I’m so honored to say that I drew today’s Google doodle of Maria Callas, the renowned opera singer!
I’m happy to share some of the process—the whole thing took place in these last couple weeks and was a lot like doing any other freelance illustration job, except it was totally unexpected and for a much bigger audience!!!
My art director was the super talented Sophia Foster-Dimino (also a Google doodler)—she also gathered feedback for me from the doodler crew & google employees. When you’re working with a big company, there’s a lot of people that have to vet the final product! Luckily it all went very smoothly.
When I was given this project I didn’t have A CLUE about opera, so I spent a whole day reading about Maria Callas, listening to her existing recordings, and watching the few live videos of her performances. She is amazing! Her voice extended beyond the regular range for female singers and she had an innate gift for interpretation—she could literally sing anything written for the female voice, and sing it better than anyone else. She also had a really interesting life—Underdog beginning! Personal struggles! High-profile scandal! Crazy weight-loss! Unusual voice!
I included more info about each step of my process in the image captions— read on if you like!
Thanks to all the google doodlers for letting me be an honorary doodler today, and thanks to everyone who’s said something encouraging or recognized my work, I’m incredibly humbled and grateful to you all!
Here’s an awesome little piece of history:
Archaeologists in the Burnt City have discovered what appears to be an ancient prosthetic eye. What makes this discovery exceptionally awesome is the striking description of how the owner and her false eye would have appeared while she was still alive and blinking:
[The eye] has a hemispherical form and a diameter of just over 2.5 cm (1 inch). It consists of very light material, probably bitumen paste. The surface of the artificial eye is covered with a thin layer of gold, engraved with a central circle (representing the iris) and gold lines patterned like sun rays. The female remains found with the artificial eye was 1.82 m tall (6 feet), much taller than ordinary women of her time. On both sides of the eye are drilled tiny holes, through which a golden thread could hold the eyeball in place. Since microscopic research has shown that the eye socket showed clear imprints of the golden thread, the eyeball must have been worn during her lifetime. The woman’s skeleton has been dated to between 2900 and 2800 BCE.
So she was an extraordinarily tall woman walking around wearing an engraved golden eye patterned with rays like a tiny sun. What an awesome sight that must have been.
Anatomy of the Head and Neck
George Hugo Paff, Saunders, 1973.
Jacket owned by the Marquis de Beauharnais. First Empire.
This magnificent embroidered jacket belonged to Marquis François de Beauharnais (1756–1846), older brother of Alexander de Beauharnais, Josephine’s first husband. He left the country during the French Revolution but returned to Paris in 1802. After a first diplomatic post with the queen regent of Etruria, from 1806 to 1808, he was appointed ambassador to Spain by Napoleon. This garment is an example of the “French-style jacket”, reminiscent of the court of Versailles, that men were required to wear by First Empire etiquette. — Château de Malmaison: Costume Collection