January 7, 2012
Oskar Luts' 125th Birthday
Oskar Luts was best known for his semi-autobiographical tale, Kevade, which takes place in a schoolhouse in rural Estonia. Working closely with a Googler from the Estonia office, I received plenty of great suggestions on which scene(s) to depict out of this touching story of friendship, love, and the daily lives of kids in school. The more I got to know the story, the more I realized that the characters themselves were the most wonderful thing about it and decided to make them the focus of the doodle. From there I moved on to concepts. Here are a few sketches to show you the process:
From the start, it was pretty clear that we should show Toots holding up a red globe. His playful, mischievous nature seemed to go hand-in-hand with our philosophy as Doodlers – have fun messing with stuff! So I drew him messing with our logo, replacing one of the O's with his red globe. For those not familiar with the story, he used red because there was no blue lying around.
Here are the other main characters in an early rough draft. At this point, they looked a little generic and didn't quite reflect who they were in the story. Teele, for example (the girl), was a little bit sneaky and clever in the book, and Arno (far left) is actually quite shy.
Here they are a few sketches later. The style is also slightly updated to feel bright and contemporary. The characters themselves are still instantly recognizable, hopefully enough to delight older fans of Kevade while being fun and accessible to the next generation of fans.
From Arno, Toots, Tonisson, Teele, and Kiir (and us here at Google), happy birthday, Oskar Luts!
posted by Mike Dutton