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The King's Councelor by TurnerMohan The King's Councelor by TurnerMohan
Study for a painting (famous last words)

"Thus Ar-Pharazon, King of the Land of the Star, grew to the mightiest tyrant that had yet been in the world since the reign of Morgoth, though in truth Sauron ruled all from behind the throne. But the years passed, and the King felt the shadow of death approach as his days lengthened; and he was filled with fear and wrath. Now came the hour that Sauron had prepared and long had awaited. And Sauron spoke to the King, saying that his strength was now so great that he might think to have his will in all things, and be subject to no command or ban."

--The Silmarillion

I always envisioned the above passage as a specific scene: we see the king in his gymnasium, badly winded after a (loosing) sparring match; he angrily dismisses his trainer and attendants and sits alone, feeling the weight of his age and the creeping loss of his strength, a wound to his great pride. enter Sauron, like a shark smelling blood in the water, ready to make his long-prepared sales pitch. It seemed fitting for Ar Pharazon (who I've always imagined as this great physical presence, like Henry VIII in his prime, and quite vain) to be frustrated and resentful at the loss of his prowess as a fighter and athlete, and fear it as the first sign of his own impending death.

Sauron fell into place rather easily in this one, though it was hard to resist the impulse to "armor up" his clothing or to rely too heavily on the John Howeian "eeeevil" aesthetic of straight, upward pointing spikes (for my money, the Akallabeth presents Sauron at his absolutely most formidable; single-handedly orchestrating the destruction of Numenor and a sort of miniature 'fall from grace' for men, and doing it all without his vast armies or his terrible servants or even his Ring, just by pure Hannibal Lecter-style power of persuasion, so armoring him kind of sends the wrong message) I Imagined him here as he would appear during his turn as the Priest of Morgoth. His dark robes and head piece have a little bit of everything in them, Arabic, Turkish, Cambodian, ancient Egyptian, African, medieval gothic, and just pinch of HR Giger in that slightly skeletal folded array on his breast and weirdly elongated head. with sauron's "fair form" I always pictured this bone white (luminous even) face, beautiful and unfathomable, like a living ancient greek statue, emerging from this very tall, sweeping black-robed form, quite cool and androgynous beside the king's huffing and puffing masculinity (gender seems like a rather arbitrary and optional flourish for the Ainur)

Ar-Pharazon's pose took some doing to finally get right; tensed and angry, but also sagging and impotent in his anger. I wanted him to feel like an aged, over-the-hill boxer or wrestler (the ancient greek "Boxer of Quirinal" statue was an inspiration, as well as some pretty unpleasant recent beach pics of Hulk Hogan) right at that tipping point in mid-to-late-age when a man's physical strength begins to fail him (contrasted by sauron's consummate agelessness)

Another piece for the weekly tolkien sketchblog (I dont know why I've been on such a Numenor binge lately)

See also:

Ar-Pharazon turnermohan.deviantart.com/art…
Sauron (1st age) turnermohan.deviantart.com/art…
Numenorean Queen turnermohan.deviantart.com/art…
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:iconcutswolf:
Cutswolf Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is awesome. I love these type of pencil sketches. 
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:iconailinie:
Ailinie Featured By Owner Edited Feb 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is really wonderful.  I've been stalking your Numenor designs for a while now, and a lot of my own thoughts seem to agree with yours - the Classical influences on pre-Third Age design, the magneticism of Pharazon's character, even the idea of wearing sandals! (although I'm more influenced by Egypt).

Your Sauron in this picture is amazingly spooky - your Classical sculpture-come-to-life seems mask-like in this scene.  I really like that you also chose not to follow's Howe's 'spiky black' evil aesthetic - it's his words, not weapons, that wound Numenor.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2015  Professional General Artist
the john howe evil esthetic is great for mordor or angband, where the evil of morgoth or sauron can show itself for what it is, but when he's putting on his "fair face" to deceive elves or men it seems like being decked out in a thicket of sharp black spikes is a give away ;) as time goes on and his hold over the numenorean king and people becomes stronger, his evilness becomes more obvious (when they start burning people in sacrifice to morgoth, it seems like the dunedain are pretty damn far astray) and this image is from relatively late in his tenure in numenor, so he's definitely a little "darker" looking here than i figure he was at first, but mostly he just looks mysterious, like a sphinx or some ancient priest, holding (and occasionally dispensing) the mysteries of the universe to mortal ears. that's how he sells himself, i figure, and considering that he actually has been around since before the dawn of time and is a legitimate angelic being, it's not hard to see how he has the numenoreans eating out of his hand.

ar pharazon seems like he has all the potential makings of a great, well loved leader of men like tuor or hurin. he's strong, brave, a good captain, and a bit of a showboat (never hurts) but in the context of the time he lived in he was the wrong man to be king (they really could have used another tar palantir)
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:icongreenhatman:
Greenhatman Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2014
You did an extraordinary job portraying Ar-Pharazon as a frustrated, frightened and proud man who's only just realized that he's past his prime.  Despite all he does and what he became, you can't help but feel a little sorry for him here based sorely on his expression, body posture, and clenched fists.  Sauron himself, too, is extremely well done, both with that amazing outfit and his expression of reassurance, yet there's something sinister about it.

