August 25, 2016
Celebrating US National Parks
Today’s Doodle celebrates the parks and monuments of the U.S. national parks on the occasion of the National Park Service centennial. Designated in 1916, the National Park Service has set aside over 84 million acres of protected land for everyone to explore and enjoy.
Shelton Johnson, Park Ranger at Yosemite National Park and published author, shares his thoughts on this important milestone with us:
“There are national parks older than Yellowstone, or Yosemite, but it was in Yosemite Valley where the national park idea was first lit. It was Yellowstone that fanned that spark to a flame illuminating a world that was old, but seen anew!
No longer were rivers a force to be dammed, virgin forests a source for board-feet, or mountainsides blasted for gemstones or coal. A wild river was as alive as the fish within it. A forest became a network of plants bound to rock, soil, and sky.
Now there are national parks in over 150 nations. The idea of parks has the power to transcend culture, a currency whose value speaks of something profoundly human.
Jasper, Guilin, Serengeti, Sagarmatha, Fiordland, Torres del Paine, Kakadu, and Grand Canyon, are now just local names, out of tens of thousands, for planet Earth.”
Doodler, Sophie Diao gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of today’s Doodle:
“When we first set about making this Doodle, we didn’t know where to begin. The topic seemed so vast that it felt disingenuous to only focus on a few places, but it would be way too hard to doodle all 59 national parks! The only thing we knew for sure was that iron-on patches are awesome and we wanted to include them somehow. Our idea evolved from there, and a research trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons inspired us even further.
After finalizing the video concept, I created storyboards using patches to transition between different scenes. We expanded the scope to include the monuments, seashores, and other sites that the National Park Service oversees. Our production process was fairly straight forward - I painted each scene and passed it to Lydia, who distilled the essence of my painting into a patch. Lydia painted the characters and animals, and I animated them. A couple of other members of the Doodle Team helped with the production. See if you can identify the place that each scene and patch represent!
The coolest thing about the national parks is that they exist for everyone. Whether you’re a hiker, climber, camper, or “glam”per – whether you travel by bicycle, foot, or chair – there’s a park for you. I hope this Doodle inspires everyone to enjoy the outdoors, which I think is one of the best things about America.
Also, to get a taste of the American wilderness no matter where you are, visit Google’s The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks. Follow park rangers on a journey to places most people never go and experience the sights, sounds, and adventures in stunning 360˚. "
Story, direction, art, & animation: Sophie Diao
Patches & character design: Lydia Nichols
Additional animation support: Kevin Burke, Nate Swinehart, & David Davis
Music & sound design: Glen Matisoff
Special thanks to National Park Rangers Neal Herbert & Shelton Johnson for their guidance and inspiration!
Some of Lydia's patches that weren't used in the video, and an animation showing her process:
Sophie's pattern sketches and initial storyboards: