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Aerin by TurnerMohan Aerin by TurnerMohan
Aerin, daughter of Indor, close kin of Hurin Thalion, and wife of Brodda the Easterling.

I wanted to do another tolkien female, as Beruthiel and Tar-Miriel were both so well received, and Aerin stood out to me when reading 'the Children of Hurin.' one of Turin's kinswomen, taken by Brodda to be his wife, and in truth no less a slave and captive than the rest of her people under easterling rule.

Here we have the moment were Turin, having slaughtered Brodda and his men, rounds up the surviving slaves of the household to make their escape from Dor-Lomin. Aerin, given the offer to come with them, chooses to stay behind, and burns Brodda's hall to the ground, choosing death rather than "freedom" in the frozen wilderness with little food, less hope, and a long, sorry past behind her.

The ruin of the once proud House of Hador serves as the backdrop for the tragedy of Turin Trurambar, and the meeting of these two remnants of Hador's people, long since broken and brought low, was for my money one of the most powerful moments in COH (a book heavy on powerful moments) and the image of it really stayed with me. I don't think my effort here quite does it justice.

I wanted Aerin, despite the reality of her position as essentially a captive and many-year rape victim, to be dressed like a queen in the easterling manner; all decked out in heavy furs and gold finery. i had debated how 'sexy' to make her attire (of all the scenes tolkien ever wrote, one could argue that the scene in Brodda's hall is his most Frank Frazetta-esq set piece, with the tall, grim, white hero hacking into a throng of writhing barbarians, and a blonde, barely-cald sexpot on the side in some pose of terror) and had played around with the idea of having her forced to walk around the hall and serve drink to her husband's retainers in some scant, princess jasmine type bikini (lending a further element of shame to this un-looked-for confrontation with her long lost but rightful lord and kinsman) but in the end i decided to go for something more reserved, and matronly; i figure after more than twenty years she is (despite herself) pretty legitimately brodda's wife, and would accordingly be allowed some dignity in her dress. besides, it gets damn cold in dor-lomin in wintertime. she's aged and battered by this point but must have been quite the beauty when she was younger, being chosen by the local top dog out of all the women of Hador's people (of whom, it is often remarked, many were real lookers) I imagine the easterling chief would have chosen a special white wolf pelt for her, matching her pale skin and hair.

Turin is (as every single person I've shown this drawing to has pointed out) a rather close self portrait. it was not done intentionaly, but I must say of all tolkien's characters there's something about turin I really identify with (though i doubt i could kill someone with a small stone from a riverbed, more's the pity)

Part of my weekly tolkien sketchblog (sorry for the long hiatus guys, I'll be posting more regularly again)
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2014
 I've finally gotten around to reading 'The Children of Hurin' and I must say that while it's rather beautifully-written I STILL like 'Beren and Luthien' better (partly because I've always been fonder of plain Heroes than of any Anti-Hero I have ever read, partly because it makes 'A Song of Ice and Fire' look downright CHIPPER by comparison).

 Reading it - along with perusing your excellent gallery once again - did cause me to realise that you seem to have illustrated almost all of Tolkien's First Age heroes of Humankind in some form (well done!), except for Tuor son of Huor; might I ask if you have any opinions on how that character ought to be depicted? (the somewhat unfair thought "rather like Turin, son of Hurin but with the hubris replaced by humility" did occur to me but that's hardly a strong visual concept!).
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2014  Professional General Artist
tuor's not my favorite character, mainly because he's harder to get a handle on as a real person with a real personality than turin or beren (turin leads the pack in that arena, as we get to see his whole life front to back, and tolkien's descriptions of his emotional and physical nature, both as a child and an adult, is some of his best actual character-centered wirting) but also because, unlike with beren and luthien, in whose story the implications of mortal and immortal pairing is given it's full due, everything's just so damn easy for tuor; he falls in love with idril, they marry, have a son, turgon's totally fine with it, they survive the fall of gondolin, move to the havens, and end up sailing to valinor where tuor is granted immortal life, wait a minute WHAT THE HELL??? how come idril gets to return to valinor? how come tuor, without a drop of elven blood in him, gets to basically switch species? It never made any sense to me. That and, well, Tuor's just sort of this bland guy. Beren has this sort of scruffy, underdog appeal to him (i always saw him as quite a bit smaller and less impressive than the two hadorian cousins, but with plenty of heart; his major accomplishment seems to have been knocking a celegrom off his horse and scoring the most beautiful wife in the world, luthien and huan having done pretty much everything else) and turin is this seemingly god-ordained (or morgoth-ordained perhaps) natural born hero like achilles in troy, seemingly incapable of missing or faltering in battle (that bit with the stone in the riverbed always stood out to me) but a tragic hero with a tragic destiny, and kind of a perpetually exposed nerve emotionally, ranking up there with Sandor Clegane and Bruce Wayne for "biggest, toughest emo kid of all time," but tuor just seems like this sort of sunny,optimistic blonde guy. sure he's bold and all, but beren is "underdog bold" and turin is "tragic, predestined bold" so they interest me more.