Outstanding work!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2015  Professional General Artist
thank you so much. i love getting a comment like this :). you've really got what i was going for and I'm glad to hear you think i pulled it off.

i do feel sorry for ar pharazon, i feel like in a different time or place in the history of middle-earth he could have been a great king, but he was born into an already divided numenorean society, to a father who was also proud, greedy and irreverant of the powers in the west. plus he's being manipulated by basically an angelic being, that's too much for just about any human.
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:icongurmegil:
Gurmegil Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014
@ small notes in your description, the art is perfect :) (Smile), Sauron did in fact bear the ring to Numenor and the Ainur are described as having an unchangeable inner gender. But other than those small points I love it!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014  Professional General Artist
i'm glad you like it! yes i know that the ainur have inherent genders. when i said that gender seems an arbitrary and optional flourish for them, i meant more by the standards of men or other creatures who are entirely locked into their physical forms (atleast while alive) whereas the valar and maiar can appear as forces of nature like waves or mountains, or not appear at all. it seems fitting for sauron, this constant deciever, shape shifter and kind of satanic tempter figure, to appear androgynous and even a bit submissive (in the classical art sense) beside this proud, strong, hyper-masculine king of men. as for the ring that's a subject of considerable debate, albeit between the implication that he left it in mordor in the silmarillion ("took up again his ring") and the letter in which tolkien flatly states that he had it with him in numenor. i tend to give myself (and everyone else) a break when it comes to alot of tolkien's little annotations though; he also clearly states, for example, that gollum wears clothes, but i don't really blame anyone for throwing that to the wind.
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:iconzireael07:
Zireael07 Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is excellent!
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:iconmaccyjoe:
Maccyjoe Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome drawings!
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:iconragnarok6664:
Ragnarok6664 Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Words that bring down man..
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:icondead-lovers:
dead-lovers Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2014
This is fantastic.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Professional General Artist
thanks :)
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2014
 Master Mohan, admiration compels me to admit that this is the best version of Sauron as The Deceiver that I have yet seen and makes me wonder how you would illustrate him in his days as 'The Lord of Gifts' (while he was pulling the wool over poor Celebrimbor's eyes, concerning the precise degree of his repentance if not over his identity); I can easily imagine him wearing the same Face ('facade' would be an equally appropriate description), but suspect that he would be a little less cool and detached - not kindly in the least, but with less of an air of effortless superiority and more of camaraderie (like an elder brother amongst his juniors or a senior partner in the business of ordering the world anew … right before the hostile takeover so ably depicted by Mr Abe Papakhian in his 'Lords of the Rings').
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2014  Professional General Artist
I dont know about "not kindly in the least," he wouldnt be much of a deceiver if it took anything less than the keenest of the keen to be able to smell something rotten about him during his stint as Annatar. At the time he is depicted here he has already weened the numenorean king and people on to evil to the point where they are openly performing human sacrifices to morgoth and planning war on the valar, so i thought that more an air of mysterious, all-knowing divinity would be his mode here, not "good" in the traditional sense (sauron probably having by this point successfully condemned old notions of good and evil in the minds of the numenoreans as narrow-minded and slavish) but possessing the unfathomable, and therefore unquestionable, authority of his wisdom and divine power. That is not, however, how i see him when dealing with celebrimbor. Eriador and the lands beyond at the start of the second age must have seemed a vast world to the eldar freshly uprooted from beleriand, likely to contain all manner of wonders, so it does not seem too surprising that, upon discovering some warm, benign maiar dwelling in middle-earth and professing love for it's people like Melian (or Tom Bombadil, who would have been discovered by the noldor at around that time) they would take that story without too much reservation or cause to doubt it.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2014
 Especially when they themselves had good reason to question the efficacy of hasty judgements and unswerving adherence by them, as poor Celebrimbor himself had good cause to given his own tragic family history - I must agree that when Sauron put on his fair face and most pleasant manners it would take a keen eye like Galadriel's to seek out his underlying selfishness (I fear that I have bored you with this mental image before, but I always imagine there being something FELINE about Sauron, which I think could go quite well with your own ideas about his somewhat androgynous aspect of his fair form - think a Siamese cat, which is very pretty and superbly elegant and can be extremely charming … right up until it present the broken body of a songbird or you see it playing with a mouse for sheer devilish amusement).


