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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

Talks with Tolkien artists: DanPilla

Journal Entry: Mon Oct 5, 2015, 5:39 AM


This is the 50th interview in this series! Celebrate 
:icondanpilla: - DanPilla is a digital artist from Brazil. He claims to be a hobbyist artists, but it is hard to believe that he is not a professional when looking at his work:


Legolas by DanPilla Gandalf by DanPilla

Ancalagon vs Earendil by DanPilla
Annatar (Sauron) by DanPilla Galadriel by DanPilla
Ulmo And Tuor by DanPilla


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

I live in a very small town in Brazil, far from big cities. I love to draw fantasy. Also I love books, movies and television shows. I like to collect all about Tolkien's Middle Earth, but my collection is still very small. And I am also very passionate about video games!

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

I was very impressed, I was completely attracted. It is impossible not to love the atmosphere of Middle-earth.

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

I do not consider myself an expert on Tolkien. There is still much to browse and read. It takes much time to assimilate everything, and my time is a little limited because of work.

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

The movies. I started reading "The Lord of the Rings" after seeing the film in theaters in 2001, so this greatly influenced me in my reading. But that was a long time ago, and I still did not draw as we as today.

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?

Drawing is a hobby for me. I wish this activity would give me profits, then I would be earning for doing what I love. I draw since I was a kid, but I just started doing digital art since 2001, when I bought a tablet. Many artists I meet on Deviant Art are sources of inspiration, there is extremely talented staff here. Many movies, books and games also influence me.

6. You have been on deviantar for several years, but started submitting Tolkien fanart, from character designs to epic scenes from the Silmarillion, only at the beginning of this year. What happened in that time?

Long ago I imagined doing artworks of Middle-earth. But it was only in 2014 that I felt I was really ready and dominating the digital arts to start drawing Tolkien. But I know that I have still much to learn about digital.

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

Sometimes reading a passage inspires me or one of the scenes of some of the movies. Or when I see the work of any other artist.

8. Who is your favourite Tolkien character?

Gandalf! Needless to think about it to be able to say, lol

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

I have dozens of ideas for new designs, but I have little time to execute those ideas. I could cite many films and books, but I'll tell you what I'm currently doing: a fanart based on the game "Bloodborne" which I am hooked to.

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?

My art is digital, so I like to use the tablet and Photoshop. I am always with an open mind to learn new ways within digital art.

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

I'm always looking for tips and tricks myself. Watching tutorials on youtube and watching the work of artists I like.

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

Roads Go Ever Ever On by DanPilla

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

The Great Battle (2014 Version) by DanPilla
(In this drawing I felt I evolved, so for me its a milestone.)


- a picture that fits your current mood?
The Serpent God by DanPilla
(looking forward to big events)

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

The same Tolkien illustration that I am most proud of, Roads Go Ever Ever On

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

Not finished!! lol

13. 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 a great artist: :iconpeet:
Gwindor's Charge by peet

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

I would to like to say thank you, thank you so much for give me support! And follow me on facebook: www.facebook.com/danpilla.ilus…

Thank you very much for your time and answers!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Happy Hobbit Day!

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 22, 2015, 11:42 AM


September 22nd is the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, celebrated as the Hobbit Day over the world.
Bilbo was born in the year of 2890 and Frodo in the year of 2968 T.A. (1290 and 1368 respectively by Shire-Reckoning)
Happy birthday!

Birthday Party in Tol Eressea by KisTithen
Happy Hobbit Day! by Alexbee1236
Frodo and Bilbo by sakura-forest






Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

X. Tolkien Mailing Competition

Journal Entry: Wed Sep 16, 2015, 2:31 AM





The Hungarian Tolkien Society already announces the 3rd year of the international “Quendi” category of the Tolkien Mailing Competition. The competition is in English, open to individual participants. In the course of the Competition you will face different challenges like quizzes, riddles and creative tasks. The five rounds of the competition will last from October to March.

The application deadline is October 11th, 2015.

There is a maximum limit of 60 for the number of participants in this category. Even though the participation didn't reach this number previously, don't leave the registration to the last  moment.