I guess it's kind of like superman and batman; if you like superman better, you'll probably prefer tuor, if you're a batman fan you'll go for turin.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014
 In all honesty I like both Batman and Superman, but Big Blue is unquestionably my favourite since he seems much more friendly! (although I will maintain that he isn't the Messiah, he's the Good Samaritan - as recognised by the most excellent Mr Kurt Busiek, when he named his own ASTRO CITY superman 'Samaritan'). 


Concerning Tuor, to be fair he did not enjoy the same degree of development as Turin and is arguably less central to the tale in which he features most ('Children of Hurin' really is Turin's tale, while 'Beren and Luthien' is as much of a double-header as the title would indicate but 'The Fall of Gondolin' is really more the tale of a city's fate than that of a single hero); I will note, however, that his life is hardly absent hardship and tragedy - he loses his father before he is even born, his mother abandoned him to the care of a foster family, he was driven out of his homelands as a youth and captured as he tried to make his escape, with the result that he was raised a SLAVE in part (rather than a King's Foster-Son), managed to escape only because he was friendly with the hound-pack that pursued him (one wonders if this was a friendship deliberately cultivated on his part?), was obliged to fend for himself with not a single soul to help him before making a long journey to an uncertain welcome through a terrifying harsh winter with only one guide and the words of Ulmo to deliver to an uncertain reception amongst their intended audience.

 Quite frankly Turin has very little on Tuor when it comes to hardship in his early life; HE was raised in safe Doriath, for all that some of it's residents disdained him and raised as a prince to boot - Tuor was in the power of his people's blood-enemies, even before he was made their slave!


 Admittedly after he reaches Gondolin he does get something of a lucky break; Turgon seems to have drawn wisdom from the lessons of Thingol Greycloak (to be fair Beren and Luthien do make an excellent precedent by which an Elven-King might justify the wedding of his heiress to a mortal man) and Tuor does rise high indeed in the King's Favour (but that's no more than Hurin and Huor did or Turin in Nargothrond), but he also wins Maeglin as an enemy for life and … well, look what comes of it.

 The first home Tuor has ever known is destroyed; his friends are slain, his child comes within a knife's edge of death and his wife of rape, the closest thing he has known to a father dies in the ruin of the King's Tower, the refugees he leads are saved only the sacrifice of one of Gondolin's greatest heroes (Ecthelion, Glorfindel et al are the heroes of the Fall of Gondolin, not Tuor who saves only his wife and son, even if he did lead those saved by others to temporary safety) - basically things go to Hell, in part BECAUSE of Tuor.

 Then he sails to Valinor and his plea for Elves and Men is REFUSED (I'd also like to note that Tuor was abandoned by his last human connection - his mother - then raised by elves, taught by elves, wed to an elf, lives as an elf … quite frankly the Power's decision looks less like a gift and more like a recognition of the blatantly obvious*).

 Looked at from his perspective Tuor's life looks less like a triumph than a series of tragedies borne with fortitude and humility; HE doesn't know that he has the power of PLOT on his side, but does his best not to blame others for his own tragedies (Turin doesn't QUITE fall so low as that either, but he does seem to flirt with it - almost as if he knows he's being written as a Tragic Anti-Hero and cannot help but live the cliche!).

 Perhaps I wax on a little too thick in defence of Tuor, but from what little I know of him I rather like him; he can't do anything to prevent the great tragedies of his life, but he does what he can to ameliorate the small ones that follow from them anyway (the fact that I can easily imagine him being played by Mr Chris Hemsworth DOES help, since it adds more definition to my mental image of the character).


*One thought that has occurred to me is that it might be interesting to depict Salgant, Chief of the House of the Harp, as a MAN not an Elf (he's only mentioned as a 'Gnome' in the original Fall of Gondolin for the record); for one thing it gives him a better reason to side with Maeglin, for another making the House of the Harp Gondolin's human contingent fits the symbolism (courtesy of Finrod Felagund), it helps give context to Tuor's ready acceptance into Gondolin society (remember Hurin and Huor; Turgon is more than willing to accept Men into his service, unlike Thingol), but also show just how far apart he has grown from those that should technically be his own kind (apart by reason of his upbringing, if not necessarily alienated) and add a certain complexity to Maeglin - he doesn't despise Tuor just because he's human, but because he has stolen a share of Turgon's affections AND taken the Lady Idril to wife, leaving Maeglin that much more alone in the world (that's how Maeglin would see it, at least - I think he's as interested in being recognised as Turgon's son as he is in winning the love of Idril and more than he ever was in a Crown).

 I hope you don't mind my nattering, Master Mohan!
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
 I'd just like to say that into this image you've managed to pack an entire Shakespearean Tragedy into a single facial expression and body language. Put simply that expression makes quite an impression (and the very posture of Turin hints at the forthcoming sequel to that tragedy, writ in the 'Houseless Wilds' upon the remnant of Dor-Lomin).

