Monday, February 13, 2017

The First 18 Years of the Artist's Life
Available now from Amazon!
Written and Compiled by Kevin Scott Collier

Spring Lake, Michigan is the hometown of Winsor McCay, groundbreaking comic strip artist, and pioneering animator. In 2009, a historical marker was placed on the location where Winsor's childhood school once stood, Spring Lake Union School, were he created his first commercial illustration, The Sinking of the Alpena, in October 1880. The illustration, drawn on the schoolhouse blackboard, was photographed, and sold as postcards. It got McCay, who previously cared little if others liked his work, to thinking, "Maybe I can make money doing this."

At the unveiling of the historical marker in a park next to the Spring Lake Public Library, a letter written by McCay's grandson 
was read for the event. The text from this letter will be published in the book. Also described are plans for a McCay Park next to the library in the near future.

Winsor McCay's life in Spring Lake, "Winsor McCay Boyhood Dreams: Growing Up in Spring Lake, Michigan 1867-1885," reflects the earliest influences on the aspiring artist. 
It's a window into his childhood where he learned to draw and presents key individuals that influenced him. Discover how he came to draw the sinking of the passenger ship, The Alpena at the age of 13, and the emotional secret behind it. Get to know his teacher, Hattie C. Schofield, a professional portrait artist who gave him support and permission to illustrate the steamship's fate on her classroom blackboard. See high resolution prints from the original negative of the photo taken of McCay's Alpena illustration. Also read about the maritime disaster via the pages of newly uncovered issues of the 1880 Spring Lake Republican newspaper.

The tale begins when Robert McKay and his wife Janet moved to Spring Lake, Michigan in 1866. Encouraged to come to Ottawa County by entrepreneur Zenas G. Winsor with a guarantee of a job, the book features the biography Winsor Zenas McCay was named for. 

Janet McKay journeyed to West Zorra, Ontario, Canada, to be with her folks for the birth of their first child, Zenas Winsor McKay on September 26, 1867, then returned to her home in Spring Lake.

By 1870, the McKays built their first home, on the corner of Meridian and Tolford Streets, in a humble, but prestigious part of Spring Lake. They would see success, as did their son Winsor, and tragedy as well, when they lost their home to a fire, and Winsor's namesake suffered a devastating crisis that influenced young Winsor.

The book, "Winsor McCay Boyhood Dreams: Growing Up in Spring Lake, Michigan 1867-1885" is like no other book published about the artist, as it tells, in detail, the period completely missing from his life - the first 18 years of his life. 

Don't miss this fascinating, and historical book. There's no other like it, and never will be.