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

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.

Once again, I'm opening the challenge up to young writers as well as 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 15th, 2017, midnight. *****

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, 2017.  

The latest I will accept entries: August 15th, 2017, midnight.

*** If you are a teacher who would like to participate in a special pre-summer Look Again Challenge before the school year ends AND are able to use Padlet or some other method where I can go to view a gallery that you create, I would love to see your students' creations! Please use my regular Contact form and send me the link where I can view your gallery.

Q. What should I send?

I assume you have already read my Look Again found object doodle resource page.

This year, you have three choices! You can either send:

1) A photo of your found object art. See samples from last year's entries.


2) A photo of your found object art AND a poem or super-short story inspired by your art. For writing, please limit the length of your piece to maximum 250 words (including the title). Whether you want to include your art and writing in a single photo/image or send me the photo of your drawing and put the writing in an email etc. is up to you. 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!



3) A comic. This could be a single panel comic using found objects and word bubbles, multiple panels, a combo of found objects, drawings and writing. Again, use your imagination! I'm open to pretty much any type of comic that incorporates found objects. Maximum ONE page.

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.

If you're sending a comic with found objects, you can sent a high-resolution 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.

However, I will be giving out some free books, special certificates, stickers, bookmarks as well as some original art.

Q. Why are you doing this?

Because I've been having SO MUCH FUN doing found object doodles these past five 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.

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 15th, emailed to me by August 15th midnight (or a Padlet link). You're welcome to have your students create found object art/writing before then, of course; I'm happy to view student galleries created in Padlet.

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.

If it's easier for you, feel free to use an alternate method of showing me student art and writing like Padlet.

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 15th, 2017. (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. 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.

Happy drawing and writing, all!

- Debbie