 I have taken the liberty of including a link to the work of another artist, who seems to approached the Easterlings of the First Age from a similar perspective (he has some fine Feanorians in his gallery to boot!):

 meisiluosi.deviantart.com/art/…
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Professional General Artist
there's a lot i could say about the poses and the feelings involved in the scene as i see it (this one had me crying) but I think it might be smarter just to take the compliment and say thank you :)

I will add though that this piece started in my mind as a single frame of the entire sequence of turin returned to dorlomin - beginning with his coming up over the mountains and visiting the gutted, roofless remains of his childhood house alone at night, and ending with aerin's suicide - that I've wanted for years to do in a graphic novel/storyboard format, but i usually find myself lacking both the skill and the stamina for anything but the most primitive sequential art.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
 I shall do my best to read that part of 'The Children of Hurin' with particular attention when I get to it; perhaps I'll be able to express my ideas with sufficient eloquence to make some interesting reading for both of us!
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014
Amazing piece! I love the work in the maille here! I like the fadding effect in the drawing, that unfinished treatment is somewhat laconic as if you said: I already shown what is important, the rest don't matters. I love it. The design is superb, as always and also your hand is specially great in here, it glows with personality. there is something like Barry Windsor Smith going on here and that particulary is really great !
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you, and I'm especially glad you think the choice to end it where I did worked, as that decision troubled me for a long time (originally I'd wanted to do the whole page, with the pillars of the halls and some of the hadorian thralls in the background and all) knowing when to stop can really affect how a piece comes out, plus, as I'm sure you know, everything's a lot more unforgiving in pen.

glad you like it bro!
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014
You always choose the right moment to say: done. This "unfinished" quality of your work just add to its greatness. Specially with pen. You can't tame it, you have to cooperate with the media.You just do it very well!
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:iconsirielle:
Sirielle Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2014   Digital Artist
The best of your women portrayal for me. I'm glad you decided to have her well clothed, I don't imagine Brodda would expose his both possession and wife to others, humiliate the way you wondered about. Though I admit I don't remember that scene. That could have been done to any other pretty captive, but wife, even forced wife has to have higher status - in the end role of a wife is to bear heirs, so such captive has to be treated better than any other slave. Aerin looks noble and sad, well done. And I love all the details in both figures, the stylization of Easterling influenced clothes, jewelry, fantastic job!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2014  Professional General Artist
thanks! that was my thinking with this one, ultimately, it's not so much out of respect for Aerin herself as for his possession of her that Brodda keeps her jealously guarded from the eyes of his men. strangely their marriage (as seems to be the case with all loveless marriages in tolkien's world) is a childless one, even after so many years. that could be just because tolkien didnt think of it, but he so consistantly doesnt think of that (beruthiel and tar-miriel are also in loveless and childless mariages) that I wonder if it isnt some of his personal religious, moral opinions about love and marriage as this sacred thing, the ultimate fruit of which is children.
her clothes were based mostly on ancient central-asian dress, the easterlings representing, in my mind, a very broad range of people from turk and slavic type people to more eastern, hunnic, mongolian types.

glad you like it so. thanks for the well considered comment!
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2013
 So you did change your mind about depicting "directly" the First Age events (cause your Eärendil doesn't count) ? I can understand why : the CoH is a lot more like the LotR in its writing than the Silmarilion, not as precise as the LotR but still more like a XXth century book and less like the Eddas. On an internal point of view the tale of Hurin is made by a man of the Falas who used testimonies from anyone who met Turin so it's probably the more "serious" story of the First Age. :)

Nice shot anyway. Aerin is awesome. I like Turin a little less though : he seems too "cheap" with his equipment for the Great Captain of Nargothrond, even after a many-days-run.
For me there are two ways :
- Either he let his war equipment (only keeping his sword and belts) behind him and only wears clothes (a gambison for instance) and ma be a travel-cape (a hood is mentionned).
- Or he still have is long chainmail (the Noldor, at least in Gondolin, have long chain-shirts, probably to the knees or further, and if everyone in Nargothrond don't, the captains probably do).

What about his helmet (I would like to see you depicting it) ? He probably has it (cause Turin keep it until the end, at least in the last drafts of Tolkien) but he doesn't wear it (otherwise he would have been killed quiclky). I imagine it, like many, as a variation of the sutton's hoo helmet with a dragon's head on it.
Why did ou choose this design for the sword ? I like it but I would like to have some explanations. It does give it a special look, different from the Noldorin and Numenoreans long-swords.

I like your "Conan-description" of the scene :D I haven't read Conan enough (except a few spanish comics) but I can really imagine the scene in Frazetta's style. It always amaze me how much thougts you guve to each element.

