Growin’ up in Maine in the early 1950’s was a time long before computer video games, so as a youngster childhood animated stickman artwork was cheap and fun entertainment on rainy days. The animated stickman illustration shown here is an example similar to my earliest creations.
Back in 1955, and standing on the lot of the current single story Derby Community Center, was a very old two-story wooden building. At the back of the building I recall an iron fire escape up to the second floor which was rare for our small town, and an outside staircase just around the corner. The building was near the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad yard in Derby, Maine, with the Derby playground in between.
By age 5 or 6 my interest in drawing pictures, especially cartoons, was in its earliest development, and a shortage of funds for buying paper was the only drawback. Upstairs in that old wooden two-story building was a large office with a friendly old geezer running the place. It may have been part of the B&A.;
They had an endless supply of odd sized paper including rolls, small pads, and various size sheets in different colors. How could you explain to kids today the joy of stopping by that office and being given 1-2 pads, or an entire roll about the width of calculator paper? That and a pen or pencil were all I needed to stay busy for hours.
Drawing a sequence of stick figures on consecutive sheets of a small pad allowed creating animations like the one shown. Flipping quickly through the pages created the illusion of movement, and I can’t help but wonder if something that simple still interests youngsters today.