Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Middle Earth Visions

The Hollywood version of an image can become so immensely pervasive that, at times, it can be almost impossible to picture anything else in your mind. The Lord of the Rings/Hobbit franchise is one such example. Trying to imagine middle earth with different geography, heroes with different faces, villains with different armour, can strain at your imagination. That is why it's important that at times you need to take part in a little visual palette cleansing. Inspired by a twitter post that's exactly what i've done here. I've gone on little visual journey through different illustrators interpretations of hoe Tolkiens worlds look. I'm not going to blether about them much. I just hope you find stuff that you've not seen before and that you like.  

Sara Kipin

This book cover reminded me of Frank Frazetta's illustration of Orcs. The kind of grinding march towards battle is a great image.

Frank Frazetta

Angus McBride 
And you can't go wrong with a bit of Angus McBride. His illustrations for the MERP publications were all gorgeous pieces of art.

Angus Mcbride

Cor Blok
But sometimes it's worth diving into lesser known stuff just to give your mind a jolt.

Stephanie Vecellio

Frank Frazetta

Ingahild Grathmer (Queen Margarethe II)

Tom Jung
And you have to remember the Jackson version wasn't the first attempt at bring LOTR to the screen. This poster image from an uncredited Tom Jung is classic.

Eric Fraser
At the same time there is something to be said for the classic black and white illustration that apes the look of the woodcut. An attempt to show what illustrations from versions of the tale may have looked like if the were published in middle earth perhaps.

M. Belomlinskij

Frank Frazetta

Jian Guo
And we have to remember that LOTR is international, seeing how different cultures represent the tale in their own way is always enlightening from a design point of view.

M. Belomlinskij

Ted Naismith

Sergey Yuhimov
Using medieval paintings as an influence for art work shows is perfect for the near mythical tales.

Sergey Yuhimov

Livia Rusz

And it shouldn't be forgotten that these are books for children.
Ian Miller 

Ian Miller 
A familiar artist takes on a familiar story but produces something you couldn't forsee.
JRR Tolkein
But it must always be remembered that the author had his own vision of his own world.


  1. Thank you for the recap, I love it. Some of them are really beautiful, and all of them are inspirational. You are totally right, it's refreshing to see other views different from the movies.

  2. Fantastic look a different interpretations of Tolkien. I'm really like those medieval ones

  3. Great round up! There's so much LotR artwork out there it's fantastic. Even the great John Howe said after the movies it's hard not to draw Frodo like Elijah Wood. The classics of Johne Howe, Alan Lee and Ian Miller are my favorite LotR artists. Ted Naismith and Angus McBride are also really good.

    Don't forget even John Blanche did some LotR work! https://www.johnblancheprints.com/shop/battle-of-five-armies/

    I've actually gotten into the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit Strategy Battle Game this past year. While I wish the license wasn't entirely based on the films, the actual game is really, really good and the range has some great models in it.

  4. Some great and classic pics there. Nice. Thanks for posting.

  5. Thanks for this. I could use a reminder that there is always more than one way to see things.

  6. Ryder Strickland and I have wondered about the plausibility of Frank Frazetta's depiction of Eowyn and the Witch King. While not quite a chainmail bikini, her armour would make her disguise a bit unconvincing.

  7. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this palate cleaner. You are absolutely right that it's important to dislodge the dominant Hollywood aesthetic every once in a while, especially when it comes to something as expansive as the LOTR.

    For my part, nothing beats the woodcuts like those of Fraser or Grathemer.

    One question: did you give any consideration to including the Brothers Hildebrandt?


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