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J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  8,289 ratings  ·  44 reviews
J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) renowned author of THE HOBBIT, THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE SILMARILLION, was an artist in pictures as well as in words. Though he often remarked that he had no talent for drawing, his art has charmed his readers and has been exhibited to large and appreciative audiences the world over. In fact, his talent was far more than he admitted, and his ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 18th 2000 by Mariner Books (first published 1995)
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Jackie This book states at the outset that they did not attempt to include everything he did, but it does cover a range of his work, rather just the art spec…moreThis book states at the outset that they did not attempt to include everything he did, but it does cover a range of his work, rather just the art specifically created as illustrations for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. (less)

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Average rating 4.14  · 
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Dec 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Once I wrote a paper about Tolkien's art for a history of illustration class, and the TA came up to me and said in this sympathetic voice, "Oh, but he wasn't actually an artist." If only I had been holding this book at the time so I could shove it in her face.

PS: Later the professor read part of my paper to the class because it was just that good, haha.

PS #2: As regards the actual book, it's a great history of Tolkien's art, with a lot of lovely images. He was a better writer than artist, it's
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I came across this book in the Western Michigan University library in the process of my search for books on Tolkien's works. It caught my attention because while I considered Tolkien to be the best author of the twentieth century, I had had no idea that he was an artist. This book is filled with full color plates of Tolkien's original artwork, and each chapter focuses on different aspects of his style, influences, techniques, and areas of focus. I learned quite a bit about the things that Tolkie ...more
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It feels like in our culture there is a need to divide artists solely into one camp. An artist cannot write, a writer cannot be a singer, a chef cannot also be a sculptor, and so on until the examples pile up. Yet this does artists disservice because it limits their capacity for expression one sole means, and as Wayne G. Hammond demonstrates in this book the mettle of an artist is made in the way they express themselves, not solely in the single format they traditionally do it.

J.R.R. Tolkien has
Daniel Ionson
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not one of those compilations of pictures with some perfunctory text to pass off as a "book." The writers offer some great information and insights regarding JRRT as a visionary. I highly recommend this. ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
(4.5 stars)

I loved gaining this insight into Tolkien's illustrations and artwork--as well as their context. I'd love to own this book for future reference. Tolkien was one seriously talented man.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sachbuch
This book has a wealth of beautiful drawings and paintings, accompanied by well-written analysis and background information. There's also sketches, patterns and doodles, anecdotes etc. I loved it. ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Of course I am biased when it comes down to anything by/about Tolkien, but this was very impressive and beautiful.
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
This was really good.
Stuart Mccaskell
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at Tolkien's art, though the layout is a bit haphazard at times. ...more
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tolkien

Beautiful artwork/illustrations paired with insightful analysis. I enjoyed seeing the stages of his work, especially when compared with the stages of his tales and the additional insights found in his letters. Lovely. I don't typically seek out or enjoy books about artwork, but in this case it certainly added to my understanding and view of Middle Earth and allowed me to see Tolkien's other works. I gleamed from this that it is of utmost importance to see it as it comes to your mind,and I enjo
I am fascinated by Tolkien's watercolour artwork and it is well featured in this book. I learned a lot about his early works and his process of illustrating The Hobbit. The authors emphasize the fact that Tolkien was insecure about his own work. Some people criticized his illustrations of The Hobbit for being imperfect. This is what makes them interesting in my opinion. I was disappointed to learn that he stopped making watercolour artwork after this project. I wished to see more of it. ...more
Tommy Grooms
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic collection of Tolkien's artwork. His writing deservedly gets the lion's share of praise and attention, but the man was not only immensely talented as an artist, but accomplished. Some of his artwork is absolutely gorgeous, and deserves a lot more attention both on its own merit and for its role in creating his written works. ...more
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lovely collection of Tolkien's artworks. I knew he'd done some drawings for his fantasy books, but didn't know that he had produced such a large body of paintings and drawings. And he's good at it, too. ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, fantasy, art
Gorgeous book, a must for any Tolkien fan wanting more insight into the Professor’s creations. My only niggle is the layout of the illustrations- many times the text discussing a painting was several pages away from the plate with the painting, necessitating much flipping around.
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a lifelong Tolkien fan, I was excited to start this book and I ended up finding it very informative. I knew a little about his illustrations for The Hobbit beforehand but not very much about his early work, so there was quite a bit that was new to me. It was especially interesting to see how Tolkien the artist influenced Tolkien the writer and vice versa. I'd definitely recommend it for anyone who wants to delve in deeper into how Middle-earth came to be. ...more
Oct 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I honestly had no idea that Tolkien had illustrated his own books, let alone that he created other art as well. So much of it is really good too! I was very impressed. I also appreciated that the book included unfinished pieces and drafts he did which showed his creative process. I would encourage all Tolkien fans to at least flip through the pictures.
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This is such a stupendous improvement over "Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien" that I had to go back and downgrade the latter to a three.

