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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Alan Lee Discussion #1 – Introduction

Daughter of Nienna
Grey Havens

Mar 24 2007, 9:23pm

Views: 254
Alan Lee Discussion #1 – Introduction Can't Post

Image from Worldcon .org

Mae Govannen! and Aloha Kâkou!

Welcome to the Alan Lee Discussion. All of the thumbnail size images are clickable (you can test-drive the images on this page). The larger ones are not. (I needed to cut steps somewhere.) Many of the images are from Rolozo, almost half of the images I scanned myself (6 pages) from the 2007 Calendar and from The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook.

Regarding Sources: There is an absence of drawings of any of the characters or races from the literature illustrations, other than Dwarves for the Hobbit (to be explained by some of his comments, later). So for Hobbits, Men, Elves, bad guys, and others, I dipped into his sketchbook. Some are clearly studies for his paintings found in the literature as well, and most are generic enough to not seem film related. I chose images on the basis of what seemed to be missing from the internet and what was interesting, yet trying to avoid obvious film references (with a wink or two included).

Regarding Time Difference: I will post one in the morning and one at night. I am on Hawaii time, which is six hours later from New York time (since you have changed your clocks, we do not)…(Hawaii is at the tail end of the 24 hour day).

Regarding Erratic Start: Posts may be erratic in the beginning as I have a number of events (related to my Tolkien group) I am juggling at that same time. I won't have access to a computer all day on Monday: a member of my Tolkien group and I are taking Lynnette Porter (author of Unsung Heroes of the Lord of the Rings and co-author of Unlocking the Meaning of Lost) around the Island to see relevant 'Lost' filming sites, followed by dinner with the entire group.) The big thing for me in terms of time and stress is the dinner that I am organizing for tonight, which means I have to post this now, I have too much else to do.

So, I will get a jump on the week by posting this today, apologies to Lúthien Rising. The biography discussion will be posted on Sunday (not sure when, might be tonight around 10 pm (4am east coast time), since Sunday is a big question mark after the book reading. I will post the two Monday discussions on Sunday night (middle of night for US mainlanders). The following posts won't be till Tuesday. Then we will be on track, if I am still standing.

Regarding Post Frequency: All together, there will be more frequent posts than there have been in recent weeks. There was a lot of material to squeeze into one week. Alan Lee has a proliferation of work everywhere: Internet, books, calendars, films. I had to decide what NOT to include because there was so much of it. That was extremely difficult. I had my hands full and, feeling overwhelmed, I thought of backing out many times. What kept me going (beside the commitment) is that I love Alan Lee's work, he is my "Drawing Idol", one at least.

Regarding Questions: my original thought was to follow Drogo's lead and not ask any questions. But then some questions popped into my head here and there. It is pretty sporadic, with no questions at all in some places (I like just letting the art lead the discussion). And that makes it a little 'less like homework'. There are a lot of quotes from Alan Lee ("AL Quotes") and from the texts. Below is a list of discussion ideas; I will include a link to them in my footer in case you get stuck for ideas.

Outlining This Week: This post is just to outline the week and warm things up, there are Alan Lee quotes below, mainly about his work, including links. The next post will be on Lee himself: biography and background.

Table of Contents:
Alan Lee Discussion #1 - Introduction
Alan Lee #2 - Biography and Background
Alan Lee #3 - Places in The Hobbit – 12 images
Alan Lee #4 - Landscapes from LotR – 14 images
Alan Lee #5 – Races-Hobbits, Dwarves – 11 images
Alan Lee #6 - Race-Elves, Men – 10 images
Alan Lee #7 - Architectural Places – 13 images
Alan Lee #8 - Creatures & Monsters – 17 images
Alan Lee #9 - Main Characters – 13 images
Alan Lee #10 - The Bad Guys – 14 images
Alan Lee #11 - Scenes from the Hobbit – 8 images
Alan Lee #12 – Scenes / Action Scenes - LotR – 11 images
Alan Lee #13 - Mythic Types – 18 images
Alan Lee #14 - Epic Scenes / Iconic Moments – 8 images
Alan Lee #15 – Conclusion
Alan Lee #16 – Summary of sorts (basically a closing bit with mathoms…I don't do summaries very well) [note: these last two may be combined, I just don't want questions in my last post, and I don't believe in letting a discussion just hang.]

Note: the image count is not exact, it is still in flux, but it's a close estimate.

Alan Lee Quotes

"I first read the Lord of the Rings when I was seventeen, and working as a gardener in a cemetery. Every day I would lose myself among the ivy-covered crypt and shadowy groves, and in the evenings immerse myself in the strange and beautiful world that J.R.R. Tolkien's books had opened up for me. I had loved myths and legends from the moment that I first encountered them, and it felt as though everything in those stories that most appealed to me had been distilled and refined and forged into this totally compelling narrative. So the outer suburbs of middle-earth, and my friends became rangers, and I decided that I would really rather illustrate books than tend graves.

