Jerry Vanderstelt – Portrait of Sauron

“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie,

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”

-J.R.R. Tolkien’s epigraph to The Lord of the Rings

Sauron - painting - lord of the rings - lotr - art - painting

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The Art of Jerry Vanderstelt

 This week I’ll be looking at the work of a newly discovered Tolkien artist; Jerry Vanderstelt. I came across Vanderstelt whilst looking at art prints for sale on the Weta Workshop website earlier today and instantly found it appealing. As expected with being on the Weta website, Vanderstelt has used the actors from the movies to portray the characters from the Lord of the Rings.

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The Art of Ted Nasmith

Nasmith started sketching and drawing at a young age his skill eventually being nurtured by the time he got to high school; it was whilst in his third year that upon his sister’s recommendation he began to read The Lord of the Rings; Tolkien’s literature became a focus for Nasmith and the inspiration that he found in Tolkien’s writing led him to drawing scenes and characters from the books.

“Tolkien had long since had a very profound effect on me, and helped lead to much that I now count most significant in life. It opened up in me a dormant love of lost and misty times, myth and legend.” – Ted Nasmith

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The Art of Alan Lee & John Howe

I recently wrote a Featured Artist post that was a review of an artist named Matthew Stewart who uses a lot of Tolkien’s literature as inspiration to create artworks from, an amazing artist and it was writing that post that inspired me to carry out my own project based on The Lord of the Rings. However from this point on I’m going to look at the works of some artists/illustrators who are recognised by the Tolkien estate (a rare instance as they seem to hate and sue anybody doing anything with their predecessor’s literary masterpieces) artists who have created artworks for board games, calendars, illustrated books, and other Tolkien Estate approved merchandise.

Alan Lee & John Howe
Alan Lee & John Howe

The two artists that I’m focusing on for this particular post are Alan Lee and John Howe, two men who were already well recognised for portraying Middle Earth and Scenes from Tolkien’s books for all of the above mentioned merchandise; they were also hired by Peter Jackson as the concept artists for the films; the Lord of the Rings Trilogy as well as the Hobbit trilogy. Amazing artists with incredible passion, insight and a magical ability to be able to turn words on a page into some of the most stunning visuals created for this literary legacy.

We’ll start with some of Alan Lee’s artwork:

Alan Lee - Farewell to Gandalf
Alan Lee – Farewell to Gandalf

Now Gandalf too said farewell. Bilbo sat on the ground feeling very unhappy and wishing he was beside the wizard on his tall horse. He had gone just inside the forest after breakfast (a very poor one), and it had seemed as dark in there in the morning as at night, and very secret: “a sort of watching and waiting feeling,” he said to himself.

This beautiful painting by Alan Lee shows his incredibly skillful imagination in bringing written word to life in a visual form, the trees form a stunning composition, capturing and framing the narrative scene.

This is the sort of artwork that drives my own mind and imagination.

Alan Lee - Lady Dwarf Sketch
Alan Lee – Lady Dwarf Sketch

For all of us who have wondered and tried to envision, Alan Lee has again used his imaginative technique to show the world what a female Dwarf looks like,  very interesting concept and a totally unattractive female as a result.

Now I’ll just add more artworks with their caption or otherwise this post will end up becoming a book, it’s extremely hard to choose certain artworks from these artists as I can’t say there’s a single piece from either artist that I don’t like.

Alan Lee - The Stone Trolls
Alan Lee – The Stone Trolls
Alan Lee - Moria Gate
Alan Lee – The West Gate of Durin
Alan Lee - The Mirror of Galadriel
Alan Lee – The Mirror of Galadriel
Alan Lee - Leaving for the West
Alan Lee – Leaving for the West
Alan Lee - The Battle of the Hornburg
Alan Lee – The Battle of the Hornburg
Alan Lee - The Witch King of Angmar
Alan Lee – The Witch King of Angmar

As for Alan Lee, I’m going to leave that there, the above artworks are just a minute handful of a lifetime’s work inspired by Tolkien’s narrative, there are several books and collections of both Alan Lee and John Howe’s works available to buy and easy enough to find by searching on Amazon.

For the next stage now, I’m going to share some of John Howe’s work:

John Howe - Eowyn and the Nazgul
John Howe – Eowyn and the Nazgul
John Howe - Orthanc Destroyed
John Howe – Orthanc Destroyed
John Howe - Gandalf comes to Hobbiton
John Howe – Gandalf comes to Hobbiton
John Howe - Gandalf the Grey
John Howe – Gandalf the Grey
John Howe - The Witch King at Minas Tirith
John Howe – The Witch King at Minas Tirith
John Howe - Legolas & Gimli at Helm's Deep
John Howe – Legolas & Gimli at Helm’s Deep
John Howe - The Balrog Falling
John Howe – The Balrog Falling

The pictures of the artworks that I have shared in this post were sourced from a Tumblr account that I found whilst looking for concept art for the movies a while back, it is full of Alan and John’s artworks and is definitely worth a look at if you’re interested in either artist. Click Here to be directed to the site containing all the works, there are several categories as well so it makes it easier to find artworks for specific books, or artist.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the content of this post and feel free to re-blog or comment if you want to discuss any of the above artworks or any others.


