October 21, 2011
Mary Blair's 100th Birthday
I was greatly honored for the opportunity to create a doodle for Mary Blair's 100th birthday. Not to mention somewhat intimidated! Her work was and continues to be a major source of inspiration for a large number of artists working in animation, illustration, and fine art... and the Google Doodle team. So there was some pressure to get it right!
Early "character" studies. Working right to left, I drew her more representationally before "cartoonizing" her. Valuable team feedback led to her being portrayed to look like one of her illustrated children, further emphasizing the youthful quality of Mary's work.
Of course, for all her technical mastery, from her wonderful color schemes to her deceptively simple shapes and compositions, what I've always admired most about her work is the sense of joy that went into making each picture. As a viewer, I can't help but sense that childlike enthusiasm and smile in response. This was Mary's ultimate goal, as she wrote in a letter to her husband, to "live to be happy and paint to express our happiness," and it's a goal very similar to our own as Doodlers -- to inspire happiness in our users when they see something new and unexpected on the Google homepage.
Happy birthday, Mary Blair!
posted by Mike Dutton