Finding Little Nemo
Mar 21st, 2011
The stereotype of the great artist is one who goes unappreciated in his or her own day, only to have their considerable talents and innovation recognized in retrospect. Unlike poets, painters and musicians, those who revolutionized the art forms of illustration and animation frequently remain unknown. Winsor McCay is just such a name, his work understood only by a handful of genuine appreciators while creations like Little Nemo pass through general audiences unremarked upon.
McCay's talents as an illustrator emerged in 1886 while he studied in a Michigan business school. He wanted to train at the Art Institute of Chicago, but a shortage of funds landed him a job as an illustrator for circus posters. Later he moved to Cincinnati, married, and started a series of newspaper comic strips. As comfortable in front of audiences as he was behind the drawing board, McCay began performing vaudeville "chalk talks". These acts of artistic improv gave him the insight and notoriety to begin his most famous strips:Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend in 1904 and its spin-off Little Nemo in Slumberland in 1905...