The Six-Word Memoir Blog

Hey Students! Be In a New Book of Six-Word Illustrations from SMITH & TED

Monday, May 21st, 2012

By Larry Smith

SMITH Magazine, home of the Six-Word Memoir project, is delighted to announce a new book of Six-Word Memoirs with a great new twist: all the memoirs will be illustrated by students. By students we mean grade school to grad school, art classes of all ages or the work of MFA candidates, and both the word and the image should be by the same author. We’ll be taking submissions from June 1 though November 5 and choosing a selection of the illustrated memoirs for inclusion in our forthcoming eBook, Things Don’t Have to be Complicated: The Art of Six-Word Memoirs by Students of the World.

Published by TED Books, a division of the TED Conference, this book will be the eighth in the Six-Word Memoir series—and our very first entirely by students.

• All illustrated Six-Word Memoirs must be the original work of the artist.
• The Six-Word Memoir should be contained within the work (in any way the artist sees fit) not as a caption alongside the works.
• Digital illustrations or paintings are fine, as are photographs of a multimedia project (painting or collage or otherwise).
• Multiple submissions allowed.
• No photographs (unless there are one element of a larger collage or other work).
• Images should be submitted in one of two sizes:
- 1536×2048 (portrait)
- 2048×1536 (landscape)

• Send your submission to news AT smithmag DOT net by Nov. 5, 2012 with the subject line “Six Art Book.” Please label your file with first_last.jpg (e.g. Billy_Smith.jog) and include you age and school in your email. We’ll let you know by Dec. 15 if you’ve been selected for inclusion in the book.

• If your submission is chosen, we’ll ask you for a 100-word or less description of yourself and/or your story, along with one personal web link (blog, Tumblr, etc.).

Check out what some others have done with this form on our Facebook gallery and our Six in Schools blog.

Copyright of the work will be shared by the Artist and SMITH and TED Books. SMITH and TED have the right to distribute the work in any media; the Artist also has the right to reproduce the work elsewhere.

Please circulate widely to students, teachers, after-school programs and anyone and anywhere else you think would be interested in this project.

Founded in January 2006 with the tagline, “Everyone has a story. What’s yours?” SMITH Magazine has become a leader in personal storytelling. SMITH is home of the Six-Word Memoir® project, now a bestselling book series, calendar, board game, live event series and global phenomenon. For more information, visit

TED Books is a new division of the internationally known TED Conference, and features short nonfiction works designed for multimedia digital distribution through the TED Books app for the iPad, Kindle, and Nook. The books are focused around TED’s core mission of spreading great ideas of technology, education and design. For more information, visit

54 responses

  1. Amapola says:

    Just to check… is this limited to the USA? or can students in any country participate? I can promote this in my university.

  2. rms says:

    Assume it’s international, based on “the art of six-word memoirs by *students of the world*”

  3. Larry Smith says:

    Is it international indeed!

  4. teRi says:

    what if you are a “wanna be art student” enrolled in the school of hard knocks?

  5. Kellie F says:

    Can we collaborate with someone? I’m the writer and my boyfriend is going to art school. He wants to illustrate one of mine- would that be okay Larry?

  6. TsMommy says:

    READ THE INSTRUCTIONS PEOPLE. I know…it’s longer than 6 words…but try to hold on until the end.

    “By students we mean grade school to grad school, art classes of all ages or the work of MFA candidates. We’ll be taking submissions from June 1 though October 15 and choosing a selection of the illustrated memoirs for inclusion in our forthcoming eBook, “Things Don’t Have to be Complicated” The Art of Six-Word Memoirs by Students of the World.”

  7. Ayun Halliday says:

    Homeschoolers, too, Larry?

  8. Larry Smith says:

    Homeschoolers, too!

  9. Nitro says:

    Can the picture be a photo manipulated in a computer program? I’m not very good with a brush, but I can use a camera pretty well! I just don’t know if “illustration” limits submissions to traditional art.

  10. 100Things_Megsy says:

    Broke but blissful living life’s adventures

  11. Anonymous says:


  12. Karina says:

    I’m confused about the size…?

  13. Maria says:

    what about fresh post-graduates? Let’s say I just finished my MA now in July. Can I still send an entry?

  14. James says:

    Karina, the size is listed in pixels. Converted to centimeters, the dimensions are 17.34 by 13 or vice versa.

  15. Michael Wertz says:

    I’m definitely having my students in the Fall complete this assignment, because it’s a very cool idea. HOWEVER I must note this Copyright situation is far from ideal: why can’t Smith and Ted ask for one-time publishing rights (as opposed to the all-rights grab)?

  16. Exultance says:

    Can we use a memoir that we’ve already submitted to SMITHTeens, and, say, was featured on the site?

  17. Life sucks. Then it goes on. Six-word memoirs | The Write Connexion says:

    [...] can read the submission guidelines here, and they’re taking submissions through October [...]

  18. cymphonique says:

    Hey larry, i just dont understand how we’re supposed to send it.

  19. Students: Submit to New Book of Illustrated Six-Word Memoirs from SMITH & TED! | Memoir | Biographile says:

    [...] the TED Books app for the iPad, Kindle, and Nook. For more information, including rules, click here; for inspiration, check out Smith’s Facebook gallery and their Six in Schools [...]

  20. 6 Word Memoirs says:

    [...] Posted in Uncategorized [...]

  21. John says:

    Are we able to use words in the image, words that help to explain the 6 words. I really don’t know how to explain it… say its kind of like spoken words, and thoughts.

  22. Larry Smith says:

    To answer some questions….

    * Homeschoolers can submit to this book;
    * Words and image must be your own (so no collaborations);
    * You can illustrate a memoir you’ve already posted to SMITH or SMITH Teens;
    * You can take a photo of a painting or collage but just a photograph itself with a Six-Word Memoir as the capture or digitally added won’t be considered;
    * Copyright: All parties — SMITH MAG, TED BOOKS, the AUTHORS — all share copyright.

    And we extended the deadline to Nov. 5.

    Thanks all,


  23. Kaylen B says:

    1. One family member is not there
    2.that’s what it used to be
    3. Big little small baby mom dad
    4. One family member is not their’s
    5. Memories in sand soon washed away
    6. Ape caveman now it is possible

  24. Caleigh Denmark says:

    1) Want to grow up - but cant 

    2) It looks like sprinkles, not sand 

    3) Looking for my other lost partner 

    4) Washed away a long time ago

    5) The time passes so very quickly 

    6)  Lost the other - in the ocean 

  25. phillyfun says:

    Precious moments-children grow so fast

  26. phillyfun says:

    One step at a time - Success

  27. Zoe says:

    Im not sure of the no photographs rule since i can’t draw i’d prob be using a collage or photos. Please explain a bit more thank you:)

  28. Describe Your Life with 6 Words and a Drawing « Illustration Friday says:

    [...] A selection of the illustrations will be included in a forthcoming ebook published by TED Books! CLICK HERE for all the details. [...]

  29. ravil agayev says:

    1)Life’s a gift dont waste it
    2)be proud of who you are
    3) fully turkish fully muslim fully proud

  30. John Sadoff says:


    I volunteer at an organization called 826 Boston which publishes stories and books written entirely by elementary, middle school and High School students. Do you think there can be a potential partnership with Smith Magazine?


    John Sadoff

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    1) I need more then six words.

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