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Tolkien Illustrated: Fan Art III--Movie-Based Fan Art
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Sandicomm
Bree


Mar 1 2007, 3:54am

Post #1 of 46 (869 views)
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Tolkien Illustrated: Fan Art III--Movie-Based Fan Art Can't Post

When the idea of talking about Tolkien-related art first came up in the Reading Room, I remember thinking, "Wow, a lot of fan art is just based on the movies!" I spoke with my sister about this, and she said, in affect, that this just shows the staying power of the movies--the casting was so "perfect" that no one can imagine the characters looking or acting differently. This is similar to what Curious has said in the "Elements of Tolkien Fan Art" thread:

"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."

However, I do believe that movie-based fan art has value (even though it was very frustrating to comb through Rolozo and find page after page after page of movie fan art, when all you needed was some anime-style fan art! Grr!) Our very own Ainu Laire and Daughter of Nienna have made drawings directly inspired by the movies. Anyone giving these wonderful drawings a quick glance would think that Laire and DoN (if I may call you that) simply copied photographs and movie stills. This is hardly the case--the two have put their own emotions and individuality in these pieces.

Here are a few more paintings directly inspired from the movies. I think that we can all agree that even though the composition or sitter is clearly taken from a still or photo, the artist has put his or her own stamp on it.

Adam McDaniel

Chris Hoffman


Soni Alcorn-Hender

Tamara Johnston

Ivyetta Grubb

I wanted to save Ebe Kastein for the last day, which will spotlight artists with truly unique styles (and Ms. Kastein is definitely awesome ridic, AKA amazing), but her Arwen is suspiciously movie-like. One more interesting thing about Ms. Kastein's work: even though most of her characters are modeled off of the movie actors, her clothing designs are entirely original. In the last thread, Drogo noticed that many artists dress the characters the way Ms. Dawson did. I just wanted to prove him wrong. Wink

Comments? Thoughts?



(This post was edited by Sandicomm on Mar 1 2007, 3:58am)


a.s.
Valinor


Mar 1 2007, 11:35am

Post #2 of 46 (532 views)
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"Tolkien" fan art, or "Jackson" fan art? [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I think I might have to open with the fact that I like the movies, own all three extended versions and still occasionally watch them (mostly FOTR). So I really have no objection per se to fan art based on the movies I love.

But I really get the impression after awhile that the fan art based on the movies is really a paean to Jackson's vision, and not Tolkien's. If "fan art" means art based on another artist's work, then "movie" fan art is based on Jackson, not Tolkien.

This is particularly true for me in fan art depictions of Jackson's hobbits, who are nowhere near what I envision as hobbits; in fact, the movie hobbits don't get any closer to reality (so to speak) than do any other artist's hobbits that I've seen. They are quite obviously just cute little men with hairy feet, and while that's not too far from Tolkien, it's not too close, either.

So a fan art depiction of Frodo a la Wood, for instance, might be a lovely picture based on the movie. But it's really a picture of Wood dressed up like Frodo. I quite enjoy looking at the resulting art, but hesitate to call it "Tolkien" fan art.

a.s.

"an seileachan"

