Sketchbook I – Vikings

Welcome to a new feature to the blog; the Sketchbook!

This new feature will be my means of documenting my experiments, sketches and studies and posting them on the blog every week or two. There will be a variety of themes for this undertaking and some weeks may contain a vast amount of sketches whilst others may only contain one or two more detailed works.

This will also work hand in hand with my two new goals for this year; to use my sketchbook a lot more and sketch at every possible moment; also, to blog a lot more and get the momentum back with it.

Over the past few months my posting has been a rarity due to work commitments and a general lack of time to complete my larger projects and get them posted; therefore the Sketchbook will give me more opportunities to get things finished and to get blog posts up as they are a lot less time consuming than oil paintings and large drawings.

Without further ado, the theme for this week is Vikings and it will be a recurring one as I am studying Norse life for a future project!

Viking Longhouse Sketch History
Viking Longhouse
Viking Longship Drakkar Sketch
Viking Longship

These first two pieces I actually experimented with timelapse videos for for the first time as well; they can be found on my Instagram, the link for that will be at the bottom of this post.

Viking Longships Drakkar Sketch
Studies for Longships
Viking Longships Vikings Drakkar Sketch Concept Art
Longships at sea, compositional studies
Viking Longships Vikings Drakkar Sketch
Viking Invasion Fleet
Viking Male Norse Man Portrait Sketch
Portrait of a Viking Man
Vikings Sketch Floki History Channel Viking Gustafson
Floki the Shipbuilder 
Vikings Sketch Invasion Marching Concept Art
Vikings on the March

This sketch was an experiment in challenging myself; I have become very comfortable depicting single figure compositions and I wanted to try a group of figures; a quick rough sketch but one that bore fruit nonetheless and taught me a lot.

Vikings Sketch Ragnar Lothbrok History Channel Viking Gustafson
The Lay of the Land

That’s all for this post but I hope you have enjoyed this new feature and I will soon be posting more so don’t forget to follow/subscribe to the blog to stay updated; the subscription box can be found further down the page.

Also, to see my works in progress and behind the scenes style pics as well as other stuff exclusive to that platform; follow me on Instagram @JGloverArt

Until next time, farewell!


Morning Coffee & Sketch – Part XI

Good Morning!

Welcome to my Morning Coffee & Sketch series, if you haven’t already then feel free to check out my current art project, a visual novel I’m working on called The Leaves of Hellebore.

I’ll be slightly changing the content of these posts every now and then in the future to include studies and general sketches so that not every post is a clean boxed composition idea; I find that it’s nice to sketch in a vignette style a lot and not always thinking about composition. Sometimes an idea sketch just needs to flow and find its own momentum without the restrictions set in place by drawing within a frame.

For now though we have another landscape idea –

Continue reading “Morning Coffee & Sketch – Part XI”

Morning Coffee & Sketch – Part II

Good Morning!!!

And another freezing cold morning it is as well, but that’s where the coffee plays a key role in this process. Today’s coffee of choice is a caramel blend which is nice, but perhaps a bit too rich for the first drink of the day.

If you missed Part I of this new series then you can find that by clicking here.

Any road, here’s the sketch for this morning –

landscape rocks drawing art sketch fantasy illustration j glover art josh glover story
The Tri Rocks

Sorry for the poor quality of the photograph, I’ve been using my phone but I’ll start using my camera for this next week.

Today’s sketch isn’t a narrative but it is something that will be equally as important for the visual fantasy novel that I’m crafting; a landmark, a glimpse of a small place in the world wherein the story takes place. These Tri Rocks will make their appearance in the backdrop of a piece of artwork further down the road.

This rocky slope is also surrounded by trees which I very roughly made impressions of rather than drawing them out fully and with detail; the idea of this series of sketches is too keep it loose and rough to allow the ideas to flow more than worrying about details; I can save them for the main artworks.

To see some of the already completed artworks click – Leaves of Hellebore

That’s about it for this morning, I’ll be back with Part III on Monday morning.

