Sketches by Guillermo del Toro Take You Inside the Director’s Wildly Creative Imagination

Guiller­mo del Toro is per­haps the most visu­al­ly imag­i­na­tive direc­tor alive today. Unlike Paul Thomas Ander­son, with his infu­ri­at­ing­ly per­fect sense of visu­al bal­ance, or Alfon­so Cuarón, whose Oscar-sweep­ing Grav­i­ty required the inven­tion of a nov­el, hyper-real­istic film­ing method, del Toro doesn’t deal with real life. His domain is the fan­tas­ti­cal. There’s a chance you may not have liked Pan’s Labyrinth, and even the dis­tinct pos­si­bil­i­ty that you’ve for­got­ten what­ev­er it is that hap­pens in Hell­boy, (some­thing about mon­sters? Sav­ing the world?), but I’d wager that its menagerie of hell­ish demons has been seared into your mem­o­ry.

Late in 2013, del Toro released a volu­mi­nous book, enti­tled Cab­i­net of Curiosi­ties: My Note­books, Col­lec­tions, and Oth­er Obses­sions. As he explains in the video above, the 256-page hard­cov­er is a selec­tion from his note­books, where the direc­tor devel­oped many of the mon­strosi­ties we’ve seen on screen.
The Guardian Sket notes that there’s some­thing of da Vinci’s note­books in del Toro’s records:  the small, neat script, mixed in with the won­der­ful­ly detailed sketch­es, com­bine to give the impres­sion of del Toro doing his best to record the tor­rent of his imag­i­na­tion before the thoughts dis­ap­pear. In this post, we include a num­ber of these images. The first three sketch­es, includ­ing the one above, depict del Toro’s draw­ings for Pan’s Labyrinth. The fourth is a page from his work on Hell­boy, and the fifth is art for his most recent film, Pacif­ic Rim.

From Pan’s Labyrinth

From Pacif­ic Rim

For those inter­est­ed in view­ing more of del Toro’s won­der­ful­ly bizarre sketch­es, a some­what larg­er gallery is avail­able here. The com­plete Cab­i­net of Curiosi­ties: My Note­books, Col­lec­tions, and Oth­er Obses­sions is avail­able at

Ilia Blin­d­er­man is a Mon­tre­al-based cul­ture and sci­ence writer. Fol­low him at @iliablinderman, or read more of his writ­ing at the Huff­in­g­ton Post.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Film­mak­ing Advice from Quentin Taran­ti­no and Sam Rai­mi 

Love­craft: Fear of the Unknown (Free Doc­u­men­tary) 

Time Out Lon­don Presents The 100 Best Hor­ror Films: Start by Watch­ing Four Hor­ror Clas­sics Free Online

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