Behind The Scenes: Lord of the Rings Drawing

***This post originally published December 25th, 2014***

Here it is!

Title: A Bastion Against The Darkness

Medium: Graphite on paper

Size: 11″ x 14″, framed and matted to approximately 14″ x 18″

When: I started early summer 2014, but did most of the work in December 2014.

Time to complete: Almost 25 hours, Minas Tirith itself probably took about 20 hours itself.

Purpose: Commission; it’s a Christmas gift.

Thought process: My brother-in-law, Derrick, did a lot of the thinking for me when he requested this piece. He knew he wanted a Lord of the Rings inspired drawing, but wasn’t sure exactly which location he wanted drawn. He ended up deciding on Minas Tirith as the focal point, but wanted other key locations included, such as the Black Gate and the Eye of Sauron. We used artistic license in our layout as there is no possible way to get all three of these locations to line up so nicely, but we thought it made for a really nice composition.

Problems I encountered: Oh man, Minas Tirith was a pain, but not for the reasons you may expect. I really enjoyed working on all the complex details. The problem was that the reference image we chose was super tiny, so every time I’d enlarge the picture to get an idea of how the buildings interacted with each other, I’d lose all the detail. I made up most of the detail in the bottom half of the drawing, using the reference image as guidelines more than a true reference.

Fun tidbits: The nazgul was never meant to be in that spot above the mountains. It was about four hours into the drawing; I had just finished The Black Gate and The Eye of Sauron and had moved on to the mountains. Silly mother that I am left my drawing supplies and the drawing itself alone for a few mintues. My four year old decided it would be the perfect time to draw on Mommy’s paper! Thankfully I was able to get most of the pencil marks up, but there was one spot where he jabbed the paper with my darkest pencil, and there was no way I’d ever be able to remove the mark. I was about to do something drastic (aka start all over) when I remembered Derrick say that if I could find a spot to include a nazgul, that would be great. A couple minutes later the dark spot became a nazgul, and I was able to move on with the drawing 🙂

Favorite part: I really do love the entire drawing. It turned out better than I thought as I wasn’t sure I could keep the paper white enough to have Minas Tirith stand out enough. However, I really do like the foggy part around the gate and Eye of Sauron. It really adds to the moodiness needed for that area, and I didn’t know if it could translate well in black and white.

Least favorite part: I’d move the river down an inch or so.


Can I please get a print of this? Will you have prints available?

Yes! I have gotten permission to make this drawing into prints, and they will be available soon. I’m even looking into making these into bigger prints, like 8″ x 10″ or even  11″ x 14″. **UPDATE! Products featuring this piece can be found here in my Etsy store!

Anything else?

I’m now inspired to do other locations and have a series of these drawings. As they are not commissions, they would worked on in my own time and would not be available for awhile. What locations would you like to see me draw? Let me know in the comments below!

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