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Celegorm study and poses by TurnerMohan Celegorm study and poses by TurnerMohan
some preliminary sketches I've done for a painting I'm planning. Up top we've got a few quick thumbnails for beren and luthien, but I was mainly focused here on the weapons and gear for Celegorm. for this one (in contrast to my recent noldor related concept art) I chose to take tolkien pretty much exactly at his word on the maille shirt, "tall helm" and general anglo-saxon look and feel of the noldor princes. I may go back in from here and try to "elf" up the cut of the maille or incorporate more silks and such, but it's actually kind of amazing to me - despite how played it is, to the point of becoming boring - just how well the classic garb of the dark age germanics works for tolkien's world. The ancient anglosaxon/frankish/celtic artefacts pictured here are in the Metropolitan museum of art here in New York. It's great to get to go and draw from the real things; they're always incredibly detailed, plus I like seeing them alongside tolkien-related subjects, as I get a strong sense that's exactly the style of finery tolkien had in mind for his fictional peoples.
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:iconfergusthefiddler:
Fergusthefiddler Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2015
Beautiful work. When I imagined elven warriors, always imagined them as the russian medieval soldiers by Ivan Bilinin:

uploads0.wikiart.org/images/iv…

www.imaginaria.com.ar/wp-conte…

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Their tall helmets and kite shields fit very well with mi idea about them.
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:iconsilamir:
silamir Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015   General Artist
so intricate and amazing! :)
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2015
Believe it or not but I was recently consulting a book on anglo-saxon gear and drew the brooche on the right cause I thougt it would make a great model for the "bosse overlaid with gold and set with gems, green and red and white", on Aragorn's and Legolas' shields picked in the armoury of Théoden if put as a losange. ;)
The belt buckles are gorgeous ! I need to visit that museum ! :O

For me the "tall helms" are opposed to the "cap" of Gimli fitting his "round head" : the last one follow the shape of the skull while the first one is higher than that. The crest add to that surnatural feeling of "tallness". For me the helmet here is extremly good.
As for the chainmail and leg wrap for me it works perfectly. You just have to imagine the coat of mail as that "second-skin" you described to Artigas and the leg-wrap as made of really fine and onrnamented "slik-like" cloth and you have an elvish prince.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2015  Professional General Artist
yes i love what the "tall helms" do for the elven princes' appearance, regal and even kind of alien-like; all these really tall, practically luminous superhuman beings from another world with their tall helmets that almost make you wonder if they dont have taller skulls under there ;) (something i'd hoped to evoke in the numenorean karma helmets aswell) the word is "high-brow", and all three of the elves (if i do my job right :P) should have that superhuman elegance in the final piece, physically perfect with this aristocratic air to them. beren on the other hand is like something from a frazetta painting; rough hewn and kind of a neanderthal by comparrison, more a josh brolin or young mel gibson type (the contrast will be accentuated by beren, having been released from sauron's dungeons, will be dressed in pretty ragged clothes)
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015
In the mod I told you about we wanted to use young Tolkien face for Beren but it was only photos in B&W and with not enough qualities so we used a descendant of Tolkien, Royd Tolkien, as a model. As a friend put it "he is a goddamn jackson-boot-licker" but the hommage was to his great grandfather not to himself. It is funny also to see that Simon Tolkien looks a lot like a Hobbit. :p
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:icontwin-ity:
TWIN-ITY Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015
I have been a fan of your artwork for a long time, you are third on my list of favourite artists after John Howe and Alan Lee, and as I finally signed up I have to comment... I love all the thought you put into every detail of your work and I have found so much inspiration in your gallery that I have started far to many sculpts. I am also going to read the Silmarilion again, just to be able to follow all your descriptions.

