An Artist’s Journey: Is Participating in Competitions Worth It?

Mira Nagpal
4 min readJan 25, 2022


Participation is more important than succeeding or failing- Probably said by some loser who didn’t win

I forget people wouldn’t appreciate my dry humor. We are off to a great start! Anyway, when I was a young artist, I made sure to participate in multiple competitions and get exposure. It was also the competitive spirit in me through sports that helped me develop and hone this attitude.

You can take the images, but I don't see why lol (images belong to Mira Nagpal)

I do believe that participating in competitions is useful for overall development, and it can be at any age. Contests or events are not meant for people who are young and ambitious. It is meant for all. I have been participating in a fair share of events- both nationally and internationally. They have certainly provided me with perspectives on things I never had before. Getting to know a market through work is essential! I find the best competitions are ones where you participate as a team.

Since my school days, I loved taking part in art and craft events- interschool and inter-house (students in a school are divided into houses like Hogwarts lol). It was great fun and through this, my teachers identified an innate sense of spirit and leadership in me which led to me becoming the Cultural Secretary. Well, enough of self-praise, this was just to reiterate my learning.

I recently participated in an international fashion illustration competition called the FIDA 4th Global Illustration and Drawing Awards. It was an experience like none other. I put my best foot forward and powered through intricate sketches and ambitions I laid out for myself. The process was relaxing, meditative and I gained so much awareness of the international scope of competition and where I truly stand!

Relief work (image belongs to Mira Nagpal)

My overall inspiration was Dolce and Gabbana’s (I am not a fan of the brand due to many ethical reasons but the Spring Summer collection showed a lot of promise towards patchwork) style with the sustainable aesthetic of RareReview. It was to utilize materials I had on hand to create over-the-top runway pieces and highlight “sustainability is fashionable”. I also wanted to merge Indian silhouettes with the theme somehow.

It was the first time I introduced various methods of illustration- from watercolor painting, pen work, minute detailing, magazine collage work (it was so tedious and time-consuming but added great appeal), and relief work through dried flowers, foliage, sequins, and beads for texture and dimension.

Relief work (images belong to Mira Nagpal)

The overall collection was so interesting and I certainly had so much fun through the process. It was mentally and physically stimulating! I really encourage everyone to take part in contests, not to win but truly to get a feel of what it takes.

Final Illustrations (images belong to Mira Nagpal)

I was a Semi-Finalist amongst thousands of applicants and upon seeing the other entries, I was truly inspired by such talented artists globally. Click here to view some extraordinary work submitted. It was a brilliant learning curve overall and I learned more about myself- what I gravitate towards, how to refine my taste, how I could have improved, what I can do the next time, and more experimentation and exploration with media I am not comfortable with (I might try out some oil painting because that Karl Lagerfeld piece was stunning!)



Mira Nagpal

I’m Mira, a self-taught artist, avid media consumer and aspiring designer with the driest humour from a humid city called Chennai🙋🏻‍♀️