An alumnus artist’s inspiring Google Doodles

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When Richie Pope began drawing caricatures at Kings Dominion, he never imagined that years later Google would commission his art. For this Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts graduate, hard work during his artistic journey is paying off.

Pope designed the Google Doodles for Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass that were featured on in February for Black History Month. Google Doodles are creative design alterations of Google’s logo on its homepage that are reserved for commemorating holidays and other special occasions.

An art director at Google contacted Pope, complimenting his work and offering two Google Doodle assignments. Pope brainstormed ideas and came up with sketches to send back to the art director and their team. Pope would send in-progress shots and get feedback until the final product was finished.

I draw, consume and repeat.

Now a full-time freelance illustrator, Pope started drawing early in his childhood. “My earliest memories are drawing pictures in the white spaces of my children's books because I thought that space was for me,” he said.

Pope says that his art comes from his subconscious and he tries to not let outside influences distract him. “I draw, consume and repeat,” Pope said. “My work kind of naturally does its thing, which is exciting.”

There is a problem-solving aspect that is rewarding to Pope when he draws, “It’s like figuring out a puzzle,” he said. “I also like experimenting from time to time to push my work forward. There’s a bit of searching, in a way.”

Does Pope have any advice for aspiring artists?

“It’s never too late to start drawing,” he said.


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