His Pogo comic strips spoke to me as a kid even before I could understand his humor and writing. His characters had a huge range of facial expressions, emotions and were just plain fantastic. On top of that his backgrounds were stunning.
Here are some examples of his influence on me up to now.
I created Spot the Slug when I was in high school. I developed him further in college in my comic strip "Bink" which appeared in the UW "The Daily" college newspaper. After college I kept working on Spot to breathe more life into him.
I never got "Bink" syndicated. I tried.
At Big Fish I created McDivot's buddy Burnie the Worm. Spot was sort of resurrected for me. I love Burnie and he and Spot are my favorite characters that I've created. I love Burnie even more than McDivot if for no other reason than he is Spot reborn.
See any similarities?
Now let's see Walt Kelly's influence. Take a look at Churchy La Femme the turtle.
I find myself trying to use some of Mr. Kelly's techniques even in my backgrounds. Here is one of my brush and ink pieces of a frog and mouse dancing. Compare the trees from the comic strip below with my drawing. I can't seem to bring the same life in my art as he did but I love trying.
I love Burnie.