For Turin, except for the small clothing critic, I really like him. Assuming it's you on your facebook with the Bradd picture (I found it accidently while looking for your website :P ) I could imagine you as Turin (if you don't smile). Haha :D But I think that identifying ourselves as a Turin is pretty much impossible to avoid when you read his tale, while being a teen/young-man, even if it does feel pretty sad and megalomaniac in the same time.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
Turin's armor and weapon are certainly not my most imaginative work to date, and that was a conscious choice; The silmarillion is, i think, a far less original work, aesthetically, than the lord of the rings, tolkien doesnt throw weird design curve balls at you like the karma helmet, and there are no glaring anachronisms like the tobacco smoking hobbits, or extensive looks at 'other' cultures (besides brodda's people, who i think of as more "slavic" as easterlings go, not so distantly separated from the edain, and not nearly so far-afield as the third age easterlings in service to sauron) the silmarillion is overwhelmingly northern/germanic aesthetically, it feels much more like an authenic saga, like you'd expect to have come from the dark ages, and i think it's because it was started when tolkien was so young, and seems to come from much more a place of imitating the authentic epic sagas that he loved, rather than the more original and inventive "world building" he got so into later on. Also, to justify my choices here as conforming to a consistent vision of middle-earth's costume history, the viking long-sword, like Gurthang here, was the evolutionary forerunner to the medieval longsword (if you look at northern european swords from 500 to about 1500, there is this very easily perceptible trend of swords getting longer, their handles and guards getting longer, more cross-shaped, culminating in things like the zwiehander used by german and swiss mercenaries) I guess for my own part I think of swords from the eldar days, like glamdring, orcrist, and narsil, looking more like viking swords than the later, more medieval looking swords (this is one of the problems with Medieval Stasis, as I mentioned before)

as for the dragonhelm of dor lomin (which i would be more enthusiastic to attempt if EVERYONE hadnt made a Sutton-Hoo looking dragonhelm already) I was a little confused about what had become of it by this point. Turin had a dwarven mask at the siege of naragthrond, but if I recall correctly that was taken from the armories there, his own ancestral helmet having been lost when he was captured at Amon Rudh. Having him helmetless here, and having his mail shorter than described in the book (knee length mail was 1, primarily a cavalryman's thing and so felt wrong for turin, and 2, didnt really get popular - in england - until the end of the anglo-saxon dark ages, being the look ascosiated with the norman cavalry and crusaders, and so didnt feel right for the more early dark ages, vikingish feel of the first age i was going for, though i may have to revise that descision if i start doing more 1st age stuff) gave him a more roguish, "falled captain" feel (having fled narogthrond - even if for good reasons - rather than going down with the ship) which was one of the most important things i wanted to capture about this meeting; that they are both sort of fallen, like the house of hador itself.

that bold, fleshy Frank Frazetta style is a hard sell, alot of the time, in middle-earth, mainly just because, like all classical sculptors, frazetta's primary interest was the human body in motion, and so most of the mighty heroes in his paintings are in bear-fur speedos, which doesnt really gel with tolkien's vision ;). That said, my decision to draw turin from behind, his long black hair obscuring any chance at seeing his face and lending him this prepetual anonymity (which he tries to hold on to throughout his adult life) was taken entirely from john Howe's veiw-from-behind of turin in Turin & Glaurung www.dana-mad.ru/gal/display.ph… which was itself, I believe (I'm quite convinced actually) taken from a similarly composed frazetta painting of conan frankfrazetta.org/viewimage.ph… so there is some lineage there.

Lastly yes, unless there are two fools who've got a picture of themselves infront of a brad pitt Chanel No. 5 add, that's me. I actually hate smiling for cameras, I usually prefer, whenever possible, to scowl at them like those guys in the old 19th century portrait photographs, but that doesnt always get the best reaction from people.
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013
If I think Turin's story is extremly rich, mixing northern/germanic, finlandic and greek influences, I cannot disagree with you on the fact that it's not as much original in term of design and universe than the LotR and I do consider the LotR as Tolkien's masterpiece anyway for many, many other reasons.
Yeah I understand your problem with the "medieval stasis" in the way that Narsil is one of the eldest weapon in ME and inspired Boromi's sword and probably most of Gondorian's and Numenorean swords (and it might be the same for Orcist and Glamdring for the Elves). On those swords the movies are in the same time not "coherent" (cause Orcrist, Sting and Glamdring don't look at all like the other Elven blades and the dwarves' blades don't look like Anduril either) and, I think, far of Tolkien's vision (not mentionning the curved Elven swords) in the way that most people in ME probably didn't forge weapons so different. They went too far, like the Elves' weapons don't have to be curved and the dwarves don't have to carry axes in the shape of triangle to shwo that they are straight and "square".

I didn't see that much "Sutton-Hoo-Dragon-Helms" (except for tulikoura.deviantart.com/art/T… but even his doesn't respect tottaly Tolkien's idea cause shwoing all the dragon and not only his head -that is fanatsim too-) and at list not among the more famous artists (Lee, Howe and Nasmith).

It seems that in the last version of Turin's story, Tolkien wanted to have Turin wearing the helm almost all the time. Except among the outlaws cause he left it in Doriath and Beleg brought it with him after. Cause in the last scene Turin was supposed to wear the same helmet. In the published Silmarilion he had a dwarven mask to his helmet but in the last one the helm already have a mask.

