Writing and Illustration Contest

The Duke TIP Writing and Illustration Contest invites all 4th–6th Grade Talent Search participants to submit a creative short story, an illustration, or both!

The writing component takes place first, and the illustrations are based on writing contest winners.

Part Open Date Close Date
Writing Contest December 1 January 21
Illustration Contest March 12 June 1

Illustration Contest is now closed

Thank you to everyone who participated! We're excited to see what you came up with! Winners will be notified by end of July, with those illustrations posted to our website and included in an issue of the monthly online Navigator magazine.

Duke TIP 4th–6th Grade Talent Search participants are invited to create and submit an original two-dimensional artwork that effectively illustrates a scene and emotions expressed in the first-place story from the student’s same grade level. For example, if you are a fourth grader, your illustration should depict a scene or event from the fourth-grade first-place story. The first-place stories are posted at www.tip.duke.edu/storywinners. Be sure to read the story before you start your artwork!


The submissions will be judged on four primary artistic elements.

  1. Concept: how the work depicts or interprets an event in the winning story.
  2. Composition: how the elements of the artwork draw the attention of the viewer.
  3. Color: how the artist’s use of color enhances the illustration.
  4. Expression: how the work conveys the emotions expressed in the story.

Subject matter and language depicted in the artwork should be suitable for an audience comprised of fourth, fifth, and sixth graders.

Awards and prizes

First-, second-, and third-place winners are selected for each grade for both parts of the contest. All winners and their enrolling schools receive the following cash prizes:

  • $200 for first-place
  • $100 for second-place
  • $50 for third-place

To be eligible to receive a cash prize, the student must be a US citizen or a US permanent resident with a Form I-551, I-151, or I-551C (Permanent Resident Card, Resident Alien Card, or Alien Registration Receipt Card), also known as a "green card.”

Winners from both parts of the contest will be highlighted in Navigator, the 4th–6th Grade Talent Search's online magazine, and first-place entries will be posted to our website. Writing Contest winners will be posted in the spring and Illustration Contest winners in the early summer.

Additional contest details

  • The Duke TIP Writing and Illustration Contest is a benefit of participation in the 4th–6th Grade Talent Search and is open to current participants only.
  • Students may submit only one entry in each part of the contest each academic year.
  • Due to the large number of entries received each year, Duke TIP is unable to provide feedback or return individual contest entries. We will provide a confirmation of receipt by email.
  • Once winners have been contacted, first-place writing entries will be posted on our website in the spring and first-place illustration entries will be posted in early summer.