Wednesday, February 22, 2012

1st Cover - 'The Hobbit' Final Cover layout and Detailed Colour Study

Okay, so I just got back on here and checked my last post and saw that Chuck and Christina had gone to the trouble of commenting and I didn't respond! I hadn't visited the site in awhile due to business. However, it seems that your concerns were my own, for now I am come to you with the changes you specified, only I left in the shield.

So, here you go :P Sorry I didn't get back to you guys. I forgot about my post. I've been so worried about the front cover image I spent days changing things (removing mostly :P) but to now avail. Christina, you should have said something on Facebook. I would have checked here sooner :P


  1. Chuck, ever since I read that comment about this image, I have been staring at that shield. I can't decide what to do with it. I'm pretty burned out and tired of looking at this image. I am going to spend today cleaning and working on another cover to get my head out of 'Hobbit' space. I'll come back tomorrow and see how I feel about it. Though any comments you can give me now will be appreciated. I've heard some critiques already, I'm curious if yours will be the same.

  2. Looking really good! I love your color, and I love the spotlight from his eye (Can't remember if that was in the book, but I remember it from the Rankin/Bass special —it's a great touch.)

    Can you take the idea further? Show a slight indentation or a very slight hobbit-shaped shadow in the light? Or even have the golden vessel slightly raised? I think having the title character invisible but unmistakably present would be really cool.

  3. First I want to admit that I have never read this book. I only know little things about it because my brother-in-law has read it and seemingly knows everything about these stories.

    I love the color, I love the detail, I love the shadowing, and not sure how you made the text so perfect; but I love that too.

    My only negative comment would be; that I can't look at this and know what I am looking at quickly. Maybe it is just me, or my eyes, but I have to adjust and focus on what I am seeing because it sort of all blends together.

  4. Justin,
    I made my comment before I read yours.
    First, let me say, if you haven't been checking comments because you are busy with paying work —congrats! I love to hear it!
    Also, if you get burned out on looking at the same piece, a rest from it for a day or two is a good idea.

    I feel more strongly about the shield now that it's in color, but it goes w/out saying that the choice is yours.
    It is taking far too much attention. It looks like it's a major part of the book.
    A quick fix would be to make it generic. delete the face and divide it up into quadrants or something, add rivets and shrink it so it doesn't make the dragon look too small in contrast.
    If you feel later like you want to give it some detail, you can look up examples of heraldry online and see what inspires you. Or you can re-read the book and see if there is something mentioned about the race of dwarves that might be used on one of their shields —mountains, fire, forges, hammers?
    It could be fun to invent a mythological creature for it, but I would stylize it greatly and put it at side view, so it has the look of man-made art or design and doesn't "engage" the viewer with eye-contact.

    I'm happy to say that this reservation I have is a trifle. I think you've got the heavy-lifting done! Have fun with it!

  5. Thanks, Chuck. I thought about adding Bilbo several times... We'll see. We'll see... :P

    As far as the eye goes, I thought it would be a cool homage. The book says that dragons always sleep with one eye open to guard their treasure. I thought the light would be a cool addition. Plus, Alan Lee did the same thing to great effect.

    You know, I have to say that Peter Jackson did not ruin my vision of Middle Earth. Nothing that he did permeates my work, thankfully. I already had strong visual impressions of the characters, and, even after seeing the Rankin and Bass cartoon, I don't see the characters that way when I read the books. Not completely, anyway. I do very much admire the work they did on the films, 'The Hobbit' and 'Return of the King'. But I have my own vision I want to portray. Middle Earth changes with me as I age. It has the same flavour, but there are subtle alterations that take place every time I venture there.

  6. Saw these last two comments AFTER I posted my last comment. Thanks, Chuck. I appreciate the feedback. I'll keep that all in mind when I go into the final.

    As for the other comment, what do you mean about it all blending together? I haven't heard that critique yet, so I am interested if anyone else feels that way? This is just a colour study. It's not meant to be a final by a longshot. But this troubles me.

  7. I don't want to put words in Scholle's mouth, but I'm guessing that the golden color on the dragon's underbelly matches the treasure so closely that the shape of the Dragon isn't as quickly identifiable as it was in the b&w sketch.

    I think he has a point, but it's a tough call to make. I love the colors and the effect of the gold reflecting up on the scales, and I'd hate for you to lose that effect. As you said, this is a prelim. and there are ways of getting the dragon's form to "pop" a bit. Personally, I don't think you should be alarmed.

  8. I really like the way it is heading. Sorry I have been little quiet. BURIED!

  9. Thanks, guys! I made some changes and posted a new image, here. Hopefully it's easier to read. I punched up the green and made some notes I would have made in the final, but thought they might make things more legible. I'm going to final from here. May make some changes, yet. We'll see.

  10. I liked the earlier one better, Justin! Christina was probably right!

  11. "I really like the way it is heading" (in reference to the earlier sketch)

  12. Ah, okay. Thanks :P Thought I might have missed something :P