Everybody's wondering what and where they all came from.
Everybody's worried 'bout where they're gonna go when the whole thing's done.
No one knows for certain, and so it's all the same to me:
I think I'll just let the mystery be.
~~~~Iris DeMent


squire
Half-elven


Mar 1 2007, 12:05pm

Post #3 of 46 (482 views)
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Very well said [In reply to] Can't Post

Just what I was thinking of writing this morning, and look, here it is already.



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, 12:20pm

Post #4 of 46 (481 views)
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Good distinction [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a book-firster who does still like the films, warts and all, but I do see a difference between art that is inspired by Tolkien and art inspired by the Jackson vision of Tolkien. The two blur, in large part because a great many have been so deeply influenced by both, but I still see a differnece.

Now my fan art is based on the Bros. Hildebrandt and Ralph Bakshi with a hint of Cor Blok and Darrell Sweet. I like child Hobbits with knights and Rangers in miniskirts fighting alligator-like rotoscoped Orcs and Balrogs with fur.



Okay, that last part was a joke. Sort of.


(Formerly drogo of the two names!)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 1 2007, 1:46pm

Post #5 of 46 (458 views)
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The lines are blurred [In reply to] Can't Post

between movie-based visions and illustrators' visions because Jackson was influenced by a number of illustrators (in addition to the two he persuaded to join the endeavour). So the look of a number of classic scenes is right out of illustrations that were already familiar to many fans. This site has some interesting comparisons that make the point.

As far as the look of the characters goes, I agree with a.s. that basing illustrations on the actors' portrayals does move one step further away from Tolkien. However, I do prefer to see hobbits who are real human beings rather than the caricatured creatures that many illustrators have come up with. It's true that Tolkien describes them physically in a rather caricatured way, but he then proceeds to ignore their physical appearance most of the time, and show us their very human hearts. I think this is one thing that works very well in the movies - once you get the hobbits away from the "big folk", they become fully, naturally and recognizably human, just as they do in the book.

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


Curious
Half-elven

Mar 1 2007, 7:36pm

Post #6 of 46 (474 views)
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Curious doesn't know what he is talking about. [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry, I just like the idea of starting an argument with myself. Thanks for quoting me. I will say that my statement offered several possibilities, some of which were very different from your sister's suggestion. But yes, all those portraits based on the movies are a tribute to the quality of the movies. If the movies sucked, no one would use them as a model.

But I find it interesting that the fan art focuses heavily on portraits of the main characters, and especially the most attractive characters. I don't see lots of drawings of Jackson's version of Treebeard, for example, or his orcs, or even his version of Rivendell. I don't even see many pictures of Denethor, who is, after all, human, but not particularly endearing or attractive.

Many of the portraits are close-ups, too, of the faces of the attractive characters. It seems as if the artists want to be up close and personal with the characters they like the best. It's not all about sexual attraction, since Gandalf isn't particularly sexy but is often drawn. But it is, I judge, often about attraction, and Gandalf is an attractive character. On the other hand there are several characters who are sexually attractive, and an element of fandom that proclaims their attraction loudly, and often rather possessively. Just look at an Estrogen Island thread sometime, if we still can.

I don't think your drawing from Ebe Kastein falls in the same category as the others, and I'm also not convinced that she meant to capture Liv Tyler in the role, although she may have been influenced by her. Those who really want to capture Liv Tyler on paper make it obvious whom they have drawn. And they are likely to show her in her costumes from the movie. There's also a fair amount of fan art that captures the actors in street clothes, just as there's a fair amount of pictures like that on the internet.

In short, I think that drawing a close-up portrait of an attractive movie character's face is a way of creating intimacy with that character, or that actor, or that dream person, if you will. It isn't necessarily sexual intimacy, although it can have a sexual element to it. But such a portrait requires studying the face in all its detail, and capturing it on paper. Why do that for no money unless it is a pleasure?


