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Talks with Tolkien artists: kallielef

Journal Entry: Sun Apr 24, 2016, 12:51 AM


:iconkallielef: - kallielef is not afraid to explore the different aspects and possibilities of the relationship of Thorin and Bilbo, but not only that. Whatever interesting theme you will find depicted in her gallery, not from the Hobbit and LotR fandom only, but from several others as well, is drawn in a beautiful style of digital art, as you can see in these few examples:

Heart of the Mountain by kallielef A King's Remorse by kallielef
It Is Mine To Give by kallielef Vegetable Pickings by kallielef
Fem!Bilbo Wedding Dress by kallielef Fem!Bilbo (Pt.2) by kallielef

1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?


I'm a traditional abstract painter turned digital (and traditional) illustrator, specifically with a focus in fantasy art. Currently working as a freelance artist where I create both traditional and digital pieces in a variety of styles.

2. It is interesting to find out the stories behind people's usernames. What is yours?

I wanted something fairly easy to remember, so I decided to make it my first name along with the first part of my last name, so instead of kallie lefave you have kallielef. A lot of people mistake it for kallie leaf, which sort of ties in to my love for nature, so it's a happy accident!

3. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

I read The Hobbit years ago, but picked it up again before the theatrical release. I then started reading the Lord of the Rings series, and am currently working my way through The Silmarillion. The Hobbit left me with a lasting impression of whimsy and wonder, and a love for Hobbits. This of course continued into the LotR series, and I loved the strength in the various relationships throughout the stories along with the beautiful environments. The Silmarillion has been a very fascinating read with it's many detailed and colorful characters and the history of Middle Earth and Arda itself.

4. Did you read the books, or see the movies first? If the books were first, when the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well? Did you try to prevent it? And if the movies were first, how much did the movies influence your imagination when reading the books?

I read The Hobbit before seeing the film, so I was of course very intrigued by Jackson's concepts and depictions of the book, especially its characters. I loved the design I had conjured up for Bilbo and Thorin in the book, but I fell in love with the actors and their portrayals in the film. Richard Armitage brought strength and majesty to Thorin Oakenshield, which encouraged me to want to invest more time in fantasy art and character design.

I saw the Lord of the Rings films before reading the series, and it of course greatly impacted the way I "read or saw" the characters in the books. In some ways the theatrical release beautified the characters and scenery more than my imagination would have, and again I was greatly inspired by the films and the work put into them.

5. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?

Not very. I try to keep up with the myth and lore I read on various sites, checking up on fan pages and researching the languages. It helps me to stay abreast on some topics so that the Tolkien inspired works I create are as close to canon as possible.

6. Who is your favourite Tolkien character and why?


I have always had a soft spot for Bilbo because he's the character I can relate the most to (enjoys the comforts of home, food, a good party, long walks and nature). But he also inspires me to be brave and go above and beyond the call of (human) duty and reason, helping others and solving problems (riddles too of course).

7. Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?

I graduated from college with my Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art, and am currently working as a freelance artist. I've been drawing since a very young age, and am currently pursuing and trying to achieve a more painterly and realistic quality to my work. I was influenced by my parents who are both artists, who both work primarily in line work. I went on to be greatly influenced by Golden Illustration, animation, classical and modern art, and contemporary illustration and design.

8. How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?

If it's a personal work, I base them off of however I am feeling about a particular character and/or situation at that moment. I love creating scenes full of emotion and movement, they inspire both the expression of the brush stroke and the feeling evoked from the process.

9. You explore various Hobbit related ideas in your gallery: fem!Bilbo, inclusion of original characters, an AU with Thorin surviving the battle... What do you think about the relation between artistic freedom and accuracy with the source material in fan art?

I know that some original creators of series do not appreciate artists creating AUs, gender bending, original characters, etc. because it's removing or altering parts of their story. I believe, and probably most artists do as well, that we only wish to extend and build upon an already amazing platform of story and imagery. The original creator gave us these wonderful people, places, and things and my only desire is to continue their livelihood through new adventures and new characters.

10. A few of your pictures also have the "bagginshield" tag. The pairing of Bilbo and Thorin based on their interaction in the movies is rather popular, so what do you think about this "what if" scenario?

The "what if" of Bagginshield existing? I think that whether you are a believer or appreciator of a platonic or romantic relationship between the two characters, that there is obviously something there. Thorin and Bilbo have a relationship that in the book feels much more platonic and friendly, but in the films Jackson romanticizes the characters, taking stories a bit further. So, I love the idea of them either being very close friends or lovers (another reason I enjoy creating a fem Bilbo for obvious children reasons), as do so many other artists.

11. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?


I love George R.R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, which is like looking into a darker, more grey side of fantasy. The show has also given me great inspiration in its costume, character, and environment design, and so I draw great inspiration from both the show and series, particularly the widely discussed (and argued) relationship of Sansa and Sandor.

I'm currently very inspired by a little game called Dragon Age Inquisition. It has elves, magic, dragons, and drama.....What more could you ask for?

12. What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

My favorite way of working is sketching and line work with a little bit of color washed over it. For a while now I've kept to a familiar and comfortable style, but I'm pushing myself now to work more realistically in both technique and figuratively.

13. Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?

I still consider myself somewhat a beginner having picked up illustration a few years ago, but I am always happy to answer technique and process questions if anyone asks. For just artist advice, one of the biggest things is make sure you're making the art for yourself and not just for other people, because it's easy to get burned out creating if you're not happy or in love with what you're doing. Also, take Kiki breaks when needed; do something other than art to let your mind rest so you'll be ready to come back rejuvenated and ready to work.

14. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?
 
I'm most proud of this sketch drawing I did as it evokes all the feelings I was having about Bilbo, Thorin, and a young Frodo at that moment.
A Smallish Burglar by kallielef

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?

I loved the intimacy and the uncertainty of the environment these two elves find themselves in.
Fear and Pride by kallielef

- a picture that fits your current mood?

Feeling elfy and mischievous!
Melkor by kallielef

- a picture that was hardest to paint?


My hand was very cramped up with trying out blending techniques.
Arbor Blessing by kallielef

- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?

 I particularly love how Bilbo's toes turned out, they are very chunky and childish, as a Hobbit should be! Also, Fall colors.
 Autumn by kallielef


15. What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.


On dA-numerous patrons and supporters, people who have consistently shown an interest in my work and who give wonderful, constructive feedback. There are too many to name. I'm also inspired by some of the artists I've followed for so long, tracyjb, loish, Charlie Bowater and Phobs (girl power)!

Off dA-the wonderful tumblr fandom niches where I've met some incredibly wonderful artists, particularly writers (wonderland, smallest grackle, spirrum). I am so very appreciative of the love and support I've received there as well!

16. Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?

I recently befriended kimberlyparker, a fellow da fan artist, and I'm really intrigued by the expression in her brush and linework, but also the emotion she captures through gesture and color. I'm particularly fond of these two works, especially the story telling in the latter (absolutely fantastic)!

Witchking by kimberlyparkerDragon Age Inquisition Comic (spoilers) by kimberlyparker

17. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?

I love and appreciate the people who follow my work and all of the support that's been given. As much as I love making art for me, it's just as important that I make it for others as well...Something that will leave a lasting impression on their hearts and minds.

Thank you for your time and answers!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: KipRasmussen

Journal Entry: Wed Apr 6, 2016, 1:08 PM


I must apologize for the lateness of posting this interview. The talented Silmarillion illustrator :iconkiprasmussen: - KipRasmussen joined deviantart last year, and I interviewed him soon after that, but some of the questions got cut off from the talk. As he didn't get to replying them later, with his permission I'm posting the talk as it is with an extended feature instead of the missing answers.

Orome Discovers the Lords of the Elves by KipRasmussen Melian and Thingol, med JPEG by KipRasmussen
Luthien Finds Beren by KipRasmussen Glorfindel Duels a Balrog of Morgoth by KipRasmussen
AZAGHAL of BELEGOST vs GLAURUNG at the NIRNAETH by KipRasmussen Beren and Luthien Plight Their Troth by KipRasmussen

1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?


Hi, my name is Kip Rasmussen. Thank you for your interest in my work. I'm a family psychologist by training and trade, and paint scenes from The Silmarillion by night.

2. It is interesting to find out the stories behind people's usernames. What is yours?

It's my real name. My parents share the blame for that one :)

3. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

At age eight, I pulled "The Hobbit" from my brother's bookshelf and read the words, "In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit...." As I read, I realized, even at age eight, that this was something like nothing else in the world. I devoured "Lord of the Rings," and much later in life read "The Silmarillion." To me it's one of the great works of art of all history.

4. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?

I know the stories pretty well, having read them for decades. I don't consider myself a Tolkien scholar. When I choose a scene to illustrate, however, I study the relevant passages closely. I want to be as true to Tolkien's vision as possible.

5. Did you read the books, or see the movies first? When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well? Did you try to prevent it?


I read the books first. Many of my initial images have been replaced. I don't know how to feel about that, but I do think Jackson did a masterful job of many of the elements of the books. His designers really helped, obviously.

6. You joined deviantArt only recently. What is your experience with it so far? Will you be posting more of your works here?

I just joined DA. I'm very impressed by the positive, caring community of Tolkien fans. I have been welcomed so enthusiastically. I am very, very touched by the kindness of the Tolkien community. It's really wonderful, and I hope I can add to the dazzling positivity.

7. Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?


Although I am well into my career, I have only been painting for three years now. I consider myself a student of the painting process. I was influenced by Alan Lee, Jon Howe, and Ted Naismith. All three are absolute masters within their respective areas of strength. I know very few artists of any genre who can surpass what they do best. I've learned a lot from each of them. I also love the work of Frazetta, Franklin Booth, Maxfield Parrish, Roger Dean, and cowboy artists Frank Mccarthy and James Bama.

8. How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?

If another artist has produced a depiction of a scene that is monumental, I kind of leave it alone. It's like a cover version of Kashmir or When the Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin. Why try to improve on perfection? That's how I feel about many of the paintings out there. Fortunately, there are literally hundreds of scenes from The Silmarillion begging to be painted. So, I choose the scenes which move me the most, and which are within my ability level. Some work out, some don't. I'm still learning. That said, I love monsters, warriors, dramatic landscapes, and scenes where great characters fall in love. Tolkien has many of those.

9. What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

I have many obligations, none of which I can ignore--work, family, etc. Because of this, I started in oils, then found that they dry too slowly for the time I had, even with a dryer. I now paint in acrylics and have found them to be right for me.

10. Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?

Work on the compositions first. Most artists I have studied spend many hours or days getting that right. Arrange the major elements in a way that works for you, before you draw or paint the finished product.

Thank you for your time and answers!

Orome Hunts the Monsters of Morgoth by KipRasmussen Morgoth Ensnared by Ungoliant by KipRasmussen
Varda of the Stars by KipRasmussen Tuor and Voronwe Approach the Echoriath of Gondoli by KipRasmussen
Stormcloud Over the Elven Watch on Ard-galen by KipRasmussen Hurin Approaches the Echoriath of Gondolin by KipRasmussen



Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: Qitian

Journal Entry: Tue Mar 29, 2016, 2:42 AM


After the Easter break, I bring you a very interesting interview. :iconqitian: - Qitian is not only an artist, but also fanfiction writer and larper. She followed in Tolkien's footsteps in studying English Philology, and is a second-degree student of Tolkien himself! (meaning that she studied under a professor who was taught by Tolkien :))

You can find her fanfiction stories under the name Lyra in the Silmarillion Writer's Guild here: www.silmarillionwritersguild.o…
And here are a few of her pictures before we get to the talk itself:

Conquest by seduction by Qitian Elwing by Qitian
Le roi est mort, vive le roi by Qitian
Of Eldamar... by Qitian Galadriel by Qitian
Elenna by Qitian


Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?


Hello! I'm a 32-year-old journalist, wannabe artist and writer. I'm the mother of two little boys and living in an old farmhouse in Germany, which might explain why I'm no longer as active in the fandom as I'd like to be. I'm flattered that I still qualify for an interview!

It is interesting to find out the stories behind people's usernames. What is yours?


That's a complicated one! Back in grade 12, I took a Chinese class. As part of that class, we tried to use Chinese names for ourselves. Most of us were happy to use a list of common Western names transliterated into the sound-world of Chinese, but I wasn't satisfied with the choices for most girls' names (including my own), which were all "pretty flower" and "beautiful peach" and whatnot. Being a rebellious teenager, I didn't want any of that! So I made up my own, transliterating "Christiane" into  起天 Qītĭan, which in my head meant "rise up to the sky" or something similarly cool and empowering. Rebellious enough for me! Leaving out the fancy diacritics, that's Qitian. It became my first online handle, and as my preferred user name of Lyra was already taken when I signed up for dA, I fell back on Qitian.

When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

I think I read The Hobbit as a kid, but it didn't leave any particular impression at the time. In fact, for a long time I thought that Tolkien's books wouldn't be my thing at all, because all fantasy books I read as a teenager didn't excite me at all! But in 2000, when I was 17, I came across the Ringspell in a quotes collection, and that resonated with me deeply. So naturally I had to seek out the book that it came from! I bought and read The Lord of the Rings and was absolutely blown away. I loved the feeling that there was a complete world in which this story was set, a world that didn't just serve as a convenient backdrop to the story but had a history and a life of its own. I felt like an anthropologist on a field trip to a strange but very real place!
When she saw that I was ploughing through the Appendices, my judo teacher said "If you enjoy those, you're going to love The Silmarillion!"... so that was next on the list. She was right. I loved it, even though I barely understood it when I first read it!
To this day, I still don't particularly care for most fantasy books - but Tolkien's books feel more like historical fiction to me, and I love that.

When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well? Did you try to prevent it?


That definitely happened to me, yes. I don't even remember how I imagined most of the characters before seeing the first movie teasers! I adopted the depiction from the movies quite happily, except in those cases where the actors didn't match my mental images at all - like in the case of Samwise, Legolas, Boromir, Faramir, Éowyn and Denethor. In those cases, I kept my own ideas in my head. The same goes for the costumes. The movie costumes are way more elaborate and fussy than what I imagined previously, and although I admire the work of the costume department, when I visualise these characters, they tend to wear the simpler designs I had in my mind from the start. I don't think any conscious decision was involved, though. When the movie depiction more or less fitted my inner pictures, they replaced the latter, and when they didn't fit, they never made it in.

How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?

I think I have a pretty informed idea about Middle-earth, especially after co-running the Silmarillion Re-read two years ago, but I'd hesitate to call myself an expert! I know that my knowledge is quite patchy. I really delve into research about characters or settings that I'm interested in, such as Númenor or some of the Fëanorians, but I'm woefully ignorant about other things that I don't care about enough, such as Gondolin or much of The Hobbit. And even in the fields where I feel quite competent, every now and then someone will dig out a detail that I've never come across before! By now, I don't think my knowledge of Middle-earth has any hope of ever being complete. I think people who claim that they know everything about Middle-earth just have no clue how much they don't know!

Who is your favourite Tolkien character, and why?

Do I have to pick just one? That's really hard! There are so many characters about whom I care deeply. But generally, my favourite among the favourites is the character that I'm currently thinking about most.
Right now, that would be Nerdanel. She has very little "screen time" in The Silmarillion, but what we learn about her from there and from the History of Middle-earth etc. makes her such an interesting character. She's an eminent artist and craftswoman; she's smart, but not judgemental; and she not only manages to change Fëanor's mind for a while, but also takes a clear stand when she realises that he's beyond reason. So clearly she's quite independent and true to her own moral compass. And somehow she manages to give birth to and raise seven kids! (I'm sometimes overtaxed with two. ;) (Wink))
Mind you, I also sympathise with Fëanor, who's definitely also a favourite character of mine! So that's complicated. -- Other favourites include Galadriel, Maedhros, Maglor, Eärendil, Elendil, Isildur, Éowyn, Faramir, Samwise and Rosie Cotton.

You have a degree in English Philology, quite like Tolkien himself! Did he have any influence on your choice, and did you encounter his philological works during your studies? What do you think about the fact that he started creating Middle-earth as a background for his made-up languages?

Yes and yes! English happened to be a subject that I enjoyed in school, so choosing it as my major made sense either way. But would I have put so much focus on linguistics if I hadn't known that my favourite author was a linguist? I doubt it - most people I encountered in university, especially during the first years, agreed that linguistics were boring and something that one endured because they were part of the whole "linguistics and literature" setup. After the intermediate exam, I met a few more likeminded people, and I was lucky in that my university had just hired a new professor who did classes on language history. I did encounter some of Tolkien's works in those classes; his work on Beowulf and especially Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is still a staple. I even had a few classes with a guest professor who, when he was young, had studied at Merton College under Lewis and Tolkien! That was quite exciting.
I love the fact that Tolkien made up his world as a playground for his made-up languages. It's such a unique and intriguing approach! You'd generally expect that a fantasy world - languages included - is made up in order to serve whatever story the author wants to tell. Creating the world as well as its history in order to use and explore one's own languages is a bit counter-intuitive, but as we can see, it works really well. It has certainly given us some fantastically convincing constructed languages!

