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Alan Lee Chat Log Transcript

November 15, 2008 at 9:57 pm by Jincey  - 

Today’s nearly 3 hour long chat with Alan Lee was filled with questions about Alan’s involvement with the Lord of the Rings movies, his future endeavors, and his art in general. We had an open, unmoderated chat, so I’ve edited the log for continuity and reading ease. Questions for Alan have been italicized and his answers are in bold type. We’d like to sincerely thank Alan and Houghton Mifflin for giving us this opportunity to bring another live guest chat to you, the fans of JRR Tolkien. Enjoy!

*** Log file opened: 11/15/2008 11:51:47 AM

Alan_Lee has joined #thehalloffire
(jincey) yay! Welcome back Alan!
(Dutch_art_academy_student) Hello Alan Lee
(Elfriend) We had better stop with this idle banter now
(Alan_Lee) Am I in the right place?
Elfriend bows to Mr. Alan Lee
(leo) we were expecting an Alan Lee
(Dutch_art_academy_student) i hope so
(Alan_Lee) I like idle banter
(leo) but you never know
(jincey) you are indeed alan : )
(jincey) it’s good to see you again : )
(Alan_Lee) It’s nice being here
(CAhobbit) Welcome Alan πŸ™‚
(samsbestfriend) Thanks for coming Alan.
(Gimli) hullo
(Alan_Lee) Hello gimli, hello hobbit
(Alan_Lee) Any questions?
(Elfriend) I was just thinking about some of your work yesterday Alan. I was thinking about Nasmith also, but I love how your abstract work allows the imagination to do it’s own work πŸ™‚
(Alan_Lee) It’s actually a lot easier if you allow the viewer to do most of the work.
Dutch_art_academy_student admires alan lee’s artwork
(stormcrow20) Hello Mr. Lee, we really appreciate you coming here πŸ™‚
(Elfriend) : )
(CAhobbit) Ok folks…
(CAhobbit) let me get the rules out first and then we’ll hand everything over to y’all
(CAhobbit) πŸ™‚
(Elfriend) Rules???
(CAhobbit) Hi Everyone! Welcome to this very exciting chat with Alan Lee, renowned Tolkien artist who’s latest work can be see in β€˜The Children of Hurin’ and β€˜Tales from the Perilous Realm’. Please remember that it takes time to type out answers to questions, so please try to keep your questions coming in a timely manner. Mind your language and be courteous to everyone in today’s discussion. We also ask that you DO NOT PM Mr. Lee during the chat.
(Alan_Lee) What does PM mean?
(CAhobbit) So, let the questions begin
(Leif) private message
(CAhobbit) PM is private message
(Alan_Lee) Okay
(Dutch_art_academy_student) uhm ive got a question, bit its a very stupid one: how does a normal working day look like for u Mr. Lee??? I m curious because I’m going to be an illustrator also πŸ™‚
(Alan_Lee) First of all, an average working day is pretty uneventfull. I get up, have breakfast and start drawing or painting. I might take a short walk, have lunch in a little organic cafe and perhaps work into the evening. The exciting bits are what is happening on the paper.
(Dutch_art_academy_student) ok thank you very much Mr. Lee
(Elfriend) Alan, are you looking forward to the prospect of the Hobbit film, and its Bridge? πŸ™‚
(Alan_Lee) I’m looking forward to seeing the Hobbit movie, and doing some work on it too, but I don’t know much about how it is shaping up. I’m as eager as the rest of you though.
(samsbestfriend) May I ask a question?
(Elfriend) Thank you sir, this is a pleasure and an honour πŸ™‚
(Alan_Lee) Of course!
(Leif) Alan my question is somewhat more personal. We that are here now, I am sure have a special place in our hearts for Tolkien or can remember when is works may have actually changed our lives. Did you have such a moment? Do you remember your first introduction to his works and what it did for you?
(Leif) haha sorry for the long post
(Alan_Lee) I remember very clearly the moment that I opened the first page of the lord of the rings, and realized that I was in for a fantastic adventure. I was about 17, and working as a gardener in a cemetary. A friend loaned the first volume while he carried on with the second. I was blown away… away with the elves for quite a few years after that.
(samsbestfriend)When you are drawing a scene, location, character, etc. from LOTR or other tolkien works, is it purely you’re vision of what they look like, or do you have any other references or opinions from others?
(Alan_Lee) My reference for how characters look is based as much as possible on Tolkiens own words, but there is also a long tradition of archetypal imagery that I know Tolkien tapped into as well, and that also has a huge influence.
(leo) one question at a time folks πŸ˜‰
(Dutch_art_academy_student) Its so exciting to talk to you Mr. Lee. πŸ™‚
(Crebain) Welcome Alan
(Deni) yes…indeed!
(Dutch_art_academy_student) im really honoured, i think all of us here
(Leif) thank you!
(Deni) so it was a great experience for you to read it ,wasnΒ΄t it?
(V) ok, different question that came up if I might ask: apparently the Elves are your favorite race, but which “nation” of the Elves is your all-time favorite? Be it Doriath, House Feanor, Silvan Elves, Rivendell, Gondolin, etc?