I am really looking forward to further studies of the cover, my question is whether you actually consider to put it on the book. I mean whether it might end up in people's bookshelves... If so, I don't think that everybody (including me) is as knowledgable as you in the Silmarillion and the movies have shaped people's impression. Therefore the anglosaxon leg wrappings and the spear will often guide people to think of Rohirrim. The leg wrappings do look quite elvish though I think, you have achieved the elegant look. Everything else is just amazing, well designed and executed!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Professional General Artist
well, considering that alan and john are constantly fighting it out for the number one spot in my mind, that's a pretty great compliment! It's good that you set up a profile, I'm always glad when an appreciator of my stuff comes out of the woodwork, and deviant can be a pretty great place for showing your work and getting feedback (i like that rhino piece you posted, looks like it's got a little john in it)

In answer to your question, yeah, i hope so. I'm currently trying to build a portfolio of finished paintings; i've done a good amount of illustration work, but so far it's mostly been in pencil, or pencil images supplemented with watercolor, like you see alan lee do in alot of his books, but i've been trying to add full-page color paintings to my repertoire lately. As for the leg wraps, to my knowledge you dont actually see too many of them showing up on the rohirrim in the movies (PJ & Co went with boots for most of the main characters and even the extras, probably because those are easier for people to pop on their feet than having to get those wraps applied) but I know what you mean; those leg wrappings are so synonymous with the dark age anglo saxon look and feel used for the rohirrim that now they seem mostly "mannish" in middle-earth context (actually you're not the first to have commented so) I may try and changing them out for some of those really supple form-fitting boots you see showing up in frankish court dress in the 8th-10th centuries, maybe that'll look better, but i dunno, i think the wraps are pretty. we'll see

thanks again for the nice comment. I hope to see you around more often :)
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:iconnonier:
NonieR Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015
Oh, YEAH!

I'll admit I was a little startled by the LotR movies' Japanese-influenced elven robes, but I'm guessing it's partly because the Rohirrim are so VERY Anglo-Saxon and a contrast was needed, and partly to evoke the modern love of anime. Well, that and to help us see the elves as different/other than human, since they're still being played by human actors

I'm all for fantasy in general, but so much of Tolkien's world was Northern European that I love to see artists return to those roots.

Your fan,

--Nonie
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Professional General Artist
well thank you Nonie ;)

i can see why PJ and co went with subtle japanese influences in terms of the lines and forms of elven clothing and armament (and i do myself sometimes, following from their example) it's a cultural style that has become known and respected in our time for it's great elegance, and it's far enough away from the overwhelmingly european look and feel of middle-earth (or those parts of middle-earth where tolkien's stories take place) that if used right it doesnt feel "foreign" just alien and supehuman, and therefore pretty perfect for the elves. that said i think something like this is probably alot closer to what tolkien had in mind when he conceived of his nordic "alfir"-like elves.

I usually try to give the elves certain touches of superhuman elegance to their costumes, and will probably try, for the finished draft of celegorm's costume, to go a little "curvier" than we see here, but it's good to go back to those germanic roots, as you say. i don't know if you've seen it, but i did a take on the costumes of Glorfindel and Ecthelion that's still strongly based on the look of dark-age germanic people, but a little tweeked here and there to give it a slightly inhuman, elvish look; it's probably pretty close to what i'll end up doing with celegorm and curufin.
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:iconnonier:
NonieR Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015
Don't remember if I replied to this, but yes, I noticed your more Northern take on Glorfindel & Ecthelion's outfits and was impressed.

Being a medievalist mostly in literature rather than fashion, I still think of pointy-toed shoes and angle-edged armor as a high medieval+ fashion, as opposed to rounded buskins and flat mail-edges; how's that for being narrow-minded?

What your G&E illustration most reminded me of, in fact, was Pauline Baynes'(sp?) Calormenes in the Narnia books; the pointed toes, tall-spiked helms, and armor with down-angled hems and sleeves evoke our stereotypical images of Moslem warriors.

So thank you for reminding me I'm being too simple-minded about our early Northern ancestors' gear!


As a footnote, the mid-length mail which I always think of as a byrnie reminded me of my favorite bit of silliness from the Eddas (talk about sentences you won't hear from normal Americans!); I don't remember the spelling, but it's the scene in which the giant's daughter Scadhi finds out that her father was killed by the Aesir, so she straps on her "hjalm ok brynju ok oll hervapn" (helm and byrnie and all war-weapons) and stomps off to Asgard to demand a husband from Odin because they've left her alone and _helpless_.