That's fascinating! About those languages, are you also proficient (as much as one can be with the language being artifical and incomplete) in Quenya or Sindarin?

I wish! I can puzzle out (or translate into) Quenya if I have a dictionary and grammar on hand, but in order to be proficient, I'd have to put more effort into actually remembering the grammar and vocabulary. Sindarin, on the other hand, completely eludes me. The sound changes! I just can't wrap my mind around it! So I admire its beauty from afar, but leave the study of it to other people. Quenya at least is a language that I feel comfortable working with. As long as I can look things up.

In your profile you say you are a LARPer. Are these larps Tolkien or fantasy themed as well, and what character(s) do you use to play?

There used to be a Tolkien-themed LARP series (First Age with some liberties) that I attended, but unfortunately the organisers have dropped the Tolkien aspect to reach wider audiences. It was awesome while it lasted, though. Now, the LARPs I participate in have a general fantasy theme - including but not limited to Tolkien's works. I currently play a Númenorean botanist called Khibil. Before Khibil, I played Olóriel, a Noldorin scribe. So I'm still taking my inspiration directly from Tolkien fandom, but many other players base their characters on other backgrounds like DSA (German D&D), Warhammer, or even Real World History. Still, I encounter other Tolkien-focused players as well - not always without complications! Imagine Khibil from Rómenna running into a troup of Third Age Ithílien Rangers. "Why do you keep using the past tense when talking about my home?!"
Oh, I almost forgot about the Rohan LARP series! That was a pretty low-key but very intense. I did not play an intellectual character there, but a simple kitchen maid. So I wasn't involved in any important plotlines or quests, but I got to witness all the exciting goings-on (and gossip about them with my fellow kitchen workers). I sort of miss playing in these small, dedicated groups in a relatively closely delineated setting (preferably Tolkien-based), and I really hope I find another Tolkien LARP eventually. There seem to be some in Poland and Russia, but that's a bit far to travel, and then there's the language barrier...

...and sindarin is hard, right? :D (Big Grin) But you said something about living in an old farmhouse. Is it just living there, or farming as well? How much does it resemble the "idylic" lifestyle of Hobbits?

Nope, no farming! Unfortunately, the people who owned the house before us stopped farming and turned the old dairy and work half of the farmhouse into an apartment. The main stable had already burned out in the 1970s, though the walls were still left, so we could rebuild. We're using part of it as a workshop, and part of it as a laundry room. There's also a big shed and two smaller stables, but they currently just serve as garages. There is so much work to do about the house, which our predecessors left in a pretty bad state, that we can't currently afford investing in animals, although keeping a few pigs or goats is a long-term dream. - However, I do dabble in horticulture (and get more ambitious every year!), and I keep bees, so some Hobbit-style country life does take place! But also a lot of semi-modern DIY.

Maybe also Beorn-style, in that case :) (Smile) Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?

Without the skin-changing. ;) (Wink) I'm a hobby artist, though of course it would be nice to get paid for my art. As for when I started doing it, that's another long story. I know I drew fanart for Jim Knopf when I was four, and for Vicke the Viking when I was seven - though of course I didn't know it was "fanart" at the time! Unfortunately, I never "properly" learned drawing or painting beyond the raw basics taught in school. Somehow, my parents assumed that since I clearly had a basic talent for art, I'd figure it out by myself. In a way, I did - but what I figured out wasn't necessarily the easiest, most efficient or just generally agreed-upon way of doing it, and once I've formed habits, I'm very slow to break them! So I'm taking a lot of detours. I'm slowly picking up better techniques through tutorials and observation, but I'd have to practice a lot more!
Anyway, that ignorance about proper technique has probably influenced my style the most - what others kindly call my "style" is really just the result of my weird way of doing things. But of course there are artists whose style I'd like to emulate, if only I could! As a child, the book illustrations of Ilon Wikland were a huge influence. Just as I was dreaming about writing like Astrid Lindgren, I wanted to draw like Ilon Wikland. Then for a long time I didn't draw scenes or people at all, instead becoming obsessed with landscapes - either impressionist style or in an imitation of Japanese woodcuts. I only began to draw people again when I got into Star Wars fandom, but I can't say that there were any specific artists that inspired me at the time - it was more like a return to my, hm, innocent childhood style. Only with extra lightsabres thrown in.
Then a co-student introduced me to the art of Alphonse Mucha. My art teacher in school probably wasn't a fan of art nouveau and my mom was more interested in the architecture and furniture design of the movement, so I'd never come across the paintings! That was definitely an eye-opener. I'd only just read The Silmarillion and decided that this newly discovered style was just perfect for depicting those epic characters! While my first attempts were rather unconvincing, I still love to apply Mucha's design ideas to Tolkien's characters.
Then I came across the art of Jenny Dolfen (Gold-Seven) at the Game Fair in, uh, 2004 or so. Ironically, it wasn't her Tolkien art that I discovered, but her work on Drow Elves, A Song of Ice and Fire and Blade of the Immortal! I didn't dare to ask for a sketch of Maedhros because I thought he would take too much explaining! I only found out about her Tolkien fanart a lot later, when I'd already tried to produce my own Tolkien art in a sorry imitation of her style. To this day, I try to learn as much from her as I can. There are other fanartists and illustrators whom I admire and pick up little things from, but Jenny's definitely been the most influential one.

You are also a writer, so I would like to ask the same about fanfiction and writing in general as well: When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?

I started writing a little later than I started drawing. ;) (Wink) Looking back, I wrote my very first piece of fanfiction when I was seven - a story about a self-insert character who accompanied Vicke the Viking into the "Cave of a Thousand Dragons". Then, as I said, I aspired to be like Astrid Lindgren and tried to write about my friends' and my playground adventures in our idyllic little village, but as I didn't yet know how to leave out the boring things, that wasn't a particularly good read. ("Afterwards, they had to do maths. On that day, they practiced multiplication. The teacher wrote a couple of problems on the blackboard." ...)
There's a bit of a gap during my teenage years when sports became more important than art or writing, and then there's a time when I wrote only poetry. When Star Wars: Episode I came out, I got sucked into that fandom and wrote some fanfiction about Qui-gon Jinn, on whom I still have a bit of a crush, and some about an X-wing pilot (Force-sensitive, of course!) set during the aftermath of Return of the Jedi. Although I already had regular internet access by that time, I never thought of seeking out other people's fanfic, though. I didn't even know the word! I only learned about that at university. Just when I was disappointed that nobody else in the Department of English Philology seemed to like Tolkien, I overheard two co-students in Japanese class whisper about "bzz bzz bzz Legolas bzz bzz bzz Haldir"! That was how I learned about fanfiction, slash fiction, and Livejournal all in one day... after that, I became an avid reader of fanfiction, but I only started writing my own Tolkien fanfic ("The Tempered Steel", then named "The Plotbunny That Crawled Out Of Angband") in 2007. Back then, I thought I'd only ever have that one story to tell...
I like to think that I have my own style, of course! I'm more confident about my writing than I am about my art. But the kinds of stories that I tend to tell are doubtlessly influenced by a couple of writers whom I admire: J.R.R.Tolkien (everybody act surprised!), Neil Gaiman, Pearl S. Buck, Michael Ende and Astrid Lindgren; and on the fannish side of things, Dawn Felagund and Ithilwen.

As a writer, how do you feel about the position of fanfiction in current literature?

I really wish fanfiction had a better standing. I suppose it isn't surprising that commercial literature looks down on something that's done for free and won't sell, but it's very sad that even within fandom, many people seem to think that fanfiction is purely a guilty pleasure of no merit whatsoever. Even some fanfic authors seem to believe that of themselves! It's even more puzzling for me because, as I've mentioned, my gateway fandom was Star Wars, where there are heaps and heaps of succesful, commercially published offspin fiction in what used to be the Expanded Universe (called Star Wars Legends these days). Some of it was pretty darn good fiction, too! And this is basically licensed fanfic! So from that experience, I knew that derivative fiction could be a thriving market (as well as good entertainment) that most fans embraced. It was odd to come from there to discussions about whether fanfic was a) legitimate and b) any good or something to be ashamed of.
At the same time, some commercial authors are madly protective of their own work (which I understand) to the point of explicitly banning fanfiction of their work (which I refuse to understand). Not only is this futile (on their home computers, people can write whatever the heck they want), it also shows a very bad understanding of their fanbase (people who write fanfiction are often the same people who buy collectors' editions, attend readings and otherwise generate revenue for the author) and an unhealthy arrogance. It's one thing not to like a certain subgenre of fanfiction, like slash fiction or AU fix-it fic, and it's perfectly OK for authors to say that they don't want to read fanfic about their characters, but it's another thing to try and make one's fans feel bad about doing something they love.
Of course, there is some horribly awful fanfiction out there, but there are also brilliant pieces of writing. Just as there are awful as well as brilliant books in commercial literature. So it's unfair to dismiss fanfiction out of hand.
Fortunately, other authors take a more relaxed stance. And every now and then, fanfiction will actually receive neutral-to-positive attention in the media. But it's still predominantly depicted as a weird, nerdy thing to do, rather than a non-commercial genre in its own right. Or at least, as a hobby that doesn't need to make money in order to be satisfying. Nobody asks soccer fans why they dress up and buy heaps of tickets to cheer on their teams instead of becoming pro soccer players themselves, or model toy train enthusiasts why they don't go and build real working big engines!

Very well said! Now I would like to ask, how do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate or write about?

I don't choose them, they choose me. ;) (Wink) The great advantage of working non-professionally is that I don't have to fulfill any specific audience expectations. I'm my primary audience, so if a scene or character inspires me to draw it or write about it, that's good enough. This happens in different ways - maybe I'm reading a book or fanfic that features a really inspiring scene, or I'm coming across a prompt that sparks an idea for a story or painting, or maybe there's a song or a quote that puts a scene or character in my mind. Once inspiration hits, the challenge is getting it to paper (or the screen). In writing, I'll often play out the scene in my head (this is a good way of calming down before falling asleep, or of keeping my mind occupied while my hands are busy doing the dishes or weeding the garden), so parts of the story will already be prepared when I sit down to write. However, it can easily happen that I'll remember that I had an awesome line of dialogue prepared last night... and now I can't recall it! Or there will be blanks between scenes that I skipped over in my head, but when actually writing, I will have to bridge them somehow. But it seems to be working well, on the whole. In art, I tend to have a picture of what I want to achieve in my head. I'm good with visualisation, but I'm also impatient and lazy, so I don't really sit down to do composition sketches or the like. In most cases, the original "sketch" will end up being the lineart for the finished product. In fact, it took me a while to realise that this isn't how all artists work, and that the artists I admire probably spend a lot of time brooding over sketches of different poses in order to find the most dynamic one, rather than expecting the whole thing to jump out of their head onto paper perfect and in one piece! So by now I try to at least play with different angles or compositional ideas in my head first. Most of the time, I carry the idea of a painting in my head for a long time before finally managing to sit down and draw it. There always seems something more pressing to do! The trouble with that is that I've grown so familiar with the visualised, "perfect" idea that I'm bound to be disappointed by whatever I manage to create in the end...
Of course, there are some exceptions. Sometimes I feel the urge to work on long-term projects or series, like the "Tengwar Karuta" or the "Strong Women" series. In such cases, I can't just wait for inspiration to strike, but have to consciously think about what to illustrate. So I'll sit down and make lists of characters or scenes that fit, and then pick and choose from the list until it's done (or until I loose motivation, ahem). I guess that's how I'd work if someone asked me to illustrate a novel, too - make a list of scenes that offer themselves, and then work from that. I recently illustrated two picture books for my children, and for them, I actually painted the pictures in the same order that they were in the storyboard. So it turned out that I can work in an organised manner, too! But most of the time, I'm at the whim of the muses.

I actually wanted to ask about "Tengwar Karuta". Could you shortly explain what this series is about?

Tengwar Karuta - Tincotyelle by QitianTengwar Karuta - Andotyelle by QitianTengwar Karuta - Thuletyelle by Qitian

Shortly? Oof! Well, "Karuta" is a Japanese card game in which players have to find the illustration that matches the sentence that has been read out to them. In order to simplify this a little, the illustrations are marked with the first syllable of the sentence. Every syllable of the Japanese Hiragana alphabet appears exactly once. It's quite a fun game, and I thought that it would be great to create a Tengwar version of it that could be played at LARP events or Tolkien conventions. So that's basically what it's about.
Of course, Tengwar don't work with syllables - but each tengwa has a name that also happens to be a perfectly ordinary Quenya word. For instance, the tengwa for "T" is called tinco, which means "metal". (As opposed to the Western alphabet, where the character for "T" is just called "tee" without meaning "tea" or something.) So I came up with a series of sentences, each of them featuring the name of a tengwa at the very beginning of the sentence, and translating them into Quenya. Due to the restrictive grammar system of Quenya, word order appears to be pretty free, so this was relatively easy to pull off. (With the help of a dictionary, the Ardalambion section on Quenya grammar, and my Latin skills from school.) So I'd end up with something like "Dwarves search for METALS in the mountains" (literally, "FOR METALS in mountains search Dwarves") for the tinco tengwa. After the translation, it was time for calligraphy and painting! Each sentence got its own separate card, and each illustration of a sentence (in this case, a couple of Dwarves mining for metals in a mountain cave) also got its own card. As only the consonants have their own names, the vowel sounds of Quenya didn't get any cards. Maybe I'll make up sentences for the vowels at some point, but for the time being, it's nice to feel that the series is finished.
I have no idea whether the game was ever actually played... but it was a fun exercise!

What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

Pencil and watercolour! That's definitely what I use most, and get the best results with. I sometimes experiment with other techniques - I've tried digital painting and photo manipulation, painting in oil and acrylic colours, coloured pencils, oil pastels, and coffee - but so far, all these experiments have remained rare and far between. I dabble in calligraphy a bit more regularly. And outside of 2D art, I like to play with costume design - some historical, some fantasy - and sewing. I've also attempted leatherwork and soap stone sculpting. So I do attempt other techniques sometimes, when I get the chance. But on the whole, I feel most comfortable with watercolours!

Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists or writers?

For the artists: Don't be as lazy as I am? In order to get better (or stay reliably good), I suspect one needs to constantly keep on practicing one's skills, rather than hoping that somehow, suddenly, your hands will know what to do. I don't have any technical advice, but whatever your medium, I'm pretty sure that practicing helps.
For the writers: Don't be disheartened when someone tells you how writing works, and it totally isn't how you work. That doesn't mean you're doing it the wrong way. There are heaps of "tricks for writers" written both by critics and by writers. You'll find some of these lists useful, and some of them confusing, and some of them just plain alienating. That's OK. Writing is an immensely personal thing, and every person is different. Some people can work best on their couch at home, others work better in a public space. Some people write third person POV (omniscient or otherwise), other people enjoy writing in first person, and a lot of people find that one POV is great for one story but not for another. Some people write only about what they know, while others love writing well outside the framework of their own experience. Some people put a lot of work into outlines and worldbuilding before they start writing, and others just make things up as they go along. All of that - and more! - is the right way of doing it, just as long as it works for you. Don't trust anyone who claims that their own way of writing is the only right way. You don't have to follow the rules of any other writer, even if it's someone you really admire. Forget marketability. Experiment, find out what works for you, find your own voice, and write the stories that want to be written by you. And never forget - whether you're published or not, whether other people like your stories or hate them - as long as you write, as long as you want to write, you are a writer.

Could you give us a thumbnail from your gallery or a link if it's posted elsewhere of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?


Fanart100: Winter by Qitian

- a fanfiction story you are most proud of?


- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?

Hua Mulan Goes To War by Qitian

- a picture that fits your current mood?

Silent Witness by Qitian

- a picture that was hardest to paint, and story hardest to write?

Fanart100: Strangers by Qitian

and

The Embalmer's Apprentice
(It's so hard to write that it still isn't finished...)

- any other picture and/or story you would like to share with us and why?

Hibernating Tater Trolls by Qitian
One of those illustrations for the storybook for my kids that I mentioned above, and one of the more detailed ones. I just love these little tater trolls, and their cozy little cave stuffed with all their provisions for winter...

Let's get to the "I thank..." part of an Oscar speech :) (Smile) What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.

Oof... there's a reason why there's a time limit on Oscar speeches, right? ;) (Wink) I'll try to make it short! SO! I would like to thank my parents for instilling me with a love of art, and for putting up with my youthful ambitions; my fannish circle of friends - online and offline - for sharing my enthusiasm, commenting kindly on my fic and art, and recommending new cool things to me (you know who you are!); everybody who writes comments and reviews a) at all and b) in a constructive and friendly manner; all authors and artists who accept fanworks - even those of dubious quality or content - as a form of admiration; and all those tireless mods who run fannish communities, contests and challenges, investing their time, nerves and heart's blood into other people's enjoyment. You rock the world! Heart

Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery to feature here?