 Here's one of my favourite depictions of The Lord of Gifts at his most benevolent, by the way! the creator's gallery is worth looking through in it's own right, although please be aware of shipping in the vicinity! (not my sort of thing, but to each their own).

 www.deviantart.com/art/Annatar…
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:iconmephetti:
mephetti Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Absolutely love your design of Sauron here! Great work! :) I really need to read the Silmarillion soon...
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:iconekonk:
Ekonk Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I want you to know that this is the best interpretation of Sauron I've ever seen. It really stuck with me. I read some LOTR a couple of days ago and this is the image that came to me when reading his name.

Absolutely phenomenal work on both characters.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014  Professional General Artist
and I want YOU to know that that's about as good a compliment as I could hope to hear for a piece of mine. i'm very glad to know I was able to contribute something to a fellow fan's mental image of middle-earth, makes me feel good about putting up my work!

thanks for the lovely comment, brightened my day
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:iconcyrusma:
Cyrusma Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2013
absolutely beautiful !
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2013
Your vision of Ar-Pharaz˘n as an athlet and kind of a vain person please me a lot (haven't I already said that ;) ). It remembers me that Meneldur is said in the Tale of Aldarion and Erendis to care more about cerebral stuff, after him begins the decay. Aldarion is from a different kind than Ar-Pharaz˘n, he cares about boats and seas, but that's still more concrete than philosophy and astronomy like his father. I think Numenoreans became more and more materialistic. Some kings are attracted by gold or Mithril, some by lands, but in fact they are just trying to run away from death.

I definitely love your Sauron ! The clothing is perfect, evilish and all ! Gosh I love it ! :D
I was thinking to your Sauron (don't remember if you said it or if I made that up) as an ivory living statue. Cause Sauron is something behind Men and Valar, like ivory is both mineral and biological in a symbolic way. And I imagine the Valar as taking mineral or metallic shapes, like a ManwŰ all in marble, AulŰ maid with Iron, Tulkas with Bronze, Ulmo with water, etc..
In this way Morgoth would be an obsidian living statue. Cause it's black firstable, but also cause it's a material coming from volcano, basically burnt rocks, so it recall that Morgoth was once a God of light and fire ! And to complete this idea : the Meneltarma is seen as a volcano, and the Stone of Erech, looking a lot like obsidian, is often seen as a part of the Meneltarma. So could you imagine this huge statue of Morgoth in the Temple, sculpted directly from the stone of the Meneltarma ? Just an idea but in all honesty I think it's awesome :P

You remember us doing this back and forth about the similarities between Amandil and Ar-Pharaz˘n in the Akallabŕth and Moses and the Pharaoh in "Prince of Egypt" ? I just found on "Tolkiendil" (the main french forum about Tolkien) a topic with some very interisting ideas. The main one is the similarity between the text of the Akallabŕth and the text of the Exodus in the Old Testament. A member especially noticed those quotes from the Bible and from the Silmarilion :

Exodus 4:21 :

And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I WILL HARDEN HIS HEART, that he shall not let the people go.

Silmarilion, Akallabŕth :

In those days the Shadow grew deeper upon N˙menor; and the lives of the Kings of the House of Elros waned because of their rebellion, but THEY HARDENED THEIR HEARTS the more against the Valar.

Then some few would repent for a season, but OTHERS HARDENED THEIR HEATS, and they shook their fists at heaven, saying: 'The Lords of the West have plotted against us. They strike first. The next blow shall be ours!' These words the King himself spoke, but they were devised by Sauron.

Then Ar-Pharaz˘n HARDENED HIS HEART, and he went aboard his mighty ship, Alcarondas, Castle of the Sea.


This joined to the similiarity of naming between "Ar-Pharaz˘n" and "Pharaoh" and the huge similarities of plot make the Akallabŕth a rewriting of the Exodus at least as much of the Myth of the Atlantid. Sauron is the main original element though, with the lack of ethnic opposition present in the Bible.

To finish, that's at the side of it but I wanted to tell you. In Aldarion and Erendis there is a sentence were it's said that Numenoreans were wood-crafters mostly at the time of Aldarion (it's obviously suggested that it became different later) despite being teached about stone-craft by the Elves (which means that the Edain are traditionnaly wood-crafters).
Which leads to this conclusion on wood and stone in ME :

-> First Age :
Wood crafters - House of Hador, Haleth and BŰor ; Avari and Tatyar ; House of Bor.
Stone crafters - Noldor ; Sindar ; Dwarves
"Iron crafters" - Morgoth realms.
Nomads - House of Uldor

-> Second Age :
Wood crafters - Men of ME ; Nandor ; Early Numenoreans.
Stone crafters - Noldor & Sindar ; Dwarves ; Late Numenoreans ; People of the Mountain (due to the Path of the Death built in the Stone).

