International Poster Contest for Youth 2019-2020

Sea Monsters – Truth or Fantasy

Contest Deadline: January 20, 2020

The first International Poster Contest for Youth was organized almost 40 years ago. Originally inspired by a teacher who had her students draw posters for a film festival in the south of France, the contest offers the opportunity for young people around the world to express their concerns for ocean conservation through art.

Contest sponsors include NAUI, DEMA, the United Nations Environment Programme, DAN, CMAS, Explorers Club, Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences, Underwater Society of America, Wyland Foundation, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, and the History of Diving Museum, who all promote education and conservation of ocean resources.

For each biennial contest, organizers choose a theme related to marine protection. Human behavior has resulted in the destruction of natural resources on this planet on a scale never before imagined. We have become sorcerers trying to adjust nature to suit our purposes.

The contest is open to all young people 19 years of age or younger.

With the 2019-2020 contest theme, “Sea Monsters – Truth or Fantasy,” contestants have a wide creative range to illustrate the ocean realm and use their imagination to express their concerns for protecting our ocean environment in poster art depicting real (or imaginary), sea creatures.

The theme is inspired by author Jules Verne and his classic novel Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, published in 1869. Verne’s fictional character, Captain Nemo, pilots his submarine Nautilus under vast oceans. In the words of Verne, Captain Nemo says, “The sea is everything. It covers seven-tenths of the terrestrial globe. [It is] the embodiment of supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the ‘living infinite’… the vast reservoir of nature.”

Schools, teachers, libraries, organizations, and parents are encouraged to guide their students in forming ideas for contest submissions. Artwork submitted must be received at the address on the entry form no later than Jan. 20, 2020. Medals will be awarded to first-place winners and for the Special Caring Award. Certificates will be awarded to winners in other categories. Separate awards are given for primary and secondary school entrants.

A special feature of each contest is the Darl Desamero Special Caring Award. When 8-year-old Darl Christin Desamero, a third-grade student at Immaculate Heart of Mary College in Quezon City, Philippines, was given an award for her entry in the 2005-2006 contest, it arrived after she had died. The Special Caring Award is given in Darl’s memory for the work of art that most depicts love and caring concern for ocean resources.

Judges chosen for the contest are recognized for their work in the marine environment.

The clarity with which young people see important ocean conservation issues continues to inspire others around the world who view their poster art. Entries become the property of the contest and cannot be returned. Questions may be addressed to the creator and director of the International Poster Contest for Youth, John Christopher Fine, at

For full information about the contest, including contest details, submission requirements, and entry forms, click here for the 2020 Poster Contest Rules. All entries must be accompanied by a completed application form. There is never a fee of any kind to participate in the contest.