Hmm. "Not as much attention as they would deserve" suggests something like <100 watchers, and most of the artists I watch around here seem to be doing better than that... or are no longer active. But I think Murrauddin and her evocative storybook style illustrations could use some more attention. I think they capture the essence of Tolkien's stories very well, for instance:
Gil-Estel rising by MurrauddinThe Feast of Reuniting by MurrauddinTurin, Niniel and Glaurung by Murrauddin

Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?

Sure, while I have the chance! To the fans of Tolkien: I wish there were less arguments among the different fandom factions. There's no right or wrong way of being a fan! Whether people came into fandom decades ago or were introduced to the material just recently, whether they prefer The Hobbit or The Silmarillion or even footnote 147 from The History of Middle-earth or *gasp* the movies, whether they write hardcore Angbang fic or family-friendly stories about Aragorn, whether they discuss issues of racism or sexism in Tolkien's works or worship the very ground he walked on, they're all fans. You don't have to get along with everybody, but perhaps everybody can agree to disagree, just avoid those corners of fandom and stick to people who like to celebrate their fandom in a way that you too enjoy. There's too much vitriol, too many flames and too much fighting in what should be a happy experience. I know it's probably too much to ask because it seems to be human nature to fight about pretty much everything, but just... live and let live, folks?
To the fans of my art (if "fans" is the right word at all): Thank you so much! I know I'm not one of the big stars of the Tolkien fanart community, so I'm grateful for every single one of you who likes my attempts at depicting Middle-earth nonetheless.

Thank you very much for your time and answers!


Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Tolkien Reading Day 2016

Journal Entry: Fri Mar 25, 2016, 1:00 AM


But in Gondor the New Year will always now begin upon the twenty-fifth of March when Sauron fell, and when you were brought out of the fire to the King.
- Gandalf in the Return of the King

March 25 is the date of the defeat of Sauron and fall of Barad-dûr
and gondorian New Year. To celebrate this (fictional) event and the (real) literary genius of J.R.R.Tolkien, this date has been declared as Tolkien Reading Day since 2003.

You can take part anywhere in the world - just open any Tolkien's book and reread your favourite passage. Or you can start reading it all over again - whether you read the whole trilogy or just a few lines, you will be a part of the worldwide community of Tolkien fans doing the same to honour the Professor.


Tolkien by DandyHerulokion
Tolkien Reading Day!!! by DragonRider02
Tribute to JRR Tolkien by maryofmagdala


Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Tolkien's wedding - 100th anniversary

Journal Entry: Tue Mar 22, 2016, 7:08 AM




In this day, 100 years ago, J.R.R.Tolkien married the love of his life, Edith Bratt in the St Mary Immaculate church in Warwick. It was a love reaching beyond grave, just like in the story of Beren and Lúthien. Happy anniversary!

Beren and Luthien: growing old together by MirachRavaia

Grave1 by MirachRavaia


Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: ForeverMedhok

Journal Entry: Thu Mar 17, 2016, 6:50 AM


:iconforevermedhok: - ForeverMedhok is an Indonesian artist who's not only drawing Tolkien fanart, but also taking commissions in this style (so if you would like someone to paint your vision of a Tolkien character, she is there for you :))

A note about language: Since English is not her first language, I had to correct the grammar in several cases. I tried to do so without changing the meaning of her answers in any way. English is not my first language either, so please forgive any remaining mistakes. (Also, in case you are unfamiliar with the expression like I was, "tbh" = "to be honest" :))

Tauriel Childhood by ForeverMedhok Rian by ForeverMedhok
Commission : Nolofinwe Arakano by ForeverMedhok LOTR : Boromir and Faramir by ForeverMedhok
The Happy House of Fingolfin by ForeverMedhok
Haleth by ForeverMedhokBeor by ForeverMedhok


1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?


Hello I’m a 24 years-old girl who lives in Indonesia ^^

2. It is interesting to find out the stories behind people's usernames. What is yours?

Oh, my username is really a random name I always pick for my account, and I regret it and want to change it >.> I picked it because “Medhok” itself is a Javanese word that means something like ‘people who talking in Javanese accent’ and I felt that I’ll forever speak in that style. So it is Forever Medhok.

3. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

Tbh in 2003 when LOTR movie ended, my friend bought the LOTR books and I read it a little, but the best impression that it left in me it is when I read the Silmarillion books in 2012. It is a very good impression, such a beautiful but tragic story and all my fave characters are all dead. Best fantasy book I've ever read but still, my faves dead :’) .

4. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?

No that expert, I just don't have that much knowledge about Tolkien universe tbh because I just read the trilogy, and for the Silmarillion, since there is no Indonesian translation available then, so I read the English version but my English isn’t that good >.< (I’ve barely read HoME and just know few of their infos from tumblr)

5. Did you read the books, or see the movies first? How much did the movies influence your imagination when reading the books?

Tbh I saw the movies first. 70% maybe, but it’s just the characters' appearance and the places like Minas Tirith and Mount Doom

6. Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?

Just a hobby, I starting to draw when I was in middle high school, and it is manga/anime that influence my style very much,

7. Many of your pictures have been painted as a commission. In that case, how much of freedom do you usually have in the character design? Is there something you would do differently, if it wouldn't be a commission?

Maybe 10% freedom because most of them already had the designs itself, but I really enjoy it ^^ maybe things that I would do differently is just the color tone :D (Big Grin)

8. When not doing a commission, how do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?

I’m basically a fangirl and I choose to draw my OTP in any scenes, mostly in romantic scenes, or in Tolkien fandom, I like to draw unpopular minor characters and try to design them as attractive as I can, with a hope that people would recognize them more.

9. Who is your favourite Tolkien character?

Omg this would be a long list of characters… Maedhros, Fingolfin, Feanor, Fingon, Aredhel , Galadriel, Finrod, okay almost all the Noldor but I love House of Fingolfin the most, I like Thranduil and Legolas too and some Edain like Turin, Haleth, Hador, Morwen, Aragorn, Eowyn, also for other races maybe Thorin, Kili, Fili, and Bilbo, too many tbh.

10. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?

Movies are Marvel, and BBC Sherlock. Also some anime like Hetalia and Naruto

11. What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

I like my painting method tbh, but if my laziness strikes, I’ll tend to use doodling style and doing simple cell-shade one. Maybe I kinda kept it but sometimes I try some new techniques and doing some experiments ^^

12. Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?

I consider that there are much better artist than me here, so maybe my tips and tricks would sound so simple that everyone already knows that, but since I do digital art, I love to put an overlay layer in warm color above the sketch layer to make the art more pretty. Also I add luminosity layer to be an additional light source.

13. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

House of Finarfin by ForeverMedhok

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?

Uchiha Sarada by ForeverMedhok

- a picture that fits your current mood?

Badass Trio by ForeverMedhok

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

Commission : Feanor and Celebrimbor by ForeverMedhok

- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?


NARUTO : Bonzai Master by ForeverMedhok
I dunno but this dude kinda fit my headcanon for young Finoglfin or Fingon ^^

14. What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.

My inspiration are mostly artists here at DA *_* And the people who supported me are all my watchers here in DA :D (Big Grin). Especially aNamoELYa and hereff have been so amazingly supportive to me (they also my irl friends) ^^. Because sadly there are just a few people in my real life that really appreciate art or even an artist.

15. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?

Keep loving Tolkien's works (and for you who haven’t read the Silmarillion and Children of Hurin, go read that) XD

Thank you very much for your time and answers!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: MellorianJ

Journal Entry: Thu Mar 10, 2016, 4:26 AM


If you are a fan of Elrond, his family, and all the characters you could meet in Rivendell, I recommend you to visit the gallery of :iconmellorianj: - MellorianJ. Here is an example of what you can find there:

The Last High King and His Herald (colored) by MellorianJ Halbarad by MellorianJ
Portrait of Tar-Minyatur by MellorianJ
Fear my Wrath by MellorianJ
Council of War by MellorianJ Imrahil by MellorianJ

1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?


Hello! My name is Maud, I'm 42 and I live in the south east of France. I've always been attracted to imaginary worlds, fantasy or science fiction. I love watching movies and tv shows, playing video games and of course drawing. I used to be an avid reader when I was young, not anymore now and it's a shame.

2. It is interesting to find out the stories behind people's usernames. What is yours?

MellorianJ comes from Mellorian which was the name of one of my characters in the Lord of the Rings Online. When I created a DeviantArt account, Mellorian was taken so I added a J which is the 1st letter of my last name.

3. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

I don't remember exactly, it was short after the release of the movie "Willow" I suppose because I couldn't help comparing the Nelwyns with the Hobbits, lol.
Anyway, I started with the Lord of the Rings and I loved Middle Earth immediately. So I read the Hobbit then the Silmarillion to know more. I also read the Children of Hurin as soon as it was published. To my shame I still haven't read the Unfinished Tales.

4. When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well? Did you try to prevent it?


No I didn't try to prevent anything. On a visual point of view, I love Peter Jackson's interpretation of Middle Earth, and we can thank John Howe and Alan Lee for that.

5. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?


No, even if it was true, I will never consider myself as an expert of anything.

6. Who is your favourite Tolkien character?

Elrond. In spite of appearances (I love Hugo Weaving) I fell in love with Elrond by reading the LOTR books. His description was glorious and I wanted to know everything about the half-elven.
I also draw his sons a lot because we don't know much about them.

7. The majority of your drawings focus on the characters you could meet in Imladris/Rivendell. Is this where you would live, if you could move to Middle-earth?

A safe and lovely place hidden in a luxuriant valley, surrounded by waterfalls and inhabited by wise and ageless beings? If there is a heaven I hope it looks like Imladris!

8. Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?

Just a hobby. I've been drawing since I'm a teenager. I was influenced by my grandpa who was a wonderful artist. He made wonderful oil paintings while I doodled Anime characters, lol. But despite the generation and the fact I was drawing things he didn't understand he was very tolerant and always encouraged me.

9. How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?

A scene can suddenly come to my mind and I want to try to draw it, or I can see an illustration or a scene in a movie and take inspiration from it. It's quite random. In any case characters are always the center of my drawings so I focus on their expressions first, not the scenery.

10. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?

I love characters first. If I discover a character who impresses me, whether it's in a movie, a book or a video game I will try to draw it. And most of the time it is a man. *innocent smile*

11. What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

I chose digital art for practical reason. Mostly drawing and cell shading. I'd love to know how to digital paint though. Traditional art needs space and I don't have enough.

12. Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?

I can't claim to be an artist skilled enough to tell others what they should do or not.
All I can tell is an artist - as every other humain being - should always need to improve their skill. There is always a need for practicing.

13. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

Peredhil by MellorianJ

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?

In the Kaer Morhen Valley by MellorianJ
- a picture that fits your current mood?

Serene :) (Smile)
Oh? Elrond ! by MellorianJ

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

because of the fire. I really suffered and I hate the result now, lol.
The Fall of Gondolin : Glorfindel vs. Balrog by MellorianJ

- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?


Because Elrond, because the feels !
Celebrian's Pain by MellorianJ

14. What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.

My grandpa (see 8). And also my father, he always told me that it was important to put my signature on my drawings and be proud of them.

15. Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?

:iconuriak:
A storm is coming by Uriak

:icongronnulv:
Portrait_12 by GronnUlv

16. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?

As fans we need to spread our love for Professor Tolkien's work, not consider it as our own. Somebody who appreciates the movies is not a lesser fan, somebody who prefers to read LOTR than the Silmarillion is not a lesser fan. Be tolerant, thank you.

Thank you very much for your time and answers!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: S-Shanshan

Journal Entry: Wed Mar 2, 2016, 3:05 AM


It's time for another interview! Let's meet :icons-shanshan: - S-Shanshan and her illustrations of the Silmarillion:

Lady Haleth by S-Shanshan Nienor Niniel  by S-Shanshan
Aredhel and Fingon in Helcaraxe by S-Shanshan
Maglor by S-Shanshan Turko, Nelyo, and Kano by S-Shanshan
Aegnor and Angrod in Dagor Bragollach by S-Shanshan

1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?


Hi :D (Big Grin) I was born and raised in China and came to Canada to study Fine Arts. Now I'm a full time graphic designer.
I'm afraid that I'm not a too interesting person, sometimes I just curl up in my chair or bed and keep doodling on my sketchbooks for a whole day... But I also enjoy going out when the weather is better..... :3

2. It is interesting to find out the stories behind people's usernames. What is yours?

Shanshan was just a nick name and I kinda like it :) (Smile)

3. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

I read LOTR and the Hobbit first, and then I started the Silmarillion. At that time I had absolutely no idea what the Silmarillion was about, and it was funny that I was thinking pretty positively about it and I was like "oh this book is probably about another adventure story where the characters finish their mission, go back to home and everyone is happy". Actually I still believed there will be a happy ending after Dagor Bragollach, but of course I was proved to be so wrong later... I was totally shocked and I was sooooo sad, but I was also surprised how beautiful the story was. Though very tragic and sad, the story was very strong in emotion. it's still one of my favourite books until now and I doubt that I will ever get over it... :/

4. Did you read the books, or see the movies first? How much did the movies influence your imagination when reading the books?


Since I watched the movies first (and I love it), my whole imagination about LOTR is based on the movie. But for the Silmarillion I'm able to imagine the characters completely open-mindedly. I enjoy creating characters based on my own knowledge and it's fascinating to see how distinctive everyone's characters are.

5. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?

Well... I have to say I'm not so confident about my memory, and that's why I am re-reading the Silmarillion since recently I started to realize I sometimes confused the original story with my own imagination.
Also, I never really tried to be a Tolkien expert. I enjoy to be surprised (or shocked, you know...) every time I discover a new fact in HoME.

6. Who is your favourite Tolkien character?

The most difficult question ever! I guess I have to say I enjoy the whole story too much I can't really tell which character is my favourite.
I like Maedhros a lot and I also draw him a lot. But sometime I get lost in imagination so I'm not sure if the 'Maedhros' in my head is still the same 'Maedhros' in the original story.

7. Your Tolkien themed artwork is focused only on the Silmarillion. What makes those stories special to you and worth illustrating, and how do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?

Like I said my LOTR imagination was fully based on the movies since I watched the movies first, so sometimes I feel like my imagination is limited, and that's why I prefer to illustrate Silmarillion characters:) (Smile)
I usually pick the scenes that echoes my current emotion.

8. Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?

I do art, which makes me an artist :) (Smile) (professional or not).
I think one's style is usually related to his/her experience and the things he/she likes. Like, for me, I was born and raised in China, and there are a lot of things I'm interested in, like Japanese animes, cartoons, Aki Kaurismaki, orientalism, minimalism, Stratovarius, German expressionism... I mean, those are all very different things but they all somehow contribute to my art style.

9. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?

Actually I didn't created too many fanarts lol. I guess the Silmarillion is the only work that I ALWAYS want to create fanart for. I also do fanart of Hetalia and DC comics, but not much.

10. What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

I always wanna try new things:) (Smile) I was a fine art major and I used to focus on acrylic paintings (I still do it sometimes). But I also do watercolor and digital arts and I wish I could study animation someday.

11. Where do you get inspiration for character designs?

For Silmarillion characters? Recently I just started redesigning them. Now my main influence is orientalism and nordic culture. But I have a very interesting book "What People Wore When" and sometime I just pick random ideas from it.

12. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

Fingon and Maedhros in Valinor by S-Shanshan
First time drawing characters with full background and it turned out ok:) (Smile)

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?

Mirrow Maze by S-Shanshan
I usually hate my old works lol. This is one of my most recent ones. It's original and I'm pretty happy with the emotion.

- a picture that fits your current mood?

Balloon Luo Tianyi by S-Shanshan
Don't ask me why lol

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

Maglor in the Ruin of Himring by S-Shanshan
Not the best one but definitely the hardest to paint!

- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?

Celegorm by S-Shanshan
Celegorm character design! I'm currently working on more:) (Smile)


13. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?

I read an interview with GRIMES (a singer), I don't remember her actual words but she basically said she loves LOTR because it's a WORLD that "someone can actually escape into". I was just so moved :) (Smile)

Thank you very much for your time and answers!


Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: Ffey

Journal Entry: Tue Feb 23, 2016, 7:23 AM


:iconffey: - Ffey is a Czech artist, who doesn't only paint detailed scenes from Middle-earth, where there's something going on in every part of the picture, but also beautiful landscapes and fantastical creatures.  You can look at a few of her Tolkien themed pictures here, before getting to the talk itself:

He chanted a song of wizardry by Ffey You shall lead and I will follow by Ffey
Now men awoke and listened by Ffey None can release us by Ffey
Maedhros and Fingon: in Valinor by Ffey Maedhros and Fingon: The Ice by Ffey

Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?

Hi! I am 28 years old, living in Prague where I came from Ostrava to study informatics. I have a boa constrictor and one day I hope to live somewhere in nature with dogs and corvids.

It is interesting to find out the stories behind people's usernames. What is yours?

