‘Once You Get It, Give It Back’: Georgia Teen’s Illustration Honoring Her Mother Wins 2019 Doodle 4 Google Contest

A Georgia teen’s illustration honoring the love and selfless appreciation for her mother has won the 2019 Doodle 4 Google competition.

Arantza Peña Popo of Lithonia admits she was suffering from “massive art block” at the time, as the clock wound down for her to submit her artwork for the annual contest. Popo, 18, would eventually find the inspirations she needed in a portrait of her mother hanging inside their home.

Arantza Peña Popo
Doodle 4 Google winner Arantza Peña Popo, 18, said she wanted her drawing to focus on her desire to help her mother as she grows older. (Photo: “The Tonight Show / video screenshot and Google)

“I came up with the idea last minute, actually the day of the deadline,” she said in a Q&A with Google. “I looked at the photograph of my mother (the real version that inspired the drawing) and thought, ‘Hey, why don’t I reverse it?’ I wanted to focus more on a message of helping out my awesome mother more than anything else.”

In response to the contest’s “When I grow up, I hope …” theme, Popo crafted a soulful doodle expressing her appreciation for her dear mom and all that she’s done. The illustration, titled “Once you get it, give it back,” depicts her and her mother standing in front of a portrait of their younger selves.

Describing the drawing in her own words, Popo said the doodle shows “a framed photo of my mother carrying me as a baby, and below the photo is me, caring for her when she’s older in the future.”

When asked why she chose to highlight her relationship with her mom in the drawing, the teen replied: “I think it was just a chance to thank her for all she’d done. Sometimes I think of the cost of raising a child all the way to adulthood and since I know I can’t instantly pay my mom back hundreds of thousands of dollars, I can at least pay her back in a sincere doodle.”

“Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon announced Popo’s piece as the contest winner Monday evening. An estimated 200,000 submissions were entered in this year’s competition, which allows students from across the nation to submit their drawings for a chance to be featured on the Google homepage.

The contest first launched in 2008, and the search engine has spruced up its otherwise bleak homepage with artful doodles celebrating everything from notable events to historic figures and national holidays. This year’s finalists included illustrations of magic kites, comic books, and farming, according to CNET.

In addition to her artwork being featured on Google for a day, the Georgia teen will receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology award for her high school.

Popo, who graduated at the top of her class at Arabia Mountain High School, has also won a trip to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Watch more in the video below.

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