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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Tolkien Illustrated: Fan Art II--Elements of Tolkien Fan Art

Sandicomm
Bree


Feb 28 2007, 1:17am

Post #1 of 17 (468 views)
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Tolkien Illustrated: Fan Art II--Elements of Tolkien Fan Art Can't Post

Today's discussion will focus on some of the themes that are most common in LOTR fan art. What does this show about the way the audience views the story? What themes have you found?

Here are some of the broad themes I have found:

Landscapes

Alan Lee





Michael Hague



Roger Garland



Rob Alexander



Portraiture and Fashion Illustration

Aredhel Evenstar

Aredhel Evenstar II

Alethea Singleton

Svetlana Moiseeva



Alessandra Cimatoribus



And finally, scenes of "famous" events:

Ivan Cavini

Andreina D'Ambrosio


Kelly Fischer

Ted Nasmith




Beren IV
Gondor


Feb 28 2007, 6:02am

Post #2 of 17 (214 views)
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I don't think I understand what you mean by "themes" [In reply to] Can't Post

Could you elaborate? Smile


Also, what is the second Alan Lee painting? I do not recognize it either.


Reera the Red
Rivendell

Feb 28 2007, 11:00am

Post #3 of 17 (236 views)
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The Lee pic... [In reply to] Can't Post

...is from The Hobbit, during the ascent of the Lonely Mountain: There they made their third camp, hauling up what they needed from below with their ropes. [Ch. 11, "On the Doorstep"]


Owlyross
Rohan


Feb 28 2007, 11:49am

Post #4 of 17 (206 views)
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Really? [In reply to] Can't Post

It looks to me like the Emyn Muil... That is, it matches exactly the image I have in my head of Frodo and Sam descending on the rope.

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
Benjamin Franklin
The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.
Horace Walpole (1717 - 1797)


Reera the Red
Rivendell

Feb 28 2007, 12:17pm

Post #5 of 17 (230 views)
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If you look at it in larger format... [In reply to] Can't Post

...like the scan on Rolozo, here, you can see a Dwarf at the head of the rope and a couple more hiking up the path between the rocks.


Owlyross
Rohan


Feb 28 2007, 2:53pm

Post #6 of 17 (195 views)
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Ah yes [In reply to] Can't Post

I still think it looks like the Emyn Muil though. In my head at least! Smile

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
Benjamin Franklin
The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.
Horace Walpole (1717 - 1797)


drogo
Lorien


Feb 28 2007, 3:32pm

Post #7 of 17 (190 views)
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It's from his Hobbit illustrations [In reply to] Can't Post

*Wonders if he will ever get to put them on film*

Ooops, back to RR mode... no Hobbit movie here! Cool


(Formerly drogo of the two names!)


drogo
Lorien


Feb 28 2007, 3:40pm

Post #8 of 17 (208 views)
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Films and fashion [In reply to] Can't Post

The images you have selected really bring home how much the films have impacted the world of "fan" ("amateur" perhaps?) art. The designs of the Elven dresses are all straight out of Ngila Dickson's sketchbooks. I wonder if the impact of the films will have a stifling effect on the look of Tolkien art to come. Mind you, I do like the designs of the PJ films overall and liked its costume design. But seeing so many artists reproduce the same look of the Elves makes me wonder what the lasting impact of the films will be on the visualizing of Middle-earth. I don't object to film-inspired art, but it does make me wonder if the films will become as powerful as the books, or more powerful, for future illustrators.

One thing I will say for Ezpeleta is that she has her own unique vision which is, uh, unlike anything else in Tolkien art!


(Formerly drogo of the two names!)

(This post was edited by drogo on Feb 28 2007, 3:45pm)


Morwen
Rohan


Feb 28 2007, 3:45pm

Post #9 of 17 (208 views)
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A "before and after" thread might be interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

Comparing art (fan or pro) created before the films with art created after.


A day without sunshine is like, you know, night


Curious
Half-elven

Feb 28 2007, 5:04pm

Post #10 of 17 (211 views)
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I think you missed creatures, unnatural or natural, such as Shelob or Shadowfax. [In reply to] Can't Post

There are also a few drawings of items, especially the Ring, but those are less common. Also we have seascapes as well as landscapes. But people, creatures, places, and events about covers the range of fan art, as far as I can tell, as well as a broad range of art in general. Events are perhaps less common because they are more difficult to portray.

What don't we see in fan art? Realism. Many of the paintings are realistic in style, but realism has to do with subject matter as well. I've never seen a Tolkien-related still life, showing ordinary items arranged on a table. Nor have I seen drawings of ordinary people leading ordinary lives. The art, like the books and movies, and also like religious or historical paintings, shows the main characters leading extraordinary lives, the heroes being heroic. Or else the art shows the strange and alien landscape and seascape of Middle-earth. Even the Shire is strange and alien to the readers, if not to the hobbits. It might be interesting to set a scene from LotR in a modern setting from the Primary World, as religious painters often have with religious scenes. But I've never seen it done, and perhaps it would destroy the fantasy.