Participation in the Quendi category requires a thorough knowledge of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and, perhaps, The Children of Húrin. Some questions (riddles, quizzes, etc.) will refer to other works by Tolkien, but you will have about four weeks for each round, that is, plenty of time to look up in the books everything you might need.

There will also be some creative challenges. For example, you may be asked to describe a situation, write a short poem, make a drawing or take a photograph, etc. with the possiblity of the best of your works—with due credit to authors/artists—being published by the Hungarian Tolkien Society, e.g. on their website, www.tolkien.hu, or in their journal, Lassi Laurië. The artwork shouls not be published without consulting them first, and especially not before the deadline of the round in question.

The contest starts in October and continues until March. Every month you will receive the questions of the next round, and you will have to submit your solutions until the indicated deadline. Communication will be via e-mail.

There will be no prizes in the international category, only the public announcement of your achievement and a certificate sent by e-mail. There is no registration fee, either.

You can find more information about the contest and an online registration form here:
www.tolkien.hu/index.php/mtt/i…

P.S. It's really a great competition for all Tolkien lovers and artists, so I highly recommend you to participate! It might get a bit time consuming to fulfill the challenges, but they are very fun and inspiring, and you are always welcome to submit even incomplete answers or ask for a few days of extension. And I would really appreciate if someone won instead of me this year, because I'll look like a total nerd after winning 2 years in a row :D


Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: Lamorien

Journal Entry: Thu Sep 10, 2015, 2:36 AM


To me, the works of :iconlamorien: - Lamorien always brought the impression of flowing: flowing dresses, hair, light, wind, water, watercolours... You do not have to agree with me though, check her gallery and see what impression in makes on you! I guarantee it will be a nice trip :)

Ringbearers: Galadriel by Lamorien Star Bringer by Lamorien
Galadriel's Farewell by Lamorien
Aragorn and Eowyn by Lamorien The Journey Begins by Lamorien
Arien, Vessel of the Sun by Lamorien

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


I grew up in Michigan, where I attended Kendall College of Art and Design. I got a degree in illustration and moved to Seattle. Fairy tales, fantasy, and sci-fi have always been my favorite genre of story and art.

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

"Lamorien" was an elf name I made up for myself when I first got really obsessed with Lord of the Rings. (My Elvish surname is "Riverleaf," and I liked to imagine that if I'd lived in Middle Earth, it would have been in Lothlorien)

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

I read the Hobbit around 5th or 6th grade. I fell in love with the expansive story of Bilbo and the Dwarves. I went ahead to read Lord of the Rings, but honestly there was a lot that I didn't fully comprehend with my tiny middle-school mind.

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


Ha! I like to joke that I know more about Middle-Earth history than U.S. history. I've read and re-read the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and the Silmarillion, but have yet to get to the Book of Lost Tales and Children of Hurin. Nevertheless, I DID win a Tolkien Pub Trivia contest a couple months back. So. Let's go with near-expert.

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

This is kind of a tricky question for me. TECHNICALLY, I read the books first. But I was young and about 75% of it went way over my head. So, my more memorable experience was actually after having seen the movies. All the characters took shape, the story grew in scale... I remember sitting there, watching in absolute awe, while the Fellowship walked through Lothlorien and met Galadriel. It was a milestone of my life.

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've been doing art since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I was professionally trained in traditional art; I have a degree in illustration. Currently I just do it as a side job, picking up commissions here and then. Eventually I would like to develop a following and start running the Comicon circuits.

Specific artists who have influenced me are Alphonse Mucha, Alan Lee, John William Waterhouse, and Aubrey Beardsley. The Art Nouveau movement as a whole can really be seen reflected in my work.

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


I just really like drawing scenes that stand out to me. I draw a LOT of portrayals of Eowyn. She's my favorite character. She's strong, sensitive, feminine, and independent. Seriously a really fun character to explore through art.

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

I'm a BIG fan of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Chronicles of Narnia, Avengers...they've all been big inspirations for my fanart collection.

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?

Watercolor is my go-to medium. I like the mix between extreme precision and letting it do its own thing. I like having a variety of techniques in my arsenal though, so I've tried just about everything including pen and ink, Copic markers, digital, paper cutting, oil paints....

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

The best thing I can say is: Practice drawing. From life. All the time.
Tutorials are a great way to learn techniques, but observation drawing will help you develop so many skills like composition, shape recognition, flow, and form.

