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1989 Little Nemo: Character line up by filbarlow 1989 Little Nemo: Character line up by filbarlow
Little Nemo was an ill fated project I worked on back in 1989. I had returned to Australia after living in Los Angeles for eight months, when Executive Producer Richard Raynis invited me to assist the American team working for TMS Entertainment, a Japanese animation house on an animated feature of Little Nemo.

I had so much admiration for American artist Winsor McCay who created the comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland back in 1905. As a teenager I would intensely study his work, grateful for his contribution to the early development of comics and animation. So eighty four years later, I finally had the chance to honor the man's legacy I worked hard to keep my work as true to Winsor's intention as I was artistically able. The character designs submitted by other artists were in danger of falling into Disney-esque characterizations, so I fought hard to bring the designs back in line with the source material, I did the best work I was capable of for this project. So much love and devotion in an attempt to repay the debt of inspiration.

The art posted here was part of my contribution to the animation project. TMS decided to close the LA studio, shelve our work, and start all over back in Japan. TMS eventually brought out an inferior product that was more Disney than Winsor. Keep in mind that Disney was a four year old infant when Little Nemo in Slumberland began it's newspaper run, and a thirteen year old youth when Winsor's first animation 'Gertie the Dinosaur' was screened. While Disney acknowledged Winsor's legacy, the man was all but forgotten by mainstream public by 1989. My work sat in a folder and the memory of the project faded.

In 2013 I was asked, by Locust Moon Comics in Philadelphia to contribute a page to their book, Dream Another Dream, a large format tribute to Little Nemo by over 100 artists. My contribution took me three months to complete, and was the first time that I've inked in Photoshop. Their successful Kickstarter campaign netted three times the goal amount and now the book is available at comic stores around the world. My copy just arrived in the mail, and I'm thrilled with it! The dedicated work by the other artists is inspirational, and often thought provoking.

I colored this line-up and offered it to Locust Moon Comics to use as a reward for their Kickstarter campaign. They never got back to me about it, so I've decided to post it here to let you know about the book and also about the project that never happened, but I had the pleasure of working on.
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:iconarinneartistic:
ArinneArtistic Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2018  Student Digital Artist
SO MUCH NOSTALGIA I CANT EVEN

THIS IS FLUCKGING BBEAUTIFULL-
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:iconhaymakers:
HAYMAKERS Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2016  Professional General Artist
I love it it's beautiful!
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:iconfilbarlow:
filbarlow Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2016  Professional Filmographer
Thank you, I was happy to see it colored after all these years.
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:iconheroicbard2000:
HeroicBard2000 Featured By Owner Edited Mar 7, 2016  Student Artist
I am glad TMS made it in the way they did. But as for me,  in my opinion, I am pro-Japan. Besides, Japan deserves to do animation more than the Westerners.  However, in your eyes, filbarlow, I could see why the West never wants Japan to do overseas animation to cartoons anymore, but we must realize that we should have Japan do overseas animation to cartoons nowadays. That way, Japan would have the rights to all of our cartoons so they can do videogames based off of them. Take Capcom for example. Without TMS working on Nemo, Capcom never would've have the rights to do the arcade game or NES game.
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:iconbattybuddy:
battybuddy Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2015
I still love Little Nemo... :(
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:iconfilbarlow:
filbarlow Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Yeah it was great to have the chance to pay homage to Winsor McCay's characters.
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:iconbattybuddy:
battybuddy Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2015
Yeah, it's a really hard act to do, but I think you pulled it off here
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:iconjackcrowder:
jackcrowder Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
That would have been such a journey under your guidance. We all missed out on that.
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:iconfilbarlow:
filbarlow Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Yeah, luckily I still have all of my production art :D
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:iconjackcrowder:
jackcrowder Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
It's been such a privilege to see each item.

I consider your gallery an actual gallery.

I often revisit to get inspired.
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:iconfilbarlow:
filbarlow Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2015  Professional Filmographer
It's slow going, but the gallery is growing, and there's a little poem that I did without knowin'.
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:iconmakosharkman:
Makosharkman Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2015
very well drawn.


also out of curiosity do you take request?
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:iconfilbarlow:
filbarlow Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Not normally, what were you thinking?
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:iconmakosharkman:
Makosharkman Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2015
well I was wondering if you could draw a sequel to what could have happen next in Little Nemo.

or you could draw a Alternate ending where Nemo stays in Slumberland?


also can you draw anything or just characters you know? 
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:iconfilbarlow:
filbarlow Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2015  Professional Filmographer
In a sequel wouldn't Nemo be a teenager?

Like he's in a coma?

I can draw anything, but I choose to not do fan art. I rarely draw characters that I've designed, but I prefer not to. What I'm happy to do is commissions as an extra for people who buy my
Zooniverse comics. Here's the commissions so far: Zoons
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(1 Reply)
:iconbtnkdrms:
btnkdrms Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
That movie was all sorts of kick-ass .. it had a pretty cool video game too, not the NES one, the CPS1 arcade version!

