Monday, February 20, 2012

Tolkien Artiist #3 : Alan Lee

Alan Lee  was born on 20 August 1947 in Middlesex, England and studied at the Ealing School of Art.

Alan Lee, Like John Howe, is now famous due to the work he has done for Peter Jackson's adaptation of the Lord of the Rings.
On the extended Dvd's we saw the story of how they recuited Lee for the conceptual work. Being a bit reclussive and hard to reach. But we are thankful they did manage to bring him on board. Alan is now working on the Hobbit movies in New Zealand.

Alan's paintings are vivid. The light and dark colours
bring a sense of realism and characteristics to the paintings. Like John Howe, Alan is a amzing sketcher. You might of see John and Alan in the new video blog from the set of the Hobbit and how they are drawing in 3D ! a new innovation in film conceptual art.

Alan is a soft spoken man, gentle and extremely polite. He does seem shy, but he knows his Tolkien.

He's painted for countless calendars and illustrated the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Children of Hurin. Water colour is Lee's main feature along with pencil sketching.

In the extended Dvd's, Alan lee's art is featured on the disks and covers. I'm perticualarly fond of his tree's. Narly and sinister looking. I do sketch a little and I always wish that I had a quater of Lee's skill. He did mention that, while working on the movies, some people comented that the only way to lessen the work on building the sets was to break his fingers. He add's so much detail.

Alan lives in England. And as far as this blogger is concerned, is the only Tolkien artist Academy award winner for best art direction. Again I must say that I'm ver much looking forward to the extended edition's of the Hobbit, to see what the process was like for Howe & Lee and the art concept they made towards bringing this amazing story to film.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tolkien Artists Part 2: Ted Nasmith

Ted Nasmith is another great Tolkien illustrator from Canada. Born in the Mid 1950's in Goderich, Ontario, into a military family.Because his father was in the Royal Canadian Air Force his early childhood was a series of moves. He would settle in Toronto by his late teen years.

His sister would introduce him to Tolkien. That would awaken something in him (as Tolkien does to all) and he would go on to say "It opened up in me a dormant love of lost and misty times, myth and legend. Not since childhood had I felt such a sense of 'home', unaware of the effects the intervening years had had in displacing it. I began immediately to draw scenes inspired by this magical, nostalgic realm, becoming absorbed for many hours at a time."

His work was made famous by the Calendars in which they would appear. Tolkien publishers had placed four of his paintings in their calendar in 1987.And he would go on, adding new paintings through the years  1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010.. Nasmith is also a Tolkien scholar and member of the Tolkien Society.

He was asked to work on the conceptual team for Peter Jackson's adaptation of LotR's but he declined due to personal reasons.

Ted's art is simply amazing. I find the best work are the ones where nature owns the frame. He has an amazing ability to make Rocks and trees look absolutely real. One of my all time favorites of Nasmiths is the Grey Havens painting. (shown bellow) It has all the beauty of Middle Earth and the sadness of the Elves leaving for the Undying lands. The moon's reflection on the water and the dead grass makes one almost smell the cold sea air.

 "I instinctively relate to the whole phenomenon that is Tolkien’s Middle-earth, for surely his work bears comparison with the most intricately plotted, most imaginative literature ever written. I have a deep inner conviction that I am capable of interpreting his words through my artwork with a high degree of integrity. There’s a strong desire in me to expand on his imaginary world through the medium of illustration."

Nasmith doesn't keep the artist within a secret. His also a very talented musician. Guitar, bass, vocals. This boy's a triple threat. I sincerely invite you to check out his website for more info and art :

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tolkien Artists : part 1 John Howe

John Howe is one of the most celebrated Tolkien artists today. born August 21, 1957 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
If you own a collection of Tolkien books you are already familiar with Howe's work. In fact the Bag end that we all now know and love from Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings is due to Howe's paintings.Along with the Balrog, and Rivendel and Gandlaf.

John has painted hundreds of Tolkien related material. From The Silmarillion,LotRs,The Hobbit, Unfinished tales and beyond. This is probably why Peter Jackson wanted him so badly for the concept art on the films. And Howe is currently hard at work on the Hobbit movies along with his friend Allan Lee.Being an asset to the Weta concept department and a key artist in the overall look of the films.

My favorites from Howe's work happens to be his sketches. He draws hauntingly well. And there's a sense of malice in his Golum sketches. The characters pain and unnatural long miserable life explained within the pencil markings.In fact Andy Circus said that the image that stuck with him the most and gave him his inspiration for his characterization of Gollum was this very drawing (top) One of my personal favorites is Howe's battle of the five armies sketch he drew for the Map to the Hobbit. I look at that with longing to see the film and the massive battle at the end that will, I'm sure, be epic in scale.Making the Battle for helms Deep look like a picnic. His art shows action and keeps the eye entertained. I often find that the sound track to the movies play well with his work. If you got a few bucks to spend, I would suggest buying some of his art. It would look great over your Tolkien book collection. And it would be the main conversation piece of your overall collection. Having a stunning JH painting would make you the envy amongst your fellow hobbit friends!

John Howe is now living in Neuchatel, Switzerland. One year after graduating from high school, he studied in a college in Strasbourg, France, then at the Ecole des Arts D√©coratifs. He also happens to have a love for medieval armour and weaponry.Which gives him an edge when drawing or painting army's and warriors with a sense of realism to the armour. He also has a deep love of landscapes and trees. Specifically, odd trees growing out of a rock face or odd angles. Seeing his Facebook pics gives us a clear view of his favorites in the New Zealand Islands. John is a amazing artist and hard working.The man never seems to be short of ideas for his work. I look forward to the behind the scenes of the Hobbit,(extended editions) and see more of Howe's work and involvement with the film. Check him out here :