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 :


  1. Loving the Blog and look forward to future posts. Take care,

  2. Great piece. I didn't know he was from Vancouver...