YBC T-shirt Art Contest

Bird Painting in Oil on CanvasHey, kids! Would you like your artwork to appear on the Annual Youth Birding Competition T-shirt? How about winning a Michaels gift card for free art supplies? Then plan on taking part in the 2020 T-shirt Art Contest. Details will be posted here this fall. Read about the 2019 contest and winners.

Rules for 2019 (this contest session has closed)

All you need to do is draw or paint your favorite native Georgia bird on paper or sheet canvas (at least 8"x10” but no larger than 11"x17”), put it in a large envelope (flat, not folded), and mail or deliver by March 13, 2019 to:

GA DNR-WRD, YBC Art Contest
Attn: Linda May
2065 US Highway 278 SE
Social Circle, GA 30025

On a separate piece of paper, gently taped to the back of your artwork, be sure to include your name, school, age, grade level, mailing address, phone #, parent or teacher e-mail address, and the species name of the bird in your artwork. Incomplete submissions may be disqualified.


Grand Prize Winner gets a $100 Michaels Gift Card, and his/her artwork appears on the 2019 Youth Birding Competition T-Shirt. Three other winners will each receive a $50 Michaels Gift Card.

A winner will be selected from each of the following age categories:

  • Primary (Pre-K–2nd Grade)
  • Elementary (3rd–5th Grade)
  • Middle School (6th–8th Grade)
  • High School (9th–12th Grade)

The Grand Prize Winner will be determined from those four age category winners.

To encourage artists to also participate in the 2019 Youth Birding Competition on April 26–27, a new award will recognize the best artwork from a YBC team member (if such a participant doesn't already place in the regular art contest).

Other Contest Rules

The Youth Birding T-Shirt Art Contest is open to Georgia residents in PreK through 12th grade. Although participation in the 2019 Youth Birding Competition (YBC) on April 26–27 is encouraged, it is not required in order to submit artwork. Only one entry per person is allowed, and the submission must be the child’s original artwork. Tracings & computer-generated artwork are not allowed.

How to Get Artwork Returned After the T-Shirt Art Contest

Select artwork will be displayed at the YBC Banquet on April 27 and can be picked up there, where winners will be announced and awards given (you must be a YBC team participant or an art contest winner to attend the banquet). If not attending the banquet, artists may pick up their artwork at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center through May 18 during normal business hours or returned in the mail ONLY IF you provide a self-addressed large envelope & proper postage (>6 First Class stamps).

Tips for Winning

Make sure the bird species you draw or paint is native to Georgia and not previously featured on a Youth Birding Competition T-shirt.

If you’re not sure if a species is native to Georgia, consult a field guide to birds of the Eastern US. The species description and range map will tell you if the bird naturally occurs in Georgia or if it is introduced or exotic. Native resident and migratory birds qualify. Artwork of domesticated birds (like yellow ducks, parrots & peacocks) as well as naturalized exotic species (like house sparrows, pigeons & starlings) will be disqualified. Also refrain from depicting any bird previously featured on a YBC T-shirt (Anna’s hummingbird, blue grosbeak, blue jay, blue-gray gnatcatcher, Carolina chickadee, great blue heron, great horned owl, osprey, red-breasted nuthatch, yellow-breasted chat and yellow-rumped warbler).

Follow the contest rules regarding artwork size and shape.

Artwork must be at least 8x10” but no larger than 11x17” in size and on paper or sheet canvas (no frames). Please keep artwork flat—not folded—when mailing or dropping off at DNR’s Wildlife Resources Conservation Center in Social Circle, GA (see address at bottom of this page).

Pay attention to the bird’s features. Draw or paint them accurately.

If the judges can’t tell what bird species is in your artwork, the picture won’t work well on a T-shirt. Body proportions, beak shape & field marks are important (especially for older art contest participants).

To show up well on a T-shirt, the bird needs to be the main focus of your artwork.

Simple backgrounds (especially appropriate habitats) are a plus, but your bird must stand out well. Put some thought into composition, context and contrasting colors.

Deep contrasting colors scan best for a T-shirt.

Keep in mind that the winning artwork will be used on a T-shirt for both boys and girls. Fill in your colors well so that the bird can be seen well from a distance. If you use colored pencils (which often appear faint), press down hard or go over your lines several times for richer colors.

Previous Winners

You can see winners and artwork from previous years at https://georgiawildlife.smugmug.com/Events/Youth-Birding-Contest-T-Shirt-Art-Contest.


For more information, please contact Linda May at 706-557-3226 or linda.may@dnr.ga.gov.

The winning child's artwork will appear on the next Annual Youth Birding Competition T-shirt, and they will receive a gift card for free art supplies.