Book Review: The Art of The Lord of the Rings

The Art of The Lord of the Rings

The Art of the Lord of the Rings is actually a condensed edition of the three LOTR art books published earlier, namely The Art of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Art of The Two Towers and The Art of The Return of the King. This art book has 223 pages while the three art books have 192 pages each.

So what's the difference?

Well, the art here is arranged by artists and a few more unpublished illustrations are included. Other than that, the bulk of the work here is pretty a rehash of content from the those three art books.

The primary focus here is on the concept sketches of Alan Lee and John Howe, which takes up to 190 pages. You'll see the pencil sketches that give form to the world of Middle-earth. The second chapter is on Weta Workshop and its artists. The gallery showcases more character designs and sculptures. The last chapter, with only a few pages, is devoted to the digital painting, which mainly talks about visual compositing and matte painting.

The commentary and depth of the books are great. There are captions for every sketch and illustration provided, both from the artists and Gary Russell. These includes the various iterations from the discarded to the final designs used in the movies. The artists talk about the English and European influence on their sets and architecture, compositing photos and matte painting, techniques used to create the rich and seemingly authentic world, costume designs and other elements of the film.

The books provide a great insight into the amount of art and details required to produce a movie — three actually — of such massive scale. What you don't see in this book is talk on the production aspect, which is left to The Making of the Movie Trilogy and The Lord of the Rings Official Movie Guide.

If you already have the three art books, this book is definitely less appealing unless you're the got-to-have-it-all person. As a standalone, it's still worth the money and is a decent artistic companion to the movie.

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The Art of The Lord of the Rings is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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6 Comments

Hi Parka! I am a longtime

Hi Parka! I am a longtime Tolkien fan who only recently started earning enough to feed my fandom. I've had a really hard time trying to track down books like these that don't cost an arm and a leg (amazon.com). Do you have a recommendations on where I might be able to find new copies of 1) The Art of Lord of the Rings 2)The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films 3)The Weapons and Warfare of Lord of the Rings, in hardback?

Thanks for the speedy reply!

Thanks for the speedy reply! I am based in Singapore so Abebooks shipping prices would be exorbitant. I am still waiting for replies from the local bookstores like Kinokuniya and Times to see if they will be re-stocking. Secondhand books will be my last resort :)

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