16th Apr2015

Book Review: ‘The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful’

by Paul Metcalf

Written by Sharon Gosling | Published by Titan Books | Format: Hardback, 176pp


When a show like Penny Dreadful merges a historical setting with a fantastical dark world where anything is possible – to make this believable, but still add the level of the surreal that is required, there has to be a set vision and an artistic style that can connect with what the audience expects and what works on-screen.  In The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful by Sharon Gosling, we see just what it took to create such a unique show and create that connection with the fans.

Impressively The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful isn’t just a book that shows pretty pictures from the show and some words to create the context of what we are seeing.  With comments from the cast and the makers of the show we are given a look into the dark world of Penny Dreadful.  The information put to page includes not only information on the making and examples of artistic style but also the historical references that are used to create John Logan’s vision of what he wanted to achieve.  Looking at the show from conception, its filming and its future we are given a book that feels like a comprehensive look at everything that Penny Dreadful has come to be.

One thing that is very interesting about the book is the level of detail included when it comes to the characters, and the thought that went into creating them and the choices that came into play when adapting classical monsters to what they became in the show.  This inevitably brings forth spoilers so it is advised to watch Penny Dreadful before delving into The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful, but when looking behind the scenes I’m sure people are aware that story elements and big surprises that were included in the show will inevitably be examined by Sharon Gosling.

For fans of the show who like their historical references they will also like that the makers of the show looked to create an authenticity by actually researching London of the time the show is set.  They have to take some artistic liberties of course but this is covered in the book and we are given the reasons that these changes had to be made.  This goes a long way to answers questions that people may have about just why certain things may not be included, or certain things were included that may have seemed out-of-place.  To create the look of the show it’s impressive just what thought was put into everything.

As well as looking at the story of Penny Dreadful and each character The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful also looks at each setting and the art design that takes place to create the dark and dramatic scenes for the show.  It’s impressive that so much work is put into the design of each location, even if the set was only used for a few scenes but this shows the level of authenticity that was sought for when making the show.

The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful is a must buy for fans of the show who want to know more about the making and what went into making it the success that it has become.  With contributions from not only the makers of the show but the actors too and plenty of images from the show to show off the impressive artistic style to create the believable world of Penny Dreadful.  An Informative and entertaining read all wrapped up in a very stylish presentation The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful by Sharon Gosling is a very good companion to a must watch show.

***** 5/5

The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful by Sharon Gosling is available now from Titan Books.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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