Monday, March 25, 2013

Frankenstien Part 1. The construction of the monster

Hey everyone, I wanted to share the details of my thought process on how I put together the painting for Mary Shelley's Frankenstien I posted last week.

When I started this piece I didn't want to do the green cartoon monster, this is the creature right out of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus, the first horror novel ever written.  It is an intense piece of previctorian literature.  The Monster in Frankenstein is articulate, intelligent, lithe, and angry with his creator for rejecting him.  In this picture, he is crouching in the mountains and waiting for the right moment to enact revenge.
While I could describe the monster for you, Shelley wrote it best: his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips… Oh! No mortal could support the horror of that countenance.

 Gesture/ personality through movements 
He is alone, and I want to stress that by composing the mountains to create the sense of space that implies loneliness. Draw his gesture with a lot of tension; think of a rubber band held tightly ready to release. Every line of the gesture should work against the last line.  The shoulders are contraposto to the hips. The head turns slightly downward so he’s looking at us through his eyebrows, increasing the menace.


In this case we’re creating a falling composition. The mountain at the upper left leads your eye into the picture throught the figure then through the monster’s face and hand down to the mountain and out of the page on the opposite corner.  Within the piece, the creature’s hand with the highlights at the wrist point right into the face, bringing the attention right where we want it.  The torso and legs are mostly less important compositionally except to act as a dark base for the light figure area to rest upon.

Basic Construction of Figure
He is created by a human, assembled from multiple bodies, something’s going to look wrong. The parts might look out of proportion to each other and some of the muscles might be twisted as if they are attached strangly.  This doesn’t mean you can ignore anatomy, your monster will be far more believable if you drea real anatomy then twist it a bit.  Pay more attention to the shoulders and arms since they are in the light and need to be drawn more carefully than the lower half of the body.

I'll publish the next few steps soon!
Check out my deviant art site at

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