In my last article of book recommendations I focused on hobbits. This time around I decided to look at books all about the art of Middle-earth. There are many talented artists who have brought this mythical world to life through their work, one of them including the Professor himself. The following list of books are filled with beautiful sketches, paintings, drawings, you name it!
The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook
Alan Lee’s artwork has been featured in many editions of Tolkien’s books such as The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Children of Hurin. He has also worked on the LOTR and The Hobbit trilogies as a concept artist! The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook is a wonderful addition to anyone’s Tolkien collection, especially if you want to see more of Alan’s work and process. There are more than 150 illustrations throughout the book along with 20 full color plates and many examples of his conceptual art for the films. In addition, this book is a very nice possession to have for any aspiring artists and illustrators.
J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator
J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator “explores Tolkien’s art at length, from his childhood paintings and drawings to his final sketches.” This book shows his work that pertains to Middle-earth, the illustrations he created for his children, his stunning use of calligraphy and also his design of his books. There are 200 reproductions (many in full color) included! Not only are you able to see many beautiful works of art created by the Professor, but you are also able to get insight into another side of the man who is responsible for something that we all hold very dear to our hearts.
Tolkien’s World: Paintings of Middle-earth
Tolkien’s World: Paintings of Middle-earth contains paintings from many different artists from around the world including: Alan Lee, John Howe, Ted Nasmith, Inger Edelfeldt, Michael Hague and Roger Garland. A passage from Tolkien’s books is placed beside each image that inspired the paintings. Each artist has their own way to bring Middle-earth to life, and it’s amazing to see how they all imagined some of our most favorite moments from the books.
The Tolkien Years of The Brothers Hildebrandt
Greg and Tim Hildebrandt (also known as “The Brothers Hildebrandt”) have created many paintings relating to the world of Middle-earth. Many of you may already be familiar with their art! The text in this book is by Gregory Hildebrandt, Jr., and he gives gives readers an in depth look into his father and uncle’s work. Alongside some of images are sketches and reference photos the brothers used. It’s truly fascinating to see how they approached their pieces.
Realms of Tolkien: Images of Middle-earth
Realms of Tolkien is personally one of my favorite items in my collection because I love looking at what all the different artists created. It helped introduce me to many of the great Tolkien artists out there like Ted Nasmith, Cor Blok and Inger Edelfeldt. Subject matter ranges from events that happen in Unfinished Tales to The Lord of the Rings, but mostly the latter. A passage from Tolkein’s books is included next to each image, and near the end of the book are small biographies of all the artists included.
The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Like J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien features artwork done by, you guessed it, J.R.R. Tolkien. This book is written and edited by Tolkien experts, Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull. They showcase the artwork by the Professor for The Hobbit, which includes more than one hundred sketches, drawings, and paintings. Some of the images in the book are those published for the first time, and then there are others published for the first time in color! Definitely a wonderful item for any Tolkien fan.
Myth & Magic: The Art of John Howe
I think it’s safe to say that John Howe is one of the most well known Tolkien artists. His work has graced the covers and pages of many of Tolkien’s books. Like Alan Lee, John Howe was one of the conceptual artists for The Lord of the Rings films, and now for The Hobbit trilogy. Myth & Magic has a forward by Peter Jackson, and in it he discusses how he first approached John to be a part of the LOTR trilogy. While there are pieces and information on John’s work that was inspired from other works of literature, there is still a lot relating to Tolkien to satisfy any fan. You’re able to find out which book cover is his favorite, why he considers sketching to be a necessary evil and much more!
If there are other books you’d recommend, please tell us in the comment section below!