Between that game and the movie - that is how I learned about Little Nemo and have all sorts of praise for it since.
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:iconfilbarlow:
filbarlow Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2015  Professional Filmographer
I'm glad that you were able to swim upstream back to the source.
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:iconbtnkdrms:
btnkdrms Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
Totally worth the trip!
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:iconpulsarium:
Pulsarium Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2015  Student General Artist
LITTLE NEMO!
OH MY GOD! WINSOR!
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:iconfilbarlow:
filbarlow Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Yup :)
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:iconrazorgeist:
Razorgeist Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2014
You worked on this too...are you shitting me.  I had heard of the wacky behind the scenes stuff.   Its a shame as the animation was really nice.
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:iconfilbarlow:
filbarlow Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Yeah I did, some of my best work at the time, I'll post more eventually.
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:iconpropheteka:
ProphetEKA Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
This is really cool. It's sad that it came from such a fiasco but I'm really happy you posted it.

Some Damn fine work, indeed. = )
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:iconfilbarlow:
filbarlow Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Yeah, luckily I was in Australia and missed any drama.

Thank you :)
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:iconclinteast:
clinteast Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow they all look great. I would have loved to see these designs animated by TMS. You did a great job of reproducing Winsor McCay's style.

I have to admit as a kid I loved renting the movie from the video store and I still like the movie, but now knowing more about the original comic strip I realize it could had been so much more. It's a shame it had such a troubled history during the production, all the names attached at different points are like a who's who of animation yet everyone I've ever heard talk about the movie has bad feelings toward it. Here's hoping one day another film can be made that better captures the spirit of the work.

In college the library had a large book that collected the first years of the strip and whenever I had free time between classes I'd go up there and read some more of it. I loved it and the more I learned about the Winsor McCay the more I've been inspired. I even worked the book into one of the film projects I worked on.

I've been waiting to draw some kind of tribute to the strip but the idea I have is to do something large scale (and try to put in as much detail as he did) so once I have more free time that's one project I'd like to do.
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:iconfilbarlow:
filbarlow Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Yeah, I think the LA studio was costing too much, I suspect that artists' wages between America & Japan are very different, and TMS got spooked, not understanding how animation is done in Hollywood.

McCay's work must be haunting when seeing it as a kid for the first time. Unfortunately I didn't see McCay first. I saw Sendak's "In the Night Kitchen" at Primary School when very young, then in early High School the library had a book of Sci-Fi art that had panels of Nemo on Mars, I think it was Mars, any chance I got I borrowed the book and studied those few examples which were signed by McCay's son. So for a significant time I was confused about who did what. Eventually I got my hands on collections of McCay's strips and studied his personal history, everything became clear then.

Working large was very interesting, I actually did my submission for Dream Another Dream in pieces and put it together in Photoshop like a jigsaw. I didn't really get a sense of dimension until I got the printed book, it's HUGE!
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:iconegypturnash:
egypturnash Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Wow. Flip looks like an utterly untrustworthy shit in your rendition. AS HE SHOULD.
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:iconfilbarlow:
filbarlow Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Professional Filmographer
LOL! Yes, he's a sly one.
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:iconenshohma:
Enshohma Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Wow...I can't believe you were apart of the TSM fiasco behind "Little Nemo"; true the final film has some great animation, but dumb-ing it down to Disney levels (bad Disney at that) was a real shame, especially when you consider how cleaver and ahead of his time Winsor McCay and his creations were back than, and even today for that matter.

Crap, one of my personal dreams was to remake his lesser known short "The Flying House", because of how adventurous, spectacularly silly, and humorous it was. Although admittedly, "Up" kind of touched upon similar subject matter.

Plus, I can't decide what I love more; prehistoric mega-fauna birds, or massive moon giants.

This is a gorgeous illustration, and I applaud you in staying true to McCay's art style. Here's hoping the man's work will be paid homage in a more significant film format in the future.
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:iconfilbarlow:
filbarlow Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Agreed. to do McCay justice it would make sense to look at his animation stlye and technique. Rotoscoping is closer to McCay's animation, which ironically was a technique used at the Disney studios.

Bill Plympton has been restoring The Flying House, details here:
www.plymptoons.com/index_main.…

Why not do both?

Here's hoping :)
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:iconenshohma:
Enshohma Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Sadly, if Bill Plympton is doing it, I might as well give up...But at least we know he'll do a great job at it, and the original short meshes well with his own sense of comical fantasy-realism.
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:iconfilbarlow:
filbarlow Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2015  Professional Filmographer
From what I've seen, he's doing a very respectful job. Nice to know that it's in good hands :)
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