(Alan_Lee) I don’t really have a favourite type of Elf. There are some characters that stand out of course. Galadriel is a favourite character in the books.
(samsbestfriend) great, thanks!
(pippin) Hi Mr. Lee
(Brian) Welcome Mr Lee!…. My question is do you ever plan on doing more artwork based on the stories from the Elder Days?? Valinor??
(Alan_Lee) I might get involved some more Tolkien publishing projects, but there are a lot of other books – and authors – I’d like to find time for as well
(Alan_Lee) I lost the end of my sentence back there!
(Dutch_art_academy_student) Mr. Lee ive got another question. Ive heard of some teachers that the occupation Illustration is quite hard because of the deadlines. Is it really that hard?
(pippin) Mr. Lee who is your favorite hobbit? lol
(CAhobbit) ok, let’s slow down on the questions for just one minute. There are three is queue right now
(CAhobbit) in
(Dutch_art_academy_student) ok sorry
(CAhobbit) no problem Dutch_art_academy_student
(pippin) I have to go soon,so if i just suddenly leave you’ll know why.
(Alan_Lee) We’ll be sorry to lose you Pippin!
(pippin) Thanks
(samsbestfriend) can i ask a follow up to that?
(pippin) lol
(Alan_Lee) Of course.
(samsbestfriend) which authors would those be?
(Leif) good question, i was going to ask haha
(Dutch_art_academy_student) lol
(Alan_Lee) At the moment I’m doing a retelling of Ovid’s Metamorphoses for children – written by Adrian mitchell. I have a passion for mythology, and want to explore myths from other cultures.
(Susanita) cool!
(samsbestfriend) oo, great. I love Greek myth as well.
(stormcrow20) Mr. Lee: Do you have a favorite piece that you have done, and what is your favorite location in Middle-earth to illustrate?
(Alan_Lee) It’s hard to think of one favourite piece of artwork. I’m usually thinking more about the next one – or one that I’ll get around to one day. The pictures I’m most happy with usually involve landscape more than characters. There was a nice painting of Amon hen in the centenary edition that I still like.
(Elfriend) I think, one of my personal favourites of yours Alan (besides shadow of the past), is ‘The entrance to Moria’. I love how you captured the dark, brooding and somewhat sinister environment. When you were painting, did you ponder or find inspiration in the images that the books give to the reader in that respect? πŸ™‚
(Elfriend) Ok, that is for the backburner πŸ™‚
(V) (i hope someone is making a transcript of all this)
(Leif) I hope so too V
stormcrow20 volunteers for transcript?
(leo) we are logging, don’t worry stormcrow20
(Susanita) there’s logs πŸ˜‰
(capybara) hi mr. lee, in our local library i have seen these wonderful little drawings in “the children of hurin” book? my question is what dimensions the originals of these drawings have and if they are drawn with charcoal or normal pencils?
(Alan_Lee) The illustrations in Children of hurin and Tales from the Perilous Realm are mainly in pencil. the drawings are often done at around A2 size, though there are some little ones that I’ve doodled in a sketchbook. I then scan them and do a little work in photoshop to change the contrast and clean them up. I’ll do layouts as well, so I take the work a little bit further into the production phase than is normally, or used to be, the case.
(stormcrow20) k
(morrowdim) I have my logs on, if that helps, Leif.
(CAhobbit) hold on the questions for a few minutes folks
(CAhobbit) there are about 3 that have been asked, so be patient
(Deni) ok this might be a silly question…when I bought “tales from the perilous realm”,I fell in love with your illustrations and i thought how long could you spent time in one picture of drawing it?
(Alan_Lee) Hello Deni. I’m usually pushed for time on m,ost of the projects, but a reasonably complex drawing might take a day. Paintings take quite a bit longer.
(Deni) ah okay..thanks πŸ™‚
(samsbestfriend) Wow, I really want to see the Ovid illustrations now πŸ™‚
(Dutch_art_academy_student) hahaha me too
(Dutch_art_academy_student) Mr. Lee this question is perhaps a bit out of line. But id like to know wheter or not the occupation Illustration is really hard ( my teachers say that because of the deadlines)
(Alan_Lee) Deadlines are the bane of my life, but I’dalmost certainly have completed fewer books without them. There are times when I’ve worked through the night to meet a deadline that isn’t really a genuine one, and I resent that a little. But most publishers – if you establish a good relationship with them, will want to make it as comfortable and pleasant an experience for you as possible.
(Dutch_art_academy_student) thank you very much πŸ˜‰
(Brian) Mr Lee…Do plan on working on the new Hobbit movie? Have you been contacted?
(Alan_Lee) Hello brian. I have been contacted about the Hobbit movies, but most of the information I have is from
(Serafina) Hi CAhobbit
(Elfriend) Did I get bypassed? πŸ˜‰
(CAhobbit) Elfriend writes: I think, one of my personal favourites of yours Alan (besides shadow of the past), is ‘The entrance to Moria’. I love how you captured the dark, brooding and somewhat sinister environment. When you were painting, did you ponder or find inspiration in the images that the books give to the reader in that respect? πŸ™‚
(Alan_Lee) I enjoyed painting the entrance to moria. Trying to create the forboding atmosphere of the place. I like to set the scene rather than depict moments of drama.