-> Third Age :
Wood crafters - Rohirrim ; Beornings ; Rhovanion ; Lorien ; Dunlendings (?) ; Woose.
Stone crafters - Gondor & Arnor ; Bree ; Dale ; Noldor & Sindar ; Mordor.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
I think that the akallabeth is the middle earth entry in that ancient category of "the people turn wicked and rebel against god and are punished" stories, which includes the drowning of atlantis (obviously) the biblical flood, the destruction of sodom and gamorah, or the book of exodus, and of those, yeah i would agree that the drowning of numenor (or the events leading up to the drowning) probably borrowed most heavily from the book of exodus (plato's accounts of atlantis, probably the closest ancient disaster story to the akalabeth in terms of the actual event, is a non judeao-christian tale, and has very little to do with good and evil, or man's rebellion against god, and so I doubt tolkien would have found much use for it in crafting the akallabeth, which, like so much of his work, has this biblical moral overlay) There may be no "hebrews and egyptians" type dichotomy in pre-flood numenore (one might imagine that any imported slaves living in numenore would, sadly, most likely have drowned aswell) but there are the kingsmen and the faithful, who, like noah and his sons are 1; a small group lead by a partiarch (first amandil, then elendil) and 2; are borne to safety in their ships, seemingly in reward for their faith (elendil's lines upon landing in middle earth, repeated by aragorn at his coronation, have shades of the new covenant) to me that's one of the (many) really brilliant things about tolkien's alternate world is that it combines and mashes mythological, historical and biblical elements from the real world, with the effect of creating "parallel universe" versions of our archetypes (like earendil as middle earth's st geroge/beowulf/sigurd, or the trees of the valar, evoking both Ygdrasil and the two trees in eden)

i'd mentioned my concept of the ainur having this "living classical statue" look about them, but I dont think I'd brought up ivory (although it's certainly a good fit) as for the valar being elementally composed, manwe of marble, ulmo of water, aule of iron, morgoth of obsidian, I think it's a very cool concept (and whenever i picture ulmo appearing before tuor at vinyamar that's basically exactly what i picture) although, as I've discussed elsewhere (i've been under some pressure recently to take a stab at the blessed ones) it's nearly impossible to do a take on gods that could possibly live up to what written words on a page (and the reader's imagination) might conjure up, and I myself have never managed to come up with a picture of the valar that satisfies on all levels (nor have i seen anyone else do so) I think the Ainur are a little easier, because, though angelic beings, they exist (or atleast choose to appear) on something of a human scale.
The temple of morgoth is something i will almost certainly be attempting, when that comes around I will keep these ideas in consideration.

Thanks as alwys for the input!

and yes i think you've pretty much got it for the stone/wood builder breakdown
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013
I always thougt too that the Valar in a way are "undepictable". But statues of the Valar in Elves building are everything but choking. :)

Not many things to add. We agree on most subjects but it's always fine to have this "back and forth" and to see how you formulate the things, your English seems really "litterate" to me but I haven't read enough classic english litterature to be sure. ;)
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:iconseekhim:
SeekHim Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer

What I like about this is he is a powerful tyrant and at the same time you can convey him

as being tired and frightened.

 

GOD bless

John 3:16

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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
you've got it.

Thanks!
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:iconseekhim:
SeekHim Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2013  Hobbyist Writer

You're welcome. :)