You are right on Turin not being a cavalryman apprently, I didn't think about that. And the rest of the explanation felt good.
That's funny you talk about John Howe cause I was myself thinking bout anothe illustration he did (link here : www.john-howe.com/portfolio/ga… , he does really look like Conan there) and he is explaining that the comissionner really wanted Turinto show his face while Howe wanted to depaint him with the head bowing down and the hair falling in front of it.

good'nigh' :)
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Professional General Artist
it seems from his own commentary that john howe pretty well loathes that painting, and (setting aside that i hardly consider myself in a position to criticize the great John Howe) i cant say i blame him; it's far from his finest work. I think, as he said, his sketches for the scene www.john-howe.com/portfolio/ga… www.john-howe.com/portfolio/ga… are indeed much better, mainly because he leaves turin faceless in both, as he'd done in the "death of glaurung" painting (i dont think you have to leave turin faceless in every painting, but that face he put on him is pretty horrible)

Hmm, that's a new one on me, about him keeping the helm all the way through, must have missed it in COH, when drawing this piece i only re-read the "return of Turin to dor lomin" chapter (it seems a shame though, i loved the image of the great heirloom lost meaninglessly, it seemed so fitting for the ruined house of hador)

when I say "everyone" has done a sutton-hoo looking dragonhelm, i probably mean three or four people, among them ekukanova.deviantart.com/art/I… ekukanova.deviantart.com/art/S… and peet.deviantart.com/art/The-Mo… although that last one is technically going on the "silmarillion" story-line, and so that's not really the dragon-helm, and anyway once Ekukanova swings that formidable paintbrush of hers into action that's pretty much the final word on the subject ;)

indeed you are correct, the movies went too far (for my taste aswell) in their strategy of 'make-every-single-item-immediately-distinguishable-by-culture,' the proof of which is that the most iconic swords, sting glamdring and narsil (for which the movies wanted to take the obvious route of having them look like "classic" medieval swords) stand out like sore thumbs among the other hardware produced by their respective cultures (the geometric dwarven aesthetic especially, while beautiful, is a style with severe limitations, limitations we ran up against far too many times in the designs for "the hobbit") i prefer a strategy of making things produced by elves/men/dwarves more subtly different from eachother, and never straying away from functionality as the main incentive (axe blades are curved for a reason, dwarvish or not) but that's one of the limitations of film, and quite often in the movies (especially after looking through the "art of" books) i think they went with the designs that were not always the best, but the most cinematic.
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013
I kind of consider you can always make critics, you're never too bad to do so. I could spend months on one drawing and probably still be unable to beat a ten-seconds draft from Howe's hands with it. And what ? I'll also never be a good actor, neither a director, even of Jackson's level. And still the Hobbit, from a cinematographic point of view is just a piece of sh** (I know as Tolkien's fans we can still take things from it and re-use them but let's be realistic). For real, may be Jackson was under pressure from his commanditors but if he had some kind of honor of any sort he should have quit long ago. And still I will probably be unable to do better. I think that's pretty much the same for drawings and paintings.

Here it's obvious that it wasn't Howe's fault. And most of the time when I dislike any of his drawings (for any reason, from respect to the text to composition) he doesn't like it either and said it on his website. From a technical point of view, Howe is probably the best of Tolkien's illustrator I've ever seen, that's sure, even if I often prefer Lee's character design, Howe's monsters also kick ass.
But don't depreciate yourself : you are a lot younger than Howe which means a long time to learn before you. ;)
Like for Ekukanova : her faces are among the finest, the clothes are awesome and the colors too. But I don't like many of her clothes' and armors' designs and her paysages aren't as "deep" as yours. I don't think her art, while beautiful, is as complete as yours but that's a really subjective feeling.

For the Helm this was not include inthe COH but only suggested in the UT. It was only the last position of Tolkien on that question, Christopher deduced it from the passage in which Turin face Glaurung at the doors of Nargothrond and from the last version of Glaurung's death. Like if the Helm was linked to Glaurung in the same way Turin is linked to his sword, may be a way to remember Fafner's Helm. But this idea was never include in the whole story so you can go with your interpretation if you prefer. :)

Final word with Ekukanova ? I'm not sure it's a good idea to give wings to a helmet representing a walking dragon. ;) And a dragon head up, like a crest, could be interisting too.

More stuff to say... no time to !
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Professional General Artist
The first Hobbit movie's gotten a lot of hate (not undeservedly) from tolkien fans, and DoS isnt shaping up to be much of an improvement (though like probably everyone, I'm holding out hope for a real bad motherfuckin smaug) I wish i could put the blame off of PJ somehow, but given his post lotr carreer trajectory i cant say what he did with the hobbit is really that surprising (the man does seem to have a penchant for long, ludicrously overindulgent films with awkward dialogue and gawdy, ridiculous CG action set pieces, offset by the occasional shining moment here and there)

It's cool that John Howe can call himself out on his own blunders. That's one of the things I've always liked about him, aside from his wonderful artwork; he's a talker, (unlike say, alan lee who, even after years of well deserved renown and an oscar under his belt, you can still barely get five words out of him) john'll tell you what motivated this or that artistic descision of his, what he was trying to accomplish, and how close (or not) he thinks he got, that's a really 'generous' way for an illustrator to be, and he seems like a nice guy with a good humble sense of humor who knows a lot about ancient myth/archetype (did i mention i like john howe?)