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

Eowyn and the Witch King by Lamorien

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

Always Winter, Never Christmas by Lamorien

- a picture that fits your current mood?

 The Great Divide by Lamorien

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

 Beckon by Lamorien

12. 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 parents have always been huge supporters and always encourage me to do my best and believe in myself. All my art teachers, both high school and college, were great artists themselves and they taught me well, inspired me to be great, and continue to support me with what I do.

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

Just want to say thanks so much for everyone who's liked/commented on my artwork, it really does make my day when I see encouraging comments. I love knowing that people appreciate my work, it's why I do what I do!

Thank you for your time and answers!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: NOLANOS

Journal Entry: Wed Sep 2, 2015, 1:48 AM


With the beginning of the school year, I present you another interview. It's with an Uruguay artist :iconnolanos: - NOLANOS:

Anor by NOLANOSIsil by NOLANOS
La Iluminadora by NOLANOS
Noldolante by NOLANOS La Gracia de las Aguilas by NOLANOS
La Quema de las Naves by NOLANOS

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

Hi, greetings from distant Uruguay! My name is Natalia, I'm 32 and currently studying art as my second choice of career.

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

My username is pretty dull, just a conjunction of N from Natalia and part of my last name. It gives me the idea that when I sign an illustration that I'm not hiding behind an internet alter ego. ^_^

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

One summer when I was 17 or 18 one neighbor pestered me non stop to show him some drawings; I don´t blame him, I was really shy about sharing my art, but at the same time I was always drawing and sketching in my front yard! So when I showed him my crude anime style fanart he was not impressed, but among those were also some others samples of medieval fantasy and mythological subjects and that's when I caught his attention. He said to me that those looked like "The Lord of the Rings" and I confessed that I didn't know what that was. He went to his home and handed me a copy of The Return of the King. He said to me that he didn't know where the other 2 volumes were but that I can keep that one, that I NEEDED to read it.... And what else can I say, here we are all these years later, with that contribution still in my personal library!

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

I'm an average knowledge fan of Middle Earth.

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, but I can say that I´m deeply affected by the movies and the aesthetics they create, but no so much for the personal appearance of the characters. Even so I´m not sure if that influence is really represented in my works.

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?

At this moment it is just a hobby, as I don't have the time to do more. I´m thinking of making an incursion on the freelance aspect probably next year, so we will see!

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

I tend to choose to paint whatever that touches me, impresses me. Maybe I´m wrong, but I do believe that I like to draw emotion in my more serious illustrations. For example: When reading a text that describes a battle I would get excited by the action and the movement but I would choose to draw (or try to draw ; P ) the uncertainty of the soldier, the determination of a captain, the sorrow of the lost...

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

I'm not good at creating stories or characters so the interpretation of a text is my favorite motive. At this point I can say that If I had the time I would draw something, anything of all the books that I had read in my life. I would love to try my hand and make at least one single image of the things that nurture me!

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 always liked the vibrancy of watercolor, but I still think I'm not really suited for it; watercolor is passionate and free and I tend to restrict it too much... Anyway, I love it and I put all my effort in learning and adapting the technique to my devices. I had tried pencil, charcoal, ink and also digital but I always end coming back to my brushes and watercolor pans, it suits me best! Currently I´m learning oil, and I would love to try my hand at sculpture.

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

Con una lanza by NOLANOS
I do believe that this one is the best in technique, but also really conveys my image of that particular event; a tragic fate faced with strength and love; and showed in a cruel way but with dignity.

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

Persecucion  The Last Unicorn fanart by NOLANOS
I love the movement in this one, which is so rare in my works!

- a picture that fits your current mood?

Ink crazy mess by NOLANOS
^_^

- a picture that was hardest to paint?


This one took me ages to finish...
Medioeval by NOLANOS

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

Yo by NOLANOS

Just to show my face, before I say goodbye. Thanks to all for being here and let me be part of this beautiful and inspirational world!

Thank you for your time and answers!


Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: PeckishOwl

Journal Entry: Fri Aug 7, 2015, 3:38 AM


This interview is going to be long, so prepare your mouse for scrolling! Why? Because I talked with :iconpeckishowl: - PeckishOwl and there will be many awesome comic strips! But before we get to them, have a taste of her gallery with something shorter first:

TGD #52: Arm yourselves! by PeckishOwl
TGD #51: A kingly gift by PeckishOwl
Oakencrossover #46: Dwarf Tales by PeckishOwl

Oakenstill#35: Insertname loved you by PeckishOwl
Oakenstill #32: (Dis)appearence by PeckishOwl
Oakenstill #29: The final test by PeckishOwl


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


Of course. Did you know that human beings are only 30 000 genes different from corn cobs’ DNA? Something to think about, no doubt.

2. What is the story behind your username?

I’ve always loved the artwork by Anry Nemo showing an owl eating a bun; the one in my avatar. And that owl looks pretty peckish to me.

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


I’ve read my first Tolkien book in primary school. It was “The Hobbit” and as a child I remember enjoying it tremendously – I’ve read the entire book in almost one go. I thought “The Lord of the Rings” would be something similar, but – as you know very well – it turned out to be a rather dark and complex saga, unlike the fairytale “Hobbit”. I was actually pretty scared reading some of its fragments - after reading about the night in Bree, when the Nazgul arrive, I couldn’t sleep for a day or two. To be honest, even though I liked “The Lord of the Rings”, I don’t think I’ve entirely understood its message and poetic value until high school.

It was my mother who first suggested I should read Tolkien – she bought her first copy of “The Lord of the Rings” when she was a student herself, so I’m proud to say I’ve inherited one of the first Polish editions of “The Lord of the Rings”. In high school most kids were unfamiliar with Tolkien’s books before Peter Jackson’s movies came out. Having no friends to talk about these books, I’ve always thought of “The Hobbit” and “LOTR” as “my books”. And then the movies arrived and suddenly these books became everyone’s. In a way, it took the charm away. But on the other hand the “LOTR” movies fever compensated, in some degree, for that.  

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


I’d like to think of myself as a devoted fan, but not as a hardcore fan, who can easily recite entire family trees from “The Silmarillion” while woken up at 3.00 am and hung upside down by the ankles.

There is one poem I know by heart – one which I usually recite for the entertainment of my friends when we go mountain-hiking. It’s “The Walking Song” from “The Fellowship of the Ring”.

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’ve read the books a few years before the movies came out. And I agree with what you point out. Some characters from the movie have eclipsed their bookish images I had in my head – especially Aragorn, Gandalf and Saruman – they were perfect, better than I’ve imagined they would be. But a great deal of heroes differed so much from their originals that the comparison between them and their bookish alter egos cannot be made. This applies especially to Boromir, Faramir, Theoden and Arwen. Some of these changes were actually made for the better. Boromir from the book for example acted like a downright toff. In the movies, he’s actually a very likeable person – or at least inspires a great deal of sympathy.

6. Now, could you introduce your parodic series? Oakentoons, Oakencrosovers and Oakenstills - what is the difference between them?


The whole Oakenenterprise is a parody of “The Hobbit”, concentrating mostly Thorin Oakenshield whose legendary #majesty makes him a perfect parody target. Oakentoons are cartoons. Oakenstills are just one image with a catchy punchline. Oakencrossovers are a cross between “The Hobbit” and other installments – films, games, TV series and so on.

7. How about your more serious Memories from Middle-earth? A joke among serious art is comical relief, so are these a sort of "serious relief" to you?


Well spotted. Yes, this gallery is about scenes I find very moving and entirely unmockable.

8. Where do you find inspiration for the humorous strips? Are you not afraid of it running out with regular posting?


Most of the episodes are an outcome of some purely random ideas – mixing quotes, movies and situations. Some of the first episodes were inspired by the blog “The Magnificent Home of Thorin the Majestic” at thorinissomajestic.tumblr.com. There’s also a very creative role-playing society of Tolkien fans on Facebook – fans who, for the last three years, had successfully managed to portray Tolkien’s chief characters in a very authentic, lovable and inspiring manner.

