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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
JRRT Author & Illustrator, ch. 5: LOTR: Pencil & Ink

Luthien Rising
Lorien


Mar 20 2007, 2:16am


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JRRT Author & Illustrator, ch. 5: LOTR: Pencil & Ink Can't Post

When it comes down to it, it’s all pencil and ink, isn’t it. Today, of course, few authors write their drafts by hand, but Tolkien often did, and always corrected that way. And when he wasn’t sure what to write, or when he had some other issue to work out (as we’ll be seeing him do tomorrow), he stopped writing and began to draw. Sometimes he drew on his manuscript pages. Sometimes he drew on scrap paper, or the backs of menus. And sometimes – as tonight’s selections from his illustrations to The Lord of the Rings show – he set out more deliberately, to illustrate his work.

He’d been doing that for a long time, of course, and doing it with a view to publication as illustration, which always means thinking about both what is illustrated and the audience. I’ve always rather thought that when it came to The Lord of the Rings, though, he was very much his own audience. And this, in part, may tell some of the story of the shift from the woodcut-like inkings and the brightly coloured paintings of The Hobbit to the finer pencils and inks of The Lord of the Rings. Or at least so they seem to me. You, of course, are welcome to challenge that!



First to his inks, because there we see, perhaps, the most continuity with the work on The Hobbit.

This is one of many illustrations of Orthanc (Orthanc (I), illustration #162 on p. 166 of Hammond and Scull – if anyone has a link to a larger online version of this, I’d appreciate it, but if one doesn’t appear here by morning I’ll scan it and link to it):





We’ll come back to this one later in the week, and talk about things like architectural style. But now let’s look at it as stuff.

1. Tolkien’s materials here are pencil, black ink, and coloured pencil. How does this compare with his earlier use of materials? How do the different materials serve him here?

2. Do you (like me) wish you knew the scale of the original drawing? Why would he – as it seems here – be drawing in a size larger than would fit in a published novel?

3. This drawing was made on “the blank verso of a leaf of examination script in 1942” (Hammond & Scull, p. 169). Well! What do you make of that? Does it change how you think of the drawing? Of Tolkien’s act of illustration?



Tolkien used a similar range of materials in another large-scale illustration, this one of Barad-dûr with Mount Doom in the background (Barad-dûr, illustration #145 on p. 152 of Hammond and Scull):





(A larger copy can – and really should – be seen here: http://www.aumania.it/fa/tolkien/004.jpg )

4. Tolkien has again used both pencil and ink: his materials here are pencil, coloured pencil, black and red ink. How does his use of his materials here compare with those in Orthanc (I)?

5. This time, since I may not come back in detail to this one (though, ok, I may), let’s also look at what he does with his materials in specific relation to his subject. This is not Barad-dûr in its entirety, as we saw all of Orthanc, but the junction between rock and building. How does Tolkien’s choice of where to apply which material show us something about his subject?

(Okay, I really am going to come back to this particular illustration sometime later this week.)



At times Tolkien pushed his inkwell away – or it wasn’t handy. Here is Old Man Willow (illustration #147, on p. 155 of Hammond and Scull), in just pencil and coloured pencil:




(A larger copy, but not, I think, a good reproduction: http://www.aumania.it/fa/tolkien/056.jpg – I may just give in and scan this one in the morning.)

6. Tolkien’s Old Man Willow is a less frightening creature in appearance than Jackson’s Hobbit-eating tree or the imposing ancient knotted trees that photographers shoot and label as Tolkien-inspired. Why might Tolkien have pushed the inkwell away for this one, if he did? How does he use the materials he does have at hand to show some level of menace?

7. And now, it's time for a High School Essay Question:
Compare and contrast Tolkien’s Old Man Willow with the same artist’s illustrations of trees for The Hobbit.


Lúthien Rising
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. / We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

(This post was edited by Luthien Rising on Mar 20 2007, 2:18am)

Subject User Time
JRRT Author & Illustrator, ch. 5: LOTR: Pencil & Ink Luthien Rising Send a private message to Luthien Rising Mar 20 2007, 2:16am
    Uh-oh... Sandicomm Send a private message to Sandicomm Mar 20 2007, 3:27am
        ack! Luthien Rising Send a private message to Luthien Rising Mar 20 2007, 3:39am
    *with visible illustrations* Luthien Rising Send a private message to Luthien Rising Mar 20 2007, 3:55am
        pen, ink, pencil a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Mar 20 2007, 11:02am
            Brick seems a strange choice to me. GaladrielTX Send a private message to GaladrielTX Mar 20 2007, 12:44pm
    Quick, late-night comments... NZ Strider Send a private message to NZ Strider Mar 20 2007, 9:34am
        where do you see the face? a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Mar 20 2007, 10:36am
            I see a crooked nose drogo Send a private message to drogo Mar 20 2007, 11:18am
                Oh, yes, I see that! GaladrielTX Send a private message to GaladrielTX Mar 20 2007, 12:40pm
                Once again... Eowyn of Penns Woods Send a private message to Eowyn of Penns Woods Mar 23 2007, 5:02pm
            I can't draw lines on an image... NZ Strider Send a private message to NZ Strider Mar 20 2007, 6:29pm
                If I can, you can a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Mar 21 2007, 12:36am
    Foundations of Barad-dur drogo Send a private message to drogo Mar 20 2007, 11:10am
        Not only that, but... GaladrielTX Send a private message to GaladrielTX Mar 20 2007, 12:42pm
        Pars pro toto? NZ Strider Send a private message to NZ Strider Mar 20 2007, 6:36pm
            I think that was it drogo Send a private message to drogo Mar 21 2007, 2:02am
    I'll discuss Old Man Willow first. Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 20 2007, 3:32pm
        I always thought Tolkien did draw Treebeard, only earlier squire Send a private message to squire Mar 20 2007, 5:40pm
            No hands, feet, or beard, though. And Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 20 2007, 7:51pm
    Barad-dur and Orthanc. Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 21 2007, 11:15am
    Salix morgothensis Beren IV Send a private message to Beren IV Mar 22 2007, 4:32am
    Scattered thoughts Finding Frodo Send a private message to Finding Frodo Mar 24 2007, 2:46am
        Vogon architecture is of course the third worst in the universe. / GaladrielTX Send a private message to GaladrielTX Mar 24 2007, 2:55am
    Tolkien's so-so architectural sense squire Send a private message to squire Mar 26 2007, 3:02am
    Mr. Willow Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Apr 4 2007, 12:31am

 
 
 

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