The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien Info

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J.R.R. Tolkien’s complete artwork for The
Hobbit
, presented for the first time in this edition.


When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, he was already an
accomplished amateur artist, and drew illustrations for his book while
it was still in manuscript. The Hobbit as first printed had ten
black-and-white pictures, two maps, and binding and dust jacket designs
by its author. Later, Tolkien also painted five scenes for color plates,
which comprise some of his best work. His illustrations for The
Hobbit
add an extra dimension to that remarkable book, and have long
influenced how readers imagine Bilbo Baggins and his world.


Written and edited by leading Tolkien experts Wayne G. Hammond and
Christina Scull, The Art of The Hobbitby J.R.R. Tolkien
showcases the complete artwork created by the author for his
story—including related pictures, more than one hundred sketches,
drawings, paintings, maps, and plans. Some of these images are published
here for the first time, others for the first time in color, allowing
Tolkien’s Hobbit pictures to be seen completely and more
vividly than ever before.


Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien:

3

Jun 13, 2014

This is an impressive book full of Tolkien’s original art. It’s extraordinary to see the paintings and drawings from the man who devised the Middle Earth universe himself, rather than another’s interpretation. Despite his apparent modesty toward his own work, some are quite developed such as the forests and mountains. Fangorn forest is drawn in a way that evokes the presence of mystery, of magic: it is all in the colour of the trees.



Also included are very simple sketches that are Tolkien’s This is an impressive book full of Tolkien’s original art. It’s extraordinary to see the paintings and drawings from the man who devised the Middle Earth universe himself, rather than another’s interpretation. Despite his apparent modesty toward his own work, some are quite developed such as the forests and mountains. Fangorn forest is drawn in a way that evokes the presence of mystery, of magic: it is all in the colour of the trees.



Also included are very simple sketches that are Tolkien’s very first drawings of the Hobbit. It is delightful, in some cases, to see these grow from very rough outlines into the famous paintings that adorn the pages of The Hobbit in its original published copy.



The annotations of the images are explanatory and definitive as they discuss the origins of each piece. Alan Lee is wonderful and everything, but his work will only ever be interpretations despite how grand it is. Seeing Tolkien’s own visual ideas, despite his limited artistic talent, was rather informative. So this is a welcome volume to my ever growing Tolkien bookshelf.

Following on from this though, I highly recommend avoiding The Art of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien because that doesn’t actually display any art, just a few lines and very vague sketches Tolkien never wanted published. This is the best collection of his art that I’ve come across.

...more
4

Oct 13, 2015

This is a book I picked up as research for my Dissertation and I have to say it's well worth the read even if you're not writing a dissertation about it. This book collects a vast amount of Tolkien's original artworks (which he himself was highly critical of) and shows them right from the inception (pencil lines sketches) right through to the final Ink or Watercolour illustrations that made it into the print versions of the book. I found it to be a fascinating look at not only Tolkien's art, but This is a book I picked up as research for my Dissertation and I have to say it's well worth the read even if you're not writing a dissertation about it. This book collects a vast amount of Tolkien's original artworks (which he himself was highly critical of) and shows them right from the inception (pencil lines sketches) right through to the final Ink or Watercolour illustrations that made it into the print versions of the book. I found it to be a fascinating look at not only Tolkien's art, but an insightful tale of how the book gradually became the final product and the various mistakes, edits and revisions to the artwork and maps along the way.

I loved being able to find out the quotes which related directly to the images (as these were frequently referenced) and see exactly what Tolkien was thinking when he began the illustrating process. He never truly wanted to be an artist and never fully considered his work to be of a high quality, but he tirelessly revised and reworked to get the best images he could (not being one for people it was usually landscape and architecture-based) and you can see the naive passion and love he had for the world through them.

I also found that the way the book is written and laid out is concise and easy to follow with images being displayed in chronologic order from inception to final piece and then each being related to a certain chapter/place in the text. The way it was laid out allowed the reader to follow the way that Tolkien discovered and invented his sets and worlds and really gave a sense of the magical place he imagined Middle-Earth to be.

On the whole it's a solid, wonderful book with some stunning images and great original artworks. I would highly recommend this if you have a particular liking for the Hobbit, J R R Tolkien or knowing exactly how the process of making this renowned little book began. A great 4* read. ...more
5

Jun 30, 2018

I am pretty sure that Tolkien can do no wrong in my eyes, so maybe I'm a bit biased. But I really did enjoy this book, a collection of Tolkien's own artwork he did for the Hobbit.

While it is semi-helpful to have read the Hobbit to understand what sections the art is trying to portray, the compilers (Hammons and Scull) do a good job of explaining each set of pieces, how they developed, and what part of the story they are to represent. It was interesting to see some of the rough drafts and how I am pretty sure that Tolkien can do no wrong in my eyes, so maybe I'm a bit biased. But I really did enjoy this book, a collection of Tolkien's own artwork he did for the Hobbit.