Darkstone
Immortal


Mar 1 2007, 8:42pm

Post #7 of 46 (452 views)
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Make the movies more like the book? [In reply to] Can't Post

I note Chris Hoffman makes his McKellen more "pointy", which brings him more in line with the book Gandalf. And he makes Holm's physique nice and round, which makes him more in line with book Bilbo.

So perhaps some fans use art to rehabilitate visual aspects of the movies that they find objectionable, and thus find a following of like minded individuals.

Pippin: "When you guys fall, does it make a sound?"
Bregalad: "Are you kidding? Scott fell last week and he hasn't shut up about it since."


Reera the Red
Rivendell

Mar 1 2007, 9:57pm

Post #8 of 46 (476 views)
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Are we looking at the same image? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Those who really want to capture Liv Tyler on paper make it obvious whom they have drawn. And they are likely to show her in her costumes from the movie.

That Ebe Kastein painting is not only quite clearly Liv Tyler, she is wearing one of the costumes from the movie -- all the artist did was change the colors. And she's posed like one of the publicity shots I've seen most often.

And Kastein is doing other film-based artwork. Look at the Faramir & Boromir pic a couple past the Arwen & Melian one.


Curious
Half-elven

Mar 1 2007, 10:41pm

Post #9 of 46 (472 views)
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I bow to your superior knowledge. [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't recognize her, but then I'm not that familiar with her. And I certainly am not familiar with what she wore in the movies.


Reera the Red
Rivendell

Mar 1 2007, 10:56pm

Post #10 of 46 (426 views)
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Compare... [In reply to] Can't Post

...the image sandicomm linked to, to this one.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Mar 1 2007, 11:08pm

Post #11 of 46 (479 views)
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Similar pose and dress, but different faces. [In reply to] Can't Post

The two faces look quite different to me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Detail from earliest version of Thror's MapTolkien Illustrated! Jan. 29-May 20: Visit the Reading Room to discuss art by John Howe, Alan Lee, Ted Nasmith and others, including Tolkien himself.

Feb. 26-Mar. 4: Fan Artistry.


Reera the Red
Rivendell

Mar 1 2007, 11:37pm

Post #12 of 46 (448 views)
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Really? I find her recognizable. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The two faces look quite different to me.

It's not superb portraiture, but I see a likeness -- certainly at least as much as in her Faramir & Boromir pic.


Sandicomm
Bree


Mar 2 2007, 2:23am

Post #13 of 46 (428 views)
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More Ebe... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Boromir looks even more like Sean Bean in this picture. It's interesting how she's reconciling the actors with her own vision of LOTR. I mean, if everyone in Middle Earth dressed the way she draws them, then it would have been a much happier place without any wars or... or anything because everyone looked and dressed so darn purdy.

Well, we can dream can't we?

(Oh, and her Frodos look a lot like Elijah Wood.)


Beren IV
Gondor


Mar 2 2007, 6:17am

Post #14 of 46 (387 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I tend to regard movie-inspired Tolkien fanart as being something less interesting than fan art based on Tolkien's books themselves, for two major reasons. First, fan art is by nature visual, as is cinema, and Peter Jackson already presented us with a very visual depiction of what Tolkien's world looks like. So in many ways, movie-based fan art to me feels like just copying what Peter Jackson has already done: it's just re-making something that already exists, it is nothing new. Book-based art is new, however, because it's taking something that is not visual and making it visual.

The second reason why I see movie-inspired art as being less interesting is verymuch related to the first, i.e. we've seen it before. Now, I will make one exception to this: artwork that uses movie characters in settings not in the movies is different. A Viggo-inspired Aragorn's adventures as Thorongil, for instance, or using movie-inspired designs of weapons and armor in depicting the battles of Dale and Erebor, scenes that were not in the movie. Or, if you will, actually remaking PJ's movie: allowing Gandalf to transform into his Angellic Maia form while plummeting and fighting with PJ's balrog. It might be cool to see what Olórin looks like when he's "uncloaked"! Smile


