“Work is fantastic,” says Angela Barrett, illustrator of Through the Tempests Dark and Wild: A Story of Mary Shelley, Creator of Frankenstein. “If there’s one thing I’d like readers to take away from this book, it’s an awareness of the pleasure that work can bring, and the realization that women of Mary Shelley’s time period were frowned on if they tried to pursue it.”
Certainly Angela Barrett, whose classic, elegant illustrations grace numerous children’s books, finds great pleasure in her work as an artist. She says she especially enjoyed painting the “high dramatic parts” of Mary Shelley’s story, such as the haunting image of Mary and friends sitting around a fire telling ghost tales (notice the eerie faces peering from dark folds in the curtains) and the final tableaux of scenes from Frankenstein. Known for her work’s exquisite detail and symbolic imagery, Angela Barrett admits that some illustrations for Through the Tempests Dark and Wild proved “a bit of a chore”—painting every last book in a book-lined study, for example—but notes that her painstaking work is always “worth it in the end.” Critics agree: Angela Barrett’s “stunning watercolor illustrations,” says School Library Journal, “glowing with soft color and period detail . . . draw readers into a melancholy and emotional world.”
Angela Barrett’s interests include dressmaking and stage design, but her main love is books—“the sight, the smell, and the feel of them as well as reading them.” She lives in London.