As always feel free to subscribe to my blog (near the bottom of this page) and leave a comment, it’s much appreciated!

Also to see my works in progress and other behind the scene type photos, follow me on Instagram – @JGloverArt

Until next time, farewell!


Morning Coffee & Sketch – Part I

Welcome to Morning Coffee & Sketch!!!

This is a new idea I’ve decided to try out in order to keep up a discipline in myself for sketching more regularly, most of the sketches I create for this series will be the foundation sketches for larger artworks that will form a part of my Leaves of Hellebore visual fantasy novel.

True to the title, these sketches will indeed be sketchy and rough drafts, sometimes even in the form of thumbnails; I have a penchant for overworking sketches and striving for detail where it isn’t needed, so this will encourage me to loosen up more; and erasers are banned from these works in order to help me fulfill that.

Anyway, let’s cut to the chase, here is the first Morning Coffee Sketch which has been created in the company of a lovely blend of hazelnut coffee –

fantasy art history warrior sketch drawing illustration landscape with figure war
The Warrior Returns

This concept is of a warrior who has been on the road for a long time and has finally returned to his homeland, battle weary and perhaps bearing ill tidings; he blows on his horn to inform the people of his long awaited return; or perhaps to warn them sooner of an impending danger…

Fell free to leave any comments and let me know what you think of this idea and series and if you have any requests or concepts you would like to see sketched!

Also if you want to see more of my working process and see works in progress then give me a follow on Instagram – @JGloverArt

I hope you have a good morning!


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.

Continue reading “The Art of JRR Tolkien”

The Lord of the Rings Project – Part II

Welcome to Part II of my current art project, if you’ve only just stumbled upon this post and haven’t seen Part I, you can find it by Clicking Here.

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:

Isengard Approach - Pencil Sketch
Isengard Approach – Pencil Sketch

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.

View of Mordor from Emyn Muil - Pencil Sketch
View of Mordor from Emyn Muil – Pencil Sketch

*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. – 

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.

View of Mordor from Emyn Muil - Watercolour Sketch
View of Mordor from Emyn Muil – Watercolour Sketch

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.

Anorien, Gondor - Pencil Sketch
Anorien, Gondor – Pencil Sketch

*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. 

Anorien, Gondor - Watercolour Sketch
Anorien, Gondor – Watercolour Sketch

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!



Study of a Man in Profile After Leonardo da Vinci

Study of a Man in Profile After Leonardo da Vinci - Charcoal on Paper
Study of a Man in Profile After Leonardo da Vinci – Charcoal on Paper

I spent about 15-20 minutes on this sketch and I’m reasonably happy with the result and what I learned in the process. I love the way Leonardo captured his subjects and sketching one of the Maestro’s drawings is like learning from him in person in some respects.


The Lord of the Rings Project – Part I

So as promised I have spent some time over the weekend locked away within the solitary confines of my sanctum, working towards this Tolkien inspired project. I managed to get five sketches done in all and experimented with different drawing materials than the usual graphite pencil method I zealously employ.

For my reference and influence I will be using both the books written by the genius JRR Tolkien himself, and the films made by Peter Jackson.

This is only Part One of this project, a series of sketches that I’ve created mainly to get myself into the mindset needed for further artworks.

For Part Two I plan to create a couple of watercolour landscapes of Middle-earth locations, there’s plenty of reference material available to work with and I’ll have to do some research for this before jumping into it in order to choose the perfect locations to work with; again for these watercolour landscapes I won’t be spending days on them, treating them as sketches or studies in order to familiarise myself with the scenery for the final part of the project.

All in all  this project will be documented in five parts, broken down as:

  • Part I – Sketches
  • Part II – Watercolour landscape sketches
  • Part III – Preliminary sketches and drawing for final piece
  • Part IV – Progress of final piece
  • Part V – Final piece and description; more than likely an oil painting (depending on how it goes as I’m completely new to oils.

