by Justin Gerard

I’ve been busy penciling away on my tight drawing for the Battle of Five Armies.  I am trying something new this time around and am working with graphite alongside the usual colored pencil.
Graphite has a tendency to muddy the delicate tones of a watercolor, to smudge, and to be too soluble, and so I usually prefer working without it.  However, on the other hand it has the benefit of giving you more control, sharper detail and a better value range.

With so much area to cover and so many figures to work out I have opted to risk the muddiness this time around and utilized it to lay out my figures.  I am finding that I really like how it blends with the Caran D’Ache Pablo pencils I have been using for the colored bits.

In the above image I have used the graphite to really isolate the characters from one another. This reinforcement of the major shapes will help a great deal later on when I begin to work on the lighting. It will help separate the characters from what’s behind them, and thus keep the whole scene from merging into one blurry goblin quagmire.

“…with them came the bodyguard of Bolg, goblins of huge size with scimitars of steel.”
A story note here: If you saw my last post you will notice that the giant goblins in the Bodyguard of Bolg have gotten their noses back. 
In “The Hobbit”, Tolkien calls the orcs ‘goblins’ and not ‘orcs.’  And though in his later writings he would use the terms interchangeably at times, he generally means orcs when describing the miscreant servants of the dark lord. (He would do this in part to give his creatures more distinction from their fairy tale interpretation of goblins.) Thus, there was only orcs of varying sizes really, and Peter Jackson it would seem, had it right all along.  
However, that explanation is not good enough for me. The damage is done Professor Tolkien. It’s too late and too bad and now no matter what, when I read the Hobbit, I will always see them as big-nosed goblins. 
To add some justification for this: I still hold that The Hobbit is more a fairy tale and less a fantasy epic. Goblins fit better in this setting than orcs do.  The orcs fit in the drama and epic glory of the later writings, but “The Hobbit” is a tall tale, told by a curious and sometimes dubious author in Bilbo Baggins.
So right or wrong, I have decided to go full goblin here.   
Next Week: Watercoloring!