Why Do We Like To Be Scared?

It is weird, isn't it? As a kid I could not wait for Friday and Saturday nights, when "Creature Features" would be on waaaay after bedtime. I'd sit on the floor and Pop would sleep on the sofa with his hand dangling over the edge so I could hold on when a scary part would come on. I saw all the Universal Monster movies that way; and the Godzillas and even some of the Hammer films. Loved that stuff!

Open in a new window for a huge picture.

When I read the story topic for this assignment I thought of an interview with Boris Karloff that I saw (or maybe read) years ago. He said that when he was recognized by children as the Frankenstein Monster, they wouldn't run away, but they would come right up to him.

Maybe that's because the character was a child-like, sympathetic creature and children connected with his portrayal of the misunderstood monster. Has there been a better or more timeless performance in the history of cinema than Karloff in "Frankenstein" and "Bride of Frankenstein?"

But, tossing that out, it is peculiar that so many of us rush with arms open to scary movies and frightening literature. Personally, I am appalled by the thematic and visual ickiness of "The Walking Dead," -- a show I would not recommend to anyone -- but I just finished watching season 2 on Netflix and cannot wait until the next season gets there.

Inspired by the vision of children eagerly walking up to Mr. Karloff, I came up with this image as a representation of the story angle. It's kind of fun and it gave me a chance to play with a Frankenstein Monster drawing. I had a great time!

Click here to read the story by Angela Hill.

Here are three snapshots of the image as I worked through the process:

Click for a new window for this one, too. Pretty big.
There wasn't much variation from start to finish, that's for sure. The first one is the only thumbnail I came up with.

The second picture is what I sent to the editors for approval. I wasn't planning on such a highly-rendered illustration at this point. It was likely I would refine the drawing and slap down some color; but I when I saw that I had a few days ahead where there would be time to devote to a more work-intensive presentation, I went after it.

The rendering process went faster than I thought, because I'm programmed to work as quickly as I can no matter what. That's just part of the deal in newspapers. I've had "Can you have this project done two weeks from now, Thursday," change to "Can you have it done by 6 o'clock?" No kidding.

I shouldn't have strayed from the features of the monster in the second picture, but I lost track of what I was doing. I zoomed in real close and it almost felt like I was carving the face out of stone -- I just kept going and couldn't erase what I'd just chiseled.

I raised the top of his head so that I could put a nice, slightly gross-looking stitched-up seam to give a touch of ghastliness to an image that is way too cute.

And here's how it looked on the page:

Carved in Photoshop!

The End

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