Sunday, 21 October 2012

Mary Shelly's Frankenstein

For years I've said I wanted to read Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.  As a kid Frank was my favourite of the classic movie monsters...I went as him for Halloween once or twice.  The whole idea behind the crazy doctor and his monster is cool and creepy...and the fact that it was written by a nineteen year old in the nineteenth century just made the book more intriguing.  I finally got around to reading it this month.  I always knew the original Universal Pictures version of the story differed from the novel but I was still pretty surprised at just how different.  Even the movie entitled "Mary Shelly's Frankenstein" as I recall has a lot of changes in it although it's definitely closer than the Karloff version.  The book moves pretty slow actually and tends to wander on tangents that aren't always necessary.  I thought it bounced back and forth between painfully dull and genuinely freaky.  Shelly's descriptions of the monster are quite vivid and that's maybe what I was most surprised by when I read the book.  I don't think Frankenstein's monster has ever been depicted on film they way he's described in the book.  I drew this while I was reading it...
Here's how Shelly herself describes the wretch.  "His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath: his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing: his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriences 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."

I figured if his skin was translucent from being stretched so thin then it would have been difficult to keep the ends together when sewing.  So I made sure to show some exposed meat beneath the skin at the seams where the stitches are barely holding him together.  It was a myth for years and years that your hair and finger/toe nails continued to grow after you died and I wondered if that's where Mary Shelly's idea for his flowing black hair stemmed from so I gave him long claw like finger nails.  I also skewed some of his parts so  he wasn't quite put together right, which is why his abs kinda stick to the one side.  I also cut a hole over his heart and then stitched it back up cuz I figured a delicate organ like that might've required frequent reaccess while he was being built.  And I reasoned that he might not have a lot of cartilage left in him either which is why I pulled his nose back like a skull.  This isn't a bad drawing but I think if I were designing him to appear in a movie or something I'd take a couple more passes.  I'd probably experiment with the stitching a bit, maybe see how it would look if it were more excessive and I'd definitely play more with his posture.

Of course...there's still a lot to be said for the classic...

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Vancouver International Film Festival

I just finished my fourth volunteer stint at VIFF.
I actually drew this shortly after last year's festival.  My intention at the time, I think, was to actually send this to VIFF in case they wanted to use it to promote when they were looking for volunteers.  Of course I completely forgot about it and never even sent it.  I found the drawing when I was cleaning up not long after I'd already signed up for this year's volunteer roster and a day or two later they were done looking and we were getting our schedules.  I still liked the drawing though so I scanned it and coloured it and even sent it to a couple of local newspapers just before the festival started...but I don't think anybody printed it.  If they did, they should've told me.  VIFF runs for two weeks and as a volunteer you get a free pass to all of the movies that you can fit into your schedule.  I didn't see a ton this year but I've packed in a lot in passed years.  Some people manage to see over a hundred, I don't know how they do it.  Even with my small amount of movies, it's still two weeks of shift work, running from theater to theater and eating mounds upon mounds of fast food.  It's fun but I'm always glad when it's done.