Some Oakentoons were my own private responses for rumors and trends surrounding “The Hobbit” movies. Now that all the movies were released there’s little to speculate left. Sadly, I must say I didn’t enjoy the last movie as much as I did the first two chapters (for reasons I describe here: peckishowl.deviantart.com/jour…). That’s why I haven’t been posting much since the premiere of “The Battle of the Five Armies”. Some scenes in that movie were an unintentional parody of themselves – especially the ones involving Alfrid, Legolas, Tauriel and Kili – and there’s simply no fun in mocking them any further. They made Middle Earth look silly in the primitive and not-funny-at-all meaning of silly, verging on the terms “stupid” and “unnecessary”.

9. Are you even able to read the books or watch the movies without thinking about possible use of the scenes for your strips?

I make my parodies with both love and respect for the books and the movies. I would never create a comic strip with humor I wouldn’t like as a Tolkien fan. And since I didn’t enjoy “The Battle of the Five Armies”, I’m having trouble with thinking up parodies about this particular movie.

10. Is humour and fun an important part of your life?


It’s that or going mad. I work as a medical doctor. You can surely imagine that it’s a profession where you don’t get to laugh all that much.

11. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- an Oakentoon you are most proud of?

A difficult question. Now that the series has more than 100 episodes, I can’t choose. But the one that sums up the idea behind the Oakentoons in a nutshell is definitely this one:
Oakentoon Special #70: Leader of our Company by PeckishOwl

- an Oakencrosovers you are most proud of?

I like the medically valid explanation of Thorin’s tendency to hug his hobbit, as described by the legendary doctor Gregory House:

Oakencrossover #6: House MD by PeckishOwl

- an Oakenstill you are most proud of?

Oh yes, this one is one of the earliest but it never lost its freshness:
Oakenstill #10: Stay sharp by PeckishOwl

- a strip that was hardest to make or think of?

The anniversary episode #100 was the longest one and included collaboration with two other deviant Artists:
Oakentoon #100 - part 1: On the matter of badly... by PeckishOwl

- a strip that you find most silly?

I can’t give you my vote, but I can give you the vote of my fans. The Oakentoon with the biggest number of favs is:

Oakentoon #10: They're taking the hobbit by PeckishOwl

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

Yes. If the readers of this interview were too see but three Oakentoons I’ve created, I’d choose these three:

(the sta.sh made them appear blurry, I promise they aren't when you click on them!)

1. Oakentoon #27: The only one he ever loved by PeckishOwl 2. Oakentoon #56: True Story (for orthodox fans) by PeckishOwl 3. Oakentoon #87: The eagles are coming! by PeckishOwl

Because:
1.    There’s too little hugging going around the world.
2.    If you think PJ made it wrong, think again.
3.    Everyone should know what Gandalf really did on the Carrock and should be able to do exactly the same, if the need arises.

12. 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.

There are dozens of fantastic artists out there – Anita Schmidt-Pabst (wolfanita), Jian Guo (breathing2004), knightJJ, Kinko-White, evankart, momofukuu, ramida-r, Niken Anindita (megatruh), SceithAilm, Fabio Leone – just to mention some of my favorites.

I have a special fondness for Anita, who has a type of humour very similar to mine. The biggest support and best inspirations I owe to the admin of www.facebook.com/KingThorinOak… and thorinoakenshield.net. You’ll know why once you visit these pages.

13. 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?

If you enjoy funny cartoons about “The Hobbit” you should definitely visit :iconttanner2448:. Here’s an appetizing taste of what you’ll find there:

Tax Season in Erebor by ttanner2448

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


“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us”. That’s my favorite Tolkien quote of all time and my own little motto. Stick to it and I’m betting there won’t be that much in your life you’ll be forced to regret.

Thank you for your time and answers!
:)


Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

DeviantArtist Questionnaire

Fri Aug 7, 2015, 2:51 AM


  1. How long have you been on DeviantArt? - 6 years, 4 months and 18 days :)

  2. What does your username mean? - the names of two characters from my story (I had to add the other one because Mirach was already taken). Mirach is also a star in Andromeda.

  3. Describe yourself in three words. - tree obsessed dreamer

  4. Are you left or right handed? - right

  5. What was your first deviation?
    The Standard of Gondor by MirachRavaia

  6. What is your favourite type of art to create? - poetry (you can do that anywhere and don't need any art supplies)

  7. If you could instantly master a different art style, what would it be? - I do pretty much all of them on a hobbyist level :) But the one I have no talent for and I would like to master but never will, is music.