Selection, rendering quality, number of works selected for inclusion: everything is vastly better. (Not to mention the trove of careful scholarly commentary alongside the images.)

If you want an original Tolkien art book, this is the one to get.
Barron Dalton
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tolkien was a multi-talented artistic/linguistic master mind. This collection of his art work is truly excellent. These are seldom seen images of the visual concepts Tolkien had in mind. I found his work to be inspirational for my own art work. I have referenced this book many times.
I never appreciated Tolkien as an artist before. This book showcases some of his amazing illustrations for Middle Earth, as well as scenes from his childhood. It traces his development from childhood all the way into retirement. The heraldic devises are especially beautiful.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A very nice set of illustrations by Tolkien on many subjects. The accompanying comments are for the most part helpful.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, interesting, and indispensable.
Absolutely amazing!
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stars_3, _2019, w_pictures
Nice to flip through.
Jared Cook
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, art
This was a fascinating look at another side of one of ym favorite authors (okay, fine, my favorite author). It is clear from Tolkien's other works that while he was a master of text, he always paid very close attention to images as well, which he considered to be an essential part of the story. From his maps, to the doors of Durin, to the Book of Mazarbul, the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings would just not be the same story without the images. The dust jackets that he designed are another examp ...more
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arte, favorites
This book shows a side of Tolkien- the legendary writer of "The Lord Of The Rings" and other great books- that not many people, even amongst the die hard fans, know of: the artist.

The authors, Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull did an amazing research, making this book not only one of pictures but a kind of biography. The book contains- as it says in the back cover- 200 pieces of art made by Tolkien, with paintings, drawings and sketches, in colour and black and white, some of which became a e
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Even though the authors of this book claim to have only presented a collection of a mere few hundred of J.R.R. Tolkien's art works I think that they did a marvelous job showing the range and breadth of his skills and subjects. They focused less on the published pieces (presumably because we can see them elsewhere) than on preliminary sketches, pieces not related to specific Middle Earth writings, and ephemera, which really presented a good view of Tolkien's evolution as an artist. Much of his im ...more
Beautiful reproductions of Tolkien's artwork, from his earliest surviving works to his last. Although many of the images have been reproduced in a variety of other books, many more are presented for the first time (when originally published).

Tolkien was typically dismissive of his ability as an artist, and whilst he is sometimes correct in that self-evaluation, to the appreciative reader of his stories, to have the visual interpretations of these imagined worlds from the hand of the mind that fa
J.C. Pillard
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I am of course very familiar with Tolkien's work as a writer, but had no idea that he had such talent as an artist. My fiance gave me this book for the holidays knowing that I had a deep appreciation for Tolkien's mythology. The authors explore Tolkien's work both in terms of his mythology and his life. His artistic expression includes not only images of his mythology but also impressions and illustrations from the different locations he visited and lived in. It is a wonderful book to explore To ...more
captain america
Feb 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fuck all those hildebrandt paintings and other artists turning tolkien characters into trading cards and calendars. this is j.r.r.'s vision and has almost no people in it, as it should be, so you can use your own imagination.

too bad it wasn't possible to make the lord of the rings movie without showing any characters...
Jan 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: art

I liked the drawings and doodles. Some were quite whimsical. Some I could imagine Tolkien sketching so he could remember where he wanted things to be in his tales.

Honestly, I got so bored by the accompanying text (and there's a lot more of it than pictures) that I quit reading and just looked at the art.

I probably missed a lot of tidbits of info and insights, but I'm happy despite that.
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Wayne G. Hammond was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in the suburb of Brooklyn. In 1975 he received his Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors from Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio, where he majored in English. In 1976 he received his Master of Arts in Library Science degree from the School of Library Science of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and from that year has been Assistant Libr ...more

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