While it is semi-helpful to have read the Hobbit to understand what sections the art is trying to portray, the compilers (Hammons and Scull) do a good job of explaining each set of pieces, how they developed, and what part of the story they are to represent. It was interesting to see some of the rough drafts and how Tolkien's conversations with the publishers polished those drafts. I was not educated to how they printed things in books at that time, so that explanation was interesting to me.

Not only are the explanations well done, but the book contains 106 of Tolkien's scribbles, drawings, and paintings. Some of them very well realized and polished. I knew he had drawn his own maps for Hobbit and LOTR, but to see some of these others was pretty neat.

A good book for lovers of Tolkien and/or Art. ...more
5

Jul 01, 2018

I really enjoyed this book - and I actually read the text, rather than just flipping through which I often do with these kinds of books. It was really interesting to see the progress between initial sketch and final illustration, and I love so many of his images. There is something about the stylization, especially of trees and mountains, that makes me happy just by looking at it. Plus, it is so worth it to see high quality reproductions, since a lot of the nuance is lost in the published I really enjoyed this book - and I actually read the text, rather than just flipping through which I often do with these kinds of books. It was really interesting to see the progress between initial sketch and final illustration, and I love so many of his images. There is something about the stylization, especially of trees and mountains, that makes me happy just by looking at it. Plus, it is so worth it to see high quality reproductions, since a lot of the nuance is lost in the published version of The Hobbit. ...more
5

May 30, 2017

I finished this half a month ago, but was so busy traveling I didn't get a chance to review it. In a word: great! Despite knowing that Tolkien drew his own maps and pictures for The Hobbit, it never really clicked with me that he was a legitimate artist.

The authors clearly did a lot of research and found early versions and sketches of the illustrations in the book and the cover art. They include highly detailed, quality reproductions of all of them, and added some other painting and drawings I finished this half a month ago, but was so busy traveling I didn't get a chance to review it. In a word: great! Despite knowing that Tolkien drew his own maps and pictures for The Hobbit, it never really clicked with me that he was a legitimate artist.

The authors clearly did a lot of research and found early versions and sketches of the illustrations in the book and the cover art. They include highly detailed, quality reproductions of all of them, and added some other painting and drawings Tolkien did that were connected. The pictures are on fold out pages. Most of the book are the pictures, with short descriptions of their evolution to final book form.

If you are interested in how the hobbit developed, both the story and the look of it, this is another great piece to explore. ...more
5

May 31, 2016

So. Fucking. Cool.

It's amazing to see the genius of JRR Tolkien like this. He really was absolutely amazing. But, as I learned from this, he thought his art was really bad and would often call himself an amatuer artist. Thing is though, I think if a writer can draw, as Tolkien definitely could, their art does more justice to whatever they're trying to create than another artist can. I mean sure, Ted Nasmith has created some amazing artwork of Middle-earth. But I just think Tolkien's work is so So. Fucking. Cool.

It's amazing to see the genius of JRR Tolkien like this. He really was absolutely amazing. But, as I learned from this, he thought his art was really bad and would often call himself an amatuer artist. Thing is though, I think if a writer can draw, as Tolkien definitely could, their art does more justice to whatever they're trying to create than another artist can. I mean sure, Ted Nasmith has created some amazing artwork of Middle-earth. But I just think Tolkien's work is so much more *there*. Does that make sense?

The maps and the calligraphy are absolutely fascinating. He was crazy good at cartography and calligraphy it's insane. The fact he put so much effort into creating his world that he created several letters and maps that the reader would never see speaks to how truly prolific the man really is.

I think I need to buy this book so I can stare at it forever. ...more
5

Dec 26, 2013

Not only was Tolkien an excellent author, he was an excellent illustrator and designer. It was fascinating to see his design process for the original cover of The Hobbit. The illustrations in this book show how Tolkien envisioned the world of Middle Earth. Many of the illustrations included show various stages of development, form initial drawings, to the refined illustration.
5

Sep 19, 2012

I adore this book! It is absolutely stunning, and the information provided with each piece of art is fascinating. As a huge Tolkien fan, I am surprised that I have found yet another dimension into my favorite author, in his art and his biography. I am so glad I bought The Art of The Hobbit! A keeper.
4

Oct 19, 2012

Artists and scholars will gain insights through the artwork (sketches, drawings, paintings) of Tolkien and the detailed commentary of Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull.
4

Dec 29, 2017

Really good quality book with all the illustrations Tolkien made for the Hobbit. The only thing that could have been improved is that although there were many unnecessary fold-out pages (with pictures no larger than the ordinary page size), the original dust jacket art was printed on one page and was too small to appreciate, this is the one image in the book that would have benefited from a fold out page where the picture would have filled the extended page width!
5

Nov 12, 2017

A beautiful trip through both the sketches of Tolkien's Hobbit, but also a trip through the creative process which led to the final illustrations, end pages, outer design, and cover for the novel.
Not only can the man write, he can draw.
5

