Want to practice your character design skills, be inspired by other artists, gain fans and followers, and share your work with a supportive, like-minded community? The Character Design Challenge might be just the thing for you. Find out what it’s all about and how you can get involved.

a bunch of small pictures
Source: Character Design References
Join the Character Design Challenge to flex and promote your skills.

What Is the Character Design Challenge?

The Character Design Challenge (or CDChallenge, for short) is a design challenge for artists around the world, created by Character Design References, an independently run website. The goal of the challenge is to help artists share and promote their work, to improve and learn from each other, and to have fun doing so. 

The challenge runs monthly, with a different theme announced on the 7th of each month. Themes from challenges in the recent past have included:

  • Elemental Guardian
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Fashion Show Extravaganza
  • Mushroom Fighter
  • Thai Dancer…

…and many more!

The challenge is open to digital and traditionally drawn 2D characters. Each month, the best characters win the challenge—and their designers win some cool prizes.

How to Participate in the Challenge

There are three ways of getting involved:

  1. Join the Facebook page (free).
  2. Follow the Instagram account (free).
  3. Become a member (Tipper or Supporter) of the challenge’s Patreon account. This costs a small fee, but it comes with extra perks, like getting to vote for your favorite themes, learning the monthly theme in advance of other participants, and more.

You can participate every month or just occasionally—it’s completely up to you! Just keep in mind that you can only submit one character design artwork each month. In addition to aligning with the monthly theme, your design must also adhere to some other rules, which can be found here.

Why Participate?

If you’d like to take your design skills to the next level, learn from other professionals and experienced amateurs, and promote your work online and through social media, this challenge is a great opportunity. Participating can also get you out of any creative rut or block you might be feeling. If you participate regularly, you’ll build a portfolio of work that will boost your design credentials for school, job applications, or freelance gigs. 

Although the CDChallenge isn’t intended for complete beginners, artists with a wide range of skills and experience participate. If you have core drawing and design skills down already, the CDChallenge can really help you blossom.

What Are You Waiting For?

You can wait for inspiration to strike, or you can go looking for it. The CDChallenge provides the prompts and general guidelines, but you have the freedom to let your imagination and creative expression run wild. Follow along!

Want to Enter the CDChallenge? Learn the Basics

Introduction to Cartoon Character Design