(Elfriend) Perfect. Thankyou sir, and thankyou CAHobbit. I have no more questions but I will happily listen
(capybara) i have another question. shall i wait a bit or can i ask?
(CAhobbit) capybara: hold off for just a minute
(Dutch_art_academy_student) this is so very cool
(Leif) agreed Dutch (Dutch_art_academy_student) πŸ™‚
(CAhobbit) So, we had some questions e-mailed in prior to this chat
(Alan_Lee) Are you studying in Amsterdam, Dutch?
(Dutch_art_academy_student) No in Rotterdam, The Willem De kooning Academie Mr. Lee
(Dutch_art_academy_student) Thank you for asking πŸ˜€
(Him) I’d like to ask a question now, Mr. Lee I’ve taken an interest in Tolkien’s own illustrations, since I’m sure you have, I was wondering how you resolved the slightly surreal nature of his work with your more realistic type of illustration while minimising compromise with the Tolkien world, as you have done?
(Earwen) good question!
(Alan_Lee) That is a good question. I love Tolkiens illustrations, and find them a perfect accompaniment to his words, but, while they take you into Tolkiens mind, they don’t really take you very far into the world he is creating. that isn’t really their purpose. They are similar in a way to the work of Pauline Baynes, who was Tolkien’s favourite illustrator .
(Him) thank you
(Dutch_art_academy_student) yes thank you
(CAhobbit) So a question from e-mail…
(CAhobbit) Leo asks: Are there any topics, events, locations or characters/creatures in Tolkien’s books that you would shy away from drawing? And if so, why?
(samsbestfriend) oo, i like that question
(Serafina) me,too
(leo) I did ask that…
(Alan_Lee) another good question! There are characters I have shied away from. I’ll always to my best to put on paper whatever is in the relevant bit of text, but sometimes I choose to look in a different direction. I’ve never had a clear idea ofhow that ghan buri ghan ( is that right) should look. I can’t even spell his name!
(Earwen) It looks right
(Tookish) Yep that’s right! πŸ™‚
(leo) thanks for the answer
(Dutch_art_academy_student) that was a cool question leo
(Denethond) Hello Mr. Lee. I’m not sure if you can answer questions on The Hobbit movie which is in
pre-production. But it is well know that you and John Howe have signed onto the project. With the script still being written, and no casting decisions yet, have you been working on any concept art for the movie? Will it have a look and feel similar to Peter Jackson’s LotR trilogy? If you can’t answer that directly, then please give some insight.
(Alan_Lee) I haven’t done any work on the movie yet. John and I will be paying a short visit to NZ soon, but it’s too early to talk about how things will look.
(Elfriend) It’s a very exciting prospect πŸ™‚
(Dutch_art_academy_student) yes it is πŸ™‚
(Deni) hehe..
(Leif) my nerves can not take the anticipation
(Serafina) very cool.
(Leif) not again hahaha
(Dutch_art_academy_student) i agree
(Deni) how was it for you to work with Peter Jackson on Lord of the rings, Mr.Lee?
(Alan_Lee) It was very exciting working with Peter – he has such a fertile imagination, and is so passionate about design – as is Guillermo.
(Earwen) thats good to hear
(Brian) sure thing
(Deni) that’s nice to hear-thanks
(Tookish) Alan, it’s an incredible honor to have you with us. I’ve been a fan of yours for decades and have always wondered what aspects of Tolkien’s writing provide you the most inspiration: your work is such a compliment to his authorship it’s as if you translate into vision what he’s put into words.
(Alan_Lee) Hello tookish. If there is one thing in tolkien’s writing that continues to inspire me, it is his
descriptions, and obvious love of, woods and trees.
(Susanita) πŸ™‚
(Elfriend) This makes me want to re-read.
(Chrysophylax) Me too.
(Tookish) Excellent! They are incredible, as is the way he articulates a landscape or setting.
(Alan_Lee) I think I started to get really interested in capturing the character of trees after reading tolkien.
(Tookish) He does give them qualities as unique as individual people… such depth.
(Chrysophylax) Indeed!
(Tookish) Thanks πŸ™‚
(CAhobbit) Let’s do another e-mail questions again and I’ll open up to other questions within the room
(CAhobbit) Deleece asks: Will you retire from drawing, or is it an integral part of your life force, something that you couldn’t see yourself ever doing?
(Alan_Lee) Retiring? I can’t imagine doing that – or being able to afford it! I think that there are some things, like eyesight, that deteroriate after a while. I’m tending to work a little larger now, but I can’t imagine wanting to stop drawing!
(Thorongil) that is good News Alan
(Leif) we are glad to hear that! hehe
(Dutch_art_academy_student) a lovely spirit
(Deni) yes indeed-please never stop drawing!!