Feb 23, 2018

Truly a gift! The authors and historians involved with this quintessential "art of" entry to the Tolkien pantheon go above & beyond what's expected when first opening the book. The personal, rare notes & sketches from Tolkien's hands are a delight, and much inspiration can be found here for any fellow author & illustrators.
5

Dec 26, 2012

A very well crafted and beautifully illustrated book. Most of the original J.R.R. Tolkien illustrations came from the Bodleian Library at Oxford University which most readers would not get the chance to see otherwise. All the different versions and sketches J.R.R. Tolkien drafted for the different British and American versions were incredibly interesting. I would recommend this book to any hobbit enthusiast.
5

Jun 21, 2017

I was always looking for a collection of J.R.R. Tolkien's art...
And I finally found one!
This book is so...precious!!!
Such an amazing work and study on the illustrations made by the man who created one of the most epic stories/universes of all time.
Stunning! Absolutely STUNNING!
5

Apr 14, 2018

Tolkein’s artwork for the Hobbit. Very pleasant on the eye. Looks different from my own imaginary Middle-Earth, (which resembles the movies) but this art is Tolkein’s own and gives a new understanding of the world he created.
4

Mar 20, 2017

Fascinating look at Tolkien's artwork included (and not included) in the publication of The Hobbit. One thing I came away with (beyond a better appreciation for his eye to detail) is that the current publishers of this classic text are mostly lazy and cheap. I own several editions and none have reproduced the original cloth cover as published by Allen & Unwin. Even a recent reproduction of the original dust-jacket art is compromised by not making the physical book's dimensions the same. Fascinating look at Tolkien's artwork included (and not included) in the publication of The Hobbit. One thing I came away with (beyond a better appreciation for his eye to detail) is that the current publishers of this classic text are mostly lazy and cheap. I own several editions and none have reproduced the original cloth cover as published by Allen & Unwin. Even a recent reproduction of the original dust-jacket art is compromised by not making the physical book's dimensions the same. Wonderfully insightful and detailed book but it can leave the loving fan disappointed at today's publishers. ...more
5

May 31, 2019

It need not be said that I am a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien. This book was a great way to look closer at how his genius world-building came to life in The Hobbit. Tolkien was truly an artist in every sense of the word. I love his illustration of the conversation between Bilbo and Smaug.
Highly recommend this book. It need not be said that I am a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien. This book was a great way to look closer at how his genius world-building came to life in The Hobbit. Tolkien was truly an artist in every sense of the word. I love his illustration of the conversation between Bilbo and Smaug.
Highly recommend this book. ❤️ ...more
5

Apr 28, 2018

This book is full of color reproductions of Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit. I hadn't known before that Tolkien was not only an amazing author but also an accomplished artist. His strength lay in drawing architecture and landscapes, and many of the pieces he produced for The Hobbit are absolutely lovely. (Drawing people was NOT his forte.) His work is representative of the charming 1930s Art Deco aesthetic, with a touch of whimsy thrown in via cheerful dragons and cozy hobbit holes. One of the This book is full of color reproductions of Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit. I hadn't known before that Tolkien was not only an amazing author but also an accomplished artist. His strength lay in drawing architecture and landscapes, and many of the pieces he produced for The Hobbit are absolutely lovely. (Drawing people was NOT his forte.) His work is representative of the charming 1930s Art Deco aesthetic, with a touch of whimsy thrown in via cheerful dragons and cozy hobbit holes. One of the marks of Tolkien's genius was that he was able to create a complete fantasy world with its own races, languages, landscapes, mythology, history, alphabets, architecture, poetry and folklore, and these drawings give us a glimpse of this world through the eyes of their creator. This is a fascinating book for those who are interested in art or Lord of the Rings. ...more
5

Jul 19, 2019

Full of fascinating facts about his life, family and work. It includes examples of handwritten scenes from LOTR and Hobbit, a picture of his wife, Edith, who was his inspiration for the character, Lúthien in LOTR, as well as his intricately detailed maps of Middle Earth. It showcases the story of a genius. What a great book to compliment my tour of the Tolkien exhibit at the Morgan Library!
5

Jan 19, 2018

I absolutely loved this book as I knew that I would. The authors attend to every possible detail in the artistic works of Tolkein. His ability to capture his imagined world in art astounds me. This book is a must own for all fans of art and especially all fans of Tolkein.
3

Dec 18, 2016

Interesting, but definitely a money-grabber. There were lots of instances where the artwork cited was a few pages ahead of the text; maybe this was unavoidable, but it made it difficult to concentrate on both.
3

Jun 08, 2018

I read this book a little while after reading Lotr and the Simarillion. It was excellent and insightful.
5

Jan 10, 2018

Brings a tear to my eye. I've wanted this for my collection for so long!!!
4

Jun 22, 2019

Deep-dive resource connecting Tolkien's own drawings and illustrations with the text of The Hobbit.
4

Nov 25, 2019

I liked seeing the evolution of his illustrations but was less interested in the details of which edition had which pictures and why.

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