For this part of my project, I have done some sketches of Middle-earth, some in pencil and some in watercolour, the sketches that I’ve produced are fairly rough working sketches, I haven’t worried too much about capturing every detail just wanting to catch the essence of the place and show what’s there for future reference. Most artists used preliminary rough sketches to work from at a later date for their main works, the artist I draw the most inspiration from for this practice when it comes to landscapes is JMW Turner; an incredibly talented Romanticist landscape artist from the Victorian Era.
As a reference for this sketches that I’ve carried out I used scenes from the movies, directed by Peter Jackson as well as photos of the beautiful New Zealand scenery; I think one thing that people who are totally in opposition to the movies can’t deny is that the setting for Tolkien’s legendarium was very well chosen and portrayed. Then again I may be wrong, critics will be critics at the end of the day.
Anyway, moving on from that here is the work I’ve produced since Part I:
This pencil sketch shows the approach to Isengard, but viewed as though one has already entered the archway and is en route to Isengard, thus in a sense it’s an exit from Isengard.
I love ruins, stonework and architectural elements such as bridges, archways and so on and therefore this was a nice seen to sketch. I captured the elements that were relevant for future work basically scribbling outlines and rough shading for reference.
*The hills of Emyn Muil, upon either side of Nen Hithoel, was a vast, seemingly impenetrable maze of rocky crags in the region of Rhovanion in Middle-earth. – lotr.wikia.com
This was a lovely sketch to create, the textures and surfaces of the rocky crags a perfect subject for sketching quickly and efficiently.
Mordor can be seen in the distance so I used some red and yellow colouring pencils to make it stand out amongst the greyscale landscape that directs the eye towards it.
The same again but this time I used watercolour paints to capture the scene, they give a very different effect but the same atmospheric qualities of this dark place remain.
Sketching with watercolours is an amazing creative process, working fast and building up layer by layer to complete a reference to the seen being captured.
As can be seen watercolours are a lot looser than pencils and it could be seen from either viewpoint whether they give more freedom or less, I guess it depends upon the subject.
*Anórien lay north of Minas Tirith and the line of the White Mountains (Ered Nimrais), and was the only part of the northern half of the realm,Calenardhon, which was not given to the Éothéod to become the Kingdom of Rohan.
Anórien formed a narrow strip of land consisting of the valleys of the White Mountains made up of tall grasslands, and its borders were the Mering Stream in the west and the Mouths of the Entwash in the north. Its eastern border was the border of Gondor at the Anduin. The climate was mild winters with warm summers. No cities were in Anórien, but following the line of the Great Road that led through Rohan to Arnor were built the Warning beacons of Gondor.
This sketch is the one that I spent the most time working with, using watercolours to capture the colours and shadows formed by the beautiful landscape of Anorien.
It differs slightly from the pencil sketch but the two together serve as a perfect preliminary to work with at a later date if the want arises to for a bigger scale painting.
I hope you have enjoyed this post that the sketches contained within, this series of sketches has allowed me to immerse myself within the landscape of Middle-earth and feel as though it’s a place I’ve visited; that’s the beauty of both literary and visual art, they take one away from the current state and world and transfer one to another world entirely.
Part III of this project will be where I truly strike my artistic ambition, I will be choosing a scene from Tolkien’s narrative and carrying out both a rough sketch and a detailed drawing in order to create my final painting from. I have a few scenes in mind one of which I’m going to choose and that will become the focus of the rest of this journey.
Another bonus for Part III is that I can go into more depth about the scene I’m depicting, taking an excerpt from the book and analysing the content of the material at my disposal, as for Part I and II I have used a variety of scenes or landscapes and therefore haven’t gone into as much detail as I could of, in neither the sketches nor the writing.
Hopefully see you next time for Part III, in the meantime please feel free to comment, follow, and leave any feedback!