Winsor McCay (1869-1934) was born in Spring Lake, Michigan and from a young age was a quick, prolific, and technically dextrous artist. He started his professional career making posters and performing for dime museums,
Impresario F. F. Proctor approached McCay in April 1906 to perform chalk talks for the vaudeville circuit. For $500 per week he was to draw twenty-five sketches in fifteen minutes before live audiences, as a pit band played a piece called "Dream of the Rarebit Fiend". In his “The Seven Ages of Man” routine, he drew two faces and progressively aged them.
In 1898 he began illustrating newspapers and magazines. In 1903 he joined the “New York Herald”, where he created popular comic strips such as “Little Sammy Sneeze” and “Dream of the Rarebit Fiend.”