This year's tribute to Croatian Independence Day was created by guest artist, Vedran Klemens, an illustrator and designer living in Zagreb. We were delighted to work with Vedran and asked him a few questions about his thought process and what led to his final design:
1) What was the biggest challenge in coming up with a Google Doodle that celebrates Croatia's independence?
I decided not to use national iconography as the dominant subject matter for the doodle. I thought that would be too easy. That constraint made it more challenging to come up with an idea that would be appropriate for a national holiday. As if constraining the drawing within the Google logo and preserving its color scheme wasn't challenging enough!
2) Were you inspired by any particular piece of Croatian art, music or literature?
I was inspired by the lyrics of the Croatian national anthem.
3) Each "letter" in your doodle has an individual and unique image. Can you explain what each represents?
The letter 'G' combines the silhouette of the country with the first few words of Croatia's national anthem. Those words are loved and are widely used as a metonym for Croatia; Lijepa naša translates to "Our beautiful homeland." The anthem lyrics also mention major parts of the country (deep blue sea, mountains and plains kissed by sunshine) which I used to illustrate the remaining letters. The only letter and image that is not mentioned in the anthem is the red square. It is a reference to Croatia's red checkerboard, one of our most widely recognized national symbols.
4) Was there a reason you chose to paint your illustration with watercolors? Did you paint using traditional brushes on paper or did you work digitally?
Watercolor has a warm and emotional character which I found appropriate for the subject matter. I also chose it as I thought it would be a nice contrast to the usual clean and precise Google logo. I often begin an illustration by using analog tools and techniques. But it is only a starting point. Most of the work is done afterwards, digitally. Traditional watercolor is very unpredictable and difficult to edit. I find it is much easier to paint and edit a watercolor that has been created, from scratch, using digital brushes and tools.
5) Finally what do you hope your fellow Croatian citizens will feel or think when they see your illustration?
I wanted the illustration to be cheerful and optimistic. So I hope it will make someone happy, for a second, to think about our beautiful land. I also hope they will forget what they wanted to search for!