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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Back to main LOOK AGAIN page - Back to SAM & EVA

(Last updated September 2, 2018)

This challenge is now over. Thanks to all who entered this year! You can see 2018 Gallery here.


Welcome to the 4th Annual Summer "Look Again" Challenge For Young Artists and Writers!

The goal of this challenge: to encourage young artists and writers to experiment, play and create. 

The focus of this challenge is on the process, not about the final product. I will not be critiquing or judging your art or writing.

If you got here accidentally, be sure to visit my main LOOK AGAIN page first to find out more about why and how I create found object doodles, and tips on how to create your own. You can also see my recent found object art on Instagram and You never know what will come out of a broken crayon page.

Once again, I'm opening the challenge up to young writers as well as young artists, since I have found that found object doodling can inspire stories and poetry. In my own process, art and writing are very closely entwined, including in the brainstorming process. As I mentioned last year, THERE ARE STORIES EVERYWHERE.

***** DEADLINE: August 31st, midnight EST. *****

Q. Who can enter your Summer "Look Again" Challenge?

A. Anyone aged 6 through 12.

You're welcome to take on the challenge on your own if you're older or younger, of course! I'm just trying to avoid being overwhelmed by entries. As much as I love seeing creative work by young artists and writers, I'm doing this on my own and need to save some time for writing and illustrating my own books. :-)

Q. How many times can I enter?

A. Up to TWO entries per person. So choose your best! If you send in more than two, I will only look at your FIRST TWO.

Q. I'm excited! When is the earliest I can enter?

The earliest I will accept entries: July 1st, 2018.  

The latest I will accept entries: August 31st, 2018, midnight EST.

Q. What are the (new) guidelines for found object art/writing entries?

Your entry should be a photo of art or art and writing that includes:

- A physical object (e.g. leaf, paperclip, torn piece of paper, broken crayon etc.) that has been placed on a piece of paper.

- A drawn component (using pen, pencil, crayon, marker etc.). Part of the art should be something you DRAW BY HAND on the same piece of paper above.

Here's an example. Mallory's doodle includes pine needles AND a drawing:

Q. My object is too big to fit on a piece of paper. Is it ok if I take a photo of the object, print it out, then draw on the photo?

Yes. I will likely put these types of submissions in a separate gallery, though. My hope is that your found object will be something that can fit on a piece of paper. This summer challenge is much more about the PROCESS rather than the final product.

Q. What about digital art? Can I take a photo of an object with my iPad then use a drawing app to add art?

I know there are many who sometimes use digital devices to create art (I'm one of them!) and I may open this challenge up to include iPad etc. art in the future. These days,  however I have very limited time and I'm managing this challenge entirely on my own...I'm worried that if I open up the challenge to digital or digitally-aided art, I'll receive more entries than I can handle. Thanks for understanding. :-)

Q. Any restrictions on type of found object or writing?

Your found object and writing should be family-friendly.

I reserve the right NOT to include any submission in the public gallery.

Q. May I include a paragraph or short poem about my found object art?

ABSOLUTELY. I would love this!

For those of you not old enough to write about your found object art, feel free to collaborate with an older sibling (up to age 12) to include a poem or super-short story. I will enter entries that include a written poem or story in a special Sam & Eva prize draw; winners will receive copies of my picture book, Sam & Eva, which is about creative collaboration.

However, don't stress if you'd rather just enter found object art - I'd love this, too!

If you want to send writing in addition to your art, you can either send it as part of your art or separately (in the body of your email, for example). If your writing is in the email, I will add it to your art display in the gallery.

Here is an example from last year's gallery (the text was sent in separately and I added it to the student's drawing for the gallery display):

Thanks to Melissa Guerrette, who incorporated found object art into her Writers' Week summer workshop!

Q. What format should I use when sending the above?

If you're sending a photo of your found object drawing, I prefer a JPG image. Tip: When taking the photo, make sure you have good lighting and that focus is sharp. I prefer high resolution images (max 5 MB). If your image size is 100k or lower, it's probably low resolution. If you're not sure what all this means, ask one of your photography-savvy or digital artist friends to help out. Reason: if your image is too low res, then it probably won't look great on larger screens. Please don't ask me for tech help; unfortunately I lack the time.

