Kia ora and welcome to my new Visual Arts blog on Amazing Stories!
First up, let’s have some Hobbit art. Apart from being relevant to current events in the fantasy fandom (Hobbit movie!), and putting my nook of the world in the appropriate spotlight (Hobbit movie!), this also allows me to feature a bunch of artists whose support, encouragement, advice, and inspiration, have been a big factor in getting me to where I am now: as an artist, as a person, and as a blogger.
Let me state this outright: My share of this blog isn’t going to attempt to be unbiased by personal preferences. I am not going to try to determine who is the “greatest artist” in the fandom. I am not particularly interested in who is the most technically proficient, or the most outrageously inventive. Who gets the biggest fees, the most prestigious projects, has the greatest fan base, or who, by whose definition, is the “most famous”.
I like to feature art I like. Whenever I can, I like to feature art I like by people I like. Often, this will be people you have never heard of. That is precisely what I like about being asked to write this blog. After all, it is all about fandom! And if there is one thing all these artists have in common, it is their enthusiasm for depicting the imaginary worlds in their heads: sometimes these will be worlds of their own making, and sometimes they are inspired by writings, films, or music.
There is an amazing wealth of art out there. Mind-boggling, even. And thanks to the internet, it has become so easy for artists of every caliber and degree of skill and dedication, to share their art. Every time I jump on the internet, and browse sites like DeviantArt, or follow links friends post on Facebook, I could easily get lost for hours, just looking at pictures.
Of all the online communities I have participated in, it is the group of illustrators on John Howe’s internet forum – a mix of aspiring professionals, and dedicated just-for-funners – which has, over the years, proved to be the most inspiring to me. It has been inspiring to others as well: I have seen a few people go from barely being able to hold a pencil the right way, to producing work that is entirely fit for publication.
The single biggest factor in that development has been the incentive to produce lots and lots of work, and show it to the other forum members: be it through the monthly art challenge, or through one of the “show your art” threads, or by posting it on other websites such as DeviantArt, or Conceptart.org. I have made friends there. Fandom is all about making friends who share similar interests, isn’t it.
So without further ado, I present to you a selection of – pre-movie, if only just! – “Hobbit”- themed artwork by the following artists:
Andy Smith (Australia) surely is too modest when he classifies himself as a “hobbyist” on his DeviantArt account! He’s been working on building a professional illustration career for a while, and he also is a school teacher.
Christian Schlierkamp (Germany) – used to be an animator, until he found that illustration is more fun. Now he does both.
Eric Faure Brac (France) is a digital artist involved in several online art and fandom communities.
Laura G Young (USA) – is fond of painting landscapes, birds, and butterflies, but sneaks in the occasional hobbit. Last thing I heard, she was waiting for the imminent publication of her first illustrated book, about birds.
Mehmet Sait Şener (Turkey/Spain) is currently working on a doctoral thesis about “Representations of the Ottoman Empire in Spanish and English literature of the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age”. His Facebook posts alternate between Turkish, English, Spanish, and what appears to be Korean – all of them fluent. In between all that, he does some rather good digital paintings.
Sunila Sen Gupta (Switzerland) has published several illustrated children’s books, and an art book about “Archetypes”, and regularly sells her prints at conventions. You can also meet her at rock concerts. She is very fond of Dragons.
Tobias Putzo (Germany), works in a bank, though his sketches look nothing like it. He is also a member of the Companie of St George, a historical reenactment group focusing on the 15th century. He acts as their scribe.
Please note: all artwork displayed below is copyright of the respective artist, and may not be reproduced in any form, without their permission. You may contact me to request permission, or contact the artist directly through their website.
I loved reading this first blog of yours! And I especially liked being introduced to artists I've never heard of, whose art has been inspired by Tolkien. I, too, am a fan of John Howe – and what he's done for aspiring artists. Thanks for sharing all these artists with us!
Part of the "problem" with hobbit art (or LOTR art in general) these days is that for better or for worse, everyone is looking at it though the lens of Peter Jackson's movies. So, you probably have people looking at these pictures and saying "hang on, Rivendell doesn't look like that". Is an unavoidable side-effect of the story going big-budget hollywoood, what you see on the big screen becomes the default image in your mind instead of just one of many possibilities.
I was going to mention that in my next….. 😀 – or as Tobi Putzo remarked, "it's hard to picture Gandalf without the face of Ian McKellen". – Which is why there is, I think, a distinction to be made between art "before", and "after" the movie!