Shakespeare Lives in Illustration: Karrie Fransman

| by Leah Cross

Illustrator and comic creator Karrie Fransman talks about her 'Tragedy' illustration, commissioned for our Shakespeare Lives campaign, and shares before and after sketches of her work.

As part of our Shakespeare Lives campaign, we commissioned three illustrators to visually interpret Shakespearean themes. Karrie Fransman, illustrator, graphic novelist and comic creator, was given the theme of Tragedy. We spoke to her about her interpretation of the brief and the creative process:

I was so excited to be asked to draw the Shakespearean 'Tragedy' illustration for the British Council. I tend to lean towards the macabre in my comics so it was right up my street. Plus who wouldn't want the opportunity to draw drowned, stabbed and poisoned characters, snakes, skulls and three naked witches?

Rough sketch black 150 Shakespeare

First I had a brainstorm of ideas and I came up with Shakespeare's quill stabbing his characters with the black ink spilling like blood. I liked this idea as in my own books I also enjoy playing God and smiting my characters!

Rough sketch black 150 dpi

It was tricky to combine so many different plays so I sketched them out digitally in Photoshop which helped me to jiggle each element around and re-size them so that everything flowed together nicely. I inked it black by hand, scanned it in and added textured grey tones digitally. I wanted to emphasise the shapes of the bodies and to make them really dynamic for corpses - like they were dancing!

TRAGEDY Karrie Fransman lo res


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