Now that it was clear what the concept for the Frankenstein painting was going to be, it was time to pay more attention to the details of that drawing. Sometimes a project calls for the use of visual reference materials. While I had a decent semblance of what I wanted to create, a few things needed backup assistance from some photos.
I used to keep a file of imagery for such uses. Most illustrators did. These days, Google Images is the place to go. Type in your key words, and let them find the images for you from all the websites out there! I’d wager some of you found this blog by the same means.
Unfortunately, a scan was not made of the absolutely original preliminary sketch that showed how the monster’s body originally looked. (I kept monkeying around with the one sketch.) While it was a hulking body, it needed to reflect some age and probably some muscle. Even the monster’s face could have been bonier, more sunken, etc. – the literary monster was created out of corpses after all. For some reason, Iggy Pop came to mind. While I’m not familiar with his music, and he is not a corpse exactly, I must have seen a picture of him at one point and it just resurfaced from the crevices of my mind as being the perfect reference material for my monster’s physique. So I found a photo of him and made some adjustments to my monster.
As you can see in the preliminary sketch in Part 1, the castle is just a vague outline thrown in there. Online I found an actual “Frankenstein’s Castle” that exists is Germany. So in a subsequent attempt, I doodled that one in, but it just didn’t look right. I needed a castle that would look good in silhouette to go along with the background stylings of the Mona Lisa.
About this time, it was clear that I just needed to sit down and watch the original 1930s Frankenstein movie starring Boris Karloff. I needed to immerse my mind into that story, and maybe pick up some inspiration along the way. Maybe the castle from that film would work? No, it was just a rather non-descript tower which I doodled anyway. It just wouldn’t read as a castle/tower in the painting where the background was full of rock formations that were similar in look to the tower.
Well, the tower will have to wait. Rounding out the reference material is a photo of an old man hand to help the monster have some more age.
Next in Part 3 – Prepping the Painting
4 replies on “Frankenstein’s Monster: Part 2-Research”
[…] Frankenstein’s Monster: Part 2-Research […]
[…] by dark clothing. Frankie’s hands are definitely a feature. So, using that reference photo I showed you in Part 2, I spent more time making these the hands of an old withered, yet strong […]
Old dead guys are TERRIFIC! Any decent illustrator today studied the work of old dead guys which led to them discovering their own style. However, in teaching your kids, it would be GREAT to learn about modern illustrators, too. Just don’t ignore the past when teaching about the present.
While you have your really old dead guys like da Vinci and Michelangelo, more modern dead guys that helped shape American illustration are J.C. Leyendecker, Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, Dean Cornwell, and James Montgomery Flagg to name a few.
Some of my favorite living illustrators (most of which have done children’s books) include Drew Struzan, C.F. Payne, William Joyce, Gary Kelley, Peter deSeve, Daniel Adel, Lane Smith, H.B. Lewis, Carter Goodrich, Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher, and Kadir Nelson to name a few.
Being homeschoolers, we tend to study old dead guys for art. Just reading about your creative process has inspired me to introduce the children to more modern illustrators. We read a ton so they are very familiar with children’s illustrators. Maybe that would be a place to start?