Haha, I had wondered myself why a helmet depicting the likeness of a grounded dragon would have wings ;) I guess that's something i would change if i were to try the Dragon Helm (which i may have to before too long, you're not the only one who's expressed a desire to see what I'd do with it) but as it stands i think the winged helmet has a very 'wagnerian opera' feel to it, which is a good match, tonally, for the COH
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013
I share your deception on the Hobbit and I'm not gonna repeat the same things with a poorer english. ;) I'm going to see it probably but I don't except anything so Jackson can still surprise me if he come back to the level of the FotR (I didn't watch the trailers though).

Of course I love John Howe too, and not only for criticizing himself like you said. It's obvious that he his not showing ME as Tolkien imagined it but more a meeting between Tolkien's writings and his own universe of plate-knights, daemons and monsters and he really shaped a part of "my" ME. I like the idea to stick to the text like you do (most of the time :P ) cause I like the idea of ME being almost a real world with its own rules and coherence.
While we are speaking of that : I like that you are having all this back and forth with all of us (even if I guess the more difficult is to get critics on your technical skills and not geeky critics on your hability to produce sketches sticking to the book like Zeonista and I are doing). Of course you are not (yet) as famous as John Howe but that's still a really nice thing as an artist to share thoughts with people who appreciate what you do.

And Hell Yeah for the Dragonhelm of Dor-Lomin ! :D
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thank you for saying so. Honestly, I dont know how any artist here can resist engaging in back and forth with the people commenting on there work, especially if you're illustrating such a known commodity as tolkien's world, which a lot of people have put alot of very considered thought into, and have really interesting, insightful things to say about it. I suppose I can understand if an artist doesnt want to dull their own personal vision with too many outside oppinions, but for me one of the most wonderful and valuable things about middle earth (and i usually start thinking about this from a visual perspective and them move into more articulated territory) is that it "bleeds" into the real world at so many points (alot of my interest in real human history, art history, mythology, religion, cultural migration ect. has stemmed from my love of tolkien) and there does seem to be, among fans, a more-or-less consistent idea of what middle earth looks and feels like, not so tightly consolidated as to be isolating (some of my favorite tolkien art is very different from my own) but consistent enough to give it, as you said "rules and coherence"
that's usually what i'm trying to shoot for with my M-E work, and getting to here from fellow fans is a big plus for that ;)
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(1 Reply)
:iconcinder-chandrian:
Cinder-Chandrian Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Amazing!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Professional General Artist
thanks!
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:iconoznerol-1516:
Oznerol-1516 Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh! You're finally back! I've missed you Turner (and your comments, I published in this time few Tolkien artworks)!
Well... I really like the aproach you're taken with this. It has something symilar to Rembrandt's engravings, with that colouring and the unfinished parts. The drawing of the furry parts in this case is wonderful, you can nearly sense how the cold from Dór-Lomin, entering in the hall with the doomed hero, wrapes the scene. But what I really like in this case is her jewelry and clothes (maybe a parthian look on her would be cool, at least I think easterlings have a parthian-iranian look), so detailed, and such wonderfully done. Her face, is a decaying beauty, but you can see his iron soul, beneath the many years of captivity and sorrow, you achieved what you wanted to show. Turin's back is also well done, and the saxon-dark-age like sword hilt is a genious aproach, as is the sword belt. I really like the mail hauberk, it's so detailed. And his hair...
You've clearly put a lot of effort in this, it's not your usual drawing style , sketch-like, Leonardesque, mixed with Willaim Turner, in look, but a detailed piece, with a great influence of woodcuts and engravings, and such is a wonderful artwork, which I inmediately added to my favourites.

I'd love to see a carved pillar in the background, holding a viking-like-roof, maybe with a dragon motif, very celtic/norse, with intrincate knots and such. Or maybe a dead Brodda in the floor, sorrounded by his, and his men, blood.

Anyway, I love your "return", with such a powerful story, as is the Hurin's lineage doom...
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Professional General Artist
this one was an experiment in pen, a medium i dont use often enough. Aerin's clothes were mainly of ancient central asian style, i was mainly concerned with getting the effect of heavy layers of embroidered wool and fur, I imagine the easterling men would be similarly bundled up against the cold, as were the people of hador back in their day (there's a reason the easterlings wanted the more lush, temperate lands of beleriand, hithlum's a rough land)
yes Aerin's descision to stay behind and end her life, now that brodda is dead and his hadorian servants taken out of her charge (a thing she had probably been vainly waiting for for years) is one of my favorite character moments in COH. I was reminded of (and attempted to channel in this picture) a similar scene in Akira Kurosawa's "the Seven Samurai" where the samurai, aided by a few of the farmers whose village they have agreed to protect from a band of brigands, go and attack the brigands' hideout and set it on fire. many of the brigands and their concubines run out of the burning building, but when one of the concubines, who had been stolen years earlier from the farmers' village, sees her long lost farmer husband, she runs back into the fire, opting to die rather than live dishonored. Aerin's suicide has that same kind of fearsome ancient dignity, and though tolkien, especially as a catholic, saw suicide as a sin and a mistake, he seems to have a certain respect for aerin's decision, with even the hadorian servants rebuking turin for deeming her faint-hearted.

