Freshman’s inclusive art wins Google contest

Ramos smiles in front of a balloon bouquet Google gifted her and holds her winning drawing.
Lyndzi Ramos’s Doodle for Google submission included a vast representation of individuals in colorful pastels drawn to spell out “Google” for one day on the website’s homepage. With each person Ramos hoped to represent many people and backgrounds. (Photo courtesy of Lyndzi Ramos)

Lyndzi Ramos found her love for drawing at the age of three. She remembers looking at the bee on the Honey Nut Cheerios box and having an impulse to put pen, crayon or pencil to paper and create. The rest was history. 

Through her proclivity for drawing came Ramos’s fondness for animation and storytelling. Out of tens of thousands of submissions, Ramos won the 2020 Doodle for Google competition for her home state of Arizona in August. 

Growing up with a Jewish New Yorker mother and a Mexican immigrant father, Ramos learned early on the value of inclusivity, a driving force in her creations and desire to share stories from all walks of life. Ramos said it was important for her to create visual artwork that anyone can see themselves in.

“Kindness has always been a very big thing for me and my family,” Ramos said. “I’m a bigger girl myself. I’m tall, I’m 5’11”, and I have always been the standout person in my classes. I have been a victim of bullying and taunting for the way I look.”

This year’s Doodle for Google prompt was “I show kindness by,” which Ramos said she instantly connected with. 

“It just immediately clicked,” Ramos said. “My art has always been progressive and hoping to represent underrepresented audiences. And honestly, I dream to have my art be able to have a theme of social justice, diversity and equality.” 

Ramos’ high school creative writing teacher, Christopher Deminie, noted her ability to stay humble about her work.

“Every time somebody would compliment her on things she would be modest about it,” Deminie said. “[It is] adorable to watch one of your kids grow up to be a talented person.” 

Deminie complimented both Ramos’ dedication and initiative in academic settings and said he was impressed by her knack for channeling important messages into her art. 

“She’s choosing to focus her attention on her art to give a message to other girls … it’s OK to be who you are,” Deminie said. “Her stuff deals with body positivity and tolerance for people that are different than you. It’s really refreshing for other people to have a high school student … want to represent that idea in such an open manner.”

Colorful pastels and representation are at the foundation of the artwork Ramos submitted for the competition. In her piece, Ramos is centered with swirls of ribbon sprouting from her pen as she looks down at a piece of paper. The first “g” in Google is a depiction of two children. One has a prosthetic leg and is helping another girl who has vitiligo, a nod toward Ramos’s father who has the skin condition. 

(Graphic courtesy of Lyndzi Ramos)

The first “o” is formed by an LGBTQ+ couple who are both people of color, and one doesn’t fit mainstream body expectations and beauty standards. The lowercase “g” is a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, and the “l” is depicted by an Asian woman who is pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair, representing the “e.” 

“I just wanted to hit as many places as I possibly could,” Ramos said. “I wanted to create a beautiful composition of color, diversity [as] a sign of hope for people in the future.” 

Kelsie Ramos, Lyndzi’s younger sister, recalled the win being meaningful to her sister.

“We were just overwhelmed because we knew how much it meant to her, especially with the category they had chosen,” Kelsie said. “She knew she fit in perfectly with [the category] and she deserved it.”

It was not Ramos’s first time entering the competition, so she said winning brought on untapped elation in the otherwise dreadful year. For Ramos, creating art is her way of sharing positivity in society. 

Ramos is now a freshman studying animation and digital arts at the School of Cinematic Arts. When she was selecting colleges, USC was at the top of her list. 

“I knew this was the school I wanted to go to,” Ramos said. “There was just so much passion, history and drive behind everything. USC is just such an incredible institution. I was just so scared at the thought that I might not be able to be a part of it.

“I’ve always been determined to go after my dreams and to pursue what I love, which is drawing and animation,” Ramos said. “I want to help make the world a better place through my art.”

While pursuing animation at USC, Ramos wants to continue to share diverse experiences and voices in her storytelling. She said her end goal is to create a show where her characters portray the fight for equality, body positivity and social justice and address the hardships of growing up in a continuously changing society. 

“I can remember growing up and not really seeing myself in the media, and I’m sure that’s the case for millions of people,” Ramos said. “There’s so much work that needs to be done, and I want to help get it done.”