After studying graphics and illustration for three years, and another six earning a living doing paperback covers, my dream of being able to illustrate the stories that I liked best started to bear fruit. There were books of fairy lore, and Celtic myths, and Arthurian stories, and eventually I found myself talking to Rayner Unwin and Jane Johnson about the idea of a illustrated edition of The Lord of the Rings to commemorate the centenary of its author's birth.

I was pleased to be offered the chance to illustrate one of my favourite books, but also a little daunted by the responsibility involved in placing my illustrations alongside a text that was so deeply loved by its many admirers, and which had already demonstrated that it worked very well on its own, without any pictures. I think the Tolkien Estate were even more nervous about it than I was, and I was asked to do some drawings of how the characters may be represented before they would five the go-ahead." — Alan Lee, The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook, Introduction, p 10–11

Alan Lee on his Influences:
"There are two main threads of influence; Realistic, or Narrative painting and illustration, including that of Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, the Pre-Raphaelites, and other 19th Century Academic Artists, like Alma Tadema, - and the Romantics (and here), like Turner, Claude, Samuel Palmer and Richard Dadd . I also get excited by Breughel and Bosch, Botticelli, Leonardo, Giovanni Bellini, Filippo Lippi, Van Eyck and Durer has had a huge influence on my drawing. My favourite artist, though, is Rembrandt; seeing his paintings in the National Gallery in London when I was 14 was probably my first major encounter with great art, and I'm still reeling from the shock." — Alan Lee, Interview with Heren Istarion

19th Century Art Links:
19th Century Running Rampant – Art Renewal.org
19th and 20th Century Art Links 19th and 20th Century Art Links
Royal Academies of Art
Academic Art
Tour: Romantics and Realists
Romanticism - Artcyclopedia
The Golden Age of Illustration – Art Encyclopedia
Art Encyclopedia Index

(For ideas should you get stuck for your own)
- How well are characters illustrated, do images capture the characters': nature, characteristics, dress, description, how they fit in the story, are they behaving true to character, how do they match or differ from your own vision.
- How well is the story told in the imagery. How true is it to the story (since that is the bottom line purpose of Illustration). if it does justice to the story, discuss in what ways it does…or in what ways it dos not.
- Why would the artist chose to depict a place, building or character as he does.
- Why use a certain angle or perspective as opposed to a different viewpoint…what does that do to the tone, the emotion, the characterization?
- What happens to the composition with that angle?
- Why would the artist chose a particular viewpoint or composition
- Why would the artist chose to depict that moment in the story…what makes that moment worthy of days and weeks worth to time in research, studies and drafts?
- In what ways does his interpretation succeed (or not) in rendering that moment in the story?
- If it strays from the story, speculate on why or how that worked or didn't work.
- Composition: how is your eye directed to move around the image; how well is your eyed directed to what is important on the page; How are the edges (borders of image) treated, or ignored;
- Style, composition, form, shapes, quality of line, contrast, unity, focal point, balance, space, colors
- is the image static or dynamic, energized, relaxed. Vibrant.
- Compare to other work discussed so far.
– Any comments on the quotes by Alan Lee
– Any tid-bits about the history of the pictures, some are relevant to book covers and special releases (data or personal stories)


Alan Lee Discussion week: starts March 25th in the Reading Room
Scanned images for Alan Lee Discussion.
Alan LeeQuote: "...my aim is not to dictate how things should look, but to serve the author's vision, and to create an atmosphere, a space between the words where the eye and mind can wander, and imagine for themselves . . .what will happen next." — Alan Lee

Art Gallery Revised, ORC pic of Hawaii friends, my drawings,
Aloha & Mahalo, Websites Directory
Nienna: “ those who hearken to her learn pity, and endurance in hope . . . All those who wait in Mandos cry to her, for she brings strength to the spirit and turns sorrow to wisdom." — Valaquenta

Subject User Time
Alan Lee Discussion #1 – Introduction Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Mar 24 2007, 9:23pm
    not a problem, of course! Luthien Rising Send a private message to Luthien Rising Mar 25 2007, 12:48am
    Yay! Beren IV Send a private message to Beren IV Mar 25 2007, 1:06am
        I'll be glad to tell you Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Mar 25 2007, 1:26am
        a few code tips Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Mar 25 2007, 1:53am
    Thankyou for posting this wealth of Shadowfaxfan Send a private message to Shadowfaxfan Mar 25 2007, 7:26am
        This is the Smiley for above-I'm learning! Shadowfaxfan Send a private message to Shadowfaxfan Mar 25 2007, 7:45am


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