With The Hobbit movie ready to come out in December 2012 I want to share some of my insights and artworks I created when I was working on The Hobbit graphic novel. Many of the artworks accompanying the blog were inspired indirectly or directly by The Hobbit and represent a large cross section of my previous, and latest Tolkien themed work. The Hobbit, has been a big inspiration on my art career as I read it for the first time while I was still in college. Back in the 70's, when I was reading it, there were no visual interpretations of Tolkien's stories available to the public other then his own artwork and the illustrations of Pauline Baynes, and even those I was not immediately aware of. I began to passionately fill my sketchbook with character studies and illustration concepts delineating the lush images Tolkien's words were inspiring. These studies became the basis for my senior project which eventually evolved into an entire Tolkien inspired gallery show replete with four foot maps and life-size Hobbit cut-outs strategically placed and partially hidden behind the plantings in the gallery.
One of the many artists that I drew inspiration from was, Alphonse Mucha. His line quality was sublime and his art nouveau compositions were unique and new to me back then. He had a wonderful way of breaking up sections of his picture-plane into decorative ovals and other round edged shapes. I experimented with shaped compositions and eventually became enamored with circular compositions so many of the illustration I produced were in that format. I painted a few that were over two feet across, which made cutting the mat a real interesting endeavor. I acquired a lot of skill with the compass circle cutting blade and the ruling pen that came with the compass. Ultimately the Tolkien inspired work I produced during my senior year led to my first published book.