Friday, February 17, 2012

Finished Smaug Drawing and a Recent Front Cover Update

Just finished the back cover drawing of Smaug for 'The Hobbit'. I am working on tightening and making any big changes to the front cover. Here is a recent version with the dwarves all finished. All the characters are famous illustratours that have influenced me in a big way. If any of you have Facebook, you can see who I've tagged there. Otherwise, I'm just going to make a list here.

The Brothers Hildebrandt are Fili and Kili, Pyle is Dwalin, Whelan is Balin, D.K. Sweet is Bombur (he was a big dude), Waterhouse is Thorin, Durer is Nori, Parrish is Dori, Michaelangelo is Ori, Alan Lee Oin, Howe Gloin, Pogany Bofur, and Elmore Bifur. You'll all have to wait to see who Gandalf and Bilbo are :)
More to come, very soon. Will probably post the finished cover drawing later today.


  1. I like the Smaug sketch, Justin!
    Having him framed by his tail and wings is a really nice touch. the oval shape is great and it's nice to have some restful space.

    My only question concerns the shield with the face. It creates a distracting focal point that takes away from the really important character. It's also a bit improbable-looking, since it doesn't resemble most medieval heraldry or weaponry.

    I like that you added smoke rings from Gandalf's pipe. Would it be too corny to have them fade as they drift up in flattened rings toward the mountain so they merge with (or at least relate to) the clouds around its summit? That way you can make a statement about the beginning and ending of the journey and also clean up a bit of the busy-ness.

  2. I actually like the Smaug better for the front cover. I like the ambition of the front but it is so complex. I almost want to see it on the back or as a front piece. It kind of has a search and find/where's waldo feel to me now.

  3. I think I agree, Christina. The ensemble image —as good as it is, is starting to resemble a movie poster or a really good piece of fan art. Maybe not enough mystery or drama for a book.

    Justin, I went back to your earlier sketches.
    This one works pretty well compositionally, and suggests how the title could be effectively integrated with the drawn image.

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