F E I were my favorite letters when I was 16 and creating an account on the internet for the first time. It changed to "fey" very soon (and I had no idea that this word had a meaning in english), but such short name is often taken, so I must add more letters.

When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

I need to say here, that my tastes in literature and music (and maybe any art) were different from those of my surroundings. And I was shy to express what I like (because I was always told that it is bad and not normal). My preferred reading at that time were encyclopedias about mythology (i loved greek mythology - which I kept secret, because it was weird) and I thought that if I want to read something that I really like, I have to write it myself (so I was writing a lot). Then I saw the fellowship in a cinema - I didn't really understand it but it left a feeling in me, so when I found at home a book with the same name I read it. And I loved it. It was source of beauty and wonder in my ordinary monotone life. I didn't find the next books, so I was rereading this one for whole year - until I saw the two towers in cinema (several times) and I was completely in love, so much that I asked my mother to buy me the other two books and I devoured them both in few days forgetting to eat and sleep, I wasn't thinking about anything else for the whole year. I remember clearly reading the silmarillion for the first time (it was in the same year) - with mixed feelings at the beginning, because it was something different than what I expected - but then I got used to it and I read it slowly, pausing to imagine all the missing things or unable to continue because it was too tragic. And I loved the stories, the characters, the tragedy, I loved the style it is written in, it was exactly what I wanted to read, a perfect book for me.

How much did the first two movies influence your imagination when reading the books?

Not so much in visual things, more in characters and actions.

When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well with the third movie? Did you try to prevent it?


It did happen and I did try to prevent it and I failed. When I watched the return of the king I disliked many scenes because I imagined them different while reading. But now I am no longer able to imagine them like I did before.

How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?

I am certainly no expert, but I think that I would be pretty knowledgeable about Middle-earth if my memory wasn't so bad. I am reading the silmarillion once a year and I spent many hours in The History of Middle-earth (how awesome that it exists!) but it leaves more in my heart than in my mind.

Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?

Art is my hobby, it consumes most of my free time. I started when I was a child and didn't stop, because I like to create things.

How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?

Those that struck me while reading or those that represent the emotion or idea that i'd like to express (and are reasonably paintable).

Who is your favourite Tolkien character?
Finrod

What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

I really enjoy painting traditionally and would like to experiment more, but I am afraid to make mistakes and waste materials. It is completely different with digital media - I like to search and try different software, different brushes, techniques - I don't enjoy it when there is nothing new to discover and try.

Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?

I came across these tips in traditional painting tutorials, but I keep them in mind also when I paint digitally:
- use a bigger brush than you think you need
- don't correct your mistakes (immediately)
- stop before you think you are finished

Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

Maedhros and Fingon: The Ships by Ffey
- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?
Holy vrch by Ffey
- a picture that fits your current mood?
Mo by Ffey
- a picture that was hardest to paint?
Seamonster's friend - first part by Ffey
- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?
When the sylphs came by Ffey
it's older picture, but I still enjoy looking at those faces

Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?

Thlatic by Gawarinstudy and research by ElisaMelisAnduin by NinquelenAfternoon in The Spine by ForestiaThe Blue Meadow by KatangaczLord Chamberlain SkekSil-Color Panneaux by SkekLamoria by aegeri
 
Thank you very much for your time and answers!


Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: Aegileif

Journal Entry: Thu Feb 11, 2016, 1:10 AM


Do you like your Dwarves served a) realistic? b) hot? c) fluffy? d) funny? e) modern? :iconaegileif: - Aegileif has something for each of you in her gallery!
And in her other account, :iconuedkafshopie: - UEdkaFShopie you can even find some historical jewelry and accessories to go with them:

Fili - green by Aegileif The Elven King by Aegileif
Thorin by Aegileif Fili Friday VI by Aegileif
Modern Fili by Aegileif Dwalin by Aegileif
Filigree bracelet II by UEdkaFShopie Birka brooches by UEdkaFShopie


Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?

Hello! I like cookies, donuts, axes, beards and dogs. And drawing, if I have time :) (Smile)

Nice list! It is also interesting to find out the stories behind people's usernames. What is yours?

I'm a member of a history reenactment group for some years now. Every member has to choose a name from the period and region he/she is reenacting. Aegileif is an old norse name, an equivalent of my real name. But people use to say that it was just a cat walking on my keyboard when I was writing it ;) (Wink)

Awesome! What do you reenact?

We're reenacting central and northern Europe in 9-11th century - camping, costumes and crafts :) (Smile) I'm a jeweler, my dad's a smith, mom makes woollen clothes and husband's fighting.

When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

I think I was around 15 years old. I think I did a little mistake and started with Silmarillion and I couldn't finish it. Some time later FotR was released and I realized maybe it would be better idea to start with the trilogy. And now there's not enough space on my book shelf.

How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?

The more I know about the Middle-earth, the more sure I am I need to learn more! Hard to tell how extensive my knowledge is, let's say I can order a beer in khuzdul and plan a trip to see the most important elvish monuments ;) (Wink)

And if you could pick just one from those two, which one would it be? And whom from Tolkien's characters would you pick as company?

If I had a chance, I'd totally like to have a dark, dwarvish beer once, maybe in one of the cities in the Blue Mountains ... *dreams*
Any character? Like any at all? Saying I'd pick Fili would be too obvious, but having Bombur at my side would be great too. We eat similar amounts of food, so I'd have a good companion at the table.

So after seeing FotR, how much did it influence your imagination when reading the books? And with the other two parts, did you manage to keep the inner pictures of characters and scenes from reading them after seeing the movies?

Yes and no. I imagined some characters the way they looked in the movies, but some just didn't fit into my imagined version of the LotR world. For example, I can't imagine Gimli in any other way than portrayed by John Rhys-Davies, but I have my own Eowyn's portrait in my head :) (Smile)

Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?

I'm a self-taught, so I can't say I'm a professional artist. Few times I was drawing cartoons and comics for some companies tough, but my work is rather jewelry making.
My first drawing is in my drawer, it's a bee and it has a date on it - 1987, so I was two years old then. I guess that's when I started ;) (Wink) I always admired the art of Zdzisław Beksiński and renaissance Dutch artists, so I guess it influenced my works. But I was always far from statements like this actually, it never starts like 'I wanto draw some dwarf portrait, let's make it in van Eyck style!', more like 'Let's draw something and see how it's gonna turn out!'

You rather illustrate characters than full scenes. How do you choose whom to draw and who is your favourite Tolkien character?

Most of the time it depends on the mood really! And with the Hobbit characters it was more like a goal to achieve to draw all the dwarves. Haha, and browsing my gallery may give a clue I prefer drawing Fili than other characters too, I guess it's the braids ;) (Wink)

What about the shirtless potrtaits and fluffy sweathers? You like having fun with your dwarves, don't you? :) (Smile)

Hahaha, sure I do! I don't remember how did it start with the shirtless series, but fluffy sweaters and many other ideas were an effect of long and very silly conversations with friends. And sometimes it takes so little to find an inspiration!

What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?

Everything actually! I watch a lot of movies (some of them over and over again :D (Big Grin) ), I try to read books every day too, so it's really easy to find an inspiration. I love playing games as well, Dragon Age series and Mass Effect always gaves me tons of ideas for some new fanarts, but most of them just land as doodles in my drawer.

What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

I prefer to stay with traditional pencil drawing and digital painting, it gives me the most pleasure and that's the most important I think.

Do you take inspiration from history reenactment when creating art? (Scenes, costumes, characters...) What relation is there for you between history and fantasy?

I rather separate the fantasy realm from the history. I used to stick to strict rules and facts in reenactment, so I think I automatically do the same thing with fantasy, maybe just not that rigidly. The only exception is when I imagine dwarves wearing viking costumes :D (Big Grin)

Would they look good in Viking costumes? :D (Big Grin)

Hell yeah! (See, here comes inspiration again!)

Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?

Nah, I think every artist should create his/her own style and methods he feels the most comfortable with. For anyone who starts an adventure with drawing - draw as often as you can, but don't make an unpleasant duty of it - it should always be fun and a pleasure!

Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery (including the other account) of

- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?
Fili Friday IV by Aegileif
I'm very impatient, so it made me very proud I was able to finish this drawing without puling my hair out (not many, at least):

- a jewellry work you are most proud of?

Tortoise brooch by UEdkaFShopie
It was the first filigree work (except rings, but I don't count them, because you know, they are so tiny!) and it took me sooo much time to finish it as well. And as far as I remember I've put myself on fire a little then, hehehe. That was fun.

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?

Falconer by Aegileif
It was a gift for a friend for her book. One of the characters was a falconer and Dean O'Gorman was a face claim. She printed the drawing and gave it to Dean, then, some time later, he posted it on Twitter and when I saw that I was like running in circles screaming and waving hands, it was a great feeling.

- a picture that fits your current mood?


I feel cozy and happy. I have my donuts and a warm blanket, so I guess this one would be perfect:
Fluffy Kili by Aegileif


- a picture that was hardest to paint?

I'm not sure if I should post it here, because it has a mature content. The one that shows what's on this one and below:
Birthday Fili - waist-up version by Aegileif
Why? Because I was trying really hard to capture the anatomy well. And because it was the first time I was giggling and blushing while I was drawing and that makes my hand tremble ;) (Wink)

- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?

Fili the Majestic Warg Killer by Aegileif
Because it's silly and maybe it will make some of you smile :D (Big Grin) (I smile every time I see it)

What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.

My family, of course, was supporting me very much (and still does!), but the biggest inspiration in the time that my Hobbit fanarts were created had two people actually.
One is my friend Renata. We've met short after the first Hobbit movie was released and discover it would be a great idea to create something together. This is how The Fellowship of the Pencil came to life. She's a great artist and a huge Tolkien fan, so I could learn from her a lot of things and, what was the most important, we had a lot of laughs. She also has a gallery on dA, so visit her to see her wonderful works!
rfcunha.deviantart.com/
The other person is an administrator of Fili fanpage, who helped me a lot to promote my works and after some time I realized it's also a very warm, friendly person with a great sense of humor. Our conversations gave me tons of ideas. I could even say most of portraits in my gallery are inspired by those silly talks!

Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?

I love reading fanfictions and one of my favourite writer is :iconlindeluren: - her works are always funny and very well written, I totally recommend!
Other one would be :iconrfcunha: I mentioned before. She has both some fanarts and very interesting paleontological drawings. Believe me, I would never thought that can be entertaining to watch fossils or extinct animals, but her gallery showed me it can!

Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?

Keep being Tolkien fans! :D (Big Grin)

Thank you very much for your time and answers! :)

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Back to Middle-earth Month 2016: Memories

Journal Entry: Fri Feb 5, 2016, 7:02 AM


I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been;

[…]

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.
Bilbo’s Song, The Fellowship of the Ring


As we begin our second decade of Back to Middle-earth Month in March 2016, we're looking back and celebrating our first ten years.

Back to Middle-earth Month started in 2006 with an anonymous announcement in middleearthnews that encouraged people to pick a day of the week and post something Tolkien-related on it during March.

there_n_back jumped on board with prompts in both 2006 and 2007. The Silmarillion Writers’ Guild encouraged people to participate in 2006 and began holding events of its own in 2007. In 2009, Many Paths To Tread and SWG coordinated for the first time. In 2012, Arda Inspired on DeviantArt joined in and this LJ community was created. B2MeM has been hosted here ever since.

To celebrate our tenth anniversary, we’re using all of the prompts from all previous years. (The there_n_back mods have kindly given us permission to use theirs.) In other words: if there’s a prompt or event you wish you could have used or been a part of, here’s your chance!

This year is simple: if you see a prompt from a previous B2MeM event you like, you can create a fanwork with it. There are no sign-ups, no claims, and no deadlines.

B2MeM 2011 and 2012 involved volunteers stamping passports and bingo cards to mark participants' progress through the challenge. There will be no stamping of passports or bingo cards this year for participants using those challenges.

Banners and icons for this year’s event will be available shortly.

~ For those who wish to begin creating early, links to all of the prompts can be found at the end of this post.

~ For those who want a daily challenge, we will post daily the prompts from the years that had a daily prompt component (March 4 prompts on March 4, etc.).

Also as part of our celebration of the first ten years, we will have retrospective posts in March focusing on past B2MeM events.


General Questions



Who can participate?

Anyone! It doesn’t matter if this is your first time in the fandom or your fiftieth year; everyone is welcome.

How can I participate if I don’t have a LiveJournal account?

The event is organized around the b2mem LiveJournal community. If you wish to leave reviews on fanworks posted there, you may use an anonymous comment. However, we do require anon comments to be signed. (For example, if your AO3 username is Frodofan1, please sign your comment Frodofan1.) Anonymous comments are automatically screened before they appear in the community, and unsigned comments will not be unscreened.

We welcome participation on other platforms, including deviantart, if you do not wish to post fanworks there. The group :iconarda-inspired: has a special folder to collect these works, which is open to everyone. We welcome links pointing to your work posted elsewhere in the LJ community as well.

If you do wish to post fanworks in the b2mem LJ community, or link to fanworks posted elsewhere, you will need a LiveJournal account. You can sign up for one here. There is also a version of OpenID available that allows log-in through Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Dreamwidth.

What sort of things do you consider to be fanwork?

It’s simple: if you consider it fanwork, so do we. We’ve had stories, artwork, cosplay, crafts, rec lists, and more. We welcome everything.

We only require that responses have a significant basis in Tolkien’s works. Crossovers and AUs are welcome, as is the movieverse.

Is there a minimum amount of words, time spent, etc. in order to qualify?

No! We want people to be as free to create as possible, whether this means writing a haiku or working on an epic novel, creating a single icon or a batch of a hundred, or whatever else you wish to work on.

Do I need to create for all ten years or all 31 days?

No! There is no minimum or maximum number of prompts you can use. If you only want to use a single prompt, that's perfectly fine. Of course, if you want to challenge yourself to use one or more prompts from each year or create something daily, that is also fine.

Can we combine prompts in a single work?

Absolutely.

Can we use works begun in previous years or other Works in Progress?

Yes! WIPs of all sorts are welcome to be continued with one or more B2MeM prompts. They do not have to be previous B2MeM works.

Some years had prompt or card claims. Are those prompts available to use?

Yes! You can use any prompt from any year. There is no claiming or buying necessary.

I have prompts claimed from previous years. Do I have to use them or can I choose different ones?

You are not bound by any previous year. You may choose whatever prompts you wish to work with.

If I use a prompt from a specific community (for example, there_n_back), do I also have to post to that community?

No. This is a Back to Middle-earth Month event and is based here. (For reference, there_n_back has not been active since December 2010.) Crossposting to whatever platforms you normally use, however, is encouraged.

Do I have to post my work in March?

No. While the community quiets down after March, people are welcome to post here throughout the year. In fact, you never have to post your work at all if you do not wish to.

We only ask that if your work for this year is completed before March 1 that you wait to post until then, as that is when the event begins.

What if I want to collaborate with someone (for podfic, illustration, writing a story based on art, etc.)?

Please sign up on this post. We cannot guarantee that someone will ask you. If you already have someone to work with, you do not need to sign up there.

Do you have an AO3 collection?

Yes! It can be found here.

Does SWG have B2MeM 2016 listed in its challenge list?

Yes, it does.

Do you have a support community?

Yes! It’s b2memsupport. Feel free to use it to squee, vent, find betas, etc. But please note that it is an unofficial community and is not run by the B2MeM mods.


Questions Specific to Previous Events



Does this mean you’re running the 2012 bingo again?

Sort of. The bingo number posted will be the one already called for that day back in 2012; new numbers will not be drawn. If you want to play, pick one or more cards. Remember, there is no card stamping nor any prizes for completing rows or cards. Nor will we create individualized card pages.

Can I use a prompt from a bingo card even if that prompt’s number was not called in 2012?

Yes! All prompts on all bingo cards are available to use.

Can we create new bingo cards or leave new prompts in the 2015 market stalls?

No. While we appreciate your enthusiasm, this year we are working with the prompts that have already been created.

Will works created for the 2014 compilation prompts be put in the ebook compilation?

No. When the ebook is available, the creations in it will come solely from those 2014 participants who agreed to be included.

Are you running the 2010 RPG?

No. The prompts are available for use, but we are not playing the game.

I want to do something involving the 2008 “The Circles of the World” event. As it was reflections and excerpts based on thirteen topics that had to be sent in ahead of time, how would I do that this year?

You can create one or more fanworks using the topics OR you can use them to write reflections/meta about previous fanworks you’ve done based on those topics, how those topics are important to you or to Tolkien's world generally, rec lists or discussions of fanworks by other creators based on those topics, etc.


The Prompts



~ 2006: There_n_back’s Challenge

~ 2007: There_n_back’s The Alphabet of Middle-earth; SWG’s Quote Challenge

~ 2008: The Circles of the World

~ 2009: Daily Prompts

~ 2010: The Last Battle

~ 2011: Passport to Middle-earth

~ 2012: Bingo Baggins’ BINGO Bash (Plain text cards are available here.)

