Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Trip to Middle-earth

by Donato

I have been reading and rereading passages of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion over the past few months for various reasons, from research for work on private commissions to explorations in the freedom of expression to inspiration for drawings within my limited edition books.

Over the course of my career, I have created very few images along a single theme, preferring to bounce from one concept to another as I seek out challenges to keep my interests fired.  But as I began to draw and paint more from Tolkien's world of Middle-earth, the issue of inspiration was never lacking.  A large body of work has now been generated which a few years ago I never thought to undertake!  A series of images was born with out my awareness.

I  share with you here the work created for the limited edition version of Middle-Earth: Visions of a Modern Myth .  Each book features a tipped in toned paper plate upon which I have filled with a drawing, one for each letter of the alphabet.. With 22 now finished, there are just a few more to go!

What I have thoroughly enjoyed about these creations is that they need never be brought to full tonal color.  I am free to explore the lines and designs restricted only by pencil and chalk.  Of course a few of these will see a color final as I find myself falling in love with more than just one composition!


Limited Edition 'B'  Eowyn

Limited Edition 'D'
The Departiure of Boromir

Limited Edition 'E'
The Phial of Galadriel

Limited Edition 'F'
Inside Information

Limited Edition 'G'
Flight to the Ford

Limited Edition 'H'
Eowyn and the Nazgul-Swift Stroke

Limited Edition 'I'
Gollum - the Debate

Limited Edition 'J'
Gandalf and the Balrog -you cannot pass

Limited Edition 'K'
Aragorn on the Trail of the Uruk-hai

Limited Edition 'L'
Nienor and Glaurung

Limited Edition 'M'
Zirak-zigil : I threw down my enemy...

Limited Edition 'N'
The Ents Roused

Limited Edition 'O'
The Greatest Deed - Beren and Luthien in Angband

Limited Edition 'P'
Riddles in the Dark

Limited Edition 'Q'
Beren and Luthien

Limited Edition 'S'
Aragorn in Arnor
Limited Edition 'T'
Escape from Orthanc

Limited Edition 'U'
Legolas : On the Banks of the Anduin

Limited Edition 'V'
Earendil and Elwing approach Valinor


  1. incredible images, you are amazingly talented. thank you for sharing with us.

  2. Whenever I get frustrated with the restrictions of a vertical format, all I need to do is look at your work, Donato. Really inspiring.

  3. This is a wonderful series. It is amazing to see the variety of compositions and the line work is beautiful.

  4. Love them and the Boromir one is my favourite! :D

  5. Yeah I'm gonna have to second Dan's and Kari's statements; All of these compositions are CRAZY awesome. Luthien in Angband is definitely my favorite. Those Silmarils are represented just perfectly!

  6. I love your work but I especially love your work in Middle Earth!

  7. These are all beautiful. I'm a terrible person who hasn't ever read Tolkien, but these drawings make me want to run to my local bookshop immediately.

  8. These are beautiful, with such great expression and flow. Definitely "thirding" the comments regarding composition! So many varied compositions and angles and perspectives... definitely going to have to take notes!

  9. These are all so wonderful. I can't tell you how happy it makes me that you are making these. And I'm going to add to the existing praise for the compositions. "Riddles in the Dark" in particular is just blowing my mind right now. :)

    1. Hi Julie,

      Thank you (and the others) for the comments! So far I have created four oils based off these drawings and have another commissioned lined up for a fifth. Riddles in the Dark is indeed itching at me to become a painting, glad you like it so much as well. Watch for Escape from Orthanc as well turning into color some day :)

      All the best in your works!

  10. Wonderful, wonderful compositions and design!

  11. So fantastic. Please take "The Ents Roused" and "Riddles in the Dark" to paint. Do it for the children.

    1. Thank you Jonathan. Ents Roused is actually a condensed version of a larger idea I have for Isengard. You will indeed see it one day in oil and color!

  12. These are so beautiful! I love how you draw and render these!



Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Whatsapp Button works on Mobile Device only

Start typing and press Enter to search