Winsor McCay, an early pioneer of animation techniques, is best known for his animations Little Nemo and Gertie the Dinosaur. Both feature some of the very first examples where hand drawn animation came to life on the big screen to the wonder and amusement of all.
These first animations feature bringing a character to life with movement and intention, while Gertie the Dinosaur develops this further injecting personality into the character.
Little Nemo (1911)
Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)
It is truly remarkable to think how these are some of the first pioneering techniques in hand drawn animation, that still exists to this today. Produced by McCay himself, he became one the first leading examples to demonstrate the power and capabilities of animation.
Sinking of the Lusitania (1918)
I found McCay's Sinking of the Lusitania to be quite exceptional. Made in response to the unprovoked German attack of the liner, McCay developed his earlier techniques to a more serious direction, with the use of line and tone that creates a wonderful aesthetic quality to the animation in the smoke and dripping water of the ship. Smooth almost silk like, its beautiful yet touching as the animation is allowed to rest and settle on the tragic sinking of the liner.