Art: The convoluted evolution of a commission, Gerhard and Little Nemo

Published On May 10, 2014 | By Richard Bruton | Comics

Funny how things work out sometimes isn’t it? Take this weird set of circumstances..

Gerhard gets a commission to draw a Windsor McCay Little Nemo piece, messes up the size, redos it, realises it’s a perfect piece for inclusion in the Nemo tribute anthology book, except now it’s too darn small. The end result is perfect, but would never have come together if every single mistake along the way hadn’t happened. Lovely ….

Gerhard’s Blog.

Step 1:

I received this commission request from Erik: “I’d like you to design a full color cover for a fictitious Little Nemo story. As paper size I have 15”x20” in mind (your ‘Gerhard dreams’ print format). I would like a dream scene with Nemo in which there are also (dreamlike) buildings and animals. And I would like you to design the lettering for the title of this ‘book’.”
What a great idea! I dove in enthusiastically. I laid it all out first. Then I started pencilling and when I got this far, I suddenly realized that I’ve laid it out with the image size as 15 x 20 instead of the paper size and that this is twice as big as requested.
I started again. The image size is now 12 x 16. It’s a good thing I realized my mistake before I got any further. I wouldn’t want to have done all of this twice…wait… I still have to ink it. So I am going to do this twice.


Step 2:

Thanks to Lou Copeland who saw the pencilled version of this on a previous blog post and alerted me to this amazing project:
I contacted them and let them know I was doing this commission. I said that I didn’t know if they’d be interested in including this in their book. I just thought that I’d show it to them and I thought it was an interesting coincidence. I received this reply: “Wow, what a wonderful surprise! We’re enormous fans of your work, and it’s both lucky and amazing (not to mention flattering) that you’d reach out to us while in the midst of a Nemo commission. Of course we’d be honored to include this in the book! It looks incredible already.”
So… how cool is that?



Step 3:

I did a colouring job on the computer for the Little Nemo piece.
I’m going to see if I can use this for inclusion in the tribute book. Their deadline is coming up fast. I can use this as a guide when I hand colour the original for Erik.


Step 4:

Some of you may recall that a couple of posts ago I had started this Little Nemo commission at the wrong size; it was too big. Since then it has been accepted for inclusion in the Dream Another Dream tribute anthology book which is being printed 16 x 21; the size of the original Little Nemo pages. So now it’s too small. My bright idea was to add a border to bring it up to size.
I call this idea “Bordering On Sleep”.



Dream Another Dream is an upcoming anthology from Locust Moon, involving so many wonderful cartoonists paying tribute to the magnificent Windsor McCay by creating new Little Nemo strips.

Contributors include Paul Pope, JH Williams III, Bill Sienkiewicz, David Mack, Carla Speed McNeil, Charles Vess, Peter Bagge, Dean Haspiel, Farel Dalrymple, Marc Hempel, Brandon Graham, P. Craig Russell, Jeremy Bastian, Jim Rugg, Ron Wimberly, Scott Morse, David Petersen, J.G. Jones, Mike Allred, Dean Motter, Yuko Shimizu, Roger Langridge, and Mark Buckingham, among many others.

Seriously, that’s some list of brilliant comics talent. It’s a list that really can do justice to the original and live up to the idea that Dream A Little Dream is “a love song for Winsor McCay, Little Nemo, and the limitless possibilities of comics“.

Dream A Little Dream is due to be published in Autumn/Winter 2014 at the same wonderously large size of the original Little Nemo broadsheet pages (16″ x 21″).

To give you an idea of what to expect….

Peter Bagge:


Jeremy Bastian:


Toby Cypress:


Maria & Peter Hoey:


Roger Langridge:


David Petersen:









Like this Article? Share it!

About The Author

Richard Bruton

– Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he’s written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard’s day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children’s graphic novel library in the country.

Comments are closed.