The Lord of the Rings Project – Update III

So, here we are at Update III and now fast approaching the end of the painting and the culmination of the project. If you have missed the previous parts of this project, they can all be found by Clicking Here.

sam carrying frodo - wip - oil painting - lord of the rings art

As is evident from the picture, I still have a fair amount of colour to add to the figures’ clothing and the flesh tones need to be painted again with more of an orange-red hue due to the light that’s hitting them. Once that’s done I’ll be working on the finer details and highlights and then calling it a day; well I say that now but I’ll probably keep finding more to add to it. It’s hard not to overwork a piece and it takes a real discipline to work it to a finished enough stage and leave it.

With that in mind, I doubt that I’ll post another update now until the piece is finished and I’m aiming to have it finished within two weeks, I’m still not overly good with timing myself with this yet, mainly due to being new to oil painting; and for my first artwork created in oils I’m very happy so far despite the odd mistakes and problems I’ve encountered a long the way.

Thank you for taking the time to have a look at my work; I’ll still be posting regularly on Wednesdays and so until next time, take care!


The Lord of the Rings Project – Update II

As promised, here is the latest progress of my current The Lord of the Rings Project –

Sam Carrying Frodo - Art - LOTR - the lord of the rings - painting

It’s come a long way since the last update a couple of weeks ago, unfortunately of late I haven’t been able to spend as much time on it as I have wanted to but I’m now getting back into my schedule and I’m only expecting one or two more updates before I can publish the finished work, if all continues smoothly.

I may have mentioned this before, but it’s truly amazing how my confidence grows with every brush stroke, even the ones that don’t go the way I want them to, I learn great deals from. The paint is working for me rather than against me most of the time now as well which is fortunate.

Any feedback or comments will be greatly appreciated and if you’re interested in a chance to win some of my artwork as well as choose the theme of my next painting, check out the competition I’m currently running; you can find that by Clicking Here.

Thanks for taking the time to look at this post and I’ll be publishing a written piece next week on Wednesday.

Until then, take care!


The Lord of the Rings Project – Update

Welcome back for the update of my current project, if you’ve missed the previous parts of this project, they can all be found by Clicking Here 

In Part V, I published the finished underpainting of the scene that I’ve chosen to depict for this final painting; Sam carrying Frodo up the slopes of Mount Doom. I’ve now made more progress on the painting and started the overpainting phase, it’s a total learning curve and I’ve made a few mistakes here and there which I’m rectifying as I go.

I’m gradually becoming more comfortable with the oil paints and I am convinced now that this is my medium and will be employed for all future works; with the odd watercolour here and there.

Sam Carrying Frodo - Art - LOTR Art - the lord of the rings - painting

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The Lord of the Rings Project – Part V

Hello and welcome to Part V, if you have missed the previous parts of the project you can find them all by Clicking Here.

This part of the project is the underpainting of the final piece, the penultimate part of the project and a very important part. I’m glad I managed to get the underpainting finished and ready in time for today’s post; as I pointed out before, this is my first venture with oil paints and a totally new approach; however, so far it is going extraordinarily well and I’m hoping this journey continues with the same tenacity.

Continue reading “The Lord of the Rings Project – Part V”

The Lord of the Rings Project – Update

Hello everyone, as you may or may not have been aware, today would be the scheduled day for Part V of my Lord of the Rings Project; unfortunately as I had estimated before, now that I’ve moved into the oil painting stage of the project things are going a bit slower than the sketching stage. I’ve nearly completed the underpainting of the figures but the surrounding landscape still needs to be sketched in and underpainted before Part V will be ready to publish.

In order to avoid disappointment from this stage on, I’m no longer going to set the schedule for project posts as every two weeks, I’ll post them once ready and provide updates in between accompanied with images showing the progress at each stage of a post. Next Wednesday, I will post another update with images of the work at that stage, I may have the background and landscape blocked in by then, in which case it will be Part V of the project.

I still will be posting every Wednesday and as much as possible for the duration of this project, my posts will still be Tolkien related for the most part.

I’ll leave you with the links below for all the posts on this project and relating to it, feel free to check them out and share, leave feedback and converse. Until next week, take care!


The Lord of the Rings Project – 

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Tolkien Inspired Artists –

Matthew Stewart – Freelance artist, draws on Tolkien’s legendarium for inspiration

Alan Lee & John Howe – Tolkien Estate illustrators, concept artists for the movies

Ted Nasmith – Tolkien Estate illustrator

JRR Tolkien – Tolkien’s own illustrations for his books

The Art of JRR Tolkien

This week’s Tolkien artist insight is about the illustrative artwork of none other than JRR Tolkien himself; I’ve previously looked at the work of other recognised illustrators of Tolkien’s legendarium and whilst debating who to look at this week it occured to me, I haven’t yet delved into the illustrations of the man who created the richest fantasy world in the history of literature.

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