as for turin's clothes and sword, my picture of the first age (in those areas where i have a consistent picture) is very firmly grounded in the european dark ages, or earlier (throwing in some halstatt/la tene elements, or even earlier, bronze age styles where i feel i can get away with it) but certainly nothing after about 1000 AD. the world of the silmarillion seems a much less technoligically/stylistically anachronistic world tan the later ages of middle earth, as desribed in lotr or the hobbit, for one there are no hobbits (who seem to exist in a world closest to 17th-19th century rural england) and no funky curveballs like the numenorean karma helmet, so the silmarillion (especially with the more archaic way of speaking of the characters) feels much more solidly a could-be genuine piece of ancient mythology.

i had wanted to do some more architectural detail in the pillars in the back, and had initially planned to, but upon re reading that chapter i realized that brodda's hall was built by the easterlings themselves, and i wasnt ready to commit to a style of construction or decoration for it, as i'm much less familiar with steppe architecture than, say, the viking type architecture i would imagine the people of hador building.

good to hear from you again, and i'll have to check out some of those new pieces of yours.
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:iconoznerol-1516:
Oznerol-1516 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No, you don't use it enough, the final result is amazing, I'd love to see it more often. Yes, the fur cloak is extremely well done, and something I did not picture while reading The Children of Húrin (strangely!). I can imagine the fair-haired people of Hador's line with furry garments, in a very close style to that of dark age vikings (also I imagine Turin's helmet simillar to Sutton-Hoo's one, but with a more menacing mask).
Kurosawa was a master, and his love for painture and art is seen everywhere in his films, Ran, or my favourite, Kagemusha, such I understand how the Seven Samurais helped you to achieve the mood for the artwork. It's impresive how similar react women both in a Shakespearian play and in a japanese epic tale, facing the tragedy with pride, preferring death, and embracing their demise... The very same in norse tradition with those brave shieldmaidens and queens.
Yes, I feel more less the same of First Age, but strangely I can throw in the mix some greek archaic elements to the elven gear, maybe corinthian-like helmets! While men would be much more celtic (with the exception of easterlings, steppes-scythian-persian look for me). That's the force Silmarillion has, it is an incredible source of inspiration.
Ah! Easterling's building then... Maybe some mongolian elements mixed with knoted celtic design could have worked, but you wisely let the focus being on the hero's tale and the woman's tragedy.

I'll try to paint more Tolkien artworks, after I finish with two comissions I've been charged.

Regards
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:iconekukanova:
ekukanova Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2013
Oh! This is simply perfect!!! 
 I love all the things in this work: the movement, emotions near Turin and Aerin, design of costumes, all the small details, ''incompletness'' that bring into focus the main thing,- GREAT !!!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Professional General Artist
well thank you so much! I'm glad you like it.
I'd initially intended to fill out more of the image in the background and such, but decided to keep the focus on the characters. alot of the time with a piece like this it's a question of knowing when to stop. Thanks again for the lovely comment!
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:iconhoremweb:
HoremWeb Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2013   Photographer
HTS Summer Camp had a setting in Dor Lómin, just after the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, and the story included Aerin's (forced) wedding to Brodda... So it is a kind of actual theme for me. :)

Very neat and nice, I fav'd it!

(HTS = Hungarian Tolkien Society)
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Professional General Artist
thank you for the fav.
It's pretty awesome that Hungary has a tolkin related summer camp, if i understand you correctly that is.
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:iconhoremweb:
HoremWeb Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013   Photographer
Indeed you understood well! It was the 11th, and this year we had two (one for smaller children). It is like having a holiday on Middle-Earth, usually. About end of October we'll have a 3-day creative festival, too, and that one is open for foreigners, too—if you want to turn up somewhere near, you may consider... :)
Even  we start an international contest on Tolkien's works. Just check my signature if you want to know more.
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2013
I was looking forward to your next piece. I see you have followed Earandil back to the Elder Days. :) (Smile)  This piece is an interesting choice. COH was along with "The Lay of Leithan" and Tuor's trip to Gondolin, near and dear to Tolkien's heart. He put a lot of work into the story, and it always made me wonder what that the Quenta Silmarilion would have been like with all of its main story points filled in. So there are many poignant scenes for the wiling artist to illustrate.

I remember this scene, with Turin trying to persuade Aerian to escape with him, and her refusal, which exasperates him, rather than getting his acceptance. Unlike Beren or Tuor, Turin's heroic decisions always seemed to cause as many problems as solve them. This is one of those times, and Our Hero's impromptu display of pride-driven battle fury has (once again) caused a mess. Aerian knows what will happen when Brodda's neighbors and more distant kinsmen hear about what happened. The shame of House Hador has been avenged, but revenge has a price, and it must be paid. Turin doesn't understand it (nor will he for a while yet), so he stomps off, only to see a distant flame, the pyre of his kinswoman and childhood home. (I must admit I have a great liking for Turin since my own adolescence. He did all the proper heroic deeds and said all the proper heroic things, but somehow nothing turned out like it was supposed to. I could really get behind that situation then.)