GOD bless

John 3:16

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:iconmyaru:
myaru Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2013
This is amazing.  I love the image you've crafted for Sauron (and I loved reading your notes about it as well).  It would be fantastic to see this painted.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2013  Professional General Artist
THanks! and I'd love to do this as a painting, but for now probably wont have the time
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013
Oooo, this is a fine addition to your Numenorian portfolio. I like it a great deal. You picked a fine moment for the turning point in Ar-Pharazon's reign. Suddenly he feels his age, and the implications make him angry and afraid, since Imperial Numenor has no use fo the aged and weak, and death is no gentle release but the grim door into darkness. And now Sauron seeing the chance whispers blasphemy and self-idolatry into his ear and mind, with a smiling face and soft words. Ar-Pharazon does look like a mighty man whose body is finally starting to fail him. His pose is very eloquent too. You did well to avoid making Sauron look like Howe's walking Gothic  monument. He has the right look for a being who has taken pains to downplay his martial and regal role in Mordor, and appear only as the king's modestly dressed and modestly acting adviser.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013  Professional General Artist
Very well put about the king's state in this scene. you get just what I was going for. Old age would not have been lamentable for the more somber, reflective kings of the past (or his predecessor tar-palantir, who would probably be getting his own portrait if I didnt think the take I did on his daughter already "told the story") but for a bullying imperial juggernaut like ar-pharazon, who loves conquest and, one could imagine, things like hunting and contests of strength or knighthood (not the 'deepest' man in the world) the loss of his physicality would be a bitter one, and as you say, the prospect of death offers no release for a man of such "worldly" interests, only fear and despair. I would think that his fear and anger is made doubly so by the fact that his end is coming so early (considering how much older the ancient kings of numenor lived to be) he probably thinks, as would most numenoreans of his time and the generations before, that the valar are purposely cutting his life short, in vengeance and jealousy of his might, and so he feels all the more cheated and resentful ( and then of course in comes sauron to fan the flames)

It was very important for me to steer clear of howe's aesthetic of wicked, neo-gothic spires and intricately segmented plate armor, they are absolutely beautiful, but they are so "spoken for" at this point (both by Howe's own work, and the movies) I liked to have sauron's clothes here perhaps not so different from clothes worn by in numenorean society at the time (like priests or philosophers or something, very Harad and Khand influenced) but drawn out, made, sharper, darker and more imposing, posessing more "authority" (sauron at this time seems to be fulfilling the role of the king's "pet demigod" able to reveal secrets about the world and the powers in the west, from an insider's perspective) while remaining subservient and adviser-like.
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013
The most popular image (so to speak) that your image of Sauron brought to mind was Jafar from Disney's Aladdin movie. Smooth, scholarly, subtle, and absolutely not to be trusted. But somehow people seem to do so....
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yes jafar was hard to steer clear of, once those upward swooping shoulders came into play (if you know the name of that garment, btw, I'd be most appreciative) It was kind of question mark for me as to how obviously 'evil' I should make him look here, this is after all his "fair form," but then again by this point he has got the numenoreans worshipping the devil and doing human sacrifices, so I figured I could get away with drawing him looking pretty damn evil.
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:iconnordiclynx:
NordicLynx Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Really cool desig of the clothes :)
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013  Professional General Artist
thank you, i was pleased with how they came out (hurray for happy accidents!)
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:iconblueflamebluerose:
blueflamebluerose Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
verry good! i can totaly imagine this happaning!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Professional General Artist
thank you. Sauron's seduction of the numenorean king and people to evil is some of the most dramatic-presentation-ready material in the Silm, sometimes you get moments that just write themselves
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:icondarkendrama:
Darkendrama Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013
Excellent detail!!!:squee: 
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Professional General Artist
thanks ;)
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:iconoznerol-1516:
Oznerol-1516 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Would you believe me if I tell you that I have in my mind a trully similar Sauron? A tall and slender man, wrapped in whispering silk clothes, which fall to the ground concealing his figure, speaking of power, ambition and promises, but I would do a more persian (sassanian, as a zoroastrian priest) style, whith some indian, chinese and indian influences to the mix; just my personal view. I love the camboian designs on the shoulders, and the head piece is gorgeous. And I agree with you, the greek were the ones closer to achieve a real depiction of what gods should look like, and I always thought of Sauron which a face close to Beldevere┤s Apollo. Sauron is a schemer, a deceiver, a sorcerer and a necromancer, but not an imposing warrior, he destroys from the inside out, breaking ties, loyalties and truth with his golden tongue, so again we agree, and this nature is what you show us, this is what you depict accurately.
And the Akallabeth is in my opinion the best of Tolkien's Silmarillion, sharing place the Beren&Luthien's epic story, and your drawing is worthy of Tolkien's narrative, this scene fits it perfectly, in fact it illustrates the story, so awesome it's.

And now, Ar-PhÔrazon... Simply perfect, and I love the fact that you were inspired by such an incredible artwork as is the boxer of Quirinal, one of the best surviving roman statues. The king's is loosing his strenght, the death's shadow closer, the Numernorian's doom, and even he, the most powerful ruler ever seen is tied to the human weakness; all of these is depicted in your Ar-PhÔrazon, he's angry and wrapped in fear and anxiety, he's, after all, weak and mortal, and such the perfect target for the evil and inmortal Sauron. For a more dramatic scene maybe the king's robes laid down in the floor.

I love how, even if you draw a detail of a bigger scene, I can imagine it as a whole, even the gimnasium, which I imagine a open courtyard with a colonnade (as a greek palestra), with the King's Palace and the ominous shadow of Melkor's temple in the background. This, in fact, could become a bigger and complex drawing.