This, I think, is the quintessential lure of fanart that most movie-based fanart lacks: it is something new, something we haven't seen before, either in the artist's novel interpretation or in being a scene, character, or place, that has not been depicted before in a given medium or style. A portrait of Aragorn who looks like Viggo is a good concept piece, but not pleasing artwork. An image of Aragorn, who looks like Viggo, actually doing something that he doesn't do on-camera in the film is another matter entirely. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing a drawing of Cate Blanchet in armor and fighting against Fëanor in Aqualondë! Wink


Atlas
Bree


Mar 2 2007, 9:26am

Post #15 of 46 (375 views)
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I would say rather [In reply to] Can't Post

they are a tribute to the popularity of the movies. Quality and popularity are often, though not always linked. I don't think the movies were that great, really. To deny their popularity would be ridiculous, however.


In Reply To
But yes, all those portraits based on the movies are a tribute to the quality of the movies. If the movies sucked, no one would use them as a model.


"The grand scheme of God is inscrutable; the object of life is virtue, not pleasure; and obedience, not liberty, is the means of its attainment." ~Russell Kirk


Daughter of Nienna
Grey Havens


Mar 2 2007, 10:29am

Post #16 of 46 (396 views)
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I prefer the characters with lots of “character” [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
But I find it interesting that the fan art focuses heavily on portraits of the main characters, and especially the most attractive characters. I don't see lots of drawings of Jackson's version of Treebeard, for example, or his orcs, or even his version of Rivendell. I don't even see many pictures of Denethor, who is, after all, human, but not particularly endearing or attractive.


I think maybe the younger artists do the more attractive characters. But, I can only speak for myself and I am not a young artist. I prefer the characters with lots of “character” in their face. Bilbo’s face was enormous fun and so was Gandalf’s, with all the crags and crannys.

The characters I chose are taken from a list of favorite characters from my friends in my Tolkien group.

Next up on my list of to-draws are Gollum, an Orc, and maybe the Witchking down the road. I am still trying to get through the fellowship.

You have inspired me with thoughts of Treebeard. He may just be my first non-movie character. I have been thinking lately of going to the nearby park or graveyard and drawing trees, just for fun. I might do that and eventually find my “Treebeard” in one. (I really don’t like how the movie Treebeard looks.) We have wonderful Banyon trees that come with their own ‘beards’. Oooh I am getting excited by the thought of creating my own Treebeard.

Mahalo for that.



Quote
Many of the portraits are close-ups, too, of the faces of the attractive characters. … It seems as if the artists want to be up close and personal with the characters they like the best. It's not all about sexual attraction… In short, I think that drawing a close-up portrait of an attractive movie character's face is a way of creating intimacy with that character…


Here’s the thing with movie shots, its film! And with film, whether it is stills or moving images, most shots are very close.
In my very first photography class, the teacher gave us a mysterious first assignment…all he said was “four feet”, to be interpreted is whatever way we thought that meant. It was a test to see where we were at as beginners. It turned out that he meant to get within 4 feet of the subject.
Most pedestrian photographers step way too far back. The subject is too small, the composition too cluttered with superfluous detail, and it is done in what is termed: “Point and Shoot”. In other words like an amateur with no training or practice -- just points at posed subjects and shoots -- as opposed to how an artist might compose the shot considering design, pattern and shape and composition.
There were many shots I wanted to draw, but the heads were cropped off, especially Gandalf. PJ liked to get in very close to Gandalf. Perhaps because it made him seem even more bigger-than-life. That is very typical of film, moving images more so than stills, but both get very close because that is how you can control what gets inside the frame and what is included in your composition. Good Photography is very graphic, not cluttered.
Cinematographers and Directors do want to get intimate with an actor playing a character. You are right about that. But that is the filmmaker’s choice… that is most filmmakers’ choice.

Thus, the limitation of choosing screen shots as models.

Websites Directory, my drawings, Aloha & Mahalo


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


Daughter of Nienna
Grey Havens


Mar 2 2007, 11:09am

Post #17 of 46 (383 views)
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screen shots as ready-made models [In reply to] Can't Post

I cannot speak for other artists, only myself. I chose to use screen shots for practical reasons…they make ready-made models to draw from. It is not because I am film fan, tough I am but because the characters have not jumped out of the book to model for me . . . yet! But I am keeping an open mind.

