Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I haven't done any Tolkien fan art in maybe 30 years. But I started reading an amazing unauthorized novel called "The Last Ringbearer", by a Russian paleantologist named Kirill Yeskov, and when I'm not doing real work I'm having a hell of a time putting it down.
By "unauthorized" I guess I mean fan fiction, but it's fan fiction in the same sense that Gregory Maguire is fan fiction--a beautiful exploration of a well-known fictional universe from a fresh angle, rife with grown-up considerations like economics, relationships, and the moral ambiguity of war. (The only real difference is that Maguire picks subjects that have passed into public domain.) No publisher has dared to try to publish Yeskov's novel in English, but a pdf of a full translation can be downloaded from the translator's blog here. If you're a fan I really recommend it.
Yeskov takes the tack that Tolkien's invented history reads an awful lot like a romanticized, sanitized account written by the victors, involving as it does a war of extermination against the Orcs. It's a surprising take on the material, but Yeskov pulls you right in. The action picks up shortly after the climactic battle in Return of the King, as two Orc soldiers, a scout sergeant and a wounded medic, pick their way home into Mordor as the allies are mopping up the last of the resistance. Yeskov actually makes no mention of the Orcs having their traditional monstrous appearance--he seems to be saying that they're more or less human-looking, the victims of a campaign of literal demonization. Nonetheless, I couldn't resist drawing the two lead characters as traditional Orcs, but perhaps with a more noble bearing.
Friday, August 19, 2011
While I was in Seattle I crashed a painting class that my mom takes at night. I didn't have any paints, but I've been wanting to learn Corel Painter better so I just brought along my computer gear. I didn't do justice to the model at all, partly because I'm as nearsighted as a bug, but the instructor said nice things anyway.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
This is Faith's favored position for relaxing and looking at the internet. She just stands at the bar looking at her laptop for hours on end. If she needs to get more comfortable she throws a foot up on a stool. This counts as a resting position for her. She is such a weirdo! Not that I'm complaining mind you.
I can officially allow myself to post to the blog again, since I finally got the next Sleeves piece done, months late!