~ 2013: Scavenger Hunt: Expedition in the Abecedarium

~ 2014: Seasons of Middle-earth

~ 2015: Tharbad’s Greenway Spring Faire

If you have any questions or concerns that you do not feel comfortable leaving in a comment here, please email the mods at b2mem.mod@gmail.com. The email autoforwards to our individual inboxes and we will get back to your shortly.

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: Gypsy-Rae

Journal Entry: Thu Jan 21, 2016, 8:13 AM


First talk of 2016! I apologize for not posting any of these for a while, we started it back in december, but it took a while to complete through comments and replies. I hope you will find out that if was worth the wait! I talked to :icongypsy-rae: - Gypsy-Rae about the dark lords of Middle-earth, her beautiful ornamental art, and many other things. But first I picked a few examples from her gallery for your enjoyment:

Artspired: The Pieta by Gypsy-Rae DS 12: Cry in Sorrow by Gypsy-Rae
DS 9: The Decision by Gypsy-Rae The Seduction of MARIAN by Gypsy-Rae DS 2: Can You Hear Me, Master? by Gypsy-Rae
AT: Song of Seduction - Color by Gypsy-Rae

Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?


Why hello thar! *taps microphone* Can you hear me alright? Kidding! Kidding! =3  Well honestly I'm just a shy dame who loves to laugh at stupid stuff, wear skirts and scarves in her hair and adores classical/historical art and Golden Age Illustration.  I'm an art whore, yo.  Truly I am just your average boring person with little of interest to offer about myself.  Sorry, but your interesting princess is in another castle.

We can hear you just fine, it's nice to meet you! Before we get to other questions, would you mind defining an"art whore"?

Well technically I guess an "art whore" would be a person that draws art for the sole purpose of the almighty dollar but I don't use it to mean that. I personally use the term "art whore" to mean I LOVE old art. Heart  I hope that clarifies things a bit?

Yes, thank you! :) (Smile) What about your username, is there some story behind it?

Due to my love of bohemian fashion I am frequently called a slew of nicknames in real-life that range from "hippie" to "fortune-teller" but the most common one is "gypsy".  "Rae" is simply a shortened variation of my actual name which is Rachael. I just combined them into one to create my moniker of "Gypsy-Rae".  Meow :3

When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?


I didn't read any of Tolkien's books until I was in High School.  But here is the kicker.   I'm one of those people who was introduced to Tolkien mainly through Peter Jackson's flicks but hasn't really read the base material.  I did read the first book and a few chapters into the second book of the 'Lord of the Rings' Trilogy and maybe a couple chapters of 'The Silmarillion' but that's it.  I feel that for me to say I have truly read Tolkien would be a lie. Finishing only one book out of a trilogy really doesn't count.  That said, my inability to stick with Tolkien's works doesn't mean I didn't enjoy them. It only means I have a terrible habit of not finishing things I start. XD 

In all honesty it is Tolkien himself moreso than his written works that has left the largest impression on me.  It is just beyond amazing to me that he could create his own fascinating world with it's own differing peoples, races and mythos while also writing an in depth and interweaving story to take place within that world.  And lets not forget how he created his own languages. Jeebus christ on a cracker.  Tolkien was not only imaginative but intelligent.  I find his dedication to his writings to be beyond inspiring and I have much respect to him for this.

Are the pictures of the characters in your mind those of the movies, or your own? How much did the movies influence your imagination when reading the books?


I liked what Mr. Jackson did with the aesthetics of the characters (clothing choices, overall appearance, mannerisms, etc) but the way I see the characters (at least in recent years) are my own without a doubt.  I highly doubt Mr. Jackson would have stuck any of the characters in as much Gingham print as I tend to do. =P (Razz)  The way I envision the characters takes a dash of influence from the movies but I take more influence from various other outlets, such as Harry Clarke's illustrations, fairy tale illustrations, Greek Mythos, Religious art, etc.  
And I'd have to say the movies were a pretty big influence on my imagination when I was reading the books years ago.  I can quite honestly say every time I came to a part in the book that was a scene in the flick all I could think about was the movie.

Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?

Oh well there's little to say about myself. I'm just your average Joe (or should I say Jane?) with a very average job.  No professional artist here! Though I did end up majoring in "Graphic Design" in college. Despite the major title I studied more under the "Fine Artist" umbrella with a heavy dash of Art History.  Despite it all I'm nothing more than a hobby artist who uses art to escape the dull drum of everyday life.  It is my happy place. :) (Smile)

I've been drawing for as long as I can remember! Growing up, I had an older sister who drew and as they say "monkey see monkey do".  I guess the mimicry phase of my life never went away so here I am, twenty something years later, still drawing long after she has given it up. =3  I've had many influences over the years and my style has fluctuated with whatever whim struck.  As I entered my teens I was very drawn to the art of Yoshitaka Amano and Ayami Kojima, their art leaving the first true lasting impression on how I draw.  This is especially true in the way I draw males. I prefer the androgynous fashion in which both Amano and Kojima would approached their male subjects and I tailored my art after this.  

In recent years I discovered the illustrations of the Irish illustrator Harry Clarke by complete accident and fell in love with his overly stylized artwork and use of repetitious patterns and floralesque details.  His artwork is both mind-blowing and a feast for the eyes.  A person could look at his artwork many times over and find something new each time.  I adore that.  A lot.  It took me a few years (actually this year to be specific) to muster the courage to try it for myself because detail oriented art is very scary to think about trying to do (especially when you are as IMPATIENT of a person as I am) but once I tried replicating Harry Clarke's style I fell in love with art all over again. Heart  I have pretty much dedicated myself to spending the rest of my life to being like Mr. Clarke. I finally found my little art niche and now that I got it I don't plan on letting go anytime soon. La la la la

You said you didn't read the whole Silmarillion, yet your illustrations focus on Sauron and Melkor, and their relationship. How did you get to this topic, and what is your view of the personalities of these characters?

Oh man, you've stumbled across my greatest guilt factor. I can't tell you how many times I've told myself I should not be drawing Tolkien based art if I don't have the proper knowledge to back it up.  For better or worse, I've never let my lack of intimate knowledge on a fandom or subject stop me from creating art. I've done that for years now.  Even though I never finished Silmarillion (hell, it's been 10+ years since high school so I don't even remember what bit I DID read) I do tend to do some research on my chosen subjects.  Wikipedia and Tolkien based Wiki's have been my good good friend through this and other things I have picked up from reading fanfiction based around the characters of Sauron and Melkor. =3  Getting my Knowledge from those two outlets hardly replaces actually reading the source material but it does at least give me something to work with.

Honestly I stumbled across the topic of Sauron and Melkor and the more...perverse? perverted as hell aspect of their relationship  through fanart .  Like so many others before me, my first introduction to these two was through the amazing art of :iconphobs:.  It was also the first time I came to realize Sauron's name was actually "Mairon" and that Melkor was the dark lord before him of which he served.  I found that rather interesting - that there was an origin to everything - and started doing a bit of digging around to learn the history there and sort of fell in love with Melkor and his trusted lieutenant.  The bad guys are always interesting to me for some reason.  Heart  Naturally my fangirl side likes to treat them like a Barbie and Ken doll and make them kiss and cuddle or get into domestic scuffles that requires the Arda PD to show up and arrest one of them.  

Of course as much as I liked Phobs' art I never actually drew any Dark Lord and Dark Lord junior fanart. I never forgot about them I just didn't have the guts to give it a go since there was already so many good artists in the fandom.  I figured I probably shouldn't clutter it up myself since I had nothing original to offer.  XD  But then earlier this year I stumbled across :iconfrecklesordirt:'s art/Comics and that sorta changed.  Heart After I stopped squealing and adoring her great artistic style and dedication to the source material (seriously, I really admire that dame) I REALLY wanted to draw some art centered around Melkor and Sauron, to hell with how bad I was gonna screw it up.   Around that time I happened to be doing an art trade with another deviant here on DA who left the subject up to me so I picked those two assuming it would be a one off thing. ... 7 months later here I am STILL drawing my pretty yet trashy Melkor/Sauron art.  Go figure. =3

I don't look at either Melkor or Sauron in terms of simple black and white.  Yeah, they are both very wicked characters who pretty much broke middle earth and did everything in their power to just be royal pains in everyone's collective ass but I find it more interesting to go beyond just that.  Every person has his or her own unique personality, quirks, fears, things they love, etc.  Everyone hurts, everyone laughs, everyone loves, everyone has moments of elation and everyone cries.  Even Melkor and Sauron, at least to me.  I don't just see a couple of dudes who like to be bad. I see a couple of dudes who have rounded personalities who go through the same bullshit any man, elf, or dwarf does... except they like to be bad too. =3

TL;DR Fanart learned me bout dark lords and taught me that even Melkor and Mairon/Sauron cry. Probably.

How long does it take you to finish a picture with all the delicate ornaments? Do you feel impatient with it sometimes, and if yes, how do you overcome it?

It varies from picture to picture.  I'd say it averages anywhere between 40 to 80 man-hours can go into any given picture. I find it ironic that, more times than not, I put MORE hours into my artwork than my blue-collar job. OMG SHOCK. by KimRaiFan   I guess that's some twisted form of dedication for ya.  The time it takes all boils down to the composition, background, and how many differing ornaments I decide to use.  Simpler composition and backgrounds and less complication ornaments require less thought on my part and therefore less time.  For instance, DS 3: Sing Me a Song went well into the 70 hours range to complete whereas Rendezvous only took a bit over 35 hours.  The first, by my standards, had a more complicated composition and more detail mumbo jumbo to it while the second had a much simpler and more direct composition and less detailing to do. 

The drawing process, while frustrating as hell at times, is not something I get impatient with.  That includes all the detail work.  Honestly it is far harder for me to draw out a decent composition and background than ornaments.  Fancy details are time consuming but easy.  After I first get the initial base drawing inked (sans details/ornaments) I do always have a moment of intense anxiety and dread since I'm looking at all the white space staring back at me that needs to be filled up with something and at the same time NOT blur together into some inky black mess.  I have to be thoughtful with what I place where, though I admit I do not always succeed on this point.  But once I force myself to simply start laying some random patterns down I chill out a bit and it just gets easier the more details I layer in.

What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?

I am inspired by so many things its hard to pick just a few!  Anything from the way the the sky appears at the break of dawn down to the way a person I happen to see is posed or the way a piece of cloth drapes over a chair can inspire me, even with fanart.  That said I think my largest outlet for inspiration I draw upon comes from Harry Clarke's art, classical artwork, mythology, music, and old video game concept art (hello thar Yoshitaka Amano and Ayami Kojima).   I use a lot of those widespread influences in my art, fanart or character designs.  

The "why" part is simple: Because I like it.  If I like something enough I tend to stow it away in my mind because I think it was a good design element and can be dissected apart to work well in any given piece of art.  I just sort of ball up all the random things that I stowed away from the various inspirations and try to incorporate it into whatever I do.

Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?

Free your mind from the concept of art being "correct".  There is no right or wrong way to draw.  Everything doesn't have to be picture perfect nor does anatomy have to be completely accurate.  I personally work with the notion of "plausible" anatomy. It isn't accurate but it looks close enough so that I am pleased.  Remember nothing is perfect (even our own facial features are not completely symmetrical!) so one should accept the small imperfections that will happen in your art.  Once a person is able to free themselves of the preconceived and universally accepted notions of what is "good" art they can do whatever they want. Heart  Play with art, don't let minor flubs get under your skin and have fun with what you do.  That is the best tip I can possibly give. =3

Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

DS 5: The Gift by Gypsy-Rae
- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?
Celestial Virgin: Astraea/Virgo by Gypsy-Rae
- a picture that fits your current mood?
AT: That's my face you damn elf by Gypsy-Rae
- a picture that was hardest to paint?
Artspired:  Lady of Shalott by Gypsy-Rae
- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?
Solemn Love by Gypsy-Rae 
I am rather fond of this thing.  It's hardly dynamic in nature and not especially interesting visually but I like the sad and lonely atmosphere tinged with a hint of affection.  Not to mention the robes and drapery are still among my favorite ones I have come up with on the fly.  Ultimately the picture is really just utter nonsense and it has its fair share of mistakes but it remains one of my personal favorites because of composition, the silent story, and the design elements used.  Heart

What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.

Aww heck. That's kind of a tuffy.  I've had a lot of swell folk on here and tumblr that have either inspired me or just straight up kept me grounded enough to keep on drawing.  A few kind words goes a LONG way with me.  But I'd have to say both :iconaventisz: and :iconmayonakakisu: have been pretty instrumental in keeping me involved in art, whether they realize it or not.  Both are not only talented artists in their own right but they're pretty supportive in their own special ways.  If not for the fun chats, idea sharing, and support from them I am POSITIVE I would have dropped out of drawing long ago. 

Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?


I actually think Aventisz and mayonakakisu are both talented artists with their own unique and distinguishable styles.  Pals of mine or not, they still got some mad skills and deserve a lot more recognition for their amazing talent than what they get.  Seriously, I'm jealous as hell of the both of them! XD

Aventisz
 Meditating by Aventisz  PF: Mara by Aventisz


We have been talking about art so far, but under your illustrations titled DS, meaning "The Different Story", you started to write as well, progressing from just snippets of the story with the first pictures into almost full chapters with the later illustrations. Could you tell us more about this story?

Well, to start I'll admit that I'm an avid Angbanger (also known as a weird ass who ships Melkor/Mairon, Morgoth/Sauron) so I would implore anyone who is horrified at the thought of Dark Lords having an intimate sort of relationship to avoid DS with their life.  "The Different Story" is just some idea for an AU angbang centric fic I've had rolling around in my head for a couple years that centers (mainly) around Mairon after his fall by way of the Fellowship of the ring.  I'll try to keep things simple, to the point, and as spoiler free as possible for anyone that may be curious of it.  At its heart, DS is a story of redemption, second chances, and the question of whether fate can be changed or if even a different story has the same end.  And there will be romance. And the Dagor Dagorath somewhere in there too but modeled a bit after Norse Mythology's Ragnarök.

At the moment, DS is my little project and I honestly have no idea how long it will take to finish.  Probably forever since I'm writing (writing as well as my feeble writing abilities allow!) and illustrating it.  It won't be the most grand thing ever by any means but it gives me a chance to have fun illustrating a story. =3

Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?
Well to fans of Tolkien alls I gotta say is keep on a Tolkien and to those who are fans of my art I would just like to say THANK YOU for the support! :lovesquee: by stuck-in-suburbia   Nothing impacts my creativity and drive to keep doing what I'm doing quite like knowing there are people out there that actually like what I do.  I'm hardly some "big name" artist, nor shall I ever be, but I can honestly say I did not think I would get the support I've gotten thus far so I am deeply appreciative of any and all of it.  You all rock. Truly.  :squee: personal revamp by AutumnOwl

Thank you very much for your time and answers, it was interesting to talk to you!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Tolkien's Birthday Toast 2016

Journal Entry: Sun Jan 3, 2016, 7:49 AM


J.R.R. Tolkien by rfcunha

A great writer was born on this day in the year 1892, 124 years ago. And so each year on 3 January, the Tolkien Society encourages Tolkien fans from across the world to celebrate the Professor’s birthday with a simple toast-drinking ceremony, and we are joining them, as well.

At 9pm your local time, we invite Tolkien fans to raise a glass and toast the birthday of this much loved author. The toast is simply:
"The Professor!"

All you need to do is stand, raise a glass of your choice of drink (not necessarily alcoholic), and say the words “The Professor” before taking a sip (or swig, if that’s more appropriate for your drink). Sit and enjoy the rest of your drink.

Note that we do not condone drinking alcohol if it endangers the health or safety of the drinker or others, or contravenes the law.

Tolkien Tipple by Rearda



Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: Houkakyou

Journal Entry: Sat Nov 14, 2015, 3:24 AM


In :iconhoukakyou: - Houkakyou's gallery, you can find a great variety of art. She is an artist, cosplayer, and cosplay photographer. Among her pictures, you can see some very interesting ideas of "what if", both humorous and serious, elves in unusual situations, and costume designs inspired by various cultures and historical periods.

She also agreed to a way of interviewing through comments and replies, rather than one note with questions, and so the talk with her could be more spontaneous, for which I thank her - it was great to do an interview this way, and I hope there will be more artists who agree to it in the future. Here are a few examples of here art, and after them, the talk itself. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed it!

LotR/S: Across the Sea by Houkakyou
LotR/S: pearls by Houkakyou
LotR/S: The Dagor Bragollach by Houkakyou
S/CoH: The Real Hamsterwives of Doriath by Houkakyou
LotR: Prophecy by Houkakyou
LotR/H: Monster Mash by Houkakyou
elven clothing chronology by Houkakyou


Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?

Sure! I'm a university student majoring in history and hoping to go into museum work, but on the side I'm an artist, cosplayer, and photographer. (I used to write, too, but I don't have time for everything, haha.) I've always loved fantasy and the medieval world, so I try to bring them into my life as much as I can while still being a normal, modern-day worker!