I am a book fan more than a movie fan. I do not consider my drawings to be film inspired, but rather, inspired by friends and what they like.

I have done portraits from photos before and so it was not such a giant leap for me to use screen shots. I call my drawings portrait drawings rather than ‘Fantasy Art’ or even Fan Art. I discovered a fondness for Portrait Drawing in the process. I love the way light forms shape and thrill at being able to recreate that using chiascurro . To me it is like sculpting with pencil. It allows me to make my subjects appear as they might walk right off the page and start talking. I especially like to create texture and have a talent for the detail. The only way I can do that is with models or from photos. Because I work slowly, I prefer photos (that is where screen shots come in).

I strive also to capture a certain essence of a character that means something to me. I especially like to capture a certain moment…like a portrait of a moment not just a character. Something that speaks to some meaningful aspect of the story. Preferably from the book that the film captured sublimely.

My original purpose and intent is to make drawings for friends in my Tolkien group as gifts. I never intended them for any other use, except maybe as an excellent opportunity to practice drawing.

My own thoughts are: both are valid and both have value. Naturally I agree that to create something totally original out of my own head is something I want to strive for. As a viewer, I myself prefer original art. So I understand the sentiments expressed. Originality, to me is creating something new, never seen before. Invention! That indeed holds a value all its own and is a high ideal. And, not so easy to achieve.

Yet that does not mean it has that to be either-or…that one has to be dis-regarded as non-valid… and all my years of school and practice, skill and ability (not to mention the love I put into it), are to be so easily kicked aside, just because I chose to use screen shots to draw from. I think I can apply these thoughts to other artists as well.

I believe there is room for us all. After-all Quality of art operates on a continuum, rather than an all-or-none basis. There are many levels of quality. And skill moves on an incline, hopefully.

Websites Directory, my drawings, Aloha & Mahalo


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


Curious
Half-elven

Mar 2 2007, 1:20pm

Post #18 of 46 (433 views)
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Bilbo and Gandalf are attractive, though. [In reply to] Can't Post

So is Thoeden. I did note that there are lots of Gandalf pictures, and that by attractive I do not necessarily mean hot young actors, although that may be important to some amateur artists. And there are exceptions, of course. I'm just reporting on a brief impression based on glancing through thumbprints of fan art.

You make an interesting point about how movies get close to actors' faces. I remember stage actors talking about how that affects what they do, since they have to be much more subtle on screen than on stage.

By the way, I very much admire your art. I also like the character of older faces, especially in black and white. I have a photo of my great grandmother on my wall at work that is quite striking.


White Gull
Lorien


Mar 2 2007, 2:24pm

Post #19 of 46 (396 views)
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I understand what you're saying [In reply to] Can't Post

But I have to say, when I first saw the movies, I was stunned to find how exactly, in almost every case, the cast fit my own perceptions of Tolkien's characters, which I had loved for over 30 years. Oddly, one exception was Frodo. He'd always been my favorite character, but I'd never settled on a visualization of his face. I did have several sketches in my mind to choose from, though. One of the first things I did when I knew the movies were coming out was to pick up a magazine and turn to the cast. I didn't look in the order they were given. I turned to Gandalf first. I was very impressed. Legolas second. I was amazed. Aragorn third. WOW! They were so very close to how I'd pictured them. Then, I turned to Frodo. I was blown away. He was younger than I'd pictured him, but he exuded the beauty of Frodo's soul.

So, it's a bit difficult to draw the line between Jackson fan art and Tolkien fan art, for me.

WG
Oh, and Sam was the big exception. Sean Astin was far better than my visualization. I'd always pictured a short version of Gomer Pyle. :)


White Gull
Lorien


Mar 2 2007, 2:29pm

Post #20 of 46 (401 views)
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I agree with what you said about the hobbits! [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thinking the same thing. I'd never liked alot of fan art (Rankin Bass included) that depicted hobbits. To me, they were real, loveable people, small, but not assinine.

WG


Curious
Half-elven

Mar 2 2007, 3:32pm

Post #21 of 46 (373 views)
