I see a lot of competitions that I think would be really fun to enter, and I mark them down on my calendar. I get all excited about doing some piece of art, but at some point in between now and whenever the contest deadline is, what usually happens is that life overtakes my good intentions and I never end up entering the contest.

So I want to help you avoid this particular problem by running through the process that I would use if I were going to enter the Martha's Vineyard Drawing Prize. If you follow these stages now, you will be ready to enter in no time!

There's a theme for the competition: 'The Ties That Bind', and you can interpret this theme any way you like, using any style of drawing (see the FAQ page for more details.)

If I can't decide how to interpret the theme or if I have too many ideas, I brainstorm with some word association to get them all down on paper. I'll take a page in my sketchbook and I'll just start writing some stuff down without worrying about specifics. As I write, some ideas will seem better than others but I keep going. Here's an example I did for you. (If you see an idea you like in something I've scribbled here, please feel free to run with it. I'd be happy for you to use my brainstorming as a jumping off point!)

Usually as I brainstorm, one or two of these ideas will start to form into something I can work with. I put a star beside my favorites, perhaps flip over to a fresh sheet of paper and work out the details of my idea, but what's most important is that I make a decision and move on.

No need to overthink it! There are always going to be more ideas than time to draw them all. Just pick the one you like the best right now, and get started. Enter the competition and no matter what the outcome, you will have completed a piece of artwork and explored an idea. What a great way to spend some time!