Okay, now that the formal introduction to the project is done it’s time for the sketches from Part one.

“I have no memory of this place at all!” – Sanguine Dry Pastel on Toned Paper

This is the first of my sketches and it shows the scene where the Fellowship are in the mines of Moria, Gandalf has the party stop in order for him to recollect his previous knowledge of the place in order to know what direction to head in for the exit.

I used a relatively new sanguine dry pastel pencil for this sketch, they’re not the easiest pencils to draw with but they produce beautiful results, especially on the toned paper. I also used a white charcoal pencil for highlights.

“The stars are veiled. Something stirs in the East.” – Charcoal on Toned Paper

Of the sketches this is my least favourite, mainly because my Legolas looks less like an Elf and more like a Medieval doomsayer; I think perhaps I should have sharpened my charcoal pencils a bit more and worked for finer lines. That said however, this was only a quick sketch and it serves its purpose as such, I enjoyed sketching the background mountains.

The blue toned paper worked well for the atmosphere of the scene but with hindsight I would have used a slightly darker blue, still I live and learn.

Frodo's Flight from Amon Hen - Charcoal on Toned Paper
Frodo’s Flight from Amon Hen – Charcoal on Toned Paper

This sketch shows the scene when Frodo is fleeing from Amon Hen, having made the decision to break away from the Fellowship and go it alone to Mordor, he flees towards the boats in order to slip away unnoticed.

The sheer simplicity of the surrounding elements of this sketch really appealed to me in the creation of it, I used to be so anally retentive when drawing and would have depicted every single tree in the background rather than the scratchy lines that I have put there.

The freedom of sketching used to be something of a myth to me as I was always so concerned with detail and not the fluid motion of marking the surface with a quick, rough interpretation; something  that can worked into more at a later date if need be, or used as a foundation to recreate the scene again but in a finer detail.

Weathertop - Charcoal on Toned Paper
Weathertop – Charcoal on Toned Paper

Opting to sketch a landscape scene, I chose to draw the ruins of Weathertop or Amon Sul. During the reign of Elendil, the Dunedain of Arnor built a watchtower on its summit and installed a Palantir there.

This is also the location where Frodo was stabbed by the Witch-King with a Morgul blade.

Sketching this piece was a great pleasure as I love both landscapes and ruins.

Portrait of Frodo Baggins - Graphite Pencil on Paper
The Ringbearer; Portrait of Frodo Baggins – Graphite Pencil on Paper

This piece I spent the most time on and possibly overworked it in areas but again it was a good experience and also a great learning curve for portrait drawing.

I actually considered creating my final piece for this project as a portrait of one of the members of the Fellowship but reconsidered as my goal is to create narrative artworks so I’m going down that route instead.

Tolkien created a very strong character in Frodo and a character who faces extremely challenging circumstances which affect him both mentally and physically. I chose this portrait as I believe it shows some of the mental anguish of the ringbearer and the burden that he bears.

Anyway, that’s about it for Part I and I hope that you’ve enjoyed seeing the sketches I’ve created for it and I look forward to posting again with Part II; this should be ready in a fortnight and will be available to find under my Art Projects page if you miss it when posted originally.

Please feel free to leave any feedback on this post or my work and also to make any suggestions of Lord of the Rings scenes you would like to see; I’m strictly focusing on Lord of the Rings for this project though and I may do another project for The Hobbit at a later date.

Until next time, take care and thanks for reading!


New Sketchbook Page

Drapery Study After Leonardo da Vinci - Biro on Paper
Drapery Study After Leonardo da Vinci – Biro on Paper

I’ve decided to add a sketchbook page to my site now as to avoid confusion between sketches and studies and my portfolio because before hand, all my work has been stored there. My portfolio will now only contain finished work that I’m happy to keep as a part of my portfolio and not every single work I do.

To begin with I’ve just added this old study I did of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s drapery studies, plenty more will be added as time goes by and I’ve got a few new sketches from my Lord of the Rings project to add on Wednesday.