Also? I dare ANYONE to do her voice in that scene without a growly Klingon bark to it. ;)

I've got enough odd friends--medievalists and neopagans and sf fans--that I've three times in my life found myself suddenly expected to tell a story from memory, and since I have ADD memory problems, I probably couldn't even tell Cinderella correctly. But Scadhi's story is both so straightforward--A causes B and therefore C--and it's FUNNY--that it's been a hit every time. Which shouldn't surprise me, because after all an oral legend only lasts while people can remember what they heard, but most other folktales require you to share enough of the culture to understand WHY the selkie or Sultan or wombat is acting that way, and why the other character therefore hits them with an artichoke. With Scadhi, the only oddity is why, at the end when she and her husband have separated, she therefore (therefore??) straps sticks onto her feet and invents skiing. On the other hand, that odd and anticlimactic ending can be funny to a modern audience in any case.

(The only other story that has the same A-therefore-B-therefore-C memorability to me is the tale of the wizard Gwyddion and his ward Llew Llaw Gyffes--which branch of the Mabinogi is that?--but since that story only makes sense if you include all the sex and childbirth, it's harder to tell clearly without offending parents, etc. etc.)

No, I DON'T have a normal life; how can you tell? ;)

Your fan,

--Nonie
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:iconbenjaminossoff:
BenjaminOssoff Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You draw very well. It's cool that you can go to the Metropolitan Museum and study from original artifacts like that.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Edited Feb 15, 2015  Professional General Artist
their byzantine/dark age gallery is an invaluable resource for tolkien-related references. I'll probably go back and make a point of drawing all the ancient brooches, buckles, swords, spears, goblets and bridles they have :)
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015
Excellent work here on detailing the outfit. I was going to initially say that Celegorm didn't have enough in terms of the amount of arms. Upon reflection though it made sense since the two brothers really would not have had the time or desire to fully kit up after seeing Beren & Luthien. The amount of kit you've listed looks like it should suffice for "rescuing" a runaway princess from her scruffy hillbilly boyfriend. :D  The Germanic-style clothing is very utilitarian & comfortable, but it is also has a simplistic style that really shows up when fine fabrics or colors are used. The brooches and buckles are excellent and just the sort of thing that the saga bards liked to rave about, and Tolkien would have to mention as well. And they are exquisite work, painstakingly created with hand tools much as the Irish monks illustrated their manuscript margins & capitals. Definitely the sort of thing that princes and lords and heroes should be wearing in public. 
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Professional General Artist
actually I imagine they're carrying everything they own with them at this point, having been recently forced from nargothrond and not even their people chose to follow them, and only having shacked up there following their displacement following the battle of sudden flame (it's funny to think that these two, despite their great name and the excellence of their weapons and gear, are essentially homeless, but i guess that's not the same prospect for a great immortal living in the wild who knows how to hunt and cant be easily killed that it is for a person with nothing in a modern urban enviornment) the only weapons I've left out here are the great bow and accompanying quiver of celegorm, which i think will be saddle-mounted rather than on his back, and a shield, which i may sling across his back, but other than that he's pretty well covered; i imagine he can sleep in that cloak, and between them they may well have a small train of hunting hounds with them (also maybe thy've kept some small amounts of treasure made by their father either worn on their person or carried in bags/boxes)
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015
There is something to be said for that premise, since Celegorm & Curufin come across as Finrod's ungrateful guests rather than as visiting dignitaries. I am sure that some loyal retainers with pack animals followed them, but that would be unnecessary for the scene, so Tolkien focused on the actions of the key actors like a good epic poet. :) They definitely had some dogs with them, because Huan was there to play a pivotal role in the confrontation. I Imagine Celegorm's bow and quiver would be hidden by his cloak, and so is the shield slung on the other side. Again, it looks like the brothers seize the moment and try to carry through with a swift assault.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015
 I must say that I continue to admire the intricacy of the textures in your work Master Mohan; you somehow manage to fit in even small details without seeming to clutter up your illustrations!:) (Smile)  
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:iconradient-red:
Radient-Red Featured By Owner Edited Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I really like this sketch, has a real authentic "Dark Ages" look to it.

What's the helmet's crest supposed to be?
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:iconjeanlefrancois:
JeanleFrancois Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
:) (Smile) 
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:iconflyingfish98:
flyingfish98 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015
I think the style you've gone with works well too.  Have you seen Victor Ambrus' illustrations of Tolkien's Elves?  He also ran with what (to my untrained eye) looks like a similar era.
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:icongabbanoche:
Gabbanoche Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The serious belt with bag,dagger and scabbard ads to the masculine warrior silhouette we've talked about. I think it's a great move, also makes him feel professional!