(leo) are you saying we will keep getting illustrated editions of Tolkien’s books? Because I’m not sure I can afford that…
(Alan_Lee) As long as people keep buying the books!
(Dutch_art_academy_student) hahaaha
(Tookish) lol leo
(CAhobbit) lol
(Figgy) hehe
(Deni) I WILL!!
(Leif) you keep drawing ill keep buying
(Earwen) im sure the will never stop being sold
(Figgy) I have to keep myself from buying another copy of Children of Hurin
(Leif) deal
(jincey) we’ll always buy the books : )
(stormcrow20) well, we fans are known to own multiple copies, heheh
(Figgy) I don’t need another one but it’s so pretty I want two of it.
(Deni) Of course…born to buy…haha
(Alan_Lee) I don’t want you to feel you have to keep buying just to keep me in work though.
(Tookish) You keep working, we’ll keep buying πŸ™‚
(samsbestfriend) Do you believe that becoming a great artist comes through much practice and constant working on your art, or is it an inherent thing, a gift that you must be born with?
(samsbestfriend) much like Gardiners idea of multiple intelligences
(Alan_Lee) Hello sams best friend. I think a lot is down to working concienciously at whatever you are doing, being inspired by good examples, and always wanting to improve – and drawing continually.
(Alan_Lee) I don’t believe people are born artists, but I think that the ability to spend long hours concentrating on one thing is an advantage.
(samsbestfriend) thanks πŸ™‚
(Dutch_art_academy_student) thank you, i believe the same
(Dutch_art_academy_student) i agree
(Deni) when did you start drawing??
(Alan_Lee) I started drawing at a pretty young age – about 2 according to my mother, who remembers me drawing a train
(Deni) ohhhh nice hehe…thanks
(Alan_Lee) It was the only thing I was ever any good at.
(stormcrow20) As a fan, what are you most looking forward to seeing in the Hobbit film?
(Deni) good question!
(Alan_Lee) Hello Stormcrow. I’m looking forward to seeing how Guillermo envisages lots of things. I enjoyed Pan’s Labyrinth so mush – and Hellboy 2 too. I think it’s the whole thing rather than individual bits that I’m excited about.
(Alan_Lee) Oh god, did I say mush? I meant MUCH.
(Leif) i have great hopes and trust in Guillermo for this project
(stormcrow20) us, too. Thanks you πŸ™‚
(Brian) Slightly fannish question here: Mr Lee….You may know that John Howe takes sketch requests by mail (I waited over 6 months for mine but WOW it was worth it). Do you grant similar requests? : )
(Serafina) i ‘m forming the words in my head over coffee, but will have a question for Mr.Lee in another sip or two…
(Dutch_art_academy_student) Can i ask?
(Alan_Lee) Ask away.
(Earwen) I’m not signing off but I’ll be back shortly, when does the chat end?
(jincey) when it ends : )
(Susanita) thx jincey πŸ˜›
(jincey) heehee
(samsbestfriend) Well, I have to run. Thank you so much for speaking to us Alan!
(Alan_Lee) Farewell, sam’s best friend!
(right_brained_s) I’ve missed a lot, I think…
(Dutch_art_academy_student) Ok thanks, what did the teachers of your art academy think of your drawings?
(Alan_Lee) Hello dutch. the course I did was graphics. While most students were concentrating on advertising briefs, I sort of did my own thing. the tutors were supportive though. There was one Barrington Barber, who was passionate about drawing skills, and he encouraged me to do lot’s of life drawing.
(Deni) nice question^^
(Dutch_art_academy_student) thank you very much πŸ˜‰
(jincey) is there anywhere we can see some of your earliest works?
(right_brained_s) That’s what my teacher always suggested, life drawing
(Crebain) Did working on the LOTR films help you improve as an artist and have a residual effect on how your work now?
(Alan_Lee) Hello crebain. Because most of the work that i did on the films was drawing, I found that my ability to communicate effectively with a pencil increased a lot. But I also started working in photoshop, which was new to me. I learned a lot through the whole process of working on those films. unicate quickly and effectively with a pencil
(Alan_Lee) Some of these sentences end in a peculiar way because I can’t scroll back.
(CAhobbit) πŸ™‚
(Earwen) thats helpful
(Dutch_art_academy_student) hahah
(right_brained_s) how much did you use photoshop with your drawings?
(Dutch_art_academy_student) me can neither and i want to write everything for my presentation im going to give
(Dutch_art_academy_student) πŸ™‚
(Earwen) presentation on what?
(Dutch_art_academy_student) on Alan Lee πŸ™‚
(Earwen) awesome!
(Earwen) this should be very helpful then!
(Deni) cool
(Dutch_art_academy_student) i had to choose an favorite artist and he is my favorite artist πŸ™‚
(Dutch_art_academy_student) thanks
(Earwen) same here
(CAhobbit) There was one question missed so let me repost that really quick
(CAhobbit) Slightly fannish question here: Mr Lee….You may know that John Howe takes sketch requests by mail (I waited over 6 months for mine but WOW it was worth it). Do you grant similar requests? : )
(CAhobbit) From Brian
(Brian) thanks : )
(Alan_Lee) Drawing requests. I do a lot of that while signing books and at conventions. And sometimes while answering mail, but I haven’t started it as an internet service yet.
