Drawing to Connect

Google Doodle winner Sophie Araque-Liu uses art to bring people together.

Sophie celebrating her win.

Last year, Sophie Araque-Liu was going through a hard time, so she decided to share her struggles with her family. She was amazed by their response. “I got so much love and support,” the 17-year-old recalls. “It blew me away.” 

That support inspired Sophie to create art that reflected her experience. Sophie has been drawing since she was in elementary school, and for the past several years, she had submitted her work to the annual Doodle for Google contest. The contest is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The winner’s drawing is featured on the search engine as the Google logo for one day. 

When Sophie heard the theme of the 2022 contest was “I care for myself by . . .”, she knew exactly what to draw. “Because of my own experience, I decided to do my doodle about not being afraid to ask others for help and support,” she says.

Sophie titled her submission “Not Alone.” Her doodle shows a girl hugging her mom, to convey the message that self-care can mean asking others for help. “I feel like a lot of people try to handle things on their own, including me,” Sophie says. “But you don’t have to. It can be a huge comfort to know that someone cares for you.”

The Google homepage featured her winning doodle in August.

To Sophie’s delight, her doodle won the contest. In August, the actress Selena Gomez told Sophie over Zoom that she was the winner. “I went into shock a little bit,” Sophie says. “I started jumping around everywhere. Plus, I love Selena Gomez.”

The doodle appeared on the Google homepage for 24 hours in August. In addition, Sophie received a $30,000 college scholarship, and her high school in Stuart, Florida, got a $50,000 award to spend on technology.

Sophie hugging it out with her mom.

Sophie, who’s a senior, plans to study engineering in college but will continue to pursue art on the side. She hopes other teens are inspired by her doodle to reach out when they need help. “You’re never truly alone,” she says. “Other people have gone through what you’re going through and survived, and you will too.”

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