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


  1. Awesome. I can almost smell him ;)

  2. I am in awe. Seeing these first sketches makes me feel as if us readers are part of something great. Cheesy, but true; what you have shown us is wonderful. ;P

  3. I think your Frankenstein looks amazing, and there's always something impressive about remaking a classic!

  4. The cleaner lines give it an almost James "Xombie" Farr appearance. Love the rib work. The way the right arm hangs looks like it could be thrown as a grappling hook.

  5. now he is very Grisly and Grimly which means "RAD and cool" in my own dictionary (; .i have no doubt that almost everyone will simply love him.
    your style appeals to so many people that some of them doesn't even like spooky nor creepy things,but the things you are one of my favorite illustrators,i would like to say and can't wait to see more.keep it up!


  6. Your specific style, creativity and wonderfully gruesome detail has definitely placed you on the top of my favorite artist list.
    Everything you create is a Frankenstein in itself; a classic.
    Everytime I go to the bookstore, I sprint to the art section, searching for that undeniable "Grimly" look on the covers of books.
    You see, "Grimly" goes up there with "Oh, that's very Lovecraft," or "That's got a Poe-ish tone to it..." All masters of the macabre.
    So don't even worry about who you satisfy and who you don't; your own style is what made you incredible in the first place.
    We'll all be waiting eagerly for the next sketch, story, grisly masterpiece. ^^

  7. Gris, you're absolutely right about Mary Shelley's text - it is about as open to interpretation as any book around. I think the adjective most often applied to the Monster isn't even a physical attribute, it's "wretched," a term that implies more about a character's psychological or spiritual state than his physical state. You have certainly honored in your sketch the vision Mary Shelley placed most prominent in her text - your Monster is unfortunate, pitiful, put-upon, a victim of circumstances created by others and by himself. I can't wait to see more.

  8. I love it, the face looks better.

  9. I like the way the ribs come out and embrace (if that's the word) the body. As if fleshlyness is overwhelming the being.

  10. Gris,

    I wrote a graphic novel adaptation of Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN, illustrated by Patrick Olliffe, way back in 1989. The book has gone through three printings since then, and was one of my favorite projects ever.

    That said, seeing your work-in-progress here, I'm finally excited about a new version of FRANKENSTEIN again! I think your designs are fabulous!

    I'm looking forward to seeing this evolve.

    Best Wishes!

    Martin Powell

    (In case you want a free peek)

  11. i like it. i have already seen (read) shelly's vision, so i like a different approach to the material. love the awkwardness of the body and the painful way he seems to be moving.

  12. I enjoy your interpretation of Frankenstein because at first glance, the face is hardened and painful, but looking closer I am able to see a more infantile complexion. Working down the weathered body the hardship and struggle of existence shows through. I especially like how you placed the knees together which I perceive as a position of vulnerability. The bone structure is unique and almost mechanical.

    Being a forensic anthropology major I particularly love your Osteological translations!