October 15, 2012
107th Anniversary of Little Nemo in Slumberland
See the interactive version here!
A true pioneer and master draftsman, Winsor McCay is an artist and visionary. As a storyteller, his imagination reaches beyond the confines of reality and even the technology of his time.
Among his most famous works is his weekly comic strip "Little Nemo in Slumberland." This series follows the journeys of Nemo through a fantastic dreamworld. Nightly, he finds himself thrown into a topsy turvy, overgrown, and colorful mess that often leaves him tumbling out of bed. McCay's mastery of perspective, bold use of color, and sheer creativeness yield a series that is visually stunning and immersive. Though not popular in its time, "Little Nemo in Slumberland" became celebrated in the mid 20th century. Since its "rediscovery," the comic has inspired artists, feature animated films, and operas. Original pages have also drawn attention at the Louvre in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
If drawing painfully intricate comic strips every week isn't enough, McCay is also a pioneer in animation. His short film, "Gertie the Dinosaur" is regarded to have the first character designed for animation with a unique personality. His groundbreaking achievements in animation, art, and storytelling make McCay a perfect candidate for a doodle.
Paying tribute to such a creative giant and body of work, however, is intimidating for any artist. "Little Nemo in Slumberland" is an undertaking in itself, but the doodlers and I wanted to approach this doodle as McCay might have. What if McCay composed a Nemo comic for the internet? What if he had Google engineers to back his creativity? We may never know how far he would have pushed the resources and technology available today, but his work will continue to inspire generations of dreamers.
Below are a few process images from our humble tribute to "Little Nemo in Slumberland."
In the early stages of planning, the doodle team and I debated whether to stick to McCay's classic vertical composition, or tailor it to horizontally oriented computer screens. Below is a cannon ball alternative story (...without an ending. I decided against this format before I could complete this direction).
Here are very rough plans for the comic-- the first sketch and a more fleshed-out color script.
I fiddled around with a pencil test for the third row of the final comic. Below is a quick animated gif.
Finally, below is the full comic in static form!
posted by Jennifer Hom