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Sources of Tolkien Art (giving and looking for suggestions)

Registered User

Feb 19 2013, 10:56pm

Post #1 of 2 (319 views)
Sources of Tolkien Art (giving and looking for suggestions) Can't Post

I'm a collector of materials covering Tolkien-related artwork. I am always on the hunt for new books and artists. Also, I want to keep this to only books/printed matter (but will break my own rule and give a shout out to Justin Gerrard, who has some splendid Tolkien images on his website). Here is what I have and recommend:

-The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook, by Alan Lee. I'm a fan of Mr. Lee's, and like his pencil work even more than his watercolors. Highly recommended.
-The 4 Art of The Lord of the Rings books, and Weta Chonicles: The Hobbit AUJ Art and Design (I grouped these all together). These books are artwork of the design done for the films. I think it's worth getting all four of the former. The Hobbit book differs in some ways, including the use of photos. Interesting to see the evolution of design. Also highly recommended. (Another Weta Chronicles volume on creatures and characters is due out in a few months, but it looks to be photos).
-Inserts from the EE's of the films. Some of the drawings are NOT available in the "Art of ..." books, such as Sauron's helm from different perspectives, but in the same style and by the same artists (I'm almost positive they were all done by Lee). They came with the original releases of the EE on dvd, but I'm not sure where else (the originals are the only ones I own).
-Tolkien's World: Paintings of Middle-earth, and Realms of Tolkien: Images of Middle-earth. OOP but both still pretty inexpensive second-hand. Format of both similar, and includes images by numerous artists. Quality of art a pretty mixed bag, with some stunning and familiar pieces and some I found lacking. If you get just one, Tolkien's Word is probably the better choice.
-JRR Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull. Includes quite a bit of text with the images. Tolkien had a lovely stylized way of doing art. I especially like his ink work.
-The Art of the Hobbit, JRR Tolkien, Wayne Hammond, Christina Scull. A beautifully-formatted book, with in-depth coverage of Tolkien's art for The Hobbit, although you will have seen much (but by no means all) in the previous title.
-Characters of Middle-earth (from old ICE's Middle-earth Role-playing game). This is one of the few places to get some of Angus Mcbride's Tolkien work. If you aren't familiar with him then I suggest looking him up on google images--he's one of my 10 ten. This book can be had on the secondary market for 30--40 ish, if you don't mind a used copy.
-Middle-earth: Visions of a Modern Myth, Donato Giancola. His realistic style and smooth technique reminds me of the Neoclassicists and Pre-Raphaelites.
-John Howe's art books (Magic and Myth, Fantasy Art Workshop, Designing Dragons). Each of these includes some Tolkien-related work, but is not focused on it.
-Various Calenders. I know there are people that collect these, and they can get to high prices over the years.
-The Tolkien Years of the Brothers Hildebrandt. Although there are some great pieces in here, and I can appreciate their technical qualities, I'm not crazy about some of the brother's design choices. Their orcs are dead-ringers for Maleficent's minions from Sleeping beauty, for instance, and Strider...well, maybe the less said on him the better. Still, the text is charming, and consists of one of the brother's son's recollections of the times these images were created in the 70's when he posed for the hobbits. I would still recommend this book.
-The Tolkien Scrapbook (aka A Tolkien Treasury). In addition to some artwork, this contains articles, poetry, etc. There are a few Tim Kirk color paintings in the middle, but otherwise black and white drawings, which, while not up to Lee or Howe standard are still nice. They certainly look different than what is presented in the films.
-Meditations on Middle-earth. This is a book of essays from writers on Tolkien. While the essays are occasionally repetitive, it's worth the price for the John Howe pencil illustrations alone.
-Various artists, Middle-earth: The Wizards Collectible Card Game. This is an old game from the mid-90's. There is a lot of artwork from this game, of various quality. Of course, the prints are quite small. Some heavy-hitters from the Tolkien artists hall of fame here.
-Which brings me to The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game, from Fantasy Flight Games. This is a current game, still being supported. The artwork is good overall, and tends to be more realistic than the previous game.
-The Music of The Lord of the Rings. This book is on the creation and instrumentation of the score of the films, but has many images including photos but also artwork.
-A Tolkien Journal, by Running Press. A blank book with glued binding (boooo!----the bane of my book-collecting). Contains a drawing on each page, some pretty nice (Treebeard, some of the landscapes and horses), but the faces are not right (especially the elves). Also, the artwork starts repeating about 2/3 of the way through. It's not an expensive book, even new, and it can be nice to see different perspectives than those presented in the films.
-Tolkien's World: A Guide to the Peoples and Places of Middle-earth, Gareth Hanrahan and Peter Mckinstry. A new work; features digital art.
-Tolkien: The Illustrated Encylopedia, by David Day. Numerous illustrators, some interested me more than others, but on the whole not exactly a home run. You can find better reference works. I would probably not recommend this work, sadly.
-A Tolkien Bestiary, by David Day. Much overlap with the above encyclopedia, although there are some different pieces.
-The Altas of Middle-earth, by Karen Wynn Fonstad. A book of different type of artwork, but it is handy to see how things fit together, especially (for me) about the Silmarillion. (I've seen that John Howe also produced some maps under the title "The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth", but I haven't picked them up)
-Illustrated editions:
-TLotRs, illustrated by Alan Lee (famous edition with recognizable paintings)
-The Hobbit, illustrated by Alan Lee (has pencil drawings in addition to paintings. Nice.)
-The Hobbit, illustrated by Michael Hague
-The Hobbit, graphic novel by Charles Dixon and David Wenzel
-The Annotated Hobbit, Douglas Anderson (includes illustrations from foreign editions of the work)
-The Silmarillion, illustrated by Ted Naismith
-Both Easton Press and The Folio Society have released TH, tLotRs, and TS w/ illustrations. Folio Society's have wood-block print illustrations throughout the 5 volumes, Easton only has unique illustrations, also in a b/w wood-block style, in tLotRs volumes. Overall, I prefer The Folio Society's illustrations.
-The Children of Hurin, illustrated by Alan Lee (paintings and splendid pencil drawings)
-Tales from the Perilous Realm, again illustrated by Alan Lee
A few other books that have some Tolkien art in them but are mostly about other topics:
-Shadowline: The Art of Iain McCaig. There is a cool picture of Gandalf and Bilbo outside Bag End at the end of the book.