  8. What was your first favourite?  The Choice of Luthien by Gold-Seven

  9. What type of art do you tend to favourite the most? - trees and Tolkien themed artwork

  10. Who is your all-time favourite deviant artist? :iconpuimun:

  11. If you could meet anyone on DeviantArt in person, who would it be? - I'm working on it :D I already met :iconvisanastasis:, :iconninquetari:, :iconjankolas: and :iconleurindal:. I would love to meet :iconlirulin-yirth: and :icondanaanderson: once, and also :iconebe-kastein:.

  12. How has a fellow deviant impacted your life? - As much as a great friend can...

  13. What are your preferred tools to create art? - Practically anything. I like to experiment.

  14. What is the most inspirational place for you to create art? - If creation is meant as coming up with the idea, anywhere. If the process itself, home.

  15. What is your favourite DeviantArt memory? - Getting my first premium membership for a drawing of fella doing needlework in a chat game, getting a DD, getting positive response for my projects...



wastelands: resurgere | wroth| ba1969,
brushes: redheadstock & MouritsaDA-Stock; coding and graphics by kuschelirmel-stock and heavily modified by VisAnastasis

Talks with Tolkien artists: Venlian

Journal Entry: Wed Jul 29, 2015, 2:54 AM


The Elves are beautiful, there is no doubt about that. But :iconvenlian: - Venlian gives this beauty a new dimension - one that can only be described as "hot" or "sexy". And this is just one of the interesting topics we talked about in this interview ;)
(note: please keep in mind that English is not Venlian's first language and this interview had to be translated. I hope all is understandable despite of this, though.)

Idril Light by Venlian Feanaro by Venlian
Morning Punishment by Venlian Beren by Venlian
Celegorm son of Feanor by Venlian Eowyn by Venlian
 

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

Hi! I’m an artist from Ukraine, I’m fond of drawing, music and literature. I love animals. I have 3 aquariums and a german shepherd dog, I called him Anor.

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

I read and looked through enough material about Tolkien's world to say that I understand it. But as the actor V. Livanov who ingeniously played Sherlock Holmes told in his interview – he specially didn't re-read the book before filming to keep freshness of sensing and admiration of Holmes he got since early youth and convey this first impression to the audience. I think he succeeded in it:). I don't re-read Tolkien for hundred times too before drawing, I don't look for any little details through Internet, I draw on first impression of scene or character, I try to keep my delight of some character :). That’s why I wouldn't put my name among experts and tolkienologists.

3. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you? What was first for you - book or movie? 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?

When the first part of LOTR trilogy came out, I wasn't fond of Tolkien yet and I didn't know who is he, that’s why I didn't go to the cinema. And only when there were already all 3 parts, I decided to watch this movie from the disk, but didn't understand the plot and didn’t like it. When I told my acquaintance about it, she said that it is necessary to read the book first; all is much more cool and clear there. She gave me to read "The Two Towers", - my passion for Tolkien also began with it. I was immensely in love with the book, I terribly wanted to read the others. After time I was lucky to buy all 3 volumes on sale, it was translated by Nemirova A. I think that it is the best translation of LOTR, exactly I must thank this translation that my love for Tolkien became so deep. I hesitated much to read the "Silmarillion" though there were its fans among my acquaintances. The text seemed very confusing and unclear to me. Only much later, also incidentally, I had to study this book and some episodes made great impression on me. As for the movie, I re-watched it after reading the book, and it is a beautiful scenery to the book, but no more than that. The most apt in my opinion is Gandalf, approximately such as I also imagine him. Sam, Eowyn and Theoden and all Rohirrim are good :) I don’t like Frodo at all, in my opinion he doesn't agree with the book and that uncommon hobbit about whom Tolkien wrote. Aragorn also lacs, with all my love to Vigo :) Images from Jackson’s LOTR are inevitably imposed on us, but Tolkien’s world is much more deep and more natural and orсs are not so simple as the herd of bisons  :)

4. 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 am a professional artist. I studied in an art school, then in the nursery of artists in a painting class, then I graduated from the art and graphic institute. I started drawing in childhood. At the beginning I drew only animals, I started with people already studying in an art school. In my childhood I was inspired by cartoons – the russian animated cartoon "Maugli", "Beauty and the Beast", "The Lion King", etc. I wanted very much to become an animated cartoon artist.

