Marysia writes: Return of the Convention (25th-28th March 2005 in Bristol, UK) will be attended by artists Alan Lee and John Howe. All profits from the event will go to The Red Cross who are deeply involved in current relief efforts after the Asian Tsunami.

Alan and John will be available for autographs to all attendees (included in registration price) and will be giving a presentation and attending the Tolkien Reading Day gala dinner for 100 on Friday night (£40 per head).

RotC are also offering the opportunity to attend an art workshop with Alan and John to a limited number of people. To apply for these free workshops you must be fully registered for the event. Join the mailing list to be kept informed of the details.

Other workshops will be provided by LANISTA Ancient Warfare Academy. They will be running Practical Sword and Practical Shield Wall workshops over the weekend.

The Practical Sword Workshop lasts approximately 40 minutes and will include the examination and exercise of the three predominant sword types used in Tolkien, that is, the Double-Handed War Sword, the Saxon Fuller-Blade Sword and the smaller Leaf-Blade Sword.

LANISTA will also be giving a talk entitled “In the Search of Eowyn: Shieldmaiden of Rohan”.

English artist Alan Lee has created a huge array of beautiful images over the last thirty years. He illustrated the covers of the 1987 edition of Lord of the Rings and went on to illustrate the Centenary edition of Lord of the Rings, the 1997 edition of The Hobbit and the 1993 Tolkien calendar among other things. He was brought on board Peter Jackson’s film trilogy and worked for over six years in New Zealand bringing Middle Earth to life. Credited as Conceptual Designer and Set Decorator he was to recieve a Best Art Direction Oscar for his extensive work as part of the film’s Art Department. Some images of his you may recognise can be seen here.

Canadian born artist John Howe first read The Lord of the Rings as an adolescent – poorly, by his own admission, since he read first “The Two Towers”, “The Return of the King” and “The Fellowship of the Ring” (which was never available at the local library) last. He has since re-read it in the right order and illustrated several Tolkien calendars – 1991, 1995, 2001 – dozens of covers and four maps of Middle Earth. His rendition of Gandalf the Grey is now synonymous with the one-volume edition of the Lord of the Rings. “Myth & Magic”, published in 2001 by HarperCollins, provides a comprehensive overview of his work. Conceptual Artist and Designer on the Lord of the Rings movies along with Alan Lee, John’s designs range from Bag End to Barad-dûr and many points between. Involved in medieval re-enactment, he also had a great deal of influence on the look and feel of the weapons and armour in the films. John has an official website at