This week we have something a little different from previous articles you’ve seen with this column.  Art Prints are a collectible I love adding to my collection especially when the subject is The Lord of the Rings.  So, I wanted to take the time and get something set up with one of the leading artist out there working in Middle-earth.

The artist that I wanted to bring to your attention is the one and only Jerry Vanderstelt. You may recognize Jerry’s work from his The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Prints, ‘Clash of The Kings,’ ‘Fell Beast Print,’ or his most recent ‘Sauron’ Print. Not to mention Jerry has done many Star Wars pieces for ACME Archives.  These art prints from Jerry are some of the best pieces in my collection, and only add to the amazing items we’ve seen from Weta and Sideshow Collectibles. Needless to say after seeing the print pictures in this article and reading the Q&A below, you need to go to Jerry Vanderstelt’s site and get your prints now!

Finally, I want to thank those that helped with some of the questions. Sending them in really aided me in getting this article finished. Click the ‘Continue’ button to read the interview.

Question 1: Jerry, the majority of your artwork seems to evolve around movie-related licenses such as LOTR, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Star Trek. Do you have a personal favorite? And if given the opportunity, which movie-related license would you most like to add to the stable of licenses you currently produce artwork for?

Well, each license has it’s own unique appeal, and I love them all, but I suppose one has to choose a favorite, so I guess it would be The Lord of the Rings as a favorite. I actually love the Original Conan the Barbarian film, so I’ve thought of trying to add that title to the mix perhaps!

Question 2: Can you point to any one particular artist who has most influenced you, or the direction your career has taken? And which of your contemporaries would you list amongst your personal favorites?

Each artist I’ve been influenced by has each their own qualities that attract my eye, and each style is quite at varience with each other. The works of Michael Whelan, Drew Struzan, Frazetta and the Hildebrant brothers were all big influences. A personal favorite has to be Whelan!

Question 3: Which style or technique would you say best describes your type of artwork? And when producing your artwork which are your preferred ‘weapons of choice’ ie paints, surfaces, etc….

I tend to lean towards a more “photo-realistic” approach in the way I treat a traditional piece of work, say on a current piece like the”Sauron” that is tied to the Sideshow Collectibles sculpt. There are elements in that piece where, in scenery for instance, certain rules apply like depth of field. Following those rules somewhat constrains any attempts to “paint outside the box”. Montages and stylized character pieces allow for testing new looks and ideas to the same subject matter, like LOTR.

I primarily use the airbrush and traditional brush work with illustration board, and occasionally create digital art. I also mix all of them to achieve the desired look for any particular project.

Question 4: We have recently been treated to your amazing LOTR Sauron painting…..what can LOTR fans expect to see next?

Daddy ROG!

Question 5: Jerry, you’ve gotten the chance to do a few characters now in Middle-earth. Is there a character you’re really dying to get to do? If you haven’t who are you looking forward to creating something special for?

A piece I’ve had in mind for a long time involves Aragorn on one of his many lonely travels throughout Middle Earth. Of course there are many other themes and stories I want to tell besides this, such as the battle of “Zirakzigal”. Of course, if I’m doing this in order, Daddy Rog has to be first!

Question 6: Although you have only scratched the surface where LOTR is concerned, is there any one particular painting you could point to as being the one you are most proud of?

When you are the one creating any piece, you tend to only know the flawed parts of the art only too perfectly, so it’s hard (for me) to be overly proud of any piece, knowing the areas of improvement I need to give my attention to. I can’t say really. I “like” my FOTR collage piece a lot, maybe that counts?

Question 7: If you could choose only one, who would you say is your favorite Middle-earth character? And why is this particular character your favorite.

The best orchestra has many players taking part in the music, and each is needed to create a beautiful sound as a whole, much like the stories created by Tolkien. Do these questions get any easier? : )

I suppose Gandalf is a favorite. He has many opportunities to acquire and pursue power and domination, but resists evil. Although Gandalf claimed Saruman had the greater wisdom and power, yet did he? It seems to me it takes more wisdom and self-control to resist corruption, so Gandalf is really the true picture of wisdom of his Order, so for that I admire his character, going about labouring toward the good for all, encouraging the defeat of the Enemy wherever he went.

Question 8: Concerning your newest LOTR creation Sauron, it appears to me you have chosen to portray the Dark Lord in a more understated light. The pose is subtle, yet nothing that comprises his ‘essence’ has been diminished. Did you consciously decide to portray Sauron’s power, cruelty, and malice using a more subtle or understated approach, or did the back story behind the painting ‘force your hand’ and lead you down that path?

Sauron’s essence can be an outward expression of malice and cruelty, as seen in the battle before Mt. Doom in FOTR. Evil and malice can also be “felt” rather than seen.  Although it is more difficult to portray, my goal was to show very few external signs to Sauron’s essence, such as an upraised Ring arm or battle pose.

This leaves room to “hear” the far distant rumble of Orodruin, the sizzle of escaping vapors from the lava-cracked stone. The silence then becomes a testament to Sauron dealing death and destruction all around him. Nothing survives his touch. The very ground beneath his feet gives way under the invisible yet very present evil radiating out of him.

The stance is one of complete control and confidence in his own power to accomplish his evil will.

Question 9: You’ve now done art pieces with Sideshow Collectibles in their diorama line and Premium Format line. Is there a chance in the future we’ll see you do something with them in the maquette line?

Anything is possible!

Question 10: When you get ready to do a Lord of the Rings painting do you watch the films or clips to get an idea of where you want to take the painting? A motivational speech of sorts to yourself.

All the time!! I also re-read sections of the books to check for accurate storylines that may be necessary in the artwork.

Question 11: You did remarquees for the collectors editions of the Trilogy prints. Any chance you’ll try something like that again with any Lord of the Rings pieces down the road?

There is always a chance that will happen, but at the moment, it takes a big chunk of time to commit to creating remarques. There may be a good reason to going back to that again, up the road.

Question 12: As you know The Hobbit has started filming. Can we expect that you’ll get a chance to do more items for these two films? Maybe a big encompassing print like the Trilogy prints?

Count on it!


We’d like to thank Jerry for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this interview. If you are interested in Jerry’s work, please visit his website at: