The following was the original thesis written in October of 2008 for this personal project:
by Justin Gerard
I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was in high school, a few years before Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema put together their now-famous films. Like many people, when I read J.R.R. Tolkien's series my mind was filled great visual ideas for how I imagined what the characters, monsters and places looked like. I remember having very clear notions of Shelob as a trap-door spider, that Isengard was more geometric and turned into a diamond at its top, that Sauron was seen as smoke and eyes and the illusion of oil-slick armor, but that you never saw him. I imagined the orcs being meatier and more ape-like, with longer arms, and knuckles that dragged the ground. The Balrog was only ever seen by the cracks in his flesh and his eyes and jaws. And hundreds of other odd, and now-forgotten ideas about of Middle Earth.
At that point, I had not seen Alan Lee's, Ted Nasmith's or John Howe's fantastic paintings, of which the film's art direction was to be largely based on. I had my own ideas about how everything looked.
Then when the films were released I was jarred my first time seeing them. Things didn't look like they had in my head. At first it bothered me. They got it all wrong I thought. But as the Fellowship began to make its way towards Rivendell I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed it anyway. It was a different take than mine, but it was spectacular and inspiring and very much a Tolkien story. I went back and watched each of them several times while they were in theater.
Then something terrible happened.
I lost my ideas. At first, they were only tainted by the films, but after a while I found that I had lost them altogether. And no matter how much I tried to see things differently, I could only see it the way Peter Jackson had presented it. The Boromir I had imaged was gone and only Sean Bean's portrayal of him remained. The goblins were hunched and crooked green men without noses. I didn't mind it really, but it was different.
This has bothered me ever since, and now that The Hobbit films are on the schedule to be released next year I find that my ideas on The Hobbit are to be put in jeopardy as well. So, this time I have decided to put my own ideas down first, before Jackson and Del Toro and Weta and Howe and Lee can come together to blow my ideas apart again with what is sure to be an awesome Hobbit film. This time, I hope to preserve my own notions of what Middle Earth might have looked like.
So, with that in mind, I am going to take a few months and illustrate a few of the major scenes from The Hobbit. These pieces are not for any specific book or series, as I don't have the personal rights to make a book on the story. And even if these images never make it to any type of publication, this story is wonderful and I think it will be great fun to work on it for a while.