The Character Design Challenge (or CDChallenge) is an international community of artists of different skill levels and styles who share common goals: improve and learn from each other, promote their work online and having fun designing characters together. Once a month the members gather on a Facebook Group to challenge each other in a contest in which they share their unique designs of characters, based on a common theme, along with the links to promote their blogs and online stores. The finest designs win the challenge and a new theme is announced on the 7th day of each month. The contest is open exclusively to 2D artworks, created both digitally or traditionally.

Artist can participate for free (Freebie) or upgrade their membership on the Patreon page of the CDChallenge. Premium memberships (Tipper, Supporter) access to special perks such as:

  • Choosing the new Theme of the Month in an exclusive monthly survey.

  • Discovering the new Theme of the Month before the standard members, 2 day earlier.

  • Access the Challenge Rewards, the prizes of the CDChallenge.

Other premium memberships (Advertiser, Partner) are open to art schools and companies that want to introduce their products and services to the artists of the CDChallenge, and at the same time, financially support their community.

The CDChallenge is an initiative of Character Design References™ (CDR), an independent webzine dedicated to sequential, illustrative and concept art from animation, games and comics.



Why Should I join the Character Design Challenge?

The CDChallenge makes you build your portfolio with a community of artists from all over the world and gives you the chance to contribute, with your unique touch, to a collective and fun character design project. 

When you participate to the CDChallenge, you occasionally also have the opportunity to show your design to a pro artist invited by us every month, the Special Guest Juror (read more below).

If your goal is to promote your work and build a following of fans online, but also get out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, make new friends and build your portfolio with other artists who share the same passion, you've come to the right place.

how much commitment does IT require to participate?

Participating to the Character Design Challenge is very easy and doesn't require too much commitment. To let everyone find the time to join the challenge, we ask each artist to submit only a single artwork during a time period of 25 days. By doing so, we hope that any artist who likes this project, despite work or study obligations, will be able to participate without worrying about getting involved in something that requires too much time or commitment.

Do I have to submit a design every month?

Absolutely not! You are not required to submit a design for every challenge. Feel free to join in, take a break and participate again whenever you want. 


Every day we invite hundreds of our followers to follow and visit the CDChallenge group where the members can share the links to their websites and online stores. The group is one of the largest on Facebook, with thousands of members and hundreds of new artists joining us daily. 

We also re-share the finest artworks submitted to our contest every day on all major social media platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. All artworks are meticulously credited and includes links to follow the artists directly on their social media accounts or online portfolios.

CAN I DRAW ANYTHING I WANT? How many designs can I submit each month?

No, your design for the Character Design Challenge must be based on the “Theme of the Month”. You can submit only 1 single design for each monthly challenge. The artwork must conform to the rules of the contest which you can find HERE.

What is the “Theme of the month”?

Every 7th day of the month we share a new theme with the members of our community. All the designs submitted in the group must be based on this common subject. The “Theme of the Month” last for 25 days and it usually ends the 2nd day of the following month at midnight. All the details for the current theme can always be found HERE

Are there any rules? WHere can I find them?

Yes! Follow the rules of our contest is extremely important and you must familiarise with them before submitting an artwork in the group on Facebook or on Patreon. You can read all the rules for the Character Design Challenge HERE

HOW CAN I join the Character design Challenge? Can I participate for free?

Once that you know the rules and you read all the details about the new Theme of the Month, you can finally join the community! You can participate for free (Freebie) and, if you like the idea, upgrade your standard membership on our Patreon page with a premium one (TipperSupporter), if you want to access to special perks such as:

  • Choosing the new Theme of the Month in an exclusive monthly survey.

  • Discovering the new Theme of the Month before the standard members, 2 day earlier.

  • Access the Challenge Rewards, the prizes of the CDChallenge.

You can visit the membership page of our website HERE and choose the membership level that suits you better.


Standard memberships requests (Freebie) are approved in our Facebook group every 2 or 3 weeks. Premium membership requests (TipperSupporter) are approved in our Patreon page automatically. We need to do this in order to check each profile and try to prevent spammers from joining the group. To facilitate the process, please make sure to reply to the 3 questions we ask you when you request to join our Facebook group.

I don’t like Facebook, is there any other way to submit work for the contest? 

If you are not on Facebook and don’t want to open an account there, you can become a supporter of our community on Patreon and post your work there. Design on our Patreon page are automatically approved and validated as entries for the contest and also have some useful perks. You can join our Patreon page HERE

Do my artworks need to be approved?

Yes, we check each artwork submitted to the Character Design Challenge. We do this in order to avoid spam, make sure that everyone has read the rules and verify that the entry is up to our Standard of Draftsmanship. A design can take up to 24hrs to be approved, so please be patient.

Are artworks from beginner artists accepted in the group?

Due to the large number of active members and the high amount of artworks submitted in the Character Design Challenge, we must ensure that all the entries featured in our Facebook group meet a basic standard of draftsmanship and presentation. Designs from beginner artists that don't meet the basic quality expectations of our community, will unfortunately not be approved in the group. Also, designs that intentionally don't try to ''push the envelope'' (sticky figures, for example) or in which the subject of the drawing hasn't been properly researched, will not be accepted. Same goes for blurred, low-quality and/or out of focus photographs of artworks.

