Just in time for Tolkien Reading Day: our friends at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have sent us exciting news! Later this year, a new edition of The Lord of the Rings will be published, featuring – for the first time since the original 1954 publication – artwork by the Professor himself.

The beautiful upcoming edition of The Lord of the Rings features Tolkien's own artwork. Here we see the cover, with the ring script around the eye of Sauron. The pages of the volume are red, with the ring script printed on them in white.

Here’s their full press release:

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media will publish a brand-new edition of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien that, for the the first time since its publication in 1954, will feature paintings, drawings and sketches by the author, in the U.S. on October 19, 2021.

Deb Brody, HMH’s VP and Publisher, says: ‘Professor Tolkien is known the world over for his literary and academic achievements, most especially as author of The HobbitThe Silmarillion, and the critically acclaimed and worldwide bestselling The Lord of the Rings.

‘His charming and evocative illustrations that accompanied The Hobbit, particularly the now-iconic image that appears on its cover, have become as beloved as the story they accompany.” 

 ‘Yet the author himself was characteristically modest, dismissive of the obvious and rare artistic talent he possessed despite having had no formal training. This modesty meant that relatively little else of his artwork was known of or seen during his lifetime, and generally only in scholarly books afterwards.

‘This all changed in 2018, with the first of three record-breaking Tolkien exhibitions in Oxford, New York and Paris, at which hundreds of thousands of people were able to appreciate at first hand the extraordinary artistic achievement of a man known primarily for the written word. Among the exhibits was a selection of the paintings, drawings and sketches that Tolkien produced when writing The Lord of the Rings. Originally intended by him purely for his personal pleasure and reference, after such an overwhelmingly positive response by people to Tolkien the Artist it seemed fitting to finally reunite this art with the words it enhances, and we are delighted that in so doing it will allow people to enjoy this masterpiece anew.’

The Hobbit was first published in 1937 and The Lord of the Rings in 19545. Each has since gone on to become a beloved classic of literature and an international bestseller translated into more than 70 languages, collectively selling more than 150,000,000 copies worldwide.

The Lord of the Rings, illustrated by the author, will be published subsequently in translation around the world.

Artistic Tolkien fans united on twitter this year for #Tolkientober to share new illustrations and representations of Middle-earth. Both fun and personal, the charge was led by Molly Ostertag who here pulls a small sample of the 1000’s of outstanding drawings.

EDITORS NOTE: Guest author Molly Knox Ostertag was invited to showcase the great artistic work done by fans worldwide for #Tolkientober. She is one of 2020’s Forbes 30 Under 30 media professionals, a NYTimes best-selling author and a leading illustrator for Disney animation.

A common theme of 2020 (besides mounting existential dread and the strange feeling that it’s lasted several centuries) has been people finding comfort in a return to their teenage passions. This is my sole excuse for why I have become as obsessed with Lord of the Rings this year as I was when I was 12 and would literally lie on the floor with giant speakers on either side of my head, playing the Return of the King soundtrack and crying about the Grey Havens. 

I’ve been having fun drawing and writing and indulging this obsession, but there’s a limit to how much hobbit fanart a bored lesbian in lockdown can produce. Craving more content in much the same way Thorin & Co crave their ancestral treasure, I started a drawing challenge for October called #Tolkientober (I couldn’t think of a better name; please let me know if you come up with one). Each day had a theme, sometimes obvious things like ‘a dwarf’ and sometimes more interpretative, like ‘a guardian’. With weekends off, of course – no one better than Tolkien understood the importance of having periods of rest and healing in between efforts.

Hobbits as Children by Molly Ostertag
Continue reading “Tolkientober: How Molly Knox Ostertag brought out the Tolkien artist in everyone”

Hobbit-DOS-key-art-poster And here’s new poster art for Desolation of Smaug, too!

Is this a subtle indicator that we will definitely see Bilbo and Smaug’s (the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities) riddling sequence from Inside information in the Desolation of Smaug? Those great lines about Bilbo being the friend of bears and guest of eagles — barrel-rider, Ringwinner and Luckwearer? Continue reading “New Desolation of Smaug key art poster!”

Vanderstelt Fellowship Fine ArtJerry Vanderstelt was in the right place at the right time. But it wasn’t luck that landed him there, it was hard work and making his own opportunities. Today this good fortune and hard work culminate when the artist releases a lithograph celebrating “The Fellowship of the Ring,” film released in 2001.

At the San Diego Comic-Con 2001, Elijah Wood walked around the mammoth floor of convention floor drinking in the celebration of popular culture and keeping his eye out for hints of how the world might accept the movie he had worked on that was about to overwhelm popular culture, the first film in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings.”

Continue reading “The Fellowship Becomes Fine Art”