to create, you can now set your easel or desk! Generally, you may need some paper and pencils to do your drafting, and you may also creatively think and experiment with art materials for their different textures and effects. 

For your artwork submission, do take note of the art competition guidelines for the materials required.  

For details, please reference our main page: //


Art Competition Guidelines

  • Participants are to submit an original artwork of any size between 21cm height/length and not more than 60cm height/length. For example, the artwork may be 30cm (H) x 40cm (L).
  • The artwork should be an original work produced by the participant for this art competition. The artwork should be produced from 30 April 2021 to 30 October 2021.
  • The participant may freely express their artistic creativity in response to the art competition. The created artwork should adhere to the theme of the art competition and submissions which are irrelevant to the theme may not be considered. The artwork should be an original work and not a copy from an existing photograph or artwork. Hence, a participant may be forfeited if the artwork is found to be a direct reproduction of an existing photograph or artwork.
  • The artwork will be judged based on three main considerations – relevance to theme and creative use of ideas and concept (60%), artistic technique and quality (30%) and overall artistic presentation (10%). The artwork will be graded and ranked according to these three criteria.


Art Mediums

Participants may use any art mediums – pencil, colour pencil, graphite, charcoal, pen, markers, acrylic paint, oil paint, watercolour paint, poster paint, Chinese ink etc.

  • Participants may combine and use multiple mediums.
  • The artwork should be created on a piece of paper/watercolour paper/rice paper/canvas


You may have your own preferences on mediums that you feel can best express your artistic thoughts. Mixed media works are allowed too! That means you may use a combination of art mediums such as pencil, charcoal, acrylic, markers in your artwork! Many artists use a combination of mediums to create their art, and if these works are exhibited in a gallery, they will be labelled as a mixed medium work on their artwork tag. Sometimes, you may even see the specific materials used for the artwork! 

While the creative process of embarking on a piece of artwork may bring you many ideas, it can also cause some frustration or confusion! Always remember to have fun and enjoy the process of navigating the unknowns. A new idea may not be too complicated either.  You may discover it in your own environment, or it can come as a sudden spark when you brainstorm and outlay your various possibilities! 

As for art materials, you can definitely work with what you already have. You can do great work using just a pencil. 


Like with everything else in life, the best work only comes after plenty of practice. Take your time to draft your work so you know exactly how the end result should look like, and practise your techniques until you are confident of them! 

Perhaps you’re not as adept at shading. Sketch simple objects with strong shadows to practise your shading. Maybe your weakness is in blending. Paint something that has a range of colours so that you can better practise that skill!

All these little steps do add up, and they’ll definitely boost your confidence when it comes to actually drawing or painting your final submission artwork!

When you’re too close to your work, you might not notice what is missing in it. This is where your friends and family members come in! Their fresh eyes may lend a new perspective to your completed work, and while they might not all be trained in art, their opinions of your piece might give you an idea of how you could improve on it!\

These little bits of feedback might elevate your artwork to another level, so don’t take them for granted!

Execution will take time… a great piece of artwork may take 10 hours, 20 hours or even more. You can plan your schedule backwards, setting a time for your submission (between the dates of 30 August 12pm to 30 October 12pm) and working out a schedule for yourself. For example, give yourself one month to execute the artwork, and set aside the first week just for brainstorming of ideas with rough drawing and sketchings of ideas, and the next few weeks for drawing and painting, and touching up. 

Being excited to draw or paint something for a competition is one thing, but do take note of the submission deadline!

The submission period for this competition is from 30 August 2021, 12 p.m., to 30 October 2021, 12 p.m., so make sure you have plenty of time to complete your artwork and finalise the little details before submitting! For those who have yet to register for the art competition, please do so early via our website, as you will be receiving emails and reminders throughout the duration of the art competition. Registration for the art competition has begun, and the cut off registration date and time is 30 October 2021, 12pm. 

Competitions are always exciting and at least a little nerve-wracking, but don’t stress too much about it. Art is meant to be fun and freeing, so take creative liberties with your work and explore the theme as much as you want. You’ll stand to gain a lot from this experience regardless of the results, so be sure to have fun and enjoy yourself while you’re making your art!

This is a wonderful opportunity and marks a great start to your art journey, so be sure to savour every moment of it!

We hope these tips have been helpful in your preparations for our art competition submission, Courage, hope and and love in the time of a pandemic

We hope these tips have been helpful in your preparations for our art competition submission, Courage, hope and and love in the time of a pandemic

Highlights at Visual Arts Centre!

We’ve got some exciting art courses for Kids and Teenagers this holiday, and on a regular basis for art immersion and foundational art skills development and learning! Our popular art courses for Kids during this June-August period are Graffiti Art Camp (4 Sessions workshop), Creative Kids Art Immersion Course (regular Tue and Sun schedules) and the Holiday Art Immersion Course (weekdays until end of Aug). For younger teens and teenagers, we have an Art Immersion course for teenagers that serves to provide a foundation and allow ample exploration and learning, with the flexibility to learn – Acrylic Painting, Watercolour Painting and Drawing and Sketching. For children who are developing their art portfolio, the Art Immersion Course and fundamental courses such as Drawing and Sketching course may be suitable to equip them with more skills and techniques and the confidence to create works that may be required for school (in art related CCAs or their school based art subject). 


Our Kids & Youth Holiday Art Immersion course is open to kids aged 7 to 10, and youth aged 11 to 19. For those in their holidays, our holiday courses are usually provided in the mid year and end of year periods, for students to attend art classes over a frequency of three to four times a week, for a quicker and more immersive art learning experience over their school holidays. Let your children spend their holidays with us – pick up new art skills, learn new art mediums, experiment and cultivate their creativity! Whether it is to pick up a new hobby or to get a kick-start in building up an Art Portfolio for admission into an art school in the future, the Holiday Art Immersion Course for kids is perfect to provide a quick and immersive experience in art!

We also have a Portfolio Prep course for P5 students who wish to enroll in a school through Direct School Admission! Our professionally trained instructors will train your kid from the utmost basics of drawing and sketching to producing their own unique style of artworks over a period of time. Our goal is to help your kid build a good foundation and slowly – as time goes by, help them find their niche and cultivate their creativity through this art portfolio preparation course. Be sure to register now if you’re keen to build your portfolio with us!

Once again, we hope our tips have been useful. Remember, submissions close on 30 October 2020, 12 p.m., so be sure to get your artwork in by then! 

We look forward to seeing your wonderful and creative artworks!

Wishing you all the best!

Visual Arts Centre Art Competition Committee

Email: [email protected]