The Hobbit, chapter three: A Short Rest
Apologies for lateness, but things are done when they are done.
This chapter was both a pleasure to illustrate and a bear to deal with. The chapter centers around one event (the finding of moon letters on Thorin's map) and a whole lot of nothing. It seems like a given to illustrate Elrond holding the map before the moon and discovering those runes telling of the key to the secret passage into the Lonely Mountain. However...there are precious few rests to The Hobbit, and this is one of them, and that in itself is worth visiting.
When it comes to illustrating a passage where the central point is that nothing is happening to our protagonist, a new set of problems arises. How do you make a narrative image with no conflict without it becoming boring or trite or cliched? I guess it's all about activating the senses. I wanted to evoke that sense that Bilbo is feeling, where you wouldn't want to leave this place ever again. I don't know if I'm there, but that was the goal.
An aside: Did you know there are no women in this book? I can't think of even one being mentioned. This scene with the elves was one of the only parts where I could sneak a lady in without much hassle, and I had to take it.
When Bilbo and the dwarves arrive in Rivendell, the elves are singing to them from the trees. Not singing anything important, but just singing to them. I liked the idea of the trees just emanating sound, which is where those wind-chimes come in.
On the technical side:
I decided that I needed to vary my technique up some, since I have been feeling that my regular methods were stagnating a bit. The work was looking fine, but the process left me looking for something else and seeing very little room for improvement aside from the betterment of the drawings themselves. I asked for a bit of help and was pointed in a couple of excellent directions by my friends Chuck and Niv.
Chuck turned me on to a different method of coloring, and while I didn't use it exactly, I did take away one fundamental change: begin with more texture in the original drawing rather than layer it on afterwards. This lead to a more cohesive image overall, since my textures and lines were drawn together rather than separate. Niv suggested drawing on matte duralar, switching over from my regular translucent drafting vellum. This doesn't sound like a big change (one translucent paper to another), but the duralar has a much different tooth and has a natural haze to it which smooths out the pencil lines. It's something I'll be using in the future for sure.
Look out for a process post on this in the next couple of days. I promise it will be shorter than the last one.
In other news, you'll be seeing this guy in Spectrum 17 this fall.