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!

Projects and Illustrations Update

The past couple of weeks have been awesome! I’ve been really busy working on a few great projects, and thought I’d share some pictures in progress:
Project #1: Epic
I’m not sure what this piece will be called yet, but we’ve been referring to it as “Epic”, so that might just stay as the title 🙂 It’s hard to show previews and talk about this piece without giving it away, but it’s going to be a drawing/watercolor painting mixed media piece of awesomeness, and will feature key characters/locations from favorite books and movies.

This project has been in the works for over a year. It was originally going to be an oil painting, but I’ve been struggling trying to get all the detail in with oil. It just wasn’t working for me; I felt like I was losing all the detail and it wasn’t looking as amazing as the piece deserved to loo. I went back to the people who commissioned the piece and asked if a watercolor drawing would be okay instead, and they were totally on board with that 🙂

Project #2: Rivendell, the second in the Lord ofthe Rings series

Well, I’m getting my geek on with this piece as well as the “Epic” piece! After completing A Bastion Against the Darkness (Minas Tirith), I started compiling a list of other Lord of the Rings and Hobbit locations in hopes of doing a series of these drawings. One of my top picks was definitely Rivendell, but doing it as seen in the Hobbit movies.

I had a meeting with the winners of my gift certificate from this year’s auction, and guess what they chose as their piece?

Rivendell from The Hobbit!

It’s slow going as there is soooo much detail, but the going is easy so far (knock on wood!).

Project #3: My favorite anthropomorphic animal, Boathouse!

Have you seen on Facebook or on RV’s blog our big announcement? We have a tentative launch date for Book 1! We are hoping to have it available as early as September. I’m making great progress with the last few sketches; I’m sure it probably sounds like I keep saying that, but I keep tweaking each picture, adding more detail, making sure each piece is accurate. It’s a long process, but I know that from here on out I’ll have a better idea of what the process will look like and it’ll go soooo much faster!

To see RV’s blog post about the release date, check it out here! Make sure you keep checking back here, on my Facebook page, and RV’s blog for more updates as they happen 🙂

I’m also reworking part of my website, signing up for more online art classes that I’ll take this summer, sending out applications for more festivals, and keeping up with house/wife/mom/babysitter duties. Just over a week from now, school will be out, my daycare will closed for good, and I’ll be full time working on my art! It’s very bittersweet.

Which of these three projects are you most excited about seeing completed? Let me know in the comments below!