Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Light of Doriath: Beren and Luthien



So I've wanted to do an illustration of Beren and Luthien from Tolkien's 'The Silmarillion' for a very long time, and as my friend Luke's birthday approached, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to at last draw these two fateful characters.
Now rather than the traditional romantic and classical style that you most often see Beren and Luthien illustrated in, I went for a high fantasy, heroic/enchanting style. (Shhh.... it has nothing to do with how I am incapable of drawing classically). Lighting is obviously dramatic, and I suppose it was somewhat inspired by the works of Ben Wootten and Jerry Vanderstelt, who are both masters in fantasy illustration.
I chose to depict Luthien as the powerful enchantress who weaves a cloak of deception out of her hair. Blue is her raiment, and her hair follows like a shadow. She was somewhat modelled on an illustration by Gus Hunter in 'White Cloud Worlds'.
Beren is depicted as a warrior... and just happens to look a bit like an Aragorn/Prince Caspian cross-over. But I wanted him to have the look of a travelled ranger, although there is some royalty about him. He bears the Ring of Barahir (hardly visible), and his armour is patterned with snakes, which was inspired by the Ring of Barahir. He was somewhat modelled on an illustration by Sacha Lees in 'White Cloud Worlds'.
As for the lighting, the forest and the mist, that was largely Jerry Vanderstelt inspired. I knew I wanted the characters to be set in a beech wood forest (of Doriath), and I wanted a light to be coming out from behind the trees. In my mind, it is the light of a Silmaril.... although that hardly makes sense narrative-wise. It can also be interpreted as the light of Luthien.
This illustration is very close to my heart, so it was an absolute delight to accomplish. Perhaps not the best 'technically', but I am still relatively happy with it.