I’m always on the lookout for scholarships for young kids. Doodle 4 Google offers students as young as kindergarten a shot at a $30,000 scholarship, among other prizes.
The top winner’s artwork will be displayed on Google’s homepage. That’s right–your child’s masterpiece could go from your refrigerator door to the national stage.
Yes, it is a national contest. Last year Google received 114,000 submissions from students across all 50 states.
The numbers are a little intimidating.
That’s why I’ve enlisted two professional artists for advice on how parents can help their kids get those creative juices flowing.
Meet the experts
Artist Lin Wellford (LW) has sold more than one million books on the art of rock painting. Lin also teaches classes to help others discover how fun and easy it is to turn ordinary rocks into works of art.
Art Educator MaryAnn Kohl (MK) has written eight books for Bright Ring Publishing, Inc. on topics of art for children, their parents, teachers, and care providers, as well as 15 titles for Gryphon House, Inc.
Brainstorm ideas like a pro
The theme for the 2013 Doodle 4 Google Contest is “My Best Day Ever…”
1. Kids have wonderful, unique thoughts. They are not adult thoughts, which is what makes them so unique, wondrous, often simple and creative. (MK)
2. The theme, “My Best Day Ever”, could be any experience the child has had, or will have, from large to small, from memory or an imagined future event. (MK)
3. Brainstorming can mean having your child daydream about their favorite activity, or talking with your child about things that happened in the past months. (LW)
4. Looking at old pictures can help your child recall places or events that were important. (LW)
5. Conversing with a child helps them tune in to possibilities without the adult dictating what the child is thinking. (MK)
Doing the work
6. I like to combine brainstorming and sketching, making cartoony drawings that capture the action of things I am thinking about. These sketches can sometimes pull you into thinking of how to create a design. (LW)
7. As a professional artist, I next would make “thumbnail” drawings, sort of trying out some different ways that my picture could be composed. It helps to be very loose and not too detailed, to just let your imagination run in different directions. (LW)
8. Another way a parent can help is to read the instructions and procedure, and help the child submit their work properly. (MK)
9. Give your child nice paper or art tools if needed, and otherwise be a helper. (MK)
10. In no way should the parent change wording or put their own thoughts into the work. (MK)
11. I also suggest that kids practice a little before making their final work to smooth out their expression and refine their message. (MK)
Managing the deadline
The deadline for the 2013 Doodle 4 Google Contest is March 22.
12. Parents can help by participating in scheduling the stages of thinking, planning and making the art, gently reminding their child about sticking to mutually agreed upon deadlines. (LW)
13. Another thing I find helpful is to create a little space in my schedule where I set the project aside for a day or two. When I come back and look at my designs, usually I will see one that stands out, or a way to combine several of them to make one that is even better. (LW)
14. Consider having a celebration for your child after the project is finished and submitted, because whether they win or lose the contest, they have accomplished something important just by getting it done. (LW)
Managing your child’s expectations
15. Most important is to talk about contests and that some people win and some people lose, and that if you enter a contest, you should expect all possibilities and not have hurt feelings. (MK)
16. Only children who truly want to participate in a contest should. If this is more for the parent, then the parent may need to give up the idea if the child is not on board. (MK)
17. There’s plenty of time for competition in life. However, if the child is willing and knows the possibilities of winning and losing both, then the parent can help the child read the submission instructions and send off the child’s entry. (MK)
18. Help your child understand that there is not a ‘right or wrong’ way to make art. It is merely the opinion of the judges for that contest as to which design best satisfied the criteria. (LW)
19. Learning to lose graciously is a very important life skill, especially when the selection process is subjective, as it tends to be with the arts. (LW)
20. Parents should try not to give the child too much help or direction with the actual work. The parent can provide supplies, and the child provides the thoughts and actual work. (MK)
21. If your child smiles or laughs while they are making art, it will show in their finished work. (LW)
There you have it, folks. If your child is up for the contest, encourage them to start doodling for Google today.
To my readers: How would your child describe their best day ever? What cool artwork has your child done lately?
For your reading pleasure (Note: I’m an Amazon affiliate):