Thursday 31 December 2009

Happy New Year!

Well it's New Year's Eve and it seem just a bit churlish not to put up a posting wishing you all the best for 2010. So here goes with another holiday themed blog with none other than Winsor McCay as MC.

Winsor McCay was a pioneer in both the fields of animation and comic strip. His work even in a world grown accustomed to fantasy made reality, has an ability to connect with the subconscious and his ironic sense of humor is still as relevant today as it was at the turn of the last century.

The sample I've chosen for you is a really charming page from McCay's best known strip "Little Nemo in Slumberland". Here you can see his mastery of form and appreciation of outline (a vital ingredient of successful cartooning). McCay's draughtsmanship which he had been steadily developing since the age of six was such that not only could he draw an anatomically correct outline which he would then infill with great speed and brio but his powers of observation and recall were so well honed that he could also supply all the correct reference necessary for adding credibility to his artwork - an indispensable accomplishment for anyone working within the deadline driven world of newspaper cartooning.


  1. Great storytelling in just 12 panels. I particularly liked this one as it's not far off something that my characters might actually be reading in 1901. I've recently been watching a bunch of Méliès's fantasy movies for the same reason.

    (Hmm... maybe I should put a Little Nemo homage into Mirabilis..? Gaiman already did that in Sandman, of course, but I'd have the excuse of it being contemporary.)

    Cloud 109 has been one of the great discoveries of 2009 and I'm very much looking forward to see where you and David take the story. Here's to a fabulous 2010!

  2. Many thanks Dave not only for your best wishes but for all the enthusiasm and input you've offered us over the last few months. It's support such as yours that makes what can sometimes be a very solitary occupation so rewarding.

    Really looking forward to seeing more of Sweet and Mirabilis in the New Year.

    I'm now off to check on Méliés's fantasy movies - a new discovery for me.

  3. Happy New Year Peter, I have always loved the imagination in McCay's pages on Nemo and the Rare Bit Fiend, apparently he used to pull quite a crowd at shows just sketching on stage for the public. His eye for detail was amazing always puts me in mind of Dudley D Watkins who was a huge influence on Frank Quietly.