Alan Lee and John Howe

When animating, I took this habit of watching “making of” videos on youtube. It started about a whole playlist on all the Disney feature length animations, giving insight of every process used on different movies, the multi plane camera, the medieval influence on “Sleeping Beauty”, the rotoscoping for “101 Dalmatians” and the use of 3D on “Mulan”. I then found myself looking at making of for “Lord of The Rings” and “The Hobbit”.

I have always found these movies fascinating in terms of storytelling, visual effects, attention to detail, craftsmanship  and also imagination. Watching such a piece of art always helped aspire to do more. I believe that such movies can only be achieved by choosing the best people in each area.

I remember years ago buying the sketchbook for “Lord of The Rings”, featuring concept art from Alan Lee and John Howe. As an illustrator, that is the level of imagination and details I aspired to. As an animator, this is the sense of movement and life I aspire to reach. Alan Lee and John Howe had previously made illustrations for the book before Peter Jackson went all the way to recruit them to help in every part of concept design. Alan Lee and John Howe helped in the creation of the sets, as well as the creatures, as well as the armors. The subtility of correct historical artefacts as well as their knowledge of Tolkien and his influences help the visual look of the movie to stand out and be aspiring.

This particular story struck something in me. Peter Jackson was talking about how he asked the people of “Weta Workshop” to design concepts for the dragon “Smaug”. Obviously, all the artists went crazy, developing futuristic or alien types of dragons that could not fit the needs of this particular movie. In the end, John Howe designed the dragon, giving it a more realistic and subtle style, something that perfectly matched Tolkien.

This perfectly reflects what I believe in: that we should look for inspiration in the part and keep the pencil as a first stool for artists.

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