(Just a side comment on this. The Star Trek movie in which the crew came back to the United States in the 20th Century was good for laughs, but for me it destroyed the fantasy, because the universe inhabited by Kirk and Spock and their crew is so different from ours, and I don't just mean technologically different. Star Trek, in its original incarnation, was an American fantasy from the Kennedy era, a fantasy to which we still cling, often to our detriment. Americans like to imagine that we are uniformly a force for good, bringing truth, justice, and the American way to the world, and that the people we rescue will welcome us as liberators. Vietnam did much to puncture our balloon, but we patched it and blew it up, until Iraq punctured it again. Tolkien was wise, I judge, to keep his fantasy non-topical. But enough about Star Trek.)

One more comment. In browsing the fan art this week, I've noticed that fan art is now influenced by the movies, and portraits most of all. Perhaps that is a tribute to the way the actors captured Tolkien's characters, perhaps a case of the movie filling a void since Tolkien did not give us detailed descriptions, or perhaps simply a testiment to the power of successful movies to imprint images on our minds. And as a practical manner, I'm sure it is easier to draw a portrait when there is a model readily available to anyone with access to the internet. I've seen some excellent portraits of the actors in character, but I've also seem some imaginative drawings that have nothing to do with the movie. Some of my favorites are from people who may not have great artistic technique, but do have active imaginations.


Beren IV
Gondor


Mar 1 2007, 3:11am

Post #11 of 17 (194 views)
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Absolutely [In reply to] Can't Post

The films have left an imprint and stifling effect on Tolkien fan art. Look at the Fan Art section of our own forums for a glowing illustration of this. There used to be a lot of different looks for Aragorn, but now they all look like Viggo.

*

I actually like Ezpeleta, if for nothing else than her imagination and her uniqueness. Her vision of Tolkien's world is certainly not what I imagine in any number of instances, particularly in how her artwork always has seemed to me to have an 'Aztec' feel to it. It is interesting; Tolkien in a different dress I think would be a fascinating subject to experiment with. Indeed, it is already possible to do that: Tolkien in Dark Age Europe dress and Tolkien in Dungeons and Dragons dress, which are quite different I have to say. But Ezpeleta is not afraid to ask provoking questions about characters' bodies and sexuality that I notice many Tolkien artists avoid, just as Tolkien himself did. I admire that - I think that these questions are worth asking, even if we do end up settling on Tolkien's preferred ultraconservative and aescetic theological philosophy.


Beren IV
Gondor


Mar 1 2007, 3:16am

Post #12 of 17 (175 views)
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I have tried to sketch ordinary people in the past, [In reply to] Can't Post

mainly in story, although they are always exotic. A typical Elf living in Mirkwood in the Third Age does not live a life similar to the lives that we live, so even if it is typical for Middle Earth it is still highly alien.


I have also considered running Middle Earth roleplays set in the future, in which the world is much more like it is today. These include Enlightenment-Era style as well as modern-style, although the point is that the fantasy is gone... until it rears its sometimes-ugly head again.


Sandicomm
Bree


Mar 1 2007, 3:29am

Post #13 of 17 (170 views)
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Hmm [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess they're more categories than themes.

In Reply To
Could you elaborate? Smile


Also, what is the second Alan Lee painting? I do not recognize it either.



squire
Valinor


Mar 1 2007, 4:51am

Post #14 of 17 (200 views)
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Swagger it, my little Maria Lombide cock-a-whoop! [In reply to] Can't Post

Dead on. We'll be wanting you on our side in a few weeks! Purple Elves rule!

Egyptian, not Aztec, I think.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


drogo
Lorien


Mar 1 2007, 11:24am

Post #15 of 17 (167 views)
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Shine on you crazy diamond Elf with a ferret! / [In reply to] Can't Post

 


(Formerly drogo of the two names!)


Reera the Red
Rivendell

Mar 1 2007, 12:10pm

Post #16 of 17 (194 views)
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Quite a bit of Egyptian, yes. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Egyptian, not Aztec, I think.

I don't recall Aztec, but she did drag in the Maya -- that one of Eärendil-as-Pakal. And there's at least one which is Persian, and quite a few with modern clothing. Ezpeleta isn't hidebound, whatever else you might say about her.


drogo
Lorien


Mar 1 2007, 12:27pm

Post #17 of 17 (216 views)
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I like Eärendil-as-Pakal [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll save that for when you do your discussion, but it does click in a wacky cross-cultural mythological sort of way!

She is a kook, but I love that she has her own vision and sticks with it. She's a little like William Blake if he had lived today and had read Tolkien instead of Milton. And had been born a Spanish woman a thing for Elves drinking cups of coffee with cute yapping dogs.


(Formerly drogo of the two names!)

(This post was edited by drogo on Mar 1 2007, 12:28pm)

 
 

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