(Thorongil) you just did, lol
(CAhobbit) hehe
(Dutch_art_academy_student) haha
(Chrysophylax) There will be thousands of requests, I guess
(right_brained_s) Alan, is it any faster to use photoshop than to draw it? Or are there simply more options?
(Brian) Followup…..How do we contact you by mail??^^
(Alan_Lee) I always draw on paper, but I might do more work in Photoshop to take it a little further. There’s an expression in the film business “sort it out in post”, and I tend to do more of that
(Earwen) and what does “sort it out in post” mean exactly?
(right_brained_s) ok
(Alan_Lee) When some aspect of the filming doesn’t go according to plan, and it is left until post production, and for a digital artist to make corrections.
(Earwen) ok, thanks
(Deni) back to the beginning of lord of the rings,how did you come to the project?
(Alan_Lee) Pn using my edition of LOTR while researching the project, along with John howes work and Ted Naismith as well. I think they found all the tolkien illustrations that were available in order to get their own thoughts clear. And then they made contact to see if I’d go out to NZ for a while. John as well.
(Deni) okay thank you^^
(Tookish) Alan I’ve been curious about your collaboration with the WETA staff. Knowing some of them, I have wondered who you might have enjoyed the richest collaboration with, and if you developed any mentor/protegee type relationships with anyone for a while there.
(Alan_Lee) Hello tookish. Working with those talented designers at Weta was a real pleasure. We also found that they had more background knowledge of the intricacies and background of middle-earth than I did. I would usually want to check my facts with daniel Falconer before making any statement about some obscure detail of middle earth lore.
(Tookish) Ah!!! I had a hunch that you and Daniel would work closely… I always imagined the two of you in close collaboration.
(Tookish) The depth of their knowledge of Tolkien was always impressive, I think that’s one of the reasons they were able to capture so much of the essence of his work visually
(Alan_Lee) I’m going to have to keep my sentences shorter. i’m either losing the end or the beginning.
(Deni) haha thatΒ΄s no problem..
(jincey) alan, just hit a return and keep on typing : )
(Dutch_art_academy_student) Mr. Lee you were talking about signing conventions. Is there a possibility there’s going to be one in Holland in the near future? πŸ™‚
(Earwen) Where are you next conventions going to be?
(Alan_Lee) I don’t do many conventions at the moment. I’m trying to finish the book I’m working on. there might be one in barcelona next year.
(Earwen) what book?
(Dutch_art_academy_student) ok thank you
(Dutch_art_academy_student) a pity πŸ™‚
(Alan_Lee) This is Shapeshifters – the Metamorphoses project.
(Earwen) i haven’t heard of it, whats it about?
(Dutch_art_academy_student) a pity i mean
(Dutch_art_academy_student) by Ovidius right?
(Alan_Lee) Yes that’s right – Ovid’s stories of transformation. Nymphs being turned into trees etc.
(Dutch_art_academy_student) ahaa ive read them in latin πŸ™‚
(Earwen) cool, i might just have to had that to my never-ending list of books to read.
(Alan_Lee) You read Latin? I’m impressed.
(Earwen) oh, its in latin
(Earwen) πŸ™
(Deni) we have to learn it in school πŸ™‚
(Earwen) no, but im starting a latin online course soon.
(Alan_Lee) There are lots of good translations. The one I’m doing is for children.
(Dutch_art_academy_student) thank you Mr. Lee, but as Deni says we i had to do it for school πŸ™‚ and i didnt read all of it
(Dutch_art_academy_student) but…. it was in latin πŸ™‚
(capybara) mr. lee, john howe says that you both don’t feel very comfotable in front of a camera so you did portraits of each other. is the portrait of mr. howe anywhere on the internet?
(Alan_Lee) I think my portrait of John is on his website.
(Chrysophylax) In the book to the FOTR movie are both!
(capybara) ok thank you.. i will have a look
(Deni) cool..didnΒ΄ know it…
(stormcrow20) What was it like to become a Tolkien character, one of the Nine Kings of Men, for the film? Were you thrilled?
(Alan_Lee) Hi Stormcrow. Being an extra for a day is quite enjoyable – but strange. A little like going into a hospital for a minor operation. The first thing you do is get into a dressing gown, then you go through all these procedures, and end up under a bright light. It’s all a bit surreal.
(leo) Alan, if I understand correctly (and please correct me if I am wrong), you’ve done illustrated editions of
pretty much all of Tolkien’s books now. So is this where it ends, or is there something else in the pipeline?
Something you would still like to do or draw based on Tolkien’s works?
(Figgy) I’d love to see more Silmarillion stories illustrated
(Brian) Mr Lee, is there a way to reach you by post should we wish to? Perhaps redirected through your publisher?
(Figgy) even done as separate books…
(Tookish) lol Alan
(Brian) so would I Figgy!
