The Lost Fishes Art Challenge

Sharpen your pencils and ready your paints, the Lost Fishes Art Challenge is here!

In partnership with Conservation Optimism, Shoal are launching an art challenge for each of the 10 Most Wanted species from the Search for the Lost Fishes.

Each of the Top 10 species are currently monochrome. Having been hidden from human eyes for many years, they have lost their sparkle, their colours have faded to black, white and grey, their appearance has become unclear as a turbid river. As we lost these species, they too have lost their colours.

We need you, talented artist, to bring the rainbow back to these fishes, to magic them back to dazzling life and give them the chance to be seen in all their scaly splendour for everyone to admire.


The rules of the competition are simple:

• Each submission must represent one of the 10 Most Wanted Lost Fishes species.

• Multiple entries per person are encouraged: there’s even a ‘portfolio’ prize category for the best submission of three or more separate species.

• The submissions themselves should be emailed to Shoal (info. below), but feel free to work in whichever medium you’d prefer – digital, sculpture, collage, watercolour – let your creativity loose! We also encourage you to share your entries on social media, using the hashtags #LostFishesArtComp and #LostFishes, and #SundayFishSketch if posting on a Sunday. We will repost your entries where we can.

• Submissions should look crisp and clear in A3: unfortunately, we won’t be able to consider grainy images at this size.

• As we are keen to use some of the submissions as Shoal’s oh-fish-al Lost Fishes illustrations, it will be best to focus solely on the fish and not include any background imagery.

• Deadline for entries is 30 September 2021, 12pm BST (competition is open worldwide).

Painting, by Rifqi Ali Ridho


The competition will be judged in the following categories:

• Ten finalist pieces, each representing one of the Lost Fish species

• Overall youth winner (aged under 18)

• Overall portfolio winner (submissions of 3 or more species)

• Overall winner

We have some exciting prizes lined up: three lucky winners will each receive a one-to-one mentoring session with a multi-published wildlife illustrator who will teach you tips and tricks about their creative process and about getting your work published. The sessions will be interactive and will be an excellent opportunity to pick the artist’s brains and ask the questions you’re itching to know the answers to. The winning submissions for each of the ten Lost Fishes species will have their work exhibited at the Oxford Natural History Museum as part of the Conservation Optimism Good Natured Short Film Festival in October. These winning artworks will also become Shoal’s ‘oh-fish-al’ illustrations for those species, and we will promote the artists through our website and social media channels.

Submission Guidelines

Please submit all entries to info@shoalconservation.org before midnight BST on 30 September 2021.

Please state your age if applying for the youth category.

Remember to post on social media to share your creations with the world.

Tag @Shoal_Org and @ConservOptimism on Twitter and @conservationoptimism on Instagram, and use the #LostFishesArtComp and #LostFishes hashtags.

Good luck!!