The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook Info

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Alan Lee, the Oscar-winning conceptual designer for the
Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, discusses his approach to depicting
Tolkien’s imaginary world. The book presents more than 150 of
Lee’s celebrated illustrations to show how his imagery for both
the illustrated Lord of the Rings and the films progressed from concept
to finished art. In addition, the book contains 20 full-color plates and
numerous examples of the conceptual art produced for Peter
Jackson’s film adaptation.
The Lord of the Rings
Sketchbook provides a wealth of background information and will be of
interest to those who know and love Tolkien’s work, from books to
films to DVDs, as well as to budding artists and illustrators interested
in how to approach book illustration.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.36

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Reviews for The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook:

5

Jun 10, 2014

This is an absolute treasure; it is one every fan of Tolkien’s work should own. This is regardless whether you are a fan of the movie franchise, because most of the work in here was produced years before it was even devised. Some of the art was created specifically for the movie, but I think this could easily exist without it in its own right. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy (I’m not going to mention the shambles referred to as the Hobbit trilogy) but I feel that This is an absolute treasure; it is one every fan of Tolkien’s work should own. This is regardless whether you are a fan of the movie franchise, because most of the work in here was produced years before it was even devised. Some of the art was created specifically for the movie, but I think this could easily exist without it in its own right. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy (I’m not going to mention the shambles referred to as the Hobbit trilogy) but I feel that Allan Lee’s work really transcends it; it is wonderful on its own.

Brilliant Artwork



He illustrated a special edition of the book many years before, and in here are some of those images as well. I really struggle to imagine a middle earth beyond the images that Allan lee has produced. I can see that he tried to adhere as much as possible to Tolkien’s descriptions, and I think because of this Allan Lee’s work is so brilliant. Most of the images are annotated with descriptions that are insightful to the creative process behind them, and Allan Lee constantly re-asserts the point that without the sheer depth to Tolkien’s narrative, his images would have been nowhere near as vivid. I really would not like to see a middle earth that strays from Tolkien’s words, and with Allan Lee we don’t have to.

Authentic



It’s really quite exciting to see this images that were later polished up for the movies. You can literally see whole scenes that were adapted from one image created by Allan lee. By reading this you get to see how the work has evolved from its early sketches to a big scene in the films. There are even a couple of pages on Tom Bombadil and Goldenberry, which Jackson excluded from the films. Reading this is like seeing an image version of the entire trilogy. The images are in chronological order, which re-tells Tolkien’s magnum opus.



Overall, this is an absolute wonderful book. I strongly recommend it to Tolkien fans, whether you like the movies or not. A lot of the work in here was created many years before Allan Lee was asked to work on the movies. Therefore, I wholeheartedly recommend this to all Tolkien enthusiasts. And if that isn’t reason enough to read the book, the excellent Sir Ina Mckellen provides a superb introduction to this book.


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5

Oct 04, 2015

This is a book I recently picked up in order to learn a lot more about the LotR book to film adaptation process and what exactly being the concept artist for such a big project means. Alan Lee was one of the essential concept artists who not only illustrated some of the LotR and Hobbit books on the Centenary editions, but was also heavily involved in the 6 year process of producing the Lord of the Rings films. This book is a largely image focused book with full page, small and medium images of This is a book I recently picked up in order to learn a lot more about the LotR book to film adaptation process and what exactly being the concept artist for such a big project means. Alan Lee was one of the essential concept artists who not only illustrated some of the LotR and Hobbit books on the Centenary editions, but was also heavily involved in the 6 year process of producing the Lord of the Rings films. This book is a largely image focused book with full page, small and medium images of various creatures, places etc from Middle Earth, but it is accompanied by some wonderful text where Lee talks about inspirations, his own love for the book, and exactly what he was aiming for with the designs.

I have to say that the artwork in this book is phenomenal and it really made me want to watch and re-watch the films for all of the Lord of the Rings just to see his ideas come to life. It's a fantastically polished version of what I imagine starts off as a much messier planning process, but for that reason it's beautiful and exciting and some of the images are definitely relatable to the films.

This book also has text which I actually found to be truly fascinating and at some times even emotional because it was such a big part of everyone, cast, crew, artists, designers, producers etc. lives whilst they were involved in the films and stepping away from it at last and recounting it in this book you do get the vibe that nothing will ever be quite as magical an experience.

I would say this is an amazing book not only for the artwork but also for the insight it offers into how things get done in production and art teams for big epic set films. I loved every page and sent a lot of pictures of some of the more stunning images to my friends too. Highly recommended - 5*s
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5

December 17, 2015

The sketches cover pretty much everything from the LOTR and they are pretty detailed to
This book is perfect for any Lord of the Rings fans. It is loaded with sketches of everything from goblins, pretty much all the locations in the books like helms deep, the misty mountains, and so on, it has hobbits, the dark riders, and of course that creepy little Gollum. Throughout the book there are comments about the pictures, making them come to life in the films, and other various things. The sketches are cool and its truly amazing the amount of effort that went into all of them, because there are a lot, and for sketches they are pretty detailed.

I'm quite pleased with this book and the amount of content in it. If you need a gift for a LOTR fan then this is perfect, or even if you just like to draw and would like lots of sketches to look at for inspiration then this would be perfect as well. I love this book and it earned 5 stars hands down.
5

January 13, 2017

A fascinating and beautiful "read"
If you enjoyed watching the many (many!) hours of "extras" on the LOTR blu-ray box set, you will love this book. Alan Lee gives us not just his artwork, but his perspective on the making of the films. Some of his sketches look just like what was ultimately filmed, but there are also those that never were shown in detail, or at all. Amazing how much thought and design was put into making the films look and feel authentic!