(Earwen) the important question though, did you enjoy it
(Figgy) illustrated by Mr Lee, of course πŸ˜‰
(Alan_Lee) I did enjoy it. I also spent a day as one of the Rohan refugees in the armoury at Helms Deep. That was to illustrate Gimli’s line “some of these men have seen too many winters”
(Figgy) haha really?
(Serafina) lol
(Figgy) that must’ve been so much fun
(Dutch_art_academy_student) coool
(Tookish) lol
(Anna) Mr Lee, who are your favourite artists and what contemporary artists/illustrators do you like?
(CAhobbit) Just a quick farewell to everyone. I’m handing over the reigns to the capable Thorongil and all the
other mods. Thank you Alan Lee for this wonderful chat. πŸ™‚
(Denethond) Alas, but I must away, ere break of day. Thanks Alan, and thanks to all the great participants with their questions! Bye CA, too.
(Earwen) Namarie!
(Alan_Lee) Hello Anna. I admire so many artists that it is hard to know where to start. Painters from the past include turner and other landscape painters. Durer, Leonardo, Breughel, the pre-raphaelites… And of my contemporaries.. well I like John howe’s work as an illustrator, but it is also a very exciting period in contemporary art at the moment. It
(Chrysophylax) Bye
(Denethond) Will a transcript of this entire chat be posted somewhere, so on TOR.n??
(Earwen) that would be awsome
(Alan_Lee) Bye Chryophylax
(Deni) during the production of the two towers, there were rumours that arwen would also fight in helms deep…we even saw designs for her armour. have you designed this as well?
(Alan_Lee) hello Deni. I didn’t do much work on the armour or weapons. John spent more time than me on that, but most of the work was done by the weta designers and armourers, and other parts of the costumes were done by Ngila dickson of course.
(Deni) ah …..thanks:)
(Alan_Lee) Oh.. and Deni that earlier remark about fixing it in post is relevant to the other part of your question.
(Dutch_art_academy_student) I like Leonardo Da vinci’s art too
(Thorongil) yes Denethond
(Anna) Thank you!
(Dutch_art_academy_student) yes thank you
(Earwen) sweetness. hannon le!
(Earwen) Alan- I’ve heard rumors that the second Hobbit film is on Aragorn’s back-story. Do you know anything about this?
(Alan_Lee) Hi Earwen. I can honestly say I know nothing… but it sounds interesting!
(Earwen) ok thanks
(Chrysophylax) Mr. Lee, may I just remark how much I love your art and especially the illustration of Chrysophylax on the cover from Tales from the Perilous Realm?
(Deni) oh this looks so awesome!!!
(Alan_Lee) Thank you.
(Alan_Lee) The cover painting is on the endpapers of the book rather than the cover! It was felt that it would reach and grab people a bit more if the dragon were larger, but someone else did that in photoshop.
(Thorongil) Alan, have you done any further sketches on Smaug that if asked you would be able to use in the upcoming Hobbit movies?
(Alan_Lee) I’m looking forward to seeing how smaug is depicted in the movie, but there will be long design process to go through first. I think I might be spending more time on the places rather than creatures.
(Thorongil) So, with that said are you excited about drawing Smaug’s lair then?
(Figgy) I have a question….do you draw or sketch a lot just for fun and for yourself or is it mostly drawings that you’ll be publishing?
(stratovarius) which moment do you like in the hobbit?
(Figgy) and with that, do you usually go through drafts or just end up with genius after one try? πŸ˜‰
(Alan_Lee) Hello Figgy. I’m always drawing. the published work is just the visible tip of an iceberg of sketches, doodles, experiments.
(Earwen) have you posted any of your off topic doodles anywhere?
(Brian) Well, I guess I’m off then. It was an honour to have the chance to speak to you Mr Lee. Thank you
(Alan_Lee) Goodbye brian. thank you.
(Figgy) great!
(Figgy) I’d love to see some of those…
(Alan_Lee) My website, when I finally get around to doing it, will be mostly unpublished sketches – the sort of stuff that nobody would normally see – all good clean fun of course!
(Dutch_art_academy_student) cool
(Thorongil) that would be amazing
(Dutch_art_academy_student) indeed
(Earwen) do you have a website now?
(Figgy) ooh that sounds wonderful
(Elfriend) I have to bow out. It’s been a real pleasure Alan. Thankyou for taking the time to answer my questions, it’s been inspirational.
(Elfriend) Torn is always lucky to have audience with you : )
(Alan_Lee) Bye Elfriend.
(Dutch_art_academy_student) Mr. Lee its perhaps a bit weird question im asking, but what do you think of the big amount of money that was payed for Damien Hirst Skull. Is art really that much worth?
(Alan_Lee) Damien Hirst’s skull must be worth a lot of money! The diamond-encrusted one he exhibited? Well, he spent 12,000,000 pounds on the diamonds, so it must be worth that at least. (Dutch_art_academy_student) πŸ™‚ ok ty
(Dutch_art_academy_student) thank you
(Figgy) for your published drawings, do you usually go through a lot of drafts or do you just get it right with one try?
