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For the past 10 years, Google has hosted the “Doodle 4 Google” contest, giving kids in kindergarten through 12th grade the opportunity to submit artwork to be displayed on the Google homepage, as well as win college scholarship money and a technology package for their school. The contest celebrated its 10th anniversary today, with a colorful group of dinosaurs spelling out “Google,” illustrated by second-grader Sarah Gomez-Lane from Falls Church, Virginia.
The theme of the contest was “What inspires me.” Gomez-Lane submitted her drawing of dinosaurs and a shovel and wrote in her letter to Google that she wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up.
In a “Behind the Doodle” video, Gomez-Lane shared her thoughts moments after winning the competition. “I felt happy and surprised,” she said, smiling. “I’m gonna call my principal.”
This year’s Doodle 4 Google is the first one that is interactive. Gomez-Lane got to sit down with Google Doodle artists for a workshop to bring her dinos to life.
“We talked about what she was thinking when she made the characters,” Nate Swinehart, one of the Doodlers who worked with Gomez-Lane, said in the video. He said the challenge was keeping the authenticity of Gomez-Lane’s style, while also making moving images that would be pleasing for users to interact with. In the end, they created a simple animation for each letter and even included the shovel digging up the young girl’s “custom dinosaur,” which has a skateboard and glasses.
Gomez-Lane will also be receiving a $30,000 college scholarship from Google, as well as a $50,000 technology package for her school.
The Doodle 4 Google contest is multi-tiered, with five national finalists spending a day together at Google HQ in California. There, the winner is announced, though the finalists also get scholarship rewards.
Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.