So you chose black-and-white throughout for the new »Frankenstein« …
Yes, I actually made my mind up about that quite early on. One reason was that I reckoned the harshness of contrast was suited to capturing the ?novel’s mood of foreboding – dark scenes, suddenly drenched in lurid light, as if by a lightning strike. And then also I saw it as a way of paying homage to the famous »Frankenstein« films with Boris Karloff, Mel Brooks’ »Young Frankenstein«, and »The Munsters« television series – all of those were shot in black-and-white, and I think they are great. I was strongly influenced, both this time and with »Professor Unrat«, by the Robert Wiene film »The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari« and German Expressionist cinema – those windblown painted backdrops – and by the first horror film I ever saw as a child. Its atmosphere made a deep impression on me, still with me today.
How did you approach the book and decide where your illustrations should go to support the text?
I start by reading the book through and listing possible scenes as I go, also compiling an index to the descriptions of landscapes and people. The next stage is to do some scribbles to try to establish a rhythmical sequence of moments – exciting and peaceful, complicated and simple, evenly distributed through the novel.
The publishers proposed that the chapters in which the creature recounts its experiences from its own point of view should also be illustrated from its perspective. And that soon prompted the idea of illustrating all the rest of the book likewise from the perspective of the other narrators, Victor Frankenstein and Walton, the Arctic explorer. However, I didn’t want to confine myself to scenes from the printed book. My idea was to add some things that appear in the films. I also wanted to capture the story’s atmosphere and present the landscapes it describes in such detail – the glaciers on Mont Blanc, the Rhine Valley, the Orkneys, the framework action set at the North Pole.