Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I'm not sure how much personal information I should expose on this blog. Sometimes I feel like holding back and censoring my stream of consciousness. Sometimes I feel there should be a net holding back my personal thoughts, feelings and experiences; Allowing only information and statistics to post. But then what is the point of me writing this blog. If it is only a tool to pass on surface information about my progress with Frankenstein, I could get an intern to fulfill that workload. I feel that the reason you all keep checking in is because you want to know what lurks behind the bed curtain, even if it is something wretched.

Well, last night I was feeling wretched. I think for the most part, I am an even-keeled cat. But often I get into a slump. Sometimes I get downright depressed. I'm not telling you this for sympathy, but to give you a little foresight. For the last week, I've been struggling along with what I think is the most complex stage of illustrating a book: layout and page breakdowns. Last night, I was feeling the blues, trying to work out some sketches and layouts that just weren't coming together. When I go through these periods of struggle, I begin to have self doubts and emotionally beat the crypt out of me. Sometimes this goes on for days, but sometimes something good comes out of it.

I stepped away from my problems and worked on a little sketch of Victor Frankenstein of which I am fond of. Focusing on portraying this character as a much darker character than I have seen before, hellbound and knee deep into alchemy, mysticism and the dark arts. Again, his look here may not jive with a few of you who are expecting the traditional Gothic interpretation of this tragic character. But I'm not telling that version of Frankenstein. This is something new...possibly even darker.

Be Grim!
Gris Grimly

Saturday, August 22, 2009


As promised, here are some pages of preliminary sketches and page breakdowns. It looks a little chaotic here, but rest assured, there is structure in my madness.

This is my typical approach to illustrating a book. Although, I would have to say that this book has proven to be more problematic than any other I've worked on. You can see the page breakdowns and occasional paragraph breakdowns. In relation to the page breakdowns, you will find little thumbnail pages which show a rough idea of the layout of each page. The little sketches made among the text are imagery that came to me while reading.

I don't know if it is all too exciting. But it is yet another step in my process of illustrating Frankenstein. Therefore, I figured there are a few of you out there interested in seeing it.

More to the not so distant future.

Be Grim!
Gris Grimly

Monday, August 17, 2009


Here is my most recent sketch of Frankenstein's monster. Although much more detailed and in color, it hasn't deviated much from the last pencil sketch.

I appreciate everyone's comments on this blog, twitter and facebook. I'm a very opinionated individual; If I feel strongly about the direction I choose, I wont budge. But I'm still curious to hear what people think. I understand that the story of Frankenstein is held sacred by many fans of the book. I'm not going to be able to please everyone. I may even upset some of you with how I choose to interpret this cherished classic. All I can do is trust my gut and follow through.

As I've mentioned before, this version of Frankenstein will be unlike any other. Although, I will be using the same text from Mary Shelley (yet abridged), the world in which I will create around it will be completely re-imagined. The description of the monster is so vague, and our idea of the traditional look comes mainly from the James Whale interpretation in the Universal films. There is nothing in the book that describes the monster being boxy, broad shouldered, flat headed, green...etc. It does mention the monster to be "gigantic stature" which is open to interpretation. That doesn't necessarily mean he's pumped up on protein shakes.

I want to recreate the image of the monster, yet be faithful to the text. "Gigantic stature" brought to mind the elephant man or the physical structure of the deceased actor Matthew McGrory. Anyone who has ever seen Matthew in person, would most likely describe him as "giant in stature" despite the lack of muscle tone. This is the direction that I took in depicting Frankenstein's monster.

I can't find the purpose of illustrating Frankenstein, just to do it the way it has been done before. I can't even compete with Bernie Wrightson's gorgeous-gothic-detailed interpretation. This is Gris Grimly's Frankenstein. Wipe your mind clean of your expectations and be prepared to open your eyes to a new, yet familiar, story.

Be Grim!
Gris Grimly

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Just a couple of days ago, I completed reading and abridging the story of Frankenstein. I've taken many notes (yet have many notes to take in the near future). Sunday night I met with the editor of this insane project and expressed my thoughts and ideas to him over a Mexican dinner and margaritas. He is as ecstatic as I am.

I can't begin to describe how thrilled I am to be illustrating a tale that has felt so dear to my heart as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I will be writing a forward to the book which will express these emotions. Of course, for all of you who are following along, you will read it first on this blog. I have asked Bernie Wrightson (the award-winning illustrator who has already illustrated a version of Frankenstein that is breathtaking) if he would write an introduction for the book. Not only has he agreed, but he wants to be involved in my creative process along the way.

Now that the "studying" stage of the book is behind me, I will be sketching much more. This means that I will be posting much more on this blog. The design of the monster is coming along. I've become really influenced by the anatomy of the Elephant Man for the appearance of the monster. As soon as I incorporated this twisted structure to my creation, I stepped back with a sinister grin and whispered, "This is it."

I hope you enjoy.

Be Grim!
Gris Grimly