Featured image: Zine Interior by Wayne G.

It’s just about time to say goodbye May, and hello June (including a big wave to the Scholastic Awards Virtual National Ceremony, live June 4)! While many of us are still hunkered down at home, a lot has happened this month in the RAL community. Students and educators have been keeping busy and using this time to stay creative and share resources for inspiration. Thank you to all those who continue to explore and send in new ideas! May also marked the start of the next Start.Write.Now challenge, where you get a chance to meet Awards alum Carolina Ixta Navarro-Gutiérrez and dive in to another compelling prompt. Plus, the results are now in for April’s Start.Write.Now challenge from alumnus Mary Klein!

While our pool of responses this month was a bit shallow, it’s not too late to make a splash next month! If you weren’t able to submit for April’s Start.Write.Now, we hope that you can participate in May’s Start.Write.Now (responses due June 8!) and onward. No gift cards were awarded this month, but we will continue to do random drawings for $25 gift cards for those who respond to the challenges in May, June, July, and August. Keep creating this summer. We’re excited to see what you come up with! And without further ado, let’s dive back in to April’s Start.Write.Now prompt, and see what others created this month!

April’s Start.Write.Now Prompt from Mary Klein

Create the layers of relationships in a photo of a group.

From Mary: Find a picture of a group of people. Sometimes I find pictures in magazines. Pick one person from the group as a focal point. Now figure out the relationships of that person to the others in the group. Do they know each other? What might they be saying to one another?

Create a visual or written set of layers beginning with: 1. The focal point; 2. The second layer of people around that person with whom he/she is reacting; 3. Extraneous people in the group who may just be there but have little or no relation to the focal point; and 4. The background against which this is all playing out.

Each one of these layers represents how I see this scene, the importance I give to each layer, and how I will represent it in my work. And it can change. You could use the same picture and change the focal point, and have an entirely new work each time! But that is another experiment!

The focal point is always done with a lot of detail. That person is what I am concentrating on and I try to express that with the amount of detail I give to that person.  I try to bring that person right out of the piece with dimension…x-ray vision! The second layer, those interacting with the focal point, are usually done in somewhat less detail. The third level of seeing is defined by lines and solid shapes…I can tell it is a person, but I can’t tell anything more about that person. The fourth level of seeing, the background, consists of solid shapes of color with no detail at all…almost as if all I can see of it is splotches of color.

Check out a piece of Mary’s work that demonstrates this technique…

Mary with three friends at the Women’s March in 2017. See if you can detect the 4-layers, including the focal point! Artist: Mary Klein

...And check out these two 2020 Gold Key works that also illustrate Mary’s prompt:

Thank you, Mary, for getting our creative juices flowing!

Let’s also give a shout-out to those who sent in other pieces of incredible art this month!

B&W Poster, Color Poster, Zine Cover, and Zine Interior by Wayne G., China

Artist’s statement from Wayne: During the UCLA Design Media Arts (DMA) Summer Institute, I have learned how to utilize digital design software like Unity, the game engine, and PS in the field of game design. An in-depth experience on character modeling with more advanced software can help build up my practical skills. I designed the artistic font of American letters in traditional Chinese style; designed advertising art paintings; designed an environmentally friendly art web page; and designed an environmentally friendly short film.

See more of Wayne’s work on the UCLA DMA Summer Institute’s website here.

Water Color Backyard by Amelie Harper, TX

Thank you again to everyone who had fun creating and sharing your work with us! We cannot wait to see what you come up with next for May Start.Write.Now (responses due June 8)! Check back in on June 17 to see some of the latest work from RAL-ers featured on the blog, and find out who won the May Start.Write.Now random drawing for a $25 gift card!

Want to stay on top of Start.Write.Now? Sign up here to join our Start.Write.Now. email list! You will receive notifications when new challenges go live and reminders for upcoming response deadlines. Never miss your chance to participate again!

Disclaimer: The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the above pieces of writing and artwork belong solely to the student author or artist. These do not represent the views of the RAL Scholastic Art & Writing Awards or the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. The Alliance does not have ownership or copyright over the works shared in this post; they belong solely to the student author or artist.

Have something thoughtful to share?

Email us at ral@artandwriting.org to share your inspiration. We want to hear from you! #thoughtfulthursday. Tune in next week to get hype for the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Virtual National Ceremony!

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