Frankenstein’s Monster

Frankenstein's Monster 01Frankenstein's Monster 02Frankenstein's Monster 03 Frankenstein's Monster 04 Frankenstein's Monster 05Frankenstein's Monster legs detail Frankenstein's Monster 06 Frankenstein's Monster 07 Frankenstein's Monster arm detail Frankenstein's Monster baseFrankenstein's Monster face 03 Frankenstein's Monster faceFrankenstein's Monster feet detailFrankenstein's Monster foot detail

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! 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 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 shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.

Based on Mary Shelley’s description of the literate, bilingual, articulate monster of her novel, Sean Downey and I designed this piece which I sculpted. It took us a while to finalize this design, which we wanted to be true to Shelley’s description above, but also possess some visual appeal.

The black lips we decided to make a kind of blue-black, like the lips and tongues of bears or Chow Chow dogs, and we extrapolated that his nipples (which, shockingly, Shelly failed to describe) would be, too. Scarring isn’t described in the book, but we utilized the popular idea of the monster being composed of the parts of dead humans as well as animals, which was suggested, hence scars. The scars we did were mostly cosmetic with not a lot of thought given to how they’d actually work (Sean added circular, almost branding-like scars on the shoulders).

We wanted our take on the monster to have a youthful quality, despite looking like he’d racked up a lot of mileage, so we gave him slightly oversized eyes and fine features, including too-small ears and nose set too-high on his head.

His eyes, described as “watery […]that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set” are alternately described as yellow, which seemed contradictory. We decided to make the corneas an unnatural yellow and keep the whites of the eyes white.

The monster is depicted here after having been rejected by Frankenstein and living in the woods for a while.

The sculpture was made with a mixture of Sculpey III, Sculpey Firm, and Apoxie over an aluminum armature. The original was molded in Smooth-On PMC (forgot which number) mold rubber and cast in Smooth-Cast 300, primed, painted with acrylics, and given a loincloth and crepe hair, set with clear fabric glue.

Advertisements

Work-in-Progress, Working Process

More from the ongoing project with Sean Downey:

DSC02698

DSC02699

First we shot some photo reference,  then we drew our creature here onto tracing paper, then pasted that onto some foamcore. Then Sean cut some hardie board into the general shape and we sculpted over it using Sculpey over a paperclay base.

DSC02693

Because we’re building pieces to be photographed and only seen from one angle, we’re working in relief

DSC02700

Which leads to one weird-looking sculpture when viewed from the side.

DSC02701

DSC02702

UPDATE 12-22-13:

tumblr_mxxy81giBC1rh2mgwo1_1280

Lonely Monster

FvZ Hallway Comp Test 04

Very glad to share more work-in-progress pictures of my ongoing project with Sean Downey. This was photographed by Tony Martins. This will be part of an illustrated book which we hope to show people sometime next year.

It’s amazing working in collaboration, particularly with a photographer. You really see what ideas hold up and which don’t.

More to come!

UPDATE:

Here are some behind-the-scenes pictures from this photo shoot at Hub Comics in Somerville, Massachusetts.

IMG_3067

Green gels were used over the backlighting.

(Note also Sean’s tiger-stripe arm hair.)

IMG_3072

Since it wasn’t supposed to appear in the shot, the “roof” was just cardboard draped over the walls to block light.

IMG_3074

Here’s Sean. He’s holding the monster, I think.

IMG_3069

You can see how the room was built using forced perspective: it gets bigger as it gets closer toward the camera.

IMG_3068

Back at my house, this was how one of the walls looked when we started.

DSC02315

 

FURTHER UPDATE:

Sean added on 11/13/13:

In the making of this I made a brush by cutting a thin sponge into the shape of a hand roughly to scale with the set.  It was then dipped in a red/brown paint and lazily dragged across the wall. Thinking about it now, I can hear The Stroll by The Diamonds as i look at the smeared blood trail.  When I painted this, the sponge/brush fingers touched the doorknob with a foggy memory of how to open a doorknob.  It was a chilling.

The brushes’ name is Richard.