But if i'm allowed to criticise.
First i would change the leg wrappings(or what the right english word is) in appearance for the final painting. they look a bit Wagner or something. And a bit ugly for an Elf if i may say so. Although i like the slim trousers look on Elves, but perhaps have a simpler, yet elegant leg wrapping. 
And second the helmet looks a bit boring. I'd make the overall helmet higher instead of just this huge spike. Sort of like the "Type IIb" on this picture: members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisa…

But to end with something positive. I do like his Léine styled sleeves, fits the Elven realm quite good i think :)
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Professional General Artist
in going so strongly with historical influences this one definitely looks more "mannish" than my earlier depictions of elves (it's closest in style to my earlier take on Glorfindel and Ecthelion, and in future attempts I may take celegorm here and his brother further in that direction, but I wanted to try the authenic dark age look (particularly with the belt assortment and the square cut to the maille) personally i think those criss-crossing leg wraps are pretty. it's a look I'm fond of, though I'll probably experiment with different patterns and thicknesses of the wraps.

the spike on the helmet isnt actually a spike, it's the brush head for a kind of grecian crest of red that will be stiff up top then trail down his back like a tail, I'd intended to put a profile shot next to the head on view, but then drew all those brooches. with the helmet I'm trying to find a nice synthesis between greek, celtic, roman, and norse models (and when i say find i mean invent one, not necessarily find one that already exists, though those models you provided are close to what I've been looking into)
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:icongabbanoche:
Gabbanoche Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I don't think it gives too much of a "man" feeling, but i understand what you mean. But there is many ways to hang scabbards and things from your belt, and i'm sure you'll find something that fits your idea :)
Yes the dark age, viking age or whatever you wanna call it, is full of just wonderful clothing and armour(My favorite era for sure!).

You'll do whatever you want, just hope you stay clear of Ted Nasmith's traffic cone helmets! Although i bet Tolkien's idea of a pointy helmet is probably a conical spangenhelm, stereotypical for the dark ages and early medieval times. At least if he had his idea from historical gear.
But you could look at early medieval Russian helmets, i think they were quite fond of pointy helmets(The ones on the picture was of easter origins) :)
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:iconoznerol-1516:
Oznerol-1516 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
And btw, what about adding a torc? They are far ancient than the rest of the Dark Age stuff (Saxon, Frankish) that inspired you it could be a hint of their past in Valinor.
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:iconoznerol-1516:
Oznerol-1516 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love preparatory sketches and I was utterly surprised that, while I was answering a two posts of you, you had posted a bunch of new artworks, I was delighted to see what did you submit.
The Early Middle Ages art is so fitting to Tolkien's world, with the sole exception of Númenor (as we know), and wearing the Noldo with such garments is adequate. The tall helmet fits the description given by the author, but I think you could include a bronze/golden jeweled band, like a princely circlet. For example the helmet of William the Conqueror, that nasal Norman helmet, had a golden band around it's border when he crossed the channel to quell one of his sons' rebellion. The belt is perfect, as the design of the dagger, which reminds me to a Saxon one, I'd like to see the sword in more detail. What about not putting those silken trappings around the legs but giving him a tall riding boot, with a decorated border, like those fine boots the Byzantines used (I didn't find great examples, but still):
www.recklessbooks.co.uk/commun…
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I'd keep the leg trappings for the Edain, like those of the House of Hador.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Professional General Artist
the byzantine era boots are something I'd considered and am still considering (the franks of charlemenge's time also had some beautiful slim boots) also I may just give the elves (being elves afterall) really well tailored close fitting pants, but I wanted to try it here; i really love leg trappings and the interlacing diagonals winding gracefully over a body feels very "elvish" to me (with men imitating the style to much more primitive effect, and dwarves utilizing heavier "high medieval" style boots for work in the mines) really almost all leg-wear (and especailly lower leg wear) was very form fitting right up to the modern era of jeans (the loss is really ours on that one :( )

as for the helmet I'm not done yet, and it'll probably incorporate a lot more detail than we see here, but I'll probably keep it subtle and not too ornamented (except for that crest which, as I mention to gabbanoche above, isnt a spike but the metal head of a stiff brush of red that transitions down into a flowing tail behind him, you'll see it better in profile)
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