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The lips are not big enough. [In reply to] Can't Post

She is Steven Tyler's daughter, after all. Perhaps the artist modified the face slightly, as she did the color of the clothes, while still using the movie picture as a model.


Sandicomm
Bree


Mar 2 2007, 3:49pm

Post #22 of 46 (382 views)
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I must confess [In reply to] Can't Post

that when I was researching fan art for this discussion, I would stumble upon an artist and yell, "Not another movie-based piece!" I do get bored of seeing them. But I also think that not all movie-based artists are created equal, as we will see in tonight's discussion. There are artists who clearly copy from movie stills and don't add anything to the piece. They are incredible draftsmen, but they do not put any emotion into their pieces. Then you have artists like DoN, Laire, and others that have been posted above. I chose them because I felt they do add much to the movies. Even if the drawing is only a portrait, we can feel emotion and character coming from them. I will post some more of DoN's pieces tonight that exhibit her talent more fully.


White Gull
Lorien


Mar 2 2007, 7:31pm

Post #23 of 46 (359 views)
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She's not [In reply to] Can't Post

Angelina Jolie, after all.

(Sorry, but hey, it's me.)


Daughter of Nienna
Grey Havens


Mar 2 2007, 8:10pm

Post #24 of 46 (382 views)
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Théoden [In reply to] Can't Post

I completely agree about Théoden as an attractive character, I definitely intend on drawing him.

Younger drawers may not respond the same way though. I only say that because youth tends to respond more to the external, then later they gain an appreciation for internal attractiveness. (This is just an observation of the general flow of things, not a commentary of whether that is good or bad. Perhaps it's just the natural order.) Of course there are exceptions.

To me his attractivenes comes in what Théoden stands for, what his choices are. I will probably look through dozens of shots over and over before deciding on the one or two I want to draw. It will have to be from some special moment that illustrates this, and hopefully he won't be cropped.

The external aspect of his attractivenesss to me is in the detail in his costume. Two of my best are Éowyn in Armor and Boromir, mostly because of the detail. I can get very obsessive about it. But its fun to me.

I do have a Rivendell. I have not posted it yet. The subject is not Rivendell tself, it is a moment between Gandalf and Frodo. I may post it soon.

Thank you for you comments about my work. They really mean a lot ot me. So do your insights in these discussions.

Websites Directory, my drawings, Aloha & Mahalo


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


Daughter of Nienna
Grey Havens


Mar 2 2007, 8:32pm

Post #25 of 46 (435 views)
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I had teh same reaction to the film characters [In reply to] Can't Post

I discovered things about the characters that I missed reading the books because of how they were cast and dow well they were brought to life. This is most true for me with Sam. He became my favorite character after the movies.

The films were great at capturing moments between characters and the essence of a character. I do not care too much for how the script messed with these characters' choices though (different subject). yet the actors were wonderful.

My one exception was Elrond. I like that actor, but his delivery of some of his lines irked me. Especially in the study scene with Gandalf just before the council. He sounded too angry and too much like he was arguing that Frodo 'had' to go on the quest because of all that was going on. It just irked me.



Quote
But I have to say, when I first saw the movies, I was stunned to find how exactly, in almost every case, the cast fit my own perceptions of Tolkien's characters, which I had loved for over 30 years. Oddly, one exception was Frodo. He'd always been my favorite character, but I'd never settled on a visualization of his face. I did have several sketches in my mind to choose from, though. One of the first things I did when I knew the movies were coming out was to pick up a magazine and turn to the cast. I didn't look in the order they were given. I turned to Gandalf first. I was very impressed. Legolas second. I was amazed. Aragorn third. WOW! They were so very close to how I'd pictured them. Then, I turned to Frodo. I was blown away. He was younger than I'd pictured him, but he exuded the beauty of Frodo's soul.

So, it's a bit difficult to draw the line between Jackson fan art and Tolkien fan art, for me.

WG
Oh, and Sam was the big exception. Sean Astin was far better than my visualization. I'd always pictured a short version of Gomer Pyle. :)


Websites Directory, my drawings, Aloha & Mahalo


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

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