Doodle 4 Google winner a high-flyer at 11

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 June, 2014, 9:58pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 June, 2014, 9:58pm

Audrey Zhang had a day of high-powered meetings to get to in California.

After flying across the country for this business trip, she had executives to greet and big decisions to make. A team was waiting to carry out her ideas on this project, which would be seen by millions. She had been paid a lot, and her wisdom was essential.

Oh, and Zhang - the visitor with the grand vision - is 11.

Zhang (pictured), who is from New York state, won the seventh annual Doodle 4 Google student contest, in which more than 100,000 children entered art designs centered on the theme of the environment.

Fifty state finalists were on hand for a ceremony at Google headquarters. But it was Zhang who - as the winner - got to stay an extra day so she could team up with Google's artists.

Her finished creation was featured on Monday on Google's home page. It's an animated version of Zhang's artwork, which shows her vision for a machine that helps clean polluted water.

The art is "so lush and so rich and so full and so complete", said Ryan Germick, leader of the Team Google Doodle artists. "Every leaf seems to have life."

It is the first time Google has animated the winning doodle. Germick said his team did not realise what a big job that would be. "We never imagined it would have 150 moving parts," he said, noting that his team was enthused about making Zhang's art come to life.

+Germick said he was impressed by Zhang's "amazing" persistence, because she entered the contest three times, each year getting a step closer to being named champion.

He also was impressed by the detail in her artwork, which was made with coloured markers. "There are lightning bugs and little characters and dragons everywhere," Germick said. "Her imagination is so advanced."

Zhang played on Google's computers as she told the team of 10 animators what she thought should move in her artwork, including the flickering lantern light and the wings of the water-cleaning machine.

Zhang won a US$30,000 college scholarship from Google, which also gave a US$50,000 tech grant to her school. Google also donated US$20,000 in Zhang's name to provide clean water and bathrooms at 10 schools in Bangladesh.

Zhang said: "If you don't draw, then you can't show anyone else what your ideas look like."