I even love the detailing in the bench.

Added to my favs! I can never have enough numenorian's scenes! I want moooore! I hope your inspired mood will go on...

The other day I was thinking... How would you draw Aragon in his elder years, and the peak of his power?

Regards, and thanks for sharing, may I call you Turner?
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Professional General Artist
Oh, old sauron has his moments as an armed combatant (though between getting his throat ripped open by huan and his finger cut off buy isildur I guess he doesnt have the most impressive track record) but it's true, he does seem to work more through armies and ringwraiths (and subtler forces like despair and temptation) than through his own brute force. He is, like Morgoth, a "master of slaves" and always seems hesitant to come out to battle, even with theoretically inferior opponents. By contrast the Balrogs have almost a kind of wordless, old school nobility to them, (occasional incidents of dirty fighting notwithstanding ;) ) It seems fitting that the ainur, when they choose to have bodies and faces at all, would appear very aloof and godly, like a greek statue. Actually most ancient cultures' depictions of gods have that removed quality to them that is perfect for the 'blessed race;' like eqyptian facemasks or those creepy lamassu from ancient middle eastern statuary, or tikkis or the giant olmec heads (there's a couple artists who really capture this perfectly, check out Tulikora's "sauron vs isildur" tulikoura.deviantart.com/art/C… or ekukanova's buddhist-inspired "melian" www.deviantart.com/art/Melian-… if you havent already)

You seem to get perfectly what I was going for with Ar-pharazon, you said it better than i did about his being "angry and wrapped in fear and anxiety." I would guess that, like many generations of diminishing numenorean kings before him, he is getting old earlier than he expected, and feels purposely cheated by the valar, and by this unfair fate of men to die at all. the long numenorean decline before the drowning seems to be this viscious cycle of ever increasing pride in themselves and resentment and rebellion against the valar, resulting in increasing power and glory in worldly terms, but lessening wisdom and "grace" (as evidenced by shorter lifespan) It's a trend that the arrival of Sauron really kicks into third gear, because as you say, he's an immortal and a superior being, he's not playing fair (I wanted it to be a bit vague in the drawing as to whether sauron is actually physically behind the king here, or is more inside his head; I can see him working his sort of telepathic mojo night and day upon the mind of the king and the people) the power of the Ainur, if they are so inclined, to meddle in the hapenings of the world (either for good, like melian or for bad like sauron) is too great. their prescence and influence turns men into pawns. this is why I always loved that the five istari were sent to middle earth in intentionally humble forms, even by the standards of men (they even show up bearded and old) a case of the valar learning from past mistakes.

I'm glad to hear that it's not hard to guess what lies beyond where i decided to draw (and all your guesses are spot on) that's what I hope for when doing a drawing like this. needless to say there will be more on the way.

and yes you can call me Turner.
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:iconoznerol-1516:
Oznerol-1516 Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, always he figthed by himself was defeated (Except when he subdued Finrod Felagund, but that time was a chant's of power and wills duel), I think he's more interesting than Melkor (who is incredibly amazing on his own, with all the "non-serviam" stuff), faceted and with more depth. Yes, Gothmog and his kin or Glaurung and his, seem to be the real offensive weapon of Melkor, Ringwraiths in Sauron's case.

Yes, gods are set apart the worldy sufferings , preocupations and aims, the Valar are watchers and keepers of Eru's work, and such that hieratic stance is the most fitting, that was an excellent idea, I think you should deep on those egiptian and middle-eastern influences for Sauron, and Melkor himself. I have seen the first one, and favoured, but not the second, even if I'm following both artist, Eukanova is a genious, she has that "old-russian-painting-feeling" on her artworks that is fascinating. That Melian is incredible.

Ar-PhÔrazon! I think he trully thought that he would have a life as long as Elros or the first blessed numenoreans, because he was unsurpased in glory and power, it surely was incredibly painful to feel his forces fading away, when others were in his prime time ago. It's amazing to see how their desire for a longer life-spam finally decreased it, the defiance, the pride, the power-hunger, all mixed to cause the fall of N˙menor. I think it's one of the most complex moral Tolkien left, and kind of sumarizes his own view and philosophy.

Yes that's brillaint! I thought, on first sight, that that effect of Sauron emerging from the nothingness was brillaint, like he wasn't really there, and seems I was right. Sauron really possesed the King's will and mind, not strange of him becoming the King's conscience, his whispers always in Ar-PhÔrazon mind, turning him even more deranged and desperate. 
Yes, like greek gods, it was better for them to not meddle in man's affairs, they are gods, and like stars their enormous power and will could turn man into pawns, minions of themself. Again, a good point Turner.

