Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein in progress

I’ve been keeping track of Gris Grimly’s career since I happened to find his book Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Madness in our local Barnes & Noble a few years back. He’s a prolific illustrator. I’m not sure how else to describe his work. He’s incredibly gifted and has determined ideas of how his books should look.

I’m terribly envious of his abilities. Can you tell?

Last July he started a blog to share progression of his new book, Frankenstein. He’s been uploading images both in-progress and complete, and keeping his readers up-to-date with meetings with his editor and art director. In his latest entry, he posted a page that he wasn’t satisfied with and also the pages he illustrated to replace it. I saved both images so I could compare the differences side-by-side, and the subtle detail changes are stunning. To me, anyway.

He’s changed the color dramatically, which he mentions in the post, but he also made other, more subtle changes to hand positions, compositions and faces that have me taking a step back.

When I look at the original page, I see nothing wrong with it. As an illustrator, I would have been happy with the result, considered it finished, and moved on to the next page.

Maybe that’s why he has the book deal. I’m not sure I have that extra “something” to boost my illustrations from self-promotion to an actual contract. I’d like to think working harder might do the trick, but I’m not sure how much harder I can work. Working harder doesn’t give you that “something,” and if I don’t have it by now, I doubt I’ll ever have it.

I am looking forward to Frankenstein; I’ve loved all his books. They’re very enjoyable, as long as I look at them without comparing my own work to the talent in front of me.