If you are also sending a poem or short story, you can include the text in your email OR take a photo that includes the found object(s) and your writing.

Q. I'm 12 years old or younger. May I send my entry to you directly?

No, sorry...I'd prefer the entry coming from a parent or guardian.

Q. Will I be put on a mailing list?

No. Your email address will ONLY be used when I acknowledge receipt of your entry and if I have any followup questions (like permission to share, an address if I'm mailing you a prize, etc.). I also promise not to share it with anyone else.

Q. What about copyright? If I send stuff to you, does that mean it will belong to you?

No. Anything that you create still belongs to you. If I end up posting your image in the gallery, I will include your name and age. I will only include your LAST name if I have specific permission from your parent or guardian. If I love your entry so much that I'd like to share it in a context other than the "Look Again" Challenge online, I will always ask permission first.

Q. Is there any entry fee? Are there prizes?

There is no entry fee (but remember, only TWO entries per person). There are no cash prizes.

The purpose of this challenge is to help inspire young people to do some fun writing and drawing over the summer. This creative challenge is about the PROCESS, not about the final product.

However, I will be giving out some free books, special certificates, stickers, bookmarks as well as some original art. Again, please be aware that I'm doing this on my own, so everything (including cost of any giveaway books) comes out of my pocket. I'm hoping young people do this for the creative fun, NOT for the prizes. :-)

Q. Why are you doing this?

Because I've been having SO MUCH FUN doing found object doodles over the years and lovelovelove hearing about young people being inspired to do their own found object art and art-inspired writing. 

Seeing photos like this ALWAYS MAKES MY DAY.

I'm also hoping that more young people experiment with using found objects and other creative art techniques to brainstorm character and story ideas. I do this in my own creative brainstorming as well.

And finally, I love found object doodles because they're so liberating. Part of the drawing is done for you, in the object. And if you're using fresh produce or another perishable found object, you can't really frame or preserve your art...which gets rid of any "omigosh, I can't screw up it has to be perfect can't make mistakes" pressure. So the focus can be on the FUN OF CREATING instead of making something perfect.

In fact, the reason *I* started doing found object doodles is exactly that. Once I started being paid for my book illustrations, I found that my art was tightening up too much. It was like part of brain was saying, "Now that you're a PROFESSIONAL, you have to pay more attention to GETTING IT RIGHT." I realized that I needed a quick of way of loosening up, to do more art that wasn't work-related. I also find that found object art helps me see the world differently, to not take so much for granted.

This past year, I was thrilled to sign on for doing a new BROKEN CRAYON found object picture book with Newbery Medallist Linda Sue Park for Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers! Details here.

You never know what will come out of a broken crayon.

Q. I'm a summer school teacher or librarian, and I'd love for my group to participate in your Summer Challenge. Would that be ok?

Absolutely, as long as the entries are created between July 1st and August 31st, with a gallery link sent to me by August 31st midnight (or a Padlet link). I'm happy to view student galleries created in Padlet or another "click this link to view the whole gallery" method. I will write back to the class/group via your email.

I also ask that you make it VERY CLEAR which child created which image. Please include the first name (or first and last, if you have the parent's permission) as well as the child's age.

You also need to be willing to be the go-between re: any follow-up correspondence. Thanks so much!

Q. Ok, I've read all the above. I'd like to send in my entry! Where should I send it?

Great! Final checklist summary:

- Entries are accepted between July 1st and August 31st. (If you are an educator whose students have created found object art/writing outside of the Summer Challenge dates then I am still happy to view it if the gallery is on Padlet.)

- Maximum TWO entries per person. For groups larger than 10, please limit entries to ONE per child, thanks.

- Entry can be art or art AND writing.

- If you're 12 or younger, a parent or guardian should be the one who sends in the entry.

Ok with the above? If so, send email to me at lookagaingallery [at] (remove the spaces and change [at] to @). I will be checking this email address every couple of weeks starting July 1st and will send you a confirmation email. If you are writing about anything other than my Look Again Challenge or have questions about the challenge before July 1st, please use my regular Contact Form, thanks.

Please note that I reserve the right not to include any submission in the public gallery. 

Happy drawing and writing, all!

- Debbie