Glad my guesses were near to what you thought. I'll wait those next artworks, eagerly.
 Thanks! 

In your honour I did this humble drawing:

Regards
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013  Professional General Artist
Melkor is a pretty fascinating villain, but I think sauron is actually more menacing and in a way more evil. There's something almost sympathetic and tragic about Melkor; despite his tremendous power, he's kind of pathetic (increasingly so with time) he's jealous and a coward, and in some ways it's not that hard to feel sorry for him. Evil may have been his creation, but it doesnt seem like the impulse, in the beginning, was really "evil," more just selfish and rebellious. Sauron on the other hand seems just straight up, satanically evil (especially in the second and third ages, once he is his own master)

Glad I could introduce you to a piece of tolkien art that you hadnt seen before. "melian" may be my favorite piece of tolkien art period (atleast here on deviant, which is still saying alot) I think what's so brilliant about it is that she looks and feels so damn otherworldly; a real member of the blessed race, like she really does come from the same world as sauron or melkor or any of the ainur, and not "cloaked" like the later istari, but you can imagine her affecting the world and children of illuvatar with the same force and will as sauron here.

agreed on the excellence of the akallabeth, and how it encapsulates a lot of toliken's philosophy (some of his very best) and I'm glad (and very gratified) to hear that my ideas of sauron possibly not really being there were picked up on.


Oh and BTW, I love that drawing that you did of ar-pharazon, and am deeply flattered that you credited me as an inspiration (I wrote more on the drawing's page itself) you have a really nice style, and I think it's your best tolkien work (and not because it was partially inspired by mine, it just looks like you pushed yourself, and that classy nod to Titian :D )
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:iconoznerol-1516:
Oznerol-1516 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, Melkor is pathetic, and at the same time the doom of Arda, the devil, but a god who has weakened himself in order to corrupt Middle Earth, creating minions and hordes to serve his will he scattered his own power. Melkor wanted to be the master, to control everything, to be God in place of God, is ambition his motivation, Sauron is moved by power and desire of it, using his malice and evil, while being much more subtle than Melkor; while he speared the Tress, Sauron "makes" others burn the Numenor's White Tree, one acts like a selfish-nihilist god, the other is satanic and master of manipulation, and such more interesting.

That artwork is amazing, but everything she makes is wonderful, and to achieve that otherwordly design and such a high quality is incredible.
Be glad, your art is a pleasure to the keen viewer, the details and the depth of it, and the many influences you mix make it believable. And of course as I love Tolkien I'm able to read the details as you're.

Thanks! Of course I credited you, (I'll answer your post there) and thanks for saying I have a nice style, it seems I can never find myself, I'm not able of drawing realistic, and at the same time I'm not confortable in a more cartoonish style, those fused with my deep love for mughal and persian art have are the reasons behind my style, which I'm never satisfied or prideful, I must say.
Thanks for the compliments. If you do something based on Titian is difficult to fail.

Sorry for the late reply
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2013  Professional General Artist
It's all but impossible to portray the valar visually without it feeling like some tremendous copout, but i've been thinking i'll have to try melkor at some point (probably have to "build up to him" by doing some angband stuff first, and I've gotten some requests for the forces of evil anyway;) )

to me middle earth seems, theologically, a brilliant mix of christianity and the varoius versions of indoeuropean polytheism; (which are related to eachother and brilliantly synthesized in the panteon of the valar; manwe is the typical "skyfather," he's very obviously zeus but he's also very obviously odin) lording over all you've got the judeao-christian "god the father" that came first and created the "children of god" but then, administrating his authority on earth and intermediating between him and his children, you've got this colorful pantheon of greek/roman/nordic-type gods, but they function as loyal and much-loved servants of the one true god, like the angels or saints in Christianity, or the "Loa" in Voodoo, rather than the oediphal young bucks of indoeuropean paganism who, in almost all versions, kill their father (ymir the giant in nordic legend, cronos/saturn the titan in greco/roman) and make the world out of his body. only melkor fits that role, of rebel against "the father," which in the abrahamic tradition in is reserved for lucifer the rebel angel. It's as if tolkien was trying to craft the theology/mythology that (while being first and foremost a chrisitan mythology) lies behind and makes sense of the misguided but well meaning mythologies of his pagan european forbears, who (going with middle earth terminology) have forgotten or never heard of illuvatar, but remember manwe and ulmo, and call them names like neptune or jupiter (you can imagine northmen like the Rohirrim, who may be ignorant of god, worshipping a version of the valar very close to the nordic gods)

your drawings may not look especially "realistic," but i think you've got a good way of conveying figures and details (like i said in my comment, your work reminds me of those medieval engravings that were always more about the details than the proportions) you can probably hone that style and make it more realistically proportioned, i think copying the poses used by the old masters is a great way to progress.
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:iconoznerol-1516:
Oznerol-1516 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is a trully impresive post Turner.