Other sources I'm aware of but don't own:
-Cor Blok (calender, etc)
-The Hobbit Companion, by David Day and Lydia Postma. Some may consider the artwork nice (a reviewer on Amazon referred to it as "gorgeous") but I do not prefer it.

Does anyone know of other sources of Middle-earth art, particularly in print?

Registered User

Mar 1 2013, 6:49pm

Post #2 of 2 (227 views)
few more: [In reply to] Can't Post

-Alan lee also has some desk calendars with some drawing not published elsewhere.
-The LotR's Weapons and Warfare (based on films) has some artwork not available in other sources. Bet you can't guess what the content is!
-Running Press also put out "A Walk Through the Shire," another journal with drawings from Michael Green, this time with NO repeats (thankfully) and all centered around hobbits.
-Darrel Sweet's art book, "Beyond Fantasy" has some images from his '82 calendar. Some favorite great and famous ones: his Fall of Numenor, and image of Gandalf and the dwarves in the eagles eyrie. Although, it must be said, I found some of his choices questionable (Thranduil with long flowing beard, orcs/uruks that are boars with helmets, etc).
-"Garlands of Fantasy" collects Roger and Linda's work. The Tolkien material is a contrast to Lee/Howe.
-On the more recent side, "Fantasy+3: Best Hand-Painted Illustrations" has a few Tolkien-themed pieces. Worth a look, especially if you are a fan of fantasy art in general.


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