Sneak Peak: Lord of the Rings Illustration

 I am currently working on a Lord of the Rings illustration which depicts Gimli taking on a warg rider. Here are my illegible chicken scratch thumbnails. The thing for me about thumbnails is that I generally do them fast. It's more for placement of characters and objects in the scene. Pure composition and simple shapes. I really hate doing thumbnails though. That's partly why I do them so fast and loose. I have the intention of doing many, but I generally get sick of them pretty quickly. That, or I fall in love with an idea rather quickly and I need to work on my patience. Any ways, here are the thumbnails:

As you can see, these are hideous and loose. I'm, again, just trying a lot of different ideas. Being that this is a personal piece and I didn't have a ton of restrictions, I tried to sketch a bunch of different ideas of Gimli doing stuff. Ultimately I settled on the very bottom with him facing off the warg rider. The draw back is that we won't see his face but I realized that this particular layout and subject matter would give me something to work on that I am currently not that well versed in. Animals and their anatomy. And not only that but this image had the most drama and tension of them all. Gimli is so small compared to this vicious foe. It just tells a better story. The next step is to take the ugly disgusting yuck yuck thumbnail and sketch over the top of it. I generally have to make further corrections to the placement of objects and characters as well as proportions. Here is where I am at tonight after calling it a night. All in all this is about 90 mins worth of work so far.

After I make those corrections and refine my line work, I start to lay in some hesitant values. I'm sort of discovering this as I go which is how I like this. Yes it is frustrating but it's how I personally work and get the best results. A little pain sometimes produces great results. And I'm actually proud of myself. I was getting really frustrated with the warg's legs. I just couldn't get the anatomy correct. Just this afternoon I would have just quit in frustration. But I was aware of this feeling in me. I told the inner critic to shut up, he can critique my warg anatomy once I figure it out. I don't need my inner critic hovering over my should criticizing me as I work like that. I waited until I felt like I adequately solved the problem and then I went and let the inner critic speak.

So far I am happy with this. I'll up date the progress of this painting as I go. Keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks of November. There will be a process video of this on my Youtube channel.

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