Yes, you must do him, I want to see your try, I think you will avoid that "spiky=evil" look for him, and would tend to a more realistic and fallen-god look. Angband stuff would be niiiice, maybe you could start designing the crown with the Silmarill's, a balrog, the god's throne, the gates and such, I'll surely love everything.

Yes, Tolkien had a deep indoeuropean influence, nordic religion is very obvious as he loved the scandinavian medieval epic chants and sagas, Tulkas for example is a very Tyr/Thor character, but also a typical Ares, laughing in the battle fever. The edipic nature is reserved to the malevolent Melkor, him being the greatest of them all is the one more akin to Eru himself and such is the one less inclined to serve, but to rule himself as his creator/father does, as you say. The Rohirrim are in my mind as the vikings were, opposed to Gondorians (Which I imagine as byzantines) or Arnorians (Norman/Ottonian/Salian), which fits what you say. I've always curious about what, if they did, worshipped the inhabitants of Middle Earth, because any temple is mentioned (outside N˙menor), but I suppose that since the First Age they have a very fragmentary and clouded knowledge of God, if any, but worship the favoured Valar and maybe the heroes from other Eras.

Yes, that is my target, after all, detail are my favourite part of drawing, details! Yes I'll try to progress by copying the masters' poses and studying some anatomic details, and proportions.

 
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
tell you the truth i might just go in for some john howe spikeyness for morgoth (i never had anything against that aesthetic per se, it's just so branded at this point) but i'd probably try to stay away from the gothic armor, anything with rivets and buckles just feels way too human and earthbound for a being who, eons earlier, had taken the form of an angry mountain bristling with ice and belching fire from it's summit.
one of the things that makes it impossible to do a design for gods that will work and feel sufficiently "godly" is that in all mythology (including tolkien's) you've got this really illogical combination of gods operating on a vast, incalculable scale (like the valar making the world, or their first strife with melkor, as mentioned above, being an event of planetary, tectonic violence rather than orc armies in poorly made chainmail) and then on this really small, temporal, even human scale (melkor's the reason the world has clouds and winter snow but for some reason he cant destroy the trees of yavanna by himself, and apparently you can hurt him with a sword) pretty much with no rhyme or reason; tolkien talks about melkor loosing the ability to leave the body he has made for himself which, while an interesting concept, seems kind of shaky, and begs the question of "why in the hell dont the valar just go chain him up again?" generally, i find, when you start bringing gods into a story, things very quickly stop making much sense, this is really what keeps me away from illustrating the silm; large (and important) stretches of it are impossible to take as seriously as the events portrayed in the lord of the rings, or the akallabeth. it's all fantasy of course, but the stuff with the valar is just so much more transparently so (and between "thor" and the "clash of the titans" movies, i think we've yet to see any really satisfying presentation of the interaction of indoeuropean-style gods with eachother or mortals)

I've got some ideas cooking on how to do the valar; though at this stage, mostly those ideas center on who i'd draw inspiration from, as gods are such intangible things that i think, in depicting them, it's best to go a little "meta" and lean on the artists that have shaped people's visual perception of what gods look like (been looking at a lot of classical statues, michelangelo, and william blake (who i think will come especially in handy for melkor))

I think of gondorians (as do you and i think many people) as being "byzantine" mainly because of their time and place in history, relative to the (then) past numenor as the byzantine empire did to imperial rome, they're smaller, humbler, a shadow of former greatness, but percervering in the dark ages, and (significantly for tolkien) the gondorians, like post-roman-empire byzantines, or even moreso (for a catholic like tolkien) the post imperial romans (ascossiated in my mind with that "romanesque" style that defined church architecture all through the dark ages until the advent of the gothic style) are "faithful" unlike their sinful, imperial forebears (atleast in those increasingly corupted generations preceding the fall)

I tend to lean slightly more toward "romanesque" than "byzantine" myself when thinking about the 3rd age gondorians, of the two that was the catholic and more western branch of the inheritors of rome, and therefor feels more appropriate to gondor, although ofcourse both styles (which are very close as is) can be combined quite easily.
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(1 Reply)
:iconmara999:
Mara999 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I really like Sauron's outfit, which reminds me of Dune a lot.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Professional General Artist
ha, I hadn't thought of Dune (though now I'll probably have a hard time not thinking of it)
glad you like it
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