Three Whangarei artists are in the running for the 2017 Parkin Drawing Award, the competition attracting an impressive 502 entries with 84 selected for the ''short-list''.

They are Martha Mitchell, for her work Lines in the Sand 11, Cathy Tuato'o-Ross for Domestic Abstract and Anneke Muijlwijk for Safety Plan with Dog.

The national drawing competition, attracting a major prize of $20,000, was launched by philanthropist and arts patron Chris Parkin five years ago. Ten highly commended prizes worth $500 each will also be awarded.

There were a range of drawings utilising the expected materials such as charcoal, graphite and pencil, while other artists chose mediums such as iPads, mixed media, digital animation and even a carpet installation - leaving the question open as to 'what is drawing?'.

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An advisory panel of John Gow, of Gow Langsford Gallery, Simon Rees, of Govett Brewster, arts historian and writer Warren Feeney and painter Kelcy Taratoa assessed all entries to come up with the short-list.

Those works will be showcased at the Parkin Drawing Prize exhibition at the NZ Academy of Fine Arts from August 2 to September 3.

The winning submission will be selected and announced by New Zealand artist Seraphine Pick at the exhibition's opening on Tuesday, August 1. All the artworks will be for sale.

Entries came from Whangarei to as far south as Dunedin and Kingston in Otago, and a New Zealand artist residing in Germany.