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

I would tell that my applies to Tolkien share on two parts: these are portraits of characters and a scenes from their life. Most of all I’m interested in several characters from "Silm", first of all it is Feanor and his family. Creating his portrait, or members of his family, I want to convey a certain emotional state, identity, feature. I don't want them to be ordinary cute faces, without relation to Tolkien's world. It is difficult and such task attracts me. On my portraits they are shown as just people, often sexy, and often first of all as soldiers. This combination of sublime beauty of mind and body with necessity to struggle, win and create new cities  -  is really wonderful. Inexhaustible subject. As for the scenes from life – there are some plans, and I hope that I would be able to get around to them :).

6. 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 to draw digital and traditional, however the spirit of Middle Ages in Tolkien's works as if hints that his world goes best of all with traditional, and I will agree with such opinion. As for the techniques I tried to draw Tolkien's world with watercolor, and pastel, and ink and graphite. Quite perhaps, I will risk also with oil :) It would be epic :)

7. Probably the best word to describe your character paintings is "hot". As a modest and religious man, Tolkien avoided this topic, but some of your illustrations are more revealing. Is it your intention to present them as "eye-candy" for the viewers? What is your opinion on sexuality in Middle-earth?

You know, I think that there was sex in Middle-Earth :). Feanor had 7 sons, and this already gives us a hint that he had sex with his wife not only on hollidays :) I don't see elves of "Silm" as just cute handsome men and shirkers, they had to work hard, building the new cities of Middle-Earth – after all they had no slaves, all they did, they did themselves. They had to be at war, sow and plow, build and fight – that’s why in my opinion they are flesh and blood. Thus they are beautiful and strong – and it is really sexy!

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

In my art I try to avoid stereotypes. I can advise all artists, to do the same :)

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


Glorfindel. Before The Storm. by Venlian
I like how it came out to show his expression and mood.

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

Celtic girl by Venlian

- a picture that fits your current mood?

Fingon Before the Battle by Venlian

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

Feanor Noldor King by Venlian
I was drawing him with breaks, started and began again. This interview helped me to finish and also my friend's persuasions.

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

Beast by Venlian
I love the technique here.

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.

I had to communicate with many artists and it is possible to learn something from everyone. But the most important person for me is my teacher in art school and also some fellow students with whom I studied in the nursery of artists. From DA I can call :icongold-seven: - the first traditional Tolkien artist I saw on DA, and a thought rushed in my head: hey! And why not to do the same! :) There are many drawings which inspire on something also from other DA artists.  If it concerns my favourite classical artists, they are Vrubel, Kramskoy, Shishkin, Levitan, Serov and many other Russian artists. Also I like impressionists – for fine vivid colours and plus  classic like Michelangelo, Rodin, etc.

11. 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?

:iconrighon:
young archer by RighonGoldberry and unfamiliar sinda by Righon

:icontoradh:
Last Breath of Fire by ToradhNirnaeth Arnoediad by Toradh

:iconmeneldil-elda:
Leithian by meneldil-elda

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

Tolkien's world is fascinating and boundless, it inspires me, and I am glad that my drawings and my vision of this world can inspire and be pleasant to you.

Thank you very much for your time and answers!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: AngelaRizza

Journal Entry: Tue Jul 21, 2015, 9:50 AM


The gallery of :iconangelarizza: - AngelaRizza is full of beautiful detailed pictures of many topics, and if you browse through them, you also will discover many wonderful Tolkien illustrations, like these:

The Great Eagle Rescue by AngelaRizza Beorn's Hall by AngelaRizza
Mirkwood by AngelaRizza Azog Outside of Moria by AngelaRizza
The Prancing Pony by AngelaRizza Smaug by AngelaRizza

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


Hey, My name is Angela, I’m 25 and I got my BFA from the Fashion Institute in NYC for Illustration. In college I focused a lot on fantasy illustration and children’s books and since then I’ve been freelancing in upstate New York.