So you are a historician? Is there much diffence between your field of study and fantasy, or are they similar to you in principle - more or less real stories that give an escape from modern reality?

Yup! There's a big difference on the surface, mainly because my work so far has involved handling and researching physical artifacts - the material remains of historical cultures - but when you think about it, a lot of fantasy stories parallel reality because they create their own histories, legends, and important objects. Just look at Tolkien; the Silm is the history of the world before The Lord of the Rings, and Tolkien invented important artifacts like the Dragon Helm, Anduril, and Glamdring that continued to be relevant despite being taken out of their original context.
Part of what I like about the ancient world and fantasy is that they're so equally different to our own time, though - you're right! Reading about ancient Ireland is as much an escape from the present as reading about Alagaësia is.

Indeed! "History became legend. Legend became myth..." When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you? Did they appeal to your history loving side by the way they are written like a world with rich history that can be uncovered from myths and ancient lore?

My mom tried to get me to read The Hobbit when I was nine, and I couldn't get past the first chapter. It was so boring! I read it for real in middle school for a class and still wasn't enthralled. I finally got around to watching LOTR in 2011 and waded through the books, but I still wasn't really inspired by the stories until I read the Silm in 2012. You might be right - it was definitely the Silm's approach to a real 'history' of Middle-Earth that got me into it!
It's also tantalizing, that there are thousands of years of events described and yet we know so few real details. As readers, we're quite free to imagine the sequence of events in our own terms. That doesn't exist in The Lord of the Rings since it's so heavily detailed. And having read the Silm, having those questions about details and characters and the gaps in events - it was amazing to then go on to read the Histories of Middle-Earth. It's kind of like doing research and finding more sources in real-world history!

Your knowledge of Midlle-earth is then quite extensive, isn't it? Do you consider yourself either a nerd or an expert?

For certain topics, yes! I'm not an expert on dwarven and mannish history (or anything past the First Age, to be honest), but I know way too much about the Finwëans. I do a huge amount of art and read so much fanfiction that it's impossible not to! Yet I still have to acknowledge that I forget things - the legendarium is enormous, and it's very easy to lose small facts. I'll find little details (like that Beren's hair was golden brown, and that Turgon wore white robes with garnets) and quickly forget them and draw the characters different ways! Oops.
I also haven't yet finished the HoME series yet - I keep getting sidetracked. So I'm always learning more~

When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. I suppose with focusing mostly on the Silmarillion, it does not concern you that much, but what about LOTR and recently the Hobbit? With your order of reading the books without much interest, then watching the movies, and finally getting hooked by the Silmarillion, I'm quite curious about how your mental images of the characters evolved...

My mental pictures of characters were actually influenced the most by the Rankin-Bass version of the Hobbit, which I watched several times when I was younger. I'd seen pictures of Orlando's Legolas since the early 2000s and knew the character even if I hadn't seen the movie, but my mental images of Elrond, Gandalf, and Bilbo were the Rankin-Bass versions pretty much until I read the Silmarillion. (Let's face it, my image of Bilbo is *still* the RB Bilbo, haha!)
The Peter Jackson Hobbits represented a much larger shift; I made an effort to draw Thranduil several times before the official stills of Lee Pace came out so that I would remember my original ideas. Now I have two Thranduils in my head; one for the movieverse and one for the books. I really try to diverge from the WETA designs as much as I can, so despite the movies I have a very different version of Elrond that I draw, for example. Sometimes I love their work, but a lot of the time I have a very different conception of the characters. I started out trying to emulate their designs and then diverged into my own over the years.

Now, could you tell us something about you and art? You are a digital artist, a cosplayer, a photographer... Is there something else I didn't mention? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?


I started drawing seriously in 2007 and was inspired primarily by the anime I was watching (Inuyasha, because there are never enough medieval tales in my life). My style has changed greatly over the years with a big lean towards realism and painting instead of cel shading, though many people still consider my art 'anime-style', which rankles! I started cosplaying in 2012 and realized how much I liked crafting my own garments, and by 2014 my art and costuming had become predominantly Tolkien-focused.

I'm inspired by almost every artist I set eyes on - every single one of them has something to teach me. I love motherofbees, alackofghosts, perplexingly, and givenclarity on tumblr, and Gerwell and lilithran on dA...the list goes on. In terms of costuming, Marilla Designs and Oneiromantic Designs really pulled me into the Silmarillion cosplay scene, and avi17 and cheese-cake-panda are doing a good job in keeping me here - we're well on our way to cosplaying every elf in the Silm! My photography developed out of this as well; I've been improving it so that I can take better elf pictures, haha. I keep an eye on cinq-pathetique and Alvi here on deviantart, too!

Your gallery is literally full of elves. What do you base your character (and their clothes) designs on, both for art and for cosplay?

Isn't that the truth! My elves and their clothes have really developed over the past few years; original designs (as I said) were based pretty much on what WETA gave us in the movies. However, I've come to realize that thousands of years of geographically and racially disparate elves definitely would not be so cohesive in dress and hair, and so I now draw off of designs from ancient and medieval cultures all over the world. I take the little details that I find in HoME and elaborate on them in lots of different ways - if you look at my designs for various characters, you'll notice that many have changed a lot over time to incorporate this diversity. A lot of it is still vaguely medieval European in nature though, since that's the dominating style in fandom art.

It's much the same for my cosplay. My Ambarussa and Haleth are fairly medieval, but Indis is very much *not*, and my Galadriel design is more fantasy-warrior based than anything. Eärwen and Aredhel's outfits can't really be pinned down to an era either (though Marilla Designs made Eärwen's dress, so that design is all hers).
I dislike confining myself to just a few styles or time periods. If human design and culture has been so variable over the millennia, then it follows that elven culture would also have changed massively! I always like to see artists and cosplayers branching out with their designs. ;) (Wink)

It's not only the designs that are very diverse in your gallery, but also the scenarios you put the characters in, including AUs, genderbends and humorous situations. Where you get the ideas for those?

A lot of them are inspired by fanfiction! Others come up in my mind because I'll read something and then ask "but what if *this* happened?" The fandom is so diverse that there is always an audience for lighter comics, plot twists, and 'fix-its' (this person survives, that person hands over the Silmaril...). The ones where you prevent characters from dying are obviously very popular, and midnight blogging has also heralded some pretty weird art, haha.

Who is your favourite Tolkien character?

Difficult question! I think I've done the most art of Maedhros, so you could say that he's the one that inspires me the most. Outside of the Finwëans, I think Glorfindel is my favorite.

We know about Inuyasha already, but what other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?

I did a lot of art for Naruto and Bleach a few years ago, but nowadays the few non-Tolkien pieces I post are usually Twelve Kingdoms or Yu Yu Hakusho related. I like to honor my favorite characters through art! My best recent pieces have all been Tolkien though. It's such a huge percentage of my art that I don't really have standout pieces from other series any more.

What art technique is your favourite? (for drawing, but also for sewing and photography) Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

I do 99% of my drawing digitally, and it's definitely my preferred method. Photoshop responds to me much more easily than paints and charcoals do, and when I'm drawing traditionally I'll often try to hit the ctrl+z buttons that *don't exist* on my sketchpad. Erasers just aren't the same thing they used to be, haha.

I love the way personal style develops in different people, but I generally don't try to go out of my way to make my art very stylized. I find that it doesn't really work! I'll often alternate between doodling in solid lineart and a more painted sketch, but all the pieces I'm proudest of have been painted instead of cel shaded. They're more realistic, which is my main goal for improvement.

I can't really talk technique in sewing, but for photography I gravitate towards on-location shoots with a fantasy feel (which usually means playing with light and getting a very shallow depth of field for a beautiful blurred background). I often have to work in bad locations, though, which challenges me to create fantasy pictures even with a skyline in the background! (This is a really good example; we were in a flowerbed outside the Javits Convention Center in NYC and still made it work.) For photos I definitely try to play around with different techniques. There are so many ways to edit each photo that it would get boring to stick to the same old method each time, especially when costumes and locations differ so much shoot to shoot.

Can you tell us more about the cosplayers you take shots of? Are there friends you are looking forward to meet at every con, or new faces as well? When you see a great costume, do you approach the cosplayer with an offer of a photoshoot, or do they approach you?

Most of the Tolkien cosplayers are friends that I schedule meetups with, but since I open up slots to the public at some conventions, a lot of my photos are also of people I'd never met before. I'm definitely a go-getter and I ask people for photos all the time, but I don't feel comfortable asking for a prolonged shoot when it wasn't prearranged. (Which is odd, because I love when photographers ask me for that when I'm cosplaying!) I've only ever had one person come up to me and straight up ask for a photo - it was pretty obnoxious. If you've seen me online and want to chat for a minute and *then* ask for a photo - sure! But the person who asked didn't even bother to do that. :( (Sad)
I do try to reach out to Tolkien cosplayers who plan to attend events that I'm also going to - that's how I got into this to begin with! Silm meetups are loads of fun.

Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists or cosplayers?

Take inspiration from other artists, but don't limit yourself just because you think people will disagree with your ideas. The best thing about the Silmarillion is that there is so much room for imagination! Even canon disagrees with itself sometimes; don't restrict yourself to what is popular. Share new designs!

Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?


- I think I'm most proud of this recent one of Elenwë
 LotR/S: Wisteria by Houkakyou
because it was all painted.

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?


- Oh god. I think maybe this?
 YYH: Partners in Crime by Houkakyou
 And that was done in January.... I really do very little non-Tolkien! This was done for a Yu Yu Hakusho artbook, but ended up not getting in. Oops.

- your own cosplay you are most proud of?

Indis is my favorite for the overall effect - the way the photoshoot turned out, the way I looked - I'm proud of it because I feel like we took photos of the real Indis that day! But Haleth is the cosplay I'm proudest of for its construction, since it was the first time I made an entire costume from scratch and by myself. I was scared of screwing up the armor and had to do a lot of reference research, but it turned out amazingly!

 LotR/S: Indis the Fair by Houkakyou LotR/S: Haleth the Hunter by Houkakyou
 
- a cosplay shot you are most proud of?


- Avi will hate me for this, but my favorite shot is this one!
 LotR/S: Mereth Aderthad Interlude by Houkakyou
Fingon & Maedhros at the feast of reuniting <3 My photography has improved since I shot this, but I did a lot of post processing work on it and I'm still proud of how it turned out. (Especially because it wasn't out in nature - we were in the middle of a hotel!)

- any piece that fits your current mood?

LotR/S: Weeping for the Lost by Houkakyou
One word: Midterms. (Normally I'm more in the mood for this, haha):
 LotR/S: IRCW day 4 by Houkakyou

- a piece that was hardest to create?

LotR/S: the wise by Houkakyou
This gave me many hours of tears solely because the colors were so hard to plan out!

- any other piece you would like to share with us and why?


LotR/S: Silmarillion Height Chart by Houkakyou
I draw so many characters from the legendarium that I've made a lot of height charts over the years. They're very useful, especially since I'm good at forgetting details.

What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.

In the Tolkien community, I have to give the most credit to MagicRat , whose stories The Gift and The Last Homely House convinced me to read the Silmarillion in the first place. After that it's lorienscribe, who pulled me onto tumblr, where I really started flourishing. From there I met beleggs and rattleandburn, who got me into cosplaying elves. There are a lot of other people on various websites who give me amazing amounts of support, but I think the most credit goes to those four <3 I owe them a lot!
Off of the web I have to thank my mother, who puts up with all of the elf fabric I throw around and supports my sewing endeavors, and my stepdad, who has been personally responsible for all of my camera equipment since 2012 and encourages all of my work. I'm very lucky :) (Smile)

Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?

Off of the top of my head...
lilithranAegnor and Angrod in Dagor Bragollach by lilithran
ThaliaTookEarwen by ThaliaTook
MellefuielleSilmarillion. Finrod cosplay by Mellefuielle
greenapplefreakfirst age armor by greenapplefreak

Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?

Thank you to everybody for supporting me, and I hope our love of Tolkien lasts all our lives!!

Thank you very much for your time and answers!
 


Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: Lyriel-MoonShadow

Journal Entry: Thu Nov 5, 2015, 7:22 AM


Would you like to wear a ring, bracelet or pendant inspired by the characters of Middle-earth? What about actual ear wraps that look like elven ears? A perfect solution for those of us who didn't have the luck to be born as elves! :iconlyriel-moonshadow: - Lyriel-MoonShadow creates all these types of unique jewelry! This week, I talked with her about her creations.

Autumn in Mirkwood bracelet and ring by Lyriel-MoonShadow Evenstar pendant by Lyriel-MoonShadow
Mirror of Galadriel ring by Lyriel-MoonShadow Aredhel Elf Ears by Lyriel-MoonShadow
Luthien Elf Ears by Lyriel-MoonShadow LOTR Places - The Shire pendant by Lyriel-MoonShadow

1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?


Hi! I am a self - taught jewelry artist with a taste for fantasy and magical world. I create unique jewelry, brought to me on fairies wings from the Elven Realm.

I am a cheerful and optimistic person, I love nature and the fantasy world, history and mythology ...

My background is multimedia developer - a different kind of creativity - but I create jewelry for 7 years. I completed my training with a Jewelry Designer course and I'm a member of the International Association of Professional Jewelry Designers.

I live in a small town surrounded by beautiful forests and hills. Every day I walk several hours accompanied by my two chow-chow girls, which helps me to detach myself from "the normal world" and to come close to the elves and fairies. A perfect day in my opinion is a day in which I make jewelry, listening to my favorite music or to a fantasy audiobook, with a cup of coffee next to me, while my chows snore nearby :D (Big Grin)

2. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

Actually, I entered the Tolkien’s world through the Fellowship of the Ring movie. It became my favorite movie of all times and I looked for the books. I love them :) (Smile) Those books (and the movies) are therapy :D (Big Grin)

3. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?

I think I watched all Tolkien related movies and I read the books hundreds of times. I love that world but I can’t say I am an expert [… and now, from somewhere I almost hear Oin: “He said he's an expert! hey hey!”] :D (Big Grin)

4. Did you read the books, or see the movies first? How much did the movies influence your imagination when reading the books?

I already had „faces” for most of the characters but the fact that at some points the movie was different from the book let my imagination to fly free :) (Smile)

5. Now, could you tell us something about your jewelry? Are you a professional artist, or is making it just your hobby and side-source of income?

My passion for handmade jewelry began as a Christmas story in a December day. I tried to keep a bit of the story in my jewelry, going on a fantasy style adapted from delicate and elegant jewelry, to casual.
It started as a hobby but now I am a professional artist.

6. Your jewelry pieces are inspied by elves in general, but also by particular characters. How do you choose the matererials and designs fitting for the character the piece will be named after?

Each jewel starts with an idea or a character. First I study the character and I imagine the jewel, with all the details. The next step is to transpose on paper that image. On this drawing I work until it reaches the desired form, adding and modifying details, all to express the character's personality (or the idea from which I started) better. When I am happy with the design done, the next step is to create the physical object (it takes me 2-3 days to make a pair of elf ears, for example). When the jewel is finished, I do tests on mannequin to see how it sits and correct small details that need to be corrected. The final stage is photographing the jewel in every angle so I can present it as close to reality as possible.

7. Speaking about characters, who is your favourite Tolkien character?

This is the hardest question :D (Big Grin) I can’t choose only one. On the list are Gandalf, Galadriel, Yavanna, Melian and many other :) (Smile)

8. Elven ears are a kind of jewelry that's not usually worn, unlike rings, earrings or necklaces. What brought you to the idea to make them, and for what occassions would you recommend wearing them?

Every time I want something I don’t have, the first impulse is to make it. I remember when I was little I used to tell fairytales to my sister and when I didn’t knew more fairytales, I started to invent them (it was a real challenge when she liked one and wanted to hear it again…) So, to return to elven ears… I love the fantasy world and I am fascinated by elves so I wanted pointy ears and, because Mother Nature didn’t gave me… I made a pair :D (Big Grin)

Elven ears are usually jewels for cosplay, LARP or festivals but they can also be worn at parties and other times when you want to feel special.

9. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create jewelry, and why?

Nature was my first source of inspiration. Practically everything I see or read inspire me. Now, beside my Tolkien inspired designs (I have some new ones patiently waiting to be made) I have in plan a series of jewelry inspired by the Forgotten Realms (R.A. Salvatore’s world) and I already started with some ear cuffs and a ring.

10. What technique or material is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and materials you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

I learned on the go and the good side of this is that you never stop learning new things, new techniques ... I am not working with only one material - actually I use whatever seems appropriate to express the idea that inspired the jewelry - but the materials used are always of the highest quality.

I prefer delicate but durable jewelry so my favorite material is wire.

11. Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?

The beauty is in details, never forget this. And never stop, let the creativity flow ;) (Wink)

12. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien-themed jewelry you are most proud of?

