The Washington Post

SPRING EQUINOX: Artist Eleanor Davis on the joy (and learning curve) of creating today’s ‘blob lady’ Google Doodle


IT’S A TRUE PLEASURE when an artist whose work you admire gets much-deserved wider exposure.

And today, for the uber-talented Eleanor Davis, that viewer exposure will number in the millions.

Davis, an acclaimed illustrator and graphic novelist out of Athens, Ga., created today’s utterly charming home-page Google Doodle to mark the Spring, or Vernal, Equinox.

In the animation, a boldly lined figure in white is watering brilliantly colored flora (and in effect, ideas) as the vegetation blooms and grows. Some on the Internet have described that figure as sort as a “blob man.”

“I thought of her as more of a blob lady,” Davis tells The Post’s Comic Riffs with a warm laugh Thursday. “And she is wearing sort of a blobby dress.”

Perhaps fittingly for landing a Google gig, the freelance assignment sprung up through social media. Doodle team artist Sophia Foster-Dimino approached Davis about creating today’s animation after the two formed a mutual artistic admiration society through Twitter. From there, the adept Davis had a few quick lessons to learn.

“I told them I could do animation … but there was a learning curve,” Davis, who presented several different ideas, tells ‘Riffs. “I worked in PhotoShop, and it took me about seven days.

From there, she says, the Google Doodle team compressed her large art files “and did its wizardry magic.”

It was shortly after the Vernal Equinox last year that I hosted Davis and several other authors to moderate the panel “Growing Up With Graphic Novels: For Teens and Adults” in April at Washington’s Politics & Prose bookstore. At that event, Davis — whose many freelance clients have included The Post and The New Yorker — discussed creating work for different markets and audiences.

Davis’s work has included a pair of kids’ graphic novels: The Easy-Reader “Stinky” (2008) and “The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook” a year later — for which she collaborated with her husband, Drew Weing.

The 31-year-old Arizona native will be on tour this summer to promote “How to Be Happy” (Fantagraphics), an upcoming hardcover collection of her short comics for adults. The previous Eisner Award nominee will also be a guest at San Diego Comic-Con in July.

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.



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