May 20, 2010

Gollum 1

A small confession: I am much more attached to the Rankin Bass Gollum than I am to the Weta version. Don't get me wrong, Andy Serkis did a stand-up job and the animation was groundbreaking and it makes a lot more sense in the long run, but come on. What's more interesting to look at? This guy or this guy? Those Rankin Bass guys were out of their minds on a lot their designs, but their Gollum is hilarious and great.

Anyway, Gollum is described as being slimy and dark as darkness, with long thin fingers, big lamp-like eyes and six teeth. He has pockets or at some point in the past has pockets.There are only small allusions to Gollum living outside of the cave and even smaller ones to him previously being a hobbit. I've been thinking a lot about all of the weird versions of Gollum that have cropped up over the years (a bunch compiled by Carson Ellis here), though many of those don't make a lot of sense in my version. I don't think Gollum can be be much bigger than Bilbo, if he has to resort to throttling goblins from the shadows to kill them. I picture him a lot like the corpse of a frog man, or like some little crustacean always between shells.

Only a few of these are alright, but they are a good starting point.


  1. Oooh, this is going to be tasty. I'm with you on the rankin bass Gollum. And what's with that compiled list of Gollums? What, no fantasy illustrators ever want to do tolkien over the years?

    I'm so happy you've taken on this project.

  2. Wow I've never seen that Rankin Bass Gollum before! In my book of The Hobbit there's just this really small illustration of a bald skinny figure in shadow crouched on a rock with large bright eyes similar to your drawings at the bottom, and that's what stuck in my mind since I was a kid! I must say the Rankin Bass version is a bit odd and looks to much like a bullfrog to me, but I've been blown away by your previous illustrations so I'm not worried :)

  3. Oh snap son! I have been waiting to see your take on Gollum. I likes it.

  4. Terrific silhouettes, can't wait to see how this turns out! I also love the RB Gollum, sooo much scarier than Weta's.

    Following your process has been reshaping the way I think of my own illustration. Luvvit, thanks!

  5. wow haven't seen the rankin bass gollum in about 20 years. used to watch that just about everyday. even sang along with all the 70s folky jams.
    cant wait to see what you do with gollum. that was always one of my favorite scenes in the book.

  6. The image of a little crustacean hiding between shells is pretty evocative (could be a mollusc hiding between rocks, too)... Like an hermit crab. Maybe he would never be full exposed in the illustrations.

  7. I totally agree with you....
    The movies Gollum is not Gollumish at all.

  8. I know this post is old but I gotta throw in my vote for the RB Gollum design. And his voice was off the chain!!!

    Love the art here on the blog, btw.