Since the illustration focused on Aerian, you did a great job focusing on her. I did like her clothing, which did decorate her with barbaric splendor. Aerian was Brodda's wife as both status symbol and legitimizing claim to Dor-Lomin, so he would like her to be turned out in style, and her own inherent beauty would have repaid the effort. Her expression fit, too. Aerian is the stand-in for all the women of old Britain and England, who had to submit to the conqueror of the day and take their place at his side, enduring the unendurable and telling themselves it was for the best. In her own way she has maintained the honor of the House of Hador, and has been a true lady to her people, despite Brodda's displeasure.
 
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
of the three "human-hero-comes-to-live-with-the-elves-and-falls-in-love-with-the-elvenking's-daughter" stories (there is definitely something of a pattern there) the tale of Turin was always my favorite, and I think many people's favorite. Tuor in gondolin, though epic enough, was only ever vaguely sketched out, and for my money wasnt nearly as compelling as Turin's story, and Beren and Luthien, though probably the closest to tolkien's heart, is at times just plain silly, and you never get a sense of Beren or Tuor as real characters with personalities like you do with turin, or with the people they interact with. i guess that's the thing for me, the tale of turin (in it's various incarnations) feels alot more "real," and scenes like this one with Aerin, or his childhood scenes with Sador or his parents are pretty much why. Also, Turin is alot more tortured and his story is a lot more of a tragedy for all parties involved, and I think there's a natural dramatic attraction to tragedies.
One of my favorite themes in the COH is this permeating sense of a "people." Tolkien goes to great lengths to hammer home the concept of the house of hador, and how, though broken and scattered, when it's people run into eachother there's this connection and shared history that barely needs to be spoken (even with Forweg and Androg the outlaws) You also sense their shared sense of the outrage against the easterling usurpers. when it comes to Aerin, there's this very ancient, tribalist type of outrage of the people of hador as a "raped" people (of their lands, their lives, their freedom and their women) tolkien is unapolagetically partisan on this point, and lines like "Brodda took Aerin as a wife and not a slave, for there were few women amongst his own following, and none to compare with the daughters of the Edain" rank as among his more "politically incorrect" lines, albeit within the context of his own fantasy world. nonetheless, I imagine (and wanted to convey visually) the special place that a beautiful, fair haired woman like aerin would have as (as you say) a claim to legitimacy for brodda, and also as something rare (unheard of among his own people infact) and therefore desireable (theres actually alot of current thinking that blonde hair developed as a mutation for sexual selection) I imagine the easterlings having this odd mix of contempt for and attraction to the "staw heads" as tends to happen with a subjugated people, like the sexual allure celtic women had in imperial roman culture, or black women had in the days of american slavery.
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013
COH has a great deal of "humanness", to be true. The noble and ignoble aspects of Turin are given through the eye of a sympathetic but still judgmental narrative. The savage heathen mindset of the Volsung Saga has been replaced with a Christian-based eye towards chivalry and principled struggle against a rapacious usurping Dark Lord. Still, Turin still has to face his wyrd, just like Sigmund & Sigfried, and it dominates his life, dogging him through every turn. I suppose that makes him easier for the post-modern world to appreciate than Tuor, whose wyrd is better in terms of forecast, and Beren & Luthien, who overcome their wyrd and the entire mortal world itself!   

You are on target in terms of the description of the Hadorian Edain as a people, and their collective struggle for their own sake against Morgoth. The Edain sided with the Elves on their own decision, not because of the persuasion of the Elves. Tolkien definitely does not try for artificial "balance"; the Hadorians are being unjustly punished and subjected in defeat for daring to stand against the ultimate tyrant of Middle-Earth. The House of Hador and their followers get a raw deal after the Unnumbered Tears brings woe to elf and man alike. However, they all resist the best they can, with Turin encouraging them by his example, even if the results don't turn out as well as they could have. They have chosen to stand against the Darkness, and so they will, come what may. So Turin gets respect in spite of his blunders because he chose to take the hero's role. And others like Morwen & Aerin do what they can, when they can, because not all resistance is overt or active.

 
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:iconlt-snuggs:
Lt-Snuggs Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow your shading skills are simply amazing. You definitely capture those powerful moments with the intensity of your style
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thank you for the lovely comment. this one's pen (which is somewhat unusual for me)
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:iconlt-snuggs:
Lt-Snuggs Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow your shading skills are simply amazing. You definitely capture those powerful moments with the intensity of your style
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:iconsaeleth:
Saeleth Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2013
An amazing job! the details of your works are always truly wonderful :clap:
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
thanks so much!!!
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:iconsaeleth:
Saeleth Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013
you're welcome! ^__^
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:icongabbanoche:
Gabbanoche Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Dude this one is badass!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
;)
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