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Illustration and Middle Earth

Lindréd

the minstrel
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I hope it's ok to add my 2 cents to an older thread, but I'm very new here and I'm not sure what the protocol is. To get my bearings I've been wandering around the threads and this one caught my eye.

I about died laughing over the Franzeta "shortage of pants" bit. :D Thank you for brightening my day! And I've never seen the Ezpeleta work before (kinda looks like David Bowie in the 70s on a bad makeup day). When I was first into Tolkien the only thing available at that time was the Hildebrandt stuff, and it always looked a little too Disney-ish for my taste. There's something about the Balrog painting (post #31) that reminds me of Mickey Mouse and the Sorcerors Apprentice. I dunno. Could just be me.

It's wonderful to have so many good artists (major and minor) out there now, bringing to life what they imagine. The geologist in me loves the landscapes of Nasmith. Lee seems to nail the emotional and mysterious side of certain scenes and characters. And Howe is great at detail (inside of Bag End is a favorite of mine). I also love Tolkien's own original art, as you can see from my avatar (I highly recommend Hammond and Sculls Artist and Illlustrator book).
 
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Prince of Cats

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I'm working on illustrating several scenes of the hobbit as I listed to it on unabridged audiobook :) I have to finish a journal for drawing class and found it a fun way to pass the class and have Tolkien time
 

Lindréd

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I wanted to add to my first post in order to answer the Lady of Gondor's 3rd and 4th questions (and to thank her for creating this thread, which encouraged me to make my very first TTF post! :)

3.Yes, for me fidelity to the text and aesthetic appeal are both very important. Also the work's general credibility is important to me, not so much in terms of fidelity to the text, but in the ability of an image to convey "truth" on its own merits. A really good illustration makes you feel like you could fall into it and actually be there, regardless of style (realistic or not). For example, when I compare three paintings of Rivendell (Tolkien's, Lee's and Nasmith's), they are all very different in style, proportion and detail, but all feel "true" to me.

4. I don't think of illustrative adaptions as perversions per se (although a few of the ones shown above come close!:). I think it's fine for artists to put their own spin on what they read. I have my own sort of selection process as to what I retain in my mind when I read Tolkien. I keep in mind the images that enhance the story, but "filter out" the ones that don't. For example, I can say with confidence that I will never think of Eowyn as Franzeta does (see post #20) Yikes! But I will probably always imagine the front hall of Bag End as it is in Howe's painting, or Minas Morgul as Nasmith has portrayed it (p. 275 of the illustr. ed. of Foster). Almost all of Lee's work succeeds for me in this way.

I have attached one of my favorites: Nasmith's "Last View of Hobbiton". To me, this one "nails it"!! You can feel the reluctance of the hobbits to leave their beloved Shire, with the lights of Hobbiton twinkling in the distance, and one hobbit placing his hand on the back of another in a gesture of reassurance. The blue shadowy tone of the moonlit night gives an overall ominous feel to the work as well. Great stuff! (btw, is this the way to include an image? Still need help with this. Seems others have added an image directly into their posts. When I click on "insert image" it asks for a URL??)
 

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Mike

Beowulf's lost son-in-law
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Frazetta, not Franzeta (unless you are collapsing the name "Frank Frazetta", to which I would ask, do you call dear J.R.R. by the name Johnolkien?). I put up a weak defense on his behalf, as his artwork can and has indeed been quite amazing ... but his style has little place in Middle-Earth.

On another note, Ian Miller's depictions of Mordor, orcs, and all things evil, are nothing short of extraordinary.

 

Lindréd

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Frazetta, not Franzeta (unless you are collapsing the name "Frank Frazetta", to which I would ask, do you call dear J.R.R. by the name Johnolkien?).
LOL :eek: Yeah, I should of checked the name more closely! But then again Johnolkien does have a catchy sort of ring to it!:D

I agree with you re. Ian Miller. Your post sent me scurrying back to my Tolkien collection to find where I had seen his work before, and I found it in Day's Bestiary (I know a lot of Day's books are not well thought of in scholarly Tolkien circles, but some of the artwork in that book is great).

Thanks for the correction Mike, and my apologies to Frank...wherever he is!
 

Stockholm

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The Maria Ezpeleta drawings just burnt my eyes. I could do with some mind bleach...
:D

Oh, I guess we should just be glad someone somewhere is able to picture Tolkien's characters as half-japanese hindu-deities who smoked very bad pot. Just shows, well, that human imagination has no limit.

I'm very fond of David Alter's Bilbo's great adventure (couldn't find it on the interwebs, sorry :eek:). It's the first drawing in my LoTR postcard book — doesn't show Middle-Earth the way I imagine it, but looks like a « Bayeux style » tapestry, depicting the whole Hobbit plot... Insanely rejoicing to look at, searching for all the small details :p

I dislike Cor Block's works, even though he's a classic... I can understand why Tolkien liked his work, but it doesn't appeal to me.

My all-time favourite would be Alan Lee, just fantastic art !

I recently discovered Jenny Dolfen. Althought she's a bit on the manga-style side (which I'm not fond of when it's outside mangas), some of her watercolours really bring it home :


Maglor


The coming of Fingolfin

And I find this one hilarious :

Fëanorean family picture... I do love the two young pests having a row about a famous pup...
 

Galentir

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Is there an edition of LotR that uses Tolkien's own illustrations? I like the simple naivity of his "The Hobbit" pictures
 

Stockholm

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I don't think this have been printed. However, if you love Tolkien's illustrations, Wayne Hammond's book is for you ! It's called J. R. R. Tolkien, artist & illustrator. A fantastic read.
 

Galentir

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Thanks Stockhom - I have now ordered a copy from Amazon. I still think it would be good to see a Tolkien illustrated LotR with his pictures alongside his text. Can't think why it hasn't been done.

In general I think that Lee and Naismith come pretty close to how I see Tolkien's characters and landscapes. Loathe the semi-manga stuff!
 

Stockholm

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Well, Tolkien didn't illustrate many precise scenes from the LoTR. Or rather, he didn't finish most of the drawings, as you'll see in the book.

But I would have loved the Book of Mazarbul to be included, alongside the Moria gates :(
 

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