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The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook
By Alan Lee
Published by Houghton Mifflin
by Lando da Pimp

This summer I went to hear the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra perform Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings' beautiful musical score. As they performed the drawings of Alan Lee's Lord of the Rings sketchbook were projected above the orchestra.

Houghton Mifflin has now produced a book of these drawings in The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook by Alan Lee. Alan reveals how and why he created the watercolor paintings based on Tolken's masterpiece in both pictures and words. The work was so memorable that when Peter Jackson began to develop the Lord of the Rings movies, he contacted Alan Lee as the principle designer.

click to seeAfter the introduction as to who Alan Lee is and why The Lord of the Rings spoke to him, he goes through the different aspects of the book and provides a wonderful narrative as to how he came about with the drawings.

Alan found the Hobbits very difficult to design. To match Tolken's vision without making the characters top childlike was a long process that was solved by drawing Elija Woods double Kiran Shah. The look of Gollum was drawn with the help of Andy Sirkis. Gollum as a character came from the part of a person that they most fear. Locations such as Helm's Deep, Rivendell, and Mordor were all drawn from the descriptions that Tolken provides. With the help of WETA and Peter Jackson, these drawings came to life.

click to seeWhile there was nothing in this book that I didn't already know about Alan Lee, the real reason to buy this book is for the artwork. The work is just beautiful. Peter Jackson realized that with the work of Alan Lee's drawings and designs the film versions of The Lord of the Rings would stay as true as possible to Tolken's vision.

The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook published by Houghton Mifflin with a forward by Ian McKellen is available now.

You can buy it from

Review ©2005

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