Oodles of doodles

The Google homepage has featured more than 1,ooo doodles through the years. My daughters have drawn at least that many on papers floating around the house, so it’s a pity they’re too old to enter this year’s Doodle 4 Google contest. If your children are in grades K-12, they’re eligible to take part. Both students enrolled in schools and those who are homeschooled can participate.

Student entries can be submitted by parents, teachers or afterschool programs through the March 23 deadline assuming they follow contest guidelines. Doodles can be done “in pencil, crayon, felt tip, paint or by using computer drawing or design software.” Alas, no whipped cream or spaghetti sauce allowed.

Judges will be looking at three factors — artistic merit, creativity and theme communication. This year’s judges include Jordin Sparks, who went from Glendale teen to American Idol winner after years of performing in Valley youth theater productions. Also Brian Nemeckay of Crayola and Jack Martin of The New York Public Library.

Plus Katy Perry (think “Teenage Dream”), Jeff “Swampy” Marsh (Think “Phineas and Ferb”), Mo Willems (Think “Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator”), and both Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi (Think “Spiderwick Chronicles”).

The theme of this year’s contest is “If I could travel in time, I’d visit…” — which has me imagining some of history’s greatest moments, including the discovery of chocolate and espresso. I suppose one could also travel to the future — to that glorious day when men give birth and panty hose are extinct.

The competition has several levels. Google employees will select 250 state finalists, then 50 state winners will be chosen by guest judges and Google doodlers. The U.S. public will vote on these 50 winners, and the highest ranking doodler from each grade group will be named a national finalist.

Their names will be announced during a May 17 awards ceremony in NYC, and one will be named the national winner. The winning doodle will spend 24 hours on the Google homepage, and the artist will be awarded a $30,000 college scholarship plus other fun prizes.

Think Google Chromebook computer, Wacom digital design tablet and t-shirt featuring his or her doodle. The winner’s full time school will receive a $50,000 technology grant to establish or improve the computer lab or technology programming. The 50 state finalists will have their works exhibited at The New York Public Library.

Those of you who’ve missed a few of Google’s homepage doodles through the years can visit www.google.com/doodles to see all the doodles that have run the world over.

– Lynn

Coming up: Youth playwriting competitions

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