Crystal Yavanna    elf ears by Lyriel-MoonShadow
- jewelry inspired by something else you are most proud of?
Moon Garden Necklace by Lyriel-MoonShadow

- a piece that fits your current mood, or that you are wearing right now?
Water Elemental ear cuff by Lyriel-MoonShadow

- a piece that was hardest to make?
Briar Rose necklace 2 by Lyriel-MoonShadow
because it was my first attempt with a new material :) (Smile)

- any other piece you would like to share with us and why?
Underdark ear cuff by Lyriel-MoonShadow
as a preview for the Forgotten Realms series :) (Smile)


13. What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.

The first person who supported me as an artist is my sister : :iconfrostedfirekate: - FrostedfireKate 
She is also a talented jewelry artist and makes wonderful jewelry. She is always here for me when I need an opinion or help :) (Smile)

Also other dA artists are always an inspiration for my through the beautiful art they create.
:iconkimberly80: :iconevankart: :iconbrunild: :iconarwendeluhtiene: :iconwood-splitter-lee: :iconjankolas:

14. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your jewelry?

Each jewel I create is special because it carries a little part of me and the fantasy world in it, bringing a bit of magic in everyday life.
Thank you for your appreciation :) (Smile)

Thank you for your time and answers!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: BohemianWeasel

Journal Entry: Wed Oct 28, 2015, 8:57 AM


Can you solve this equation? :iconczechflagplz: + :iconweaselplz: = ?
The solution is a name of a great portugese artist with many lovely illustrations of both the Tolkien books and movies, but also various other topics -
:iconbohemianweasel: BohemianWeasel.

The Ring is Taken to Rivendell by BohemianWeasel Hobbit Illumination: Thorin, vengeance of Dwarves by BohemianWeasel
 Proud Titania and poisonous blooms by BohemianWeasel Lights of Lorien by BohemianWeasel
John Uskglass, the Raven King crowned in ivy by BohemianWeasel Nasir the Saracen by BohemianWeasel




1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?


I'm Soni (pronounced 'sunny'), an English artist/ illustrator/ idiot. I graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a degree in illustration, and now live and work in Portugal. It's warm, which is nice.

2. It is interesting to find out the stories behind people's usernames. What is yours?

My real name is hard to pronounce, spell, and remember, so a less agonizing title seemed wise. I liked 'Bohemian', it conjured fin-de-siècle decadence of louche artists flopped on a velvet chaise sipping Absinthe in a picturesquely ruined chateau. And so naturally I thought 'it should be a weasel!' because anything that takes itself too seriously is silly.

3. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave on you?

I had the Hobbit read to me by my mum when I was about four, and I've had excellent nightmares about wolves at the bottom of trees ever since, thank you Professor Tolkien. Then I got impatient and tried to read Lord of the Rings by myself, but the book weighed more than I did, and I could barely lift it let alone understand it. It wasn't until I was about eleven that I was able to read, understand, (and carry) LotR properly. I still have that copy, even though the binding has disintegrated, a huge paperback with Ralph Bakshi's 'Black Riders' on the cover.

4. Did you read the books, or see the movies first?

At the time, the only movies that existed were the animated ones: Bakshi's incomplete version, and the Rankin Bass cartoons. As a kid I was initially bemused by, but then slowly fell in love with, the Bakshi film.
My parents were also fans of the BBC Radio dramatized version, I listened to it often, particularly the songs, and it became part of my inner Middle-earth. So it was a Tolkien book/radio/music/animation stew that I grew up on. Delicious.

5. When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well? Did you try to prevent it?


After the movies came out it was actually my job to draw them. I worked for Lord of the Rings (for Topps) and then The Hobbit (for Cryptozoic Entertainment) on trading card sets where they specifically wanted recognisable actor likenesses.
I have a great affection for those films as Tolkien-ish creations, but I don't view them as definitive adaptations, nor consider their characters as the definitive versions either. But I think the films got many things right: the costumes and details were wonderful, the armour and weapons glorious, and many of the sets looked authentic and lovingly made. I couldn't imagine a more fitting Meduseld for example; and their Bag-end is probably perfect.

Topps Lord of the Rings cards by BohemianWeasel



6. I would like to build on the previous question, as you have both movie and book inspired art in your gallery. How do you feel about the difference in depicting the actors as their characters, and inventing faces for the characters that has not been depicted in any movie? Which is more difficult, and which is more enjoyable to you?

It can be easier to draw the movie versions because several design choices are already made (face, costume, setting, etc.) and you can spend more time on composition or experimenting with media; it's a good drawing exercise. And sometimes it's just nice to draw the recognisable version so that someone might say 'I AM AWARE OF WHO THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE. I ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE. IT IS SATISFACTORY. HAVE A BISCUIT.'
But there's more pressure to be accurate to your sources with movie stuff; fans are eagle-eyed and notice everything, they know how their movie version is supposed to look and notice if you get details wrong.
But if you design your own characters, then you are master of your own details, master of the characters themselves, master of the Universe! There's a lot of research homework to do, and many more decisions to be made, and invariably someone will get annoyed with you for not depicting what they imagined; but when you finally see the character coming to life from your head in paint and colour, and (if) you get it right, it's as magical and joyous as childbirth. Maybe. I don't know, I just have cats.

7. Your recent illustrations focus on the relationship of Melkor and Sauron. What is your opinion on their evil and motives, topics that are not addressed in much depth in the books, but seem to be fascinating to many authors?


People are fascinated by character arcs, whether it's a painful rise to glory or a monumental fall from grace. In Sauron's early days when he was still 'Mairon', he was just a quick-tempered artistic type who believed his ideas were tremendous and that people just needed a little nudge to realise it. I can sort of empathise with that. *cough* His shift of allegiance to Melkor sparks debate and raises interesting questions, and some questions are best answered the long way: with paint. And tea. And sleeplessness, and a lot of re-drawing, and some swearing.

The 'Seduction of Sauron' (in the Tolkien sense of the word rather than anything more hormonal) was part of a series for an exhibition on evil things. I wanted to pick key moments from Sauron's life, and found myself gravitating towards his varied (and invariably disastrous) one-to-one interactions with other people. I only had time to do three paintings (including Melkor and Celebrimbor), but really there was potential for dozens of them, including his history with Galadriel, Gil-galad, Gollum, the Nazgûl, the entire species of Orc, and several hundred characters from the Silmarillion. Then I could just call the series 'It Didn't End Well'. Or 'Why I Unfriended the Dark Lord'.

Seduction of Sauron-Mairon by BohemianWeasel Annatar (Sauron) and Celebrimbor by BohemianWeasel

8. Can you tell us more about the Tolkien art show this work took place in?

It was an exhibition in Sheffield (England) called 'Evil in the Shining Light', a multimedia Tolkien art show by a collection of international artists, and curated by artist John Cockshaw. I made the Sauron pieces particularly for the show in response to the title, as he seems the perfect candidate for something bright and evil. They were also shown at Oxford University for the annual Tolkien Society gathering and exhibition.

9. Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it?


I can't remember ever not drawing, and now it's my job 7 days a week. But it's a privilege to do something I enjoy for a living, so I don't mind not having days off, or going outside, or seeing sunlight, or people. :shifty:
I've drawn trading cards for licensed projects (like LotR, Star Wars, and recently the TV show Penny Dreadful); and illustrations for a variety of books; exhibited in various places; and designed the perfect underground bunker for when I inevitably become a villain.

Topps Empire Strikes Back cards by BohemianWeasel Penny Dreadful Cards preview by BohemianWeasel


10. Who or what influenced your style?

An abbreviated list would be.. Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, the Golden Age of illustration (1980-1920s) in general; antique stained glass windows; Medieval Russian icon painting, Viktor Vasnetsov; Byzantine mosaics, and Greek sculpture from the Hellenic period.
I liked art nouveau too, but I think it's been done enough already, and feel a bit over-saturated with Mucha and Klimt reproductions.

11. How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?

When I'm reading a book and get to a bit that makes my eyes go big and round, that's usually when I'll grope around for a pen to scribble or sketch ideas down. Now I have a long list of things to get to draw. It's all the fault of authors for writing such interesting things.

12. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fan-art, and why?

'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell', by Susanna Clarke. I adore the book (especially in audiobook format, it's exquisite), and the BBC TV adaptation is delicious too. A lot of things from that time period (early 1800's) inspire me, including the Battle of Waterloo itself.
I also love European fairy-tales which I like to make lavish, brooding and a bit sexy; and Greek myths. There's a wealth of prettiness to be plundered there.

Pan: god of shepherds, pastures, and ffffertility by BohemianWeasel Helios and Selene by BohemianWeasel Morpheus God of Dreams by BohemianWeasel

13. What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

I experiment on an almost daily basis, because I'm always unsatisfied with what I've done and know it could be better. Though that means I'm often slower than a tractor full of slugs to get work finished, because if left to my own devices I'll keep 'improving' it. The media I use most though is acrylic paints, coupled with everything shiny. Almost all the glitter and gold paint presently existing in Portugal is in my studio. And my rugs.

14. Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?


- Keep extra pens and sketch pads *everywhere*, especially by the bed and the bath (really). Many of the best ideas come when you're away from your work desk and feeling relaxed.
- Bored? Then start looking about you and imagining how you'd draw what you can see, practice mental drawings of figure studies, room perspectives, colour ideas, and practice visualisation. Those tedious work meetings and family dinners will just fly by. ;) (Wink)
- Don't worry about making something look photo-realistic, that's what cameras are for. What people will remember most is how your work made them feel.

15. Could you give a link or thumbnail from your gallery of

- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?


I usually like the last difficult thing I did, so at the moment it's the Sauron and Melkor piece mentioned above, but I'm also very fond of this Frodo & Sam scene exhibited at the same show:
Shire Bridge by BohemianWeasel

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?

Raven King John Uskglass, from Strange and Norrell.

John Uskglass, Raven King crowned in ivy Detail by BohemianWeasel


- a picture that fits your current mood?

This one of Snow White perhaps, tentatively reaching for the shiny thing. And it's partially self-portrait because I had to make my own reference photos. (Except for the Witch's face that's not me shuttup.)
Snow White, the Gift by BohemianWeasel


- a picture that was hardest to paint?

Most recently, a painting called 'The Demon Ball' that was full of characters and different stories and took A Long Time. But later I was able to make vignettes of my favourite couples from it:

Demon Ball detail 2 by BohemianWeasel Demon Ball detail 3 by BohemianWeasel Demon Ball detail 5 by BohemianWeasel

- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?

Persephone and Hades. I like his mist and her tree. And it has a pomegranate.
Persephone and Hades by BohemianWeasel


14. Are there some artists at dA you know, who don't have as much attention as they deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?


Everyone already knows her work, but I can't resist including :iconfaqy: as I'm entirely in love with her work. I think it's perfect and want to hug all of it.
Mandos by faQyAragorn and Arwen by faQygood omens by faQy
 

:icontomashijo: Tomás Hijo
Tomás's work conjures Medieval tomes, Nordic carvings and all things magical, it looks like it could have come from Middle-earth itself! He creates some of the most original, detailed, gorgeous, (and funny) Tolkien art I've ever seen. (He only has a small sample on dA so I highly recommend following his FB page.)
The Prancing Pony by tomashijoOrc Chieftain by tomashijoPan's Labyrinth by tomashijo
 
The Flight to the Ford by tomashijo


:iconjohn-cockshaw1: John Cockshaw
It's difficult to describe John's work as he's such a renaissance man and combines so many arts together, but he uses photography, digital manipulation, drawing, - and clearly some sort of witchcraft - to create images of Middle-earth that are so dreamlike and laden with atmosphere that you can almost smell and hear them.
Encounter in a Woodland Glade by John-Cockshaw1Found in the cave by John-Cockshaw1Dark dreams of the Golden Hall by John-Cockshaw1Ascent of the mountains by John-Cockshaw1
 
Thank you very much for allowing me to share some of my favourite works, and some of my favourite artists. :) (Smile)

Thank you for your time and answers as well!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: frecklesordirt

Journal Entry: Wed Oct 21, 2015, 7:50 AM


:iconfrecklesordirt: - frecklesordirt is the author of an ongoing comic The Seduction of Mairon, focusing on the beginning of the relationship of the two dark lords of Middle-eath. But besides that, you can find more Tolkien themed art in her gallery, both humorous and serious:

Part 6 - The Seduction of Mairon by frecklesordirt Part 7 - The Seduction of Mairon by frecklesordirt Part 8 - The Seduction of Mairon by frecklesordirt
That haunted house meme by frecklesordirt
Mairon and Melkor a la Cylindric by frecklesordirt Thranduil Joins the Fellowship, Hijinks Ensue by frecklesordirt


1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?


Hi! I've spent most of my life in Virginia and completed undergrad in architecture at the University of Virginia this year. I'm currently working as a graphic designer before grad school.

2. It is interesting to find out the stories behind people's usernames. What is yours?

One time when I was younger, my mom suddenly began brushing furiously at my shoulder and when I asked why, she said she was trying to get the dirt off. A second later she stopped and laughed because she'd forgotten I was covered in freckles. It's a running joke in my family now.

3. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?


10-year-old-me fell hard and fast when I started Lord of the Rings. Even before this I could only remember drawing things like elves and dragons, so Tolkien was a massive fuel for the fire. I was so amazed that such a large and detailed fantasy world could exist and I continue to be amazed because I never seem to hit bottom.

4. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?

There are people out there who have the equivalent of a PhD in Middle Earth history/anthropology/political science, so I can't say I'm anywhere near expert! I would say I'm about average in the community and I'm delighted whenever I learn something new.

5. Did you read the books, or see the movies first?
How much did the movies influence your imagination when reading the books?

I saw the Fellowship, read the books, then finished the movies. I have to say how I imagined the characters was greatly influenced by the Fellowship movie. I'm not bothered by it since I was young and didn't have any pre-existing ideas that conflicted.

6. Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?

I'm a hobbyist who wants to be professional-- I'm waiting until my portfolio is more built and of better quality. I've been drawing for forever but I've been doing even more since I really connected with the Tolkien community recently. Influence comes from so many different sources including my own observations and many other artists' works I've seen over the years. There was a book of Russian fairy tales I had with photos of pretty little scenes painted onto jewelry boxes that I tried to imitate . I spend way too much time on details like in facial expressions, empty earring holes, flyaways, and whatever else because I think it gives the drawing a kind of intimacy and makes the subject feel more real to me.

7. Your comic, "The Seduction of Mairon" focuses on Sauron and Melkor, not depicting them as "one-dimensional evil" that we often see in the books and movies, but as a very complex character. Can you tell us more about your views of Sauron and evil in Middle-earth in general?


It feels a little strange for me to talk about something that started off as a couple of silly sketches, but there are some legitimate questions about the nature of good and evil in Middle Earth; most of what I'm going to say is just conjecture and me working out what I thought would make an engaging story. I think that Mairon and Melkor became evil, without a doubt; mass murder is no grey area. The inital reasons that led them down that path, however, may not be so insidious. The fact that Eru claimed Melkor's attempt at independent creation (or rebellion, however you see it) as still being a part of his own design instead of recognizing autonomy among the Ainur could suggest that Melkor's deviation was not necessarily out of a desire to destroy, but to maybe craft a different vision of Arda that clashed with the majority. No argument that he went about it terribly wrong, though, and spiraled out into hate and destruction. I'm new to the Silmarillion, but Gandalf's reference to Sauron's purity in the beginning jumped out at me. I searched everywhere for any clue Tolkien might give to his early nature but there was frustratingly little. I believe that there had to have been an internal struggle for Mairon to be persuaded, which also makes for a much more interesting story of his fall. Tolkien's brief description of Marion's behaviors included him despising wastefulness and disorder, which led me to believe his reasons for joining Melkor included a need to create a more ordered world. Still, I feel that he fell down the same path, likely even more quickly due to Melkor already being beyond redemption and that influence. Mairon is first and foremost a servant, albeit an incredibly ambitious and powerful one, suggesting to me that he allied with Melkor because he was in awe of what he was able (or willing) to accomplish that Arda may have been too delicate for and desired to be a part of that movement. Perhaps he came to reason that Melkor was the strongest of the Ainur and possessed the "greatest" vision for the world, so he would be the one to follow.
I hope I somewhat answered your question and I apologize if it's long-winded!

8. There is a recent trend in Tolkien fanart to depict the villains in beautiful forms, which Tolkien himself probably didn't intend. What do you think about this trend?


I think a big reason is just that people connect well with humanized things, especially if they're nice to look at. Whether it's right or not, I don't think much of the sympathy for villains like Melkor and Mairon would exist if we didn't portray them as beautiful. I'm not immune either. I'm perfectly fine with it since we all know and respect Tolkien's portrayal. While I don't think he would agree with their new images, he might appreciate that we're taking the opportunity to delve into their psyches to figure out why they are the way they are. However, the idea of a beautiful Mairon may not be too divorced since it was said that he often took on a fair form.

9. Can you also tell us a bit about the humorous side of your art? Lifting Galadriel, lava surfing Melkor, merman Thranduil... How do you get the ideas?

