“I love that one open-ended Doodle 4 Google theme can inspire so many thousands of drastically different and wild entries,” Google artist and judge Sophie Diao tells The Post.
AS PART OF its ongoing arts outreach to students, Google is offering kids a “virtual field trip” today to its Bay Area headquarters.
In its teaming with Discovery Education, Google will introduce young visitors to its Doodlers — the artists who create the company’s inventive home-page illustrations. (To get to the virtual tour, which begins at 1 p.m. ET, click HERE.
The tour is in tandem with the California firm’s current “Doodle 4 Google” competition,
in which students can enter their artwork in the hopes of winning the $30,000 grand prize — which also comes bundled with a $50,000 tech grant for the winning pupil’s school.
Among the artists whom students can (virtually) meet is last year’s Doodle 4 Google champ, Sabrina Brady, whose winning entry, titled “Coming Home,” depicted an emotional homecoming between a daughter (Sabrina) and a military parent (her father returning from Iraq). Since her win, it’s been a whirlwind.
“It has not stopped. Not even the slightest bit,” Brady, a native of Sparta, Wisc., tells The Post. “I’m constantly still getting mail forwarded from my old high school, congratulating me and saying my Doodle was inspirational. The best were the few letters I received from places like the Pentagon and from members of Congress, but it is still overwhelming how many people supported me.”
A high school senior when she won, Brady — who is now enrolled at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design — says the prize money has made all the difference in being able to afford school. “The scholarship definitely lifted a huge weight off my shoulders when I was dreading college tuition,” Brady tells Comic Riffs.
The spotlight of her Doodle win has also led to other work.
“I have been commissioned to illustrate two children’s books from two different authors … ,” Brady tells us. “It has been quite the journey with those. Also, I am the team designer and a counselor for the developing group Projects For Forward-Thinking (PFFT), a group of innovative college students from all over, looking to redefine education in abroad countries.”
The deadline for the current Doodle 4 Google competition — open to students K-12 — is March 20.
One of the judges for the kids’ competition is Team Google Doodle artist Sophie Diao, whose relishes the sheer spectrum of the student creativity.
“I love that one open-ended Doodle 4 Google theme can inspire so many thousands of drastically different and wild entries,” Diao tells The Post. “It really reminds you that everyone has their own personal point of view. Just like no two people see exactly the same color, everyone comes up with something slightly different from the same prompt.”
Although the variance is wide, Diao says the judges look for certain common traits and criteria.
“We try to [judge] based on the combination of artistic merit — of course taking into account grade level and artistic skill,” says Diao, in addition to “the creativity that goes into them — how well they represent the theme and use the logo — and how well they communicate the theme, both in the artwork and in the supporting statement we ask students to send with it.” (This year’s theme is: “If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place… .”)
Mostly, Diao — who studied character animation at Cal Arts — simply likes to encourage arts education. For her, it made all the difference.
“In my experience, a lot of my public school curriculum focused on memorization and regurgitation, which was not challenging after a while,” Diao tells us. “When I was assigned a book report or project, I tried to make something visual to go along with it, just to mix things up.
“Art-making is like problem solving … it forces you to think in new and different ways. Developing a sense of creativity and wonder is vital for innovation!”
Wisconsin teenager Sabrina Brady says her life has been a whirlwind since she won last year’s Doodle 4 Google student competition with her entry “Coming Home,” which was inspired by her own life.
Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.