The Making of Google's Striking St. Patrick's Day Doodle (Hi-res Gallery)

The Book of Kells served as an inspiration for this year's doodle

Google swayed away from the traditional/cliche all-green doodle for St. Patrick's Day and also didn't feature any leprechauns, any pot of gold, four-leafed clovers and so on. Rather, it went back to the roots of the holiday, beyond that even, and looked at Ireland's beginnings for inspiration.

Doodler Jennifer Hom found inspiration in the Book of Kells, an ancient tome, circa 800 AD. The book is highly detailed in its art work and is considered one of the best examples of illuminated manuscripts.

"A holiday celebrated by people all over the world, St. Patrick's Day finds its origins deep in Irish history. As we celebrate Ireland's national day every year, I wanted to find a fresh way to draw this doodle-- and in my research I found 'what's old is new'," Hom wrote.

"Capturing the intense intricacy from the Chi Rho proved no small undertaking-- despite having electricity and computers to help me," she said.

The Book of Kells is painstakingly decorated. Each starting letter is incredibly adorned, some of the finer details are only visible with a magnifying glass. Though the art style from the book has seen a resurgence in modern days, imitating it is not easy.

The first sketch of the doodle focused on the general outline of the letters and some of the details (the first image). A second version focused on the finer details and filling in the blank spaces with Celtic symbols and imagery.

The first colored version was quite intense, but subsequent versions would fill in some of the missing details while also tone down the colors a bit. The final version, which made it to the Google homepage, came with a few changes, to the second 'o' in particular and also with the final color balance.


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