(Dutch_art_academy_student) a good question
(Alan_Lee) Hi figgy, I often re-draw pictures that haven’t quite worked, sometimes for obvious reasons, but sometimes because it is dissappointing in a way that is hard to define.. it just lacks something. sometimes though I’ll look back at pictures that I’ve redrawn and think “what was wrong with that? Perhaps my standards are slipping!
(Figgy) hehehe
(Figgy) thank you!
(Figgy) and yeah I know what you mean
(Figgy) sometimes it just doesn’t FEEL right
(Figgy) very frustrating
(Dutch_art_academy_student) indeed^^
(Earwen) the times you want to ball it up and chuck it across the room
(Dutch_art_academy_student) lol earwen indeed
(capybara) thank you alan for answering my questions
(Alan_Lee) thank you Capybara
(jincey) Leo asked: “Alan, if I understand correctly (and please correct me if I am wrong), you’ve done illustrated editions of pretty much all of Tolkien’s books now. So is this where it ends, or is there something else in the pipeline? Something you would still like to do or draw based on Tolkien’s works?”
(Alan_Lee) Well, it will have to end at some point, unless I start illustrating LOTR all over again! It’s probably getting close to the time when someone else should get a look in. there are some very talented illustrators out there, and it would be nice to see a take on illustrating tolkien.
(leo) thank you for answering that!
(Deni) thereΒ΄s a nice picture of laketown youΒ΄ve drawn..will it be similar in the hobbit film ?
(Serafina) Alan, it must have been amazing to walk into the sets of The LOTR Trilogy and work on essentially the 3D versions of some of your artwork; to actually walk through doorways and under arches that you had envisioned and sketched. Was your work on The Trilogy the first time you saw your artwork “come to life” in such a way?
(Alan_Lee) Hello serafina. not quite, but it was the first time i had been able to really follow through on film design work. To be able to go from drawing a wide view of a whole city and end up designing door-knobs and window catches. And then to be able to help create the environment around it.
(Alan_Lee) And it was lovely to see the set lit and full of characters in costume. A wonderful experience.
(Thorongil) sure looked great on film
(Chrysophylax) Indeed!
(Earwen) that it did
(Dutch_art_academy_student) yeah
(Serafina) I wish we all could have seen the detail in the sets and costumes that were too small to see on
film…I can picture you sitting on the Rivendell set adding touches and paint here and there…
(Leif) I am sure the blueray dvds will allow us some incredible close ups
(Earwen) cool
(Thorongil) Alan, are you comfortable staying longer or do you have other things to attend to?
(Alan_Lee) I’ll need to get something to eat in a bit. another 10 minutes or so?
(Thorongil) ok Alan
(Thorongil) lets finish up with another question or two then
(stormcrow20) If you could live in Middle-earth, where would you choose to dwell?
(Alan_Lee) I’d choose Rivendell. Nice air-conditioning.
(Serafina) Me,too. I often fall off to sleep there
(Serafina) in my dreams
(Earwen) lol, id have to go with Minas Tirith or Lothlorien
(Earwen) however Aman would be nice too…
(stormcrow20) good choice πŸ™‚
(Dutch_art_academy_student) im out of questions πŸ™‚ but i am still curious what others has to ask πŸ™‚
(Leif) hehe
(Dutch_art_academy_student) hahah
(Thorongil) any other questions for Alan?
(jincey) Alan, we’ve all speculated on this… but who would *you* like to see playing the role of Bilbo?
(Alan_Lee) Thanks for the question Jincey. I’m sure that whoever it is will be perfect for the part!
(jincey) : )
(Serafina) Alan, I an also an author/illustrator, although my drawings tend to be very simple line
drawings..similar to James Thurbers..I have always wanted to draw people and be able to capture the emotion and character on their faces..were you always able to do that or is it a skill that has come with living, drawing, and observing?
(Susanita) wow Serafina that is an awesome question
(Susanita) (– draws like a second grader
(Serafina) thanks
(Dutch_art_academy_student) lol
(Serafina) lol..that’s the hardest thing to do..draw with the freedom of a child,Susanita
(Susanita) mm
(Serafina) not convinced…
(Dutch_art_academy_student) i agree with serafina
(Susanita) that’s very kind of you πŸ˜‰
(Serafina) it’s the plain truth.
(Dutch_art_academy_student) we, as ‘adults”, arent child enough πŸ™‚
(Earwen) im going to sign off but ill be right back on, w/in a min or so.
(Serafina) absolutely.
(Serafina) Try drawing with your eyes closed one time
(Gondhir) isn’t there a game like that?
(Dutch_art_academy_student) hahah or just dont watch at your drawing πŸ™‚
(Alan_Lee) thank you serafina. There is no substitute for drawing from life. Even if the drawings themselves aren’t that great, just the experience of looking closely, taking time – and getting as close to and familiar with your subject as possible makes a huge ammount of difference. I don’t know whether you use photographs to draw from. They can be useful but drawing from a 2D image is never going to give you the information that you need.
(Serafina) Thank you,Alan..I ‘ll remember,,and work on that.