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


I first read The Lord of the Ring series in elementary school, I remember buying the trilogy at a book fair because I loved the cover art. When I first read it, I think I was too young to really get the story and I remember just loving the characters and the whole fantasy world they lived in. That and the Harry Potter and Dragonlance books influenced a lot of my elementary school/middle school artwork and most of my subjects were dragons and weird monsters based on the creatures from these series.

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

I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, I’m always learning something new about the series every week and I like how when I rewatch the movies or reread the books I always notice or realize something new which keeps the series interesting and fresh for me.

4. 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 trilogy first, but I saw the Hobbit movie before I read the Hobbit.

I found the movies helped me appreciate the book more. I had my idea of what characters and creatures looked like in my head but I think Peter Jackson in his crew helped fill in the gaps in my head and made it feel so solid and complete. But, I liked my vision of their outfits and the environment a bit more, I always imagined them more flamboyant and not as close to our world.

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 work as an illustrator and teach art to elementary and middle school aged kids part time. My grandfather was an artist and influenced me into becoming one from a young age, so I’ve been drawing since I was a kid with the idea that I’d be doing this for the rest of my life. A lot of my style is inspired by classical storybook illustrators like Arthur Rackham, along with some contemporary artists who work in mixed traditional/digital media like Yuko Shimizu.

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

I like to create an image that can present the main characters in their best light, and in a recognizable or iconic setting. Sometimes I like to do a montage of different scenes in one image to tell a chunk of the story.

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

I did a Harry Potter and Game of Thrones series last year, and I want to add more to that. I also want to do a piece inspired by season 1 of True Detective when I have time. I do a lot of fanart because I was told by a few successful illustrators that if I draw the things I love and fill my portfolio with them, I will get jobs involving those things. So far I’ve found that to be true, I had some of my pieces used for the Middle Earth Envisioned book, and I was invited by HBO to stand on the red carpet in ny at last year’s Game of Thrones season premier party.

8. 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 working in a combo of traditional and digital media. I ink everything traditionally and add some value with black watercolor, then I scan it and add the color in Photoshop along with some details and texture to get my look. It’s a process I’m very quick with and I’m always tweaking and playing around with to improve.

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

Definitely draw everyday, keeping a sketchbook is a great habit and this is how you improve your artwork and keep track of ideas.

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


Eowyn vs Nazgul by AngelaRizza

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

The King Who Lost The North by AngelaRizza

- a picture that fits your current mood?

Jack by AngelaRizza

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

The Wandering Hoarder by AngelaRizza

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


Near Death by AngelaRizza

I just love this one, the whole Garden Wall series feels like someone went into my brain, took out my mind and made it into a cartoon.

11. 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.

Arthur Rackham, Teagan White, Audubon, Charles Vess, Corey Godbey, Nicolas Delort, Ida Outhwaite, Jillian Tamaki and Richey Beckett have all been artists who I admire and look up to.

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?


Outward by JMFenner91#290 The head of a Sailor by Picolo-kunThe Secret Door by yanadhyana
PF 2015 by s-u-w-iThe Loss by POISON-FREEBuffy the Vampire Slayer season 10 issue 13 by StevenJamesMorris

Thank you for your time and answers!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Hobbit in tengwar

Journal Entry: Wed Jul 8, 2015, 9:42 AM


:iconsirielle: reports:

You need to check it - Tsvetelina Krumova 'Elmenel' is creating the first book in tengwar - The Hobbit:
  


Handmade calligraphy, maps and illustrations. I saw the original drawings at Oxonmoot 2014, amazing!
(In the corner you can see fantastic Elrond Love)

Detailed information regarding the creation process and possible publication at Patreon:
www.patreon.com/Elmenel?ty=h  

Here is also homepage of the project www.parmaeldalieva.com/
& it's fanpage at Facebook  www.facebook.com/ParmaEldaliev…
Though Tsvetelina will be most active at Patreon and the best contact her there.
#1 If you want to see it happening forward the information, let the world hear about it! Thumbs Up
The more people talk about it, the better for the project & the publication! 
 Share it at Tumblr Tumblr Icon sirielle.tumblr.com/post/12244… (the best use this link) and other sites Thumbs Up

#jrrt #hobbit #tolkien #calligraphy #book #bookillustration #tengwar #lotr #lordoftherings 

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire