Alan Lee, Illustrator of Middle-EarthSeptember 11, 2012
A couple of years ago, we got beautiful hardcover copies of the trilogy and I was enchanted by the beautiful illustrations by Alan Lee. His imaginings of Middle-Earth are very different from mine, but I love them all the same.
Alan Lee works primarily in watercolors and pencil. He clearly loves landscapes with vast expanses of space and color. I've noticed that a lot of the people in his paintings are small figures. In a way, this fits in really well with the epic tone of Tolkien's stories. The characters are all at once so important and so small, set against a backdrop that they influence. If that makes sense. :)
|With the Elves. From The Fellowship of the Ring, illustrated by Alan Lee. image via|
|Bag End. From FotR illustrated by Alan Lee. image via.|
|image via. |
But honestly, I couldn't tell you which one of these soon-to-be-Nazgul is said awesome illustrator...
Alan Lee is the farthest to the left.
|Bilbo's Trolls. I'm pretty sure this is from FotR, illustrated by Alan Lee. Image via.|
|Frodo looking into Galadriel's mirror. Artwork by Alan Lee. image via.|
|Edoras. Also, celtic knotwork and horse tessellations. By Alan Lee. image via.|
Unfortunately, I've been unable to find any comprehensive gallery, portfolio, or even fan-curated collection of artwork by Alan Lee. It's a pity, I wanted to find more... I know he's done thousands of illustrations, and for many many more things than Tolkien's works.
I love so many things about The Lord of the Rings movies, so it is hard to single out favorite parts, but one unusual thing that I love from The Return of the King is the credits-- the haunting song Into the West by Frank Walsh, Howard Shore, and Annie Lennox coupled with pencil sketches of all the main characters. I always tear up at that part, it's silly, I know, but the story is just SO. GOOD. and I can never believe it's over!
Here's an interesting interview with Alan Lee. It's mostly about his illustrations of The Children of Hurin, but there are other little artsy and stylistic details that I love hearing about...
And in the Hobbit movie vlog #4 (at around 8 minutes) he talks about 3D work for the upcoming films! Does anyone else think that the hand-drawn 3D concept art is CRAZY cool?
And in another vlog (at around 6:30), we learn that he and John Howe have done a couple thousand drawings each. Wow!
|update: I found this blue version|
which I like even more!
I wonder which is more like
If you'd like to see more of Alan Lee's work, I found a neat Tumblr blog that features artwork by him and John Howe, many of which I'd never seen before, and I also found a Pinterest board dedicated to Lee's illustrations!
There is also a Lord of the Rings Sketchbook featuring his art for the films. I really, really want to get my hands on a copy of that...
I have to close with one of my favorite illustrations, The Grey Havens. I'm not sure why I love it so much. I normally don't even like lavender! But the starlit, bittersweet elegance of the Elves is nicely portrayed in this monochormatic ship sailing for Valinor...