This rule aims to incentivise all the artists to submit only their best designs for the monthly challenges, and it has been requested by the members of the community as a solution to maintain a stable level of quality in the group despite the growing number of new members who join the community everyday.

Will I get notified if my design doesn't get approved?

Unfortunately we can't notify all the artists who don't see their designs approved in our Facebook group. Doing so would take hundreds of private messages on Facebook (the site doesn’t offer an easier solution at the moment), and our accounts will be blocked. If your design doesn't get approved, please double check the Rules of the Challenge HERE. Please do not try to send private messages to the admins of the group on Facebook (we don't receive notifications for them) and avoid to post your design in the comment section of other posts in the group, as this behaviour goes against the rules and can potentially lead to a permanent ban from the group. If after reading the rules you think it is necessary to get in touch with us, you can contact us HERE.


To make everything more exciting and to give your work even more visibility, every month 4 artworks are picked by our team from a selection of designs that (in our opinion) represent some of the most well crafted submissions of the latest challenge. The designs of the Winners of the Character Design Challenge are featured on our website and shared with our followers on all our social pages (a potential audience of over 500.000 artists, animation fans and art enthusiasts). Along with the Winners, we also feature 18 Special Mentions and 3 Rewards Picks from Patreon every month. You can see the artworks of all the previous Winners, Special Mentions and Rewards Picks in the winner section of Character Design Challenge on our website HERE


The Special Guest Juror's Choice is an artwork selected directly by a veteran artist who is occasionally invited by our team to choose his/her favourite design as a winner for the Character Design Challenge. If you wish to know the names of all the artists who have kindly accepted our invitation in the past, please visit the page dedicated to the past themes and jurors HERE.

Is there any prize?

Absolutely! The Challenge Rewards are the official prizes of the Character Design Challenge, exclusively available to our Patreon Supporters as a way to thank them for their invaluable help in keeping the project going. Each Challenge Reward contains some of the best resources for illustrators and visual development artists available online and also two of the most interesting, original and well crafted graphic novels and art books crowd-funded in the last years. At the end of each challenge, the 3 most well designed artworks submitted by the Supporters of the Character Design Challenge on our Patreon page, will receive one of these amazing prizes delivered to their door or directly via email! The 3 artworks that will win the monthly rewarded will also be featured on our Facebook pages, along with the classic Winners of the Character Design Challenge.


Just as for the classic Winners of the Character Design Challenge, the entries for the Challenge Rewards will be judged on both creative and technical skills, originality and outstanding draftsmanship. The CDR Team will judge all the artworks, and their judgement will be final. Visit the Rules of the Challenge on our website to learn more about it. 


The Challenge Rewards are exclusively available for the Supporters ( or higher levels) of the Character Design Challenge on our Patreon Page. Only the Community Reward, which is a collective goal, will be available to all the members. Please check all the details below and visit the Membership section on our website to learn how to access all the Challenge Rewards.


In order to be considered for the Challenge Rewards, you need to post your artwork directly on our Patreon Page. Then you can post your artwork in the Facebook Group of the Character Design Challenge as well (remember that you can post only a single artwork for each challenge). The Patreon Page feeds can be accessed exclusively by the Supporters or higher level members. Freebies and Tippers can post only in our Facebook Group. 

IMPORTANT: If you are not on Facebook and don’t want to open an account there, you can simply post your design on our Patreon page and it will be automatically validated as an entry for the contest.


Open submission day, deadline and specific guidelines for our monthly challenges can be found in the Theme of the Month section of our website. 


There are 3 kind of Challenge Rewards and each of them includes different prizes. You can discover all of them HERE

how about the artworks? Who owns them after they get submitted?

All artwork remains the sole property of the artists and we claim no ownership of the material submitted for the challenge. We only repost some of the most popular works submitted each month to our Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest pages to promote the work of the individual artist and the community as a whole. It is understood that all artwork submitted to the Character Design Challenge can potentially be reposted on our pages with the consent of the artist. 

The Facebook group, where the submission process takes place, has the privacy set to PUBLIC to let any visitor discover the artists of this community, admire their designs, find the links to their blogs and Facebook pages and become a potential client or follower of the artist. 

Artists who do not wish their work to be featured and promoted on the CDR pages can still be members of the group, but obviously are invited not to post their designs in it.



Character Design References™ is not responsible for any copyright infringement on part of the individual artists, our intent is merely to inspire others to create original works based on a common theme. For questions regarding specific pieces of artwork please follow the links for the website, portfolio or social pages provided by the author in the caption of the design posted in our Facebook group or contact directly the profile associated with it. Artists participating in the Character Design Challenge must be a member of the Character Design Challenge group on Facebook or on Patreon. Ensure you have read and fully understood the rules of the competition, the Character Design Challenge Terms of Use, the Facebook Terms of Use and the Patreon Terms of Use before entering an artwork for the contest. The Challenge Rewards are limited and exclusively available to the Supporters of the Character Design References™ on Patreon.

IMPORTANT: The Character Design Challenge is being organised and managed by Character Design References™. The Character Design Challenge is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Patreon. By entering this contest, you agree to a complete release of Facebook and Patreon from any or all liability in connection with this contest.  The project partners and sponsors are listed on 

The Character Design Challenge Terms of Use can be read HERE