All the artwork is wonderful to look at. Some of the drawings are very light, but a close look reveals so much intricate line work. There are very ethereal images, but also beautiful examples of architecture and engineering, and even mundane objects. Alan Lee mentions at one point that he is still "trying to prove something" to his former professor of technical drawing, who was less than impressed with his school efforts---I think he has succeeded.

The book itself is very nicely made. If you hate dustjackets, you can remove this one and still have a lovely book cover with glossy type and illustration on a matte background. The little golden bookmark-ribbon is a nice touch as well. Inside front and back cover show map drawings---although it's the same both front and back, a minor disappointment. It would have been nice to have this book in a larger size as well.
5

February 22, 2006

Artwork Comparable to the masters
Every time I see work by Alan Lee, it never fails to get an awe-inspiring reaction from me. His technique is just mesmerizing- very surreal. I love this book for the simple fact that it's by him. Besides showcasing great art, he also writes about his experience working with the legendary Lord of the Rings films, and how he was brought about working on the project from the early recruiting day to winning the Academy Award, everything in his own words so you get a glimpse of how the mind of such a compelling artist works. True, most of it is in black and white, but that's the way it should be. There are a few watercolor paintings, that are equally inspiring. Everything in here is great, and is especially beneficial to the aspiring artist.
5

Dec 06, 2017

Absolute must-have for anyone who is a fan of the LOTR books and/or the movies!

Alan Lee's artwork has impressed me ever since I first saw the appendices of The Fellowship of the Ring movie, and his artwork in this book is even more impressive! The content is simply amazing and full of his brilliant sketches. Each piece is accompanied by descriptions of what Lee was thinking about while he drew them, or better yet interesting stories about the making of the movies.

The book also details how Lee Absolute must-have for anyone who is a fan of the LOTR books and/or the movies!

Alan Lee's artwork has impressed me ever since I first saw the appendices of The Fellowship of the Ring movie, and his artwork in this book is even more impressive! The content is simply amazing and full of his brilliant sketches. Each piece is accompanied by descriptions of what Lee was thinking about while he drew them, or better yet interesting stories about the making of the movies.

The book also details how Lee worked his magic and turned his art from paper into the sets of Lord of the Rings. I just loved every page! ...more
4

Feb 06, 2012

Another borrowed volume which I'd one day like to own. It contains a lot of Alan Lee's sketches from when he was working on The Lord of the Rings films, and his commentary on the work he did then. And some interesting titbits about the man himself, too (like the fact that he doesn't Do lists: if he's packing to go away somewhere, he draws his suitcase with the things he needs to take).

Worth a look, if you're interested in Middle-earth, the making of the films, or Alan Lee's work.
5

December 5, 2017

Great book for Tolkien fans and budding artists!
Absolute must-have for the Tolkien fan! I ordered this for my 12-year-old who loves to draw and loves LOTR. He was interested in learning to draw characters from the movies and books, so this was the perfect gift. It has tons of sketches by Alan Lee as he designed the movie sets for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies. My son loves it.
4

Jan 01, 2019

Edit: Also, this is the first freaking book of the year and I'm already crying. WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF?!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I love art and I love LoTR so this was perfect for me. I could talk about the beautiful drawings, the behind the scenes stories by Lee or the magic of LoTR. Instead, I want to express my feelings while reading this because there's really no dispute in the quality of this book.

LoTR came out when I was barely a teenager. I had never heard of the book series (except for The Edit: Also, this is the first freaking book of the year and I'm already crying. WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF?!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I love art and I love LoTR so this was perfect for me. I could talk about the beautiful drawings, the behind the scenes stories by Lee or the magic of LoTR. Instead, I want to express my feelings while reading this because there's really no dispute in the quality of this book.

LoTR came out when I was barely a teenager. I had never heard of the book series (except for The Hobbit) and didn't want to watch the films at first. In the end, we went to the cinema with our teacher to see the first movie and I instantly became a fan. The movie resonated with me and so many aspects showed the immense quality, including the care, skill and love in the designs for props.
The movie came out in 2001, that's now 18 years ago. And the book brought me back to that phase in my life and rekindled the magic, wonder and awe I felt while watching the Fellowship journeying through Middle-Earth.
This book was a temporal journey and it filled me with so much nostalgia, reminding me of the sheer amazement I felt that I got emotional. And I feel like Lindsay Ellis in her Hobbit essays: the LoTR series came out at a crucial moment, when I was ripe to be captured by the story and be entranced by it. There were and are many franchises I still love but there won't be any other series that will quite catch me like LoTR did because growing up gives new perspectives, wisdom and different approaches. I was lucky enough to see this in 2001, when its magic could affect me like no other series could have.
And there's something deeply painful in realising that there won't be a new LoTR for me. No matter how much I've loved Star Wars since forever, no matter how much I enjoy the MCU: LoTR was a special phenomenon at the perfect moment that will not be recreated for me personally. It is, indeed, the journey's end.

I love how much attention to detail, care, hard work and love went into the movie project. I love the dedication and brutal will to make it happen. I love the memory of that time.
Like Sam, I watch the ship sail away into the West. A last goodbye. ...more
5

Jun 06, 2007

My rating is both based on the text and Alan Lee's artwork, which is amazing. He's also a surprisingly eloquent writer, considering he's more well-known for his illustration skills. It's not exactly literature, but it's a beautiful book with some well-written behind-the-scenes thoughts from the artist.
1

April 6, 2