(Thorongil) ok Chrysophylax, last question of the day for Alan
(Dutch_art_academy_student) better make it a agood question πŸ˜›
(Chrysophylax) Mr. Lee, first I would like to thank you for spending so much time with us. Do you know when your website will be online?
(Alan_Lee) Hi Dutch. I’m a bit embarrassed about the length of time I’ve been dropping hints about this mythical website. I’ve made a homepage, and have lots of ideas for it, but I won’t be able to get it online for a few months at least. It depends on how busy I’m going to be next year. I suspect I might be fairly busy.
(Dutch_art_academy_student) aaa good πŸ™‚
(Leif) Mr.Lee this has been without a doubt a lifetime highlight to have dialog with you. I look forward to many more years of anticipation and enjoyment of your work!
(Corvar) Thank you Mr Lee
(Corvar) it has been a pleasure having you come to TORn.
(Corvar) and we would love to have you back sometime
(Thorongil) All of us here at TORN would like to thank Alan for being so gracious and having this chat with us and we would love to have you back in the future if the oppurtunity presents itself
(Crebain) Thanks Alan
(stormcrow20) Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, Mr. Lee. It is sincerely appreciated, and has been great fun. Please come again!
(Dutch_art_academy_student) Thank you Mr. Lee for this great experience talking to you . You are THE BEST !
(Serafina) It’s been such an honor to have you with us,,,thank you. Mr. Lee.
(stratovarius) Thank you Mr. Lee!!!
(Deni) thanks for talking to us…THANK YOU
(morrowdim) πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing your time with us, Mr. Lee. We were honored by your visit.
(Anna) Thank you Mr Lee!! It was a great honor!
(Crebain) Keep a photo diary of your time on the Hobbit and publish it together with a sketchbook
(Deni) this was a great experience for us^^
(jincey) Alan, as always, a great honor to see you… Hope we cross paths again soon!
(Serafina) I’ll be smiling all day. πŸ™‚
(Dutch_art_academy_student) hahaha
(Tookish) Thanks very much Alan, it was wonderful having you with us!
(leo) we’ll ask GDT to delay the movie
(Tookish) We certainly hope you will be Alan!!! πŸ˜€
(leo) because this of course won’t fly πŸ˜‰
(Dutch_art_academy_student) ok thank you very much
(Susanita) thank you for your time
(Serafina) lol leo.
(Dutch_art_academy_student) now i want to meet you in real πŸ˜›
(Alan_Lee) Thank you all. It has been lovely spending time with you. thanks for your questions and your patience. All the best!
(stormcrow20) Thank you so much for chatting with us, Mr. Lee. It is sincerely appreciated, and has been great fun.
(Serafina) To you,too! :}
(Thorongil) thanks to everyone for making this another great chat
(Alan_Lee) Bye bye
(Dutch_art_academy_student) thank you
(Deni) thank that you spent time to answer our questions…all of us are very happy i think^^
(stratovarius) Bye
(Leif) bye
(Dutch_art_academy_student) bte
(stratovarius) and thank you!!!
(Serafina) Namarie
(Dutch_art_academy_student) bye
(Deni) BYE
(Dutch_art_academy_student) πŸ™‚
(jincey) yes, everyone’s been absolutely wonderful
(Anna) Bye!
(Chrysophylax) Bye
(Deni) have a nice day^^
(Earwen) back now
(Dutch_art_academy_student) yeah
Alan_Lee has quit IRC
(Dutch_art_academy_student) aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa hes gone πŸ™‚
(Deni) πŸ™
(Deni) nooooooooooo
(stratovarius) good bye
(Deni) cry
(jincey) that rocked : )
(Crebain) Ciao all…….till next time
(Dutch_art_academy_student) now i want him in real life πŸ™‚
(Chrysophylax) Will there be a transcript?
(Deni) bye
(Thorongil) have a nice day everyone and thanks for coming
(Dutch_art_academy_student) bye
(jincey) y’all new folks
Corvar waves
(Dutch_art_academy_student) you too thanks for making this possible
(jincey) come see us in anytime : )
(Leif) what a great time !
(Thorongil) yes Chrys, look for it on main page of TORN
(Deni) a that was very amazing!
(Leif) im full of smiles
(stormcrow20) Alan’s appearance in TTT, on left:
(morrowdim) stormy, you’re the best πŸ™‚
(Gondhir) haha
(Gondhir) awesome
(Chrysophylax) Thanks!
(stormcrow20) and second from right:
(Deni) I`m sooooooooooo happy!!!
(Dutch_art_academy_student) me too
(stormcrow20) πŸ˜€
(Dutch_art_academy_student) lol at pictures
(jincey) so where’s john howe i wonder
(stormcrow20) howe is second from left
(Dutch_art_academy_student) hahah probably drawing
(jincey) yep
(Dutch_art_academy_student) oow πŸ™‚
(Serafina) What a great way to spend a Saturday
(jincey) thank you all for coming!
*** Log file closed: 11/15/2008 2:46:27 PM

Posted in Alan Lee, Barlimans, Hall of Fire on November 15, 2008 by
Check out the Bilbo Contract from WETA Workshop

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