Lady of Light, more like Lady of Might (gif) by frecklesordirtmaking [lava] waves by frecklesordirtThranduil, the pretty sea-king, caught in a net by frecklesordirtstrong brow game oropher by frecklesordirt

Oh man a lot of this stuff didn't have a ton of thought behind it since I usually just draw what makes me happy. My best friend is really into Tolkien too so we're always laughing about dumb scenarios. I also get ideas from just seeing what other people are talking about in the fandom.

10. Who is your favourite Tolkien character and why?

There are so many! Currently it's probably Thranduil. I know LOTR and the Hobbit film adaptations have gotten their share of backlash, but I really appreciate what was done with Thranduil's character because he was given depth and interesting motives in the short time there was to spend on him. I also love costume design and I have so much respect for the incredible work that went into his wardrobe.

11. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?

I've done one or two things for Game of Thrones because there are so many great, strong female characters. I'm also enthralled with the costumes for the show and the level of detail put into them... With more time I'm sure I'd be a busy cosplayer.

12. What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

I can't really say which I like best since I have a few different styles that always seem to be changing a bit. It really depends on the subject. I try to do at least one thing outside of my comfort zone for each "serious" piece and it's a lot of fun to experiment with different techniques.

13. Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?

Use references! Use many and often. Whether it be from real life, photos, or other artists, it's one of the surest ways to grow in every area from anatomy to rendering to color usage. Also don't fence yourself in and think that you have to develop a personal style right off the bat; let it go and over time it will happen without you even thinking about it. Just have fun!

14. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?


It's impossible for me to look at art older than a couple of weeks and see nothing but flaws, so here is a recent one of a concept of Mairon's judgement before Manwë.

Mairon before the judgement of Manwe by frecklesordirt

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?

Obera from Game of Thrones

Obera by frecklesordirt

- a picture that fits your current mood?

Lots to do!

Maedhros by frecklesordirt

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

It's old and definitely not my best, but for some reason Kili's face was very persnickety.

it is memory, precious and pure by frecklesordirt


15. What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.

My wonderful best friend has been with me for 18 years and is the greatest supporter of my art. She doesn't merely tolerate it no matter how crazy it gets as she's more of an enabler, if you ask me.

16. Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?


Unfortunately I don't spend much time looking through Deviantart and I don't know anyone personally, but all of the artists I've seen put so much care into their pieces that it's difficult to pick just a few.

17. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?

It's just incredible how everyone takes Tolkien's world, studies it, adds to it, and grows something new from it so it never feels "done" or tired. Keep doing what you do. My followers and watchers are the best of the best and I'm so grateful to you guys for supporting me!

Thank you for your time and answers!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

The King returned

Journal Entry: Tue Oct 20, 2015, 9:54 AM


"A great doom awaits you, either to rise above the height of all your fathers since the days of Elendil, or to fall into darkness with all that is left of your kin. Many years of trial lie before you. You shall neither have wife, nor bind any woman to you in troth, until your time comes and you are found worthy of it."
- Elrond to Aragorn in the Return of the King, Appendices

60 years ago on this day, October 20th 1955, The Return of the King was published for the first time - so The Lord of the Rings became complete for the public. To mark the anniversary, share a 60-words-long quote from the Lord of the Rings (in any language) with the tag ‪#‎LOTR60words anywhere on social media on the 20th of October, 2015. (Yes, it is difficult, you can cheat a bit.)
(The chain was started by Orhmayr Flóra on Facebook, so you can post favourite quotes there, but you can do it in the comments here as well.)

And it's also the
birthday of Viggo Mortensen, who was born in 1957, two years after the Return of the King has been published, not knowing yet that he will once impersonate the returning king. 
For that occassion, an Aragorn feature:


White Tree by kimberly80
 strider by s-u-w-i The Crowning of Elessar by TolmanCotton
Aragorn Elessar Telcontar by Oznerol-1516 Broken Sword by Smirtouille
Heir of Isildur by Ssarawolf First Watch by peet
Elessar by alicexz Aragorn by Embers
Aragorn by sakimichan Aragorn in Rivendell by CG-Warrior Aragorn son of Arathorn by Gold-Seven
The Lord of the Rings by Raiddo



Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: peet

Journal Entry: Tue Oct 13, 2015, 3:25 AM


This is a long expected... no, not party, but interview with one of the first Tolkien artists I got to know on deviantart, who returned after a long hiatus, :iconpeet: - peet. I have been waiting for his answers for a long time, and I can assure you they are worth the both the waiting (mine) and reading (yours) :)

Fingolfin challenges Morgoth by peet
Gwindor's Charge by peet The Request of Thingol by peet
A Vision of Gondolin by peet
Midsummer's Eve by peet
Beorn In Battle by peet


1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?


Hi, my name is Peter Xavier Price – or Pete; or ‘Peet’ – and I’m primarily a Tolkien illustrator and watercolourist. I’ve been doodling and drawing since I can remember – cliché, I know! – but only took up painting seriously about twelve or thirteen years ago.

2. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

Like most people who have read Tolkien, I was first introduced to Middle-earth and Arda via The Hobbit, at a very young age; and I also remember that there was an old paperback box set of The Lord of the Rings from the 70s lying around the house too, which belonged to my father – in fact they’re still there to this day. I finally picked up this old dusty copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, and then The Two Towers and Return of the King in my teens (perhaps aged around 14-15) and thereafter read straight through the whole trilogy from front to back. Needless to say I fell in love instantly.

From a young age – long before I’d come across Tolkien – I’d always been interested in history, epic, mythology, fantasy, romanticism and so on; in other words I was completely obsessed with that formula which contained all those classical archetypes: the king, the knight, the princess, the dragon, and so on. So as you can imagine, upon reading the Professor’s work I was simply enthralled. I didn’t know it at the time, but in many respects Tolkien had reinvented this ‘formula’ in its twentieth-century guise and beyond, and this I think is why it has connected with so many people in ensuing generations – not least myself.

3. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?

I’m by no means an expert, in the sense that there are some true Tolkien scholars out there who either make a living by studying Tolkien’s work, or others who collect all works by, and/or relating to, him. In my case, I haven’t read every single published book or article ever written by or about Tolkien or his creation. Nevertheless, I feel I’m reasonably well versed in the legendarium. Having read The Hobbit and LotR, I turned quickly to The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, and then made my way through the History of Middle-earth series, The Letters of J. R. R Tolkien, Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator, and various bestiaries and encyclopedias, as well as essays and such like. I used to know (more-or-less off by heart) the various genealogies across the Ages and races of Middle-earth, as well as what hair/eye colour X Y or Z character is supposed to have etc. (that is, when Tolkien explicitly describes it). I never learned how to speak Sindarin or Quenya though - languages was always my weak point at school! And generally I’m a little more rusty in places nowadays, but if I’m not too sure about a certain detail I simply locate the relevant passage, and I’m instantly reminded.

4. When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well? Did you try to prevent it?

Not really, no. I’m able to clearly demarcate between the two. In my view – and I realise I’m very much in the minority here – Peter Jackson’s movies are blockbuster action films, and bear little resemblance or relevance to the deeper subtleties within Tolkien’s creation, particularly those of theo-philosophical interest. Fellowship was promising, but I feel things when downhill rather quickly and incrementally from Two Towers onwards. I could literally write a thesis on some of the reasons why I believe this to be so, and those Tolkien enthusiasts who have known me over the years – either on DA or elsewhere – know my views on this, so I won’t get into them here. Suffice it to say that, in my view, just as in the infamous case of George Lucas, Jackson ultimately went down the route of using Tolkien’s story to tell special effects, rather than utilising special effects and CGI in order to tell Tolkien’s story.

This being said, I have no qualms with others finding inspiration in the movie-franchise – but it’s simply not for me.

5. Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?

I’m both a hobbyist and professional, or rather I should say that I fall somewhere in between. So, if there was the option on DA to describe myself as a ‘semi-professional’ then that’s how I’d prefer to label myself. I’ve undertaken numerous commissions and have sold originals over the previous decade or so, some of which have made their way onto cafe/pub walls, and the like. And I continue to be commissioned to this day in various guises. Currently, I’m working on a series of illustrations for a children’s book that has interest from several publishers, so hopefully this will take off in time. And then there are private commissions that keep me busy.

As I said earlier, I’ve been drawing since I was very young, usually with my two older sisters, who are extremely talented. We used to sit around the family table and draw and paint all day long, from what I remember. Consequently, they influenced me greatly from an early age. My father also used to draw a lot when we were younger, so this must have influenced us too, though none of us undertook any kind of formal training (which might be obvious ;) (Wink)!) Finally, we have an older second-cousin who was, and still is, a professional animator, and who worked on numerous projects for numerous companies over the decades, including Warner Bros. He always encouraged us.

As for others? In no particular order, I have to say that I’ve been incredibly moved and inspired by a number of artists ranging from Alan Lee, Brian Froud, John Howe and Anke-Katrin Eissmann to John William Waterhouse, Barry Windsor-smith, Jenny Dolfen, Catherine Karina Chmiel, Victor Ambrus, Yoshitaka Amano and (more recently) Shinobu Tanno and Sir Lawrence-Tadema Alma. I’m also in love with Studio Ghibli, particularly the older works that are lesser known, such Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind and Laputa. In more general terms, I find the history of (predominantly Western) art itself to be very interesting, taking delight in the contrasts and changes in emphases that have taken place throughout the centuries (though I’m not so fond of modern art as a general rule). Pressed to be more specific, I have a particular affinity for the Pre-Raphaelites (which in some ways flavours what I love in contemporary artists), and the aesthetic of pre-Renaissance iconography. Finally, the architecture and sculpture work of antiquity is always a marvel (and so by extension, neo-classicism in a really broad, cultural sense can be very interesting as well).

By the way, my two sisters have DA accounts, but they're not so active anymore. You can find them here:

:iconludi-price::iconchibi-j:

6. How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?

In general I choose those scenes which resonate most strongly with me, be they ‘quiet’ moments, or others which are usually considered to be more epic or grandiose. In other words, I don’t believe I have a set-formula, and I find myself jumping to and fro quite frequently because of this. In essence, what I tend to do is choose varied moments from across the chronology, allowing me to convey different moods and styles, placing different emphases here and there, just as Tolkien does: portraiture, high-drama, landscape, duels, character interaction/dialogue, etc. It really is the contrast in Tolkien’s world that I find most fascinating. And as one commentator put it to me fairly recently, almost every sentence, let along paragraph or chapter, in Tolkien’s world provides ample opportunity for illustration, and sometimes from a multitude of perspectives too. This is the beauty of his writing, I suppose, which I sincerely hope rubs off – even if to a small degree – in my depictions.

7. What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?


As noted above, I’m primarily a watercolourist. I dabbled with other traditional mediums much more when I was younger, trying my hand at oils, inks, acrylics, and so on. However, when I decided to buy a set of watercolours and try them out, I knew instantly that they were for me. What I love most about them is their fluidity and relative speed, and I’m particularly intrigued by the number of variables which can affect the outcome of a given painting when working with them, since watercolour seems to be influenced by external factors far more so than any other medium. For example, the type of paper used; the type of brush; the mood you’re in: do I feel like I want to go for a ‘detailed’ slow, laborious day, or a quick, looser more impressionistic ‘wet-in-wet’ day? These variables all affect how the paint transfers onto paper. Even the weather can affect the outcome of a watercolour painting too; say, for example, if it’s a humid, warm day, or whether its winter or summer, meaning that the paint will dry that much more slowly or quickly depending on the temperature or humidity. Again, all these variables contribute to the finished painting in an organic, and therefore (to me) interesting, fashion.

8. Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?

This is a really difficult question for me to answer, since there are so many styles and mediums out there, and so it’s really not a case of the right way or the wrong way to do things. So I can only speak from a very limited perspective. All I can say is that, for myself, observation is key. Taking a sketchpad around with you and referencing from the world is both rewarding and incredibly useful in the long run. So, you might choose to go to a forest or field and sketch the trees or the clouds. Or maybe you could take it with you on a train and sketch the person sleeping opposite you for anatomy practice, or whatever. The more you do, the more the pieces fall together. And the old adage of practice makes perfect really does apply – and I still consider myself very much a learner. I think all artists do.

9. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of

- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?


Elwing Bearing the Silmaril by peet

I just like the simplicity of this piece, compositionally. The details come across nicely, but it works well as a whole and when viewed from further away too. I surprised myself completely because it just sort of fell out of the brush extremely quickly.

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?

Can I choose two?

Ray Davies by peet Don't aim too high... by peet

- a picture that fits your current mood?


Mormegil by peet

I’m feeling in a ‘I’m not gonna suffer fools gladly’ mood ;) (Wink)

- a picture that was hardest to paint?
Celebrimbor's Death by peet

This one was drawn on unfamiliar paper that just kept on eating and eating the water, so much so that adding layers really wasn’t making that much of a difference. So in the end (which took me a long time to decide) I just gave up, and chose to leave it alone.

- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?

Farewell to Lorien by peet

I’m still really fond of this piece, which is one of the earliest of my Tolkien works (2002), because it was the first time I managed to convey what I saw in my mind’s eye (or at least close to it) at the time: the melancholy of leaving Lórien and returning to the winter decay of mortal lands, and likewise, the depression amongst the Fellowship of resuming the Quest itself. I think these chapters to do with Lórien are some of the most beautiful Tolkien has written: it’s a window into his own impression of what the Undying Lands must have been like.

10. What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.

In terms of family, I think I probably already answered these points above.

Other than that, though, I have to say that when I first began seriously painting, Anke Eissmann was extremely friendly, encouraging and supportive of me and my art. So I have much to thank her for that. Likewise, I enjoyed and continue to appreciate the camaraderie that existed between me and Jenny Dolfen in the earlier days on DA, when we used to share a lot of comments and anecdotes. If you’re reading this Jenny, I’d love to do another collaboration with you one day (though I know you’re always extremely inundated)!

11. You returned to deviantArt after a long hiatus. What motivated you to come back after such a long time?


You’re right, I’d been largely absent from the Tolkien scene, from DA and from painting more generally for the best part of a decade – from approx. 2006-2014. In that time, I had painted a small number of scenes – ‘Elessar and Mithrandir’, ‘Of Thingol and Melian’, ‘Fingolfin Challenges Morgoth’ and a few others – but in the main, I was concentrating on my BA in History, and then my MA and PhD in Intellectual History (I’m in the final stages of the PhD now), which included a lot of archival work/research, as well as teaching undergraduates. As for returning, this occurred in the summer of 2014 when a representative of Warner Bros contacted me about using the painting ‘Beren and Luthien’ for the DoS EE DVD/Blu-ray, in a ‘making of’ documentary – which, incidentally, remains in the cut, in a section about Mirkwood. In the process, I struck up a good rapport with this individual working on behalf of WB, who made further requests for paintings for DoS, and now this year for the BotFA EE (2015). Thanks to that, they rekindled my desire to paint Tolkien scenes once again.

Incidentally, I realise that this explanation may make me seem a bit hypocritical regarding my views of the movie-adaptations. But in my defence, I’ve always had respect for the process of designing and creating the sets and clothing etc. on those films, if not necessarily for the look, tone or feel (some exceptions aside) of the finished product.

12. Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?


This is difficult – there are so many!

One Tolkien artist who definitely deserves more exposure is :iconmatejcadil:, whose style I think is closest to Tolkien’s own.

Cerin Amroth by matejcadilRomenna by matejcadilBrothers - Fire and Ice by matejcadil

I also really like :iconoznerol-1516: for his attention to historical detail, which gives his Tolkien illustrations a nice feel (much of his other work is based literally on historical figures from our world too).

Aragorn Elessar Telcontar by Oznerol-1516Aenys Targaryen by Oznerol-1516Earnur and Mardil by Oznerol-1516

Finally, I love the beautiful and evocative work of :iconfilat:, whether it be Tolkien or not.

Crimea by FilatFriends by FilatAraman by Filat

13. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?

I’d just like to extend my warm thanks to all of you who’ve supported me and my art since I began in earnest. It really is greatly appreciated, and it’s such a pleasure and honour to meet and converse with so many who share my love for Tolkien. On a side note, for those who left me comments or were in contact with me during my long hiatus-cum-sabbatical, and yet didn’t receive a reply: my sincerest apologies! I always try to make it a point to communicate with those who’ve been kind enough to take the time to leave some thoughts; however, I obviously neglected to do that over those years. I hope now to continue where I left off!

To end, I apologise to MirachRavaia for taking so, so long to compete this interview – and I thank her for giving me the opportunity! And if anyone’s interested in my work, please do follow me on Facebook too, where I upload sketches and work-in-progress pieces that don’t appear here on DA: www.facebook.com/peterxavierpr…

Thanks!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Halloween is here!

Journal Entry: Thu Oct 8, 2015, 1:34 AM


Are you ready to enter a haunted house?
:iconhalloween-hq:
prepared this adventure for you, with awesome prizes:



Journal Layout by lockjavv