A couple of weeks ago I was offered a rather strange assignment. A set of Lord of the Rings cards all painted by John Howe was missing 2 pieces of artwork. They asked me to do a test illustration to see if I could come up with something that was close to Howe so that the portrait didn´t stand out too much from the rest of the illustrations. I thought “Sure, no prob. I can paint like Johnny Boy”.
Turns out I couldn’t.
They just told me that they were not going to use my illustration since it was too far from the look of the rest. I had that feeling too. Actually, when I started painting I realised that I couldn’t paint like someone else. I was too stuck in my way of doing things. The way I build up layers of skintones and add strokes and texture. How could I have imagined that I could do in a day what took John Howe decades to learn?
Anyway. I really like the portrait of Elrond that I ended up with. It is Elrond in his younger days, when he was herald for Gil-galad. Well right after anyways, since he got the ring that used to be Gil-galads.
Also I made a sketch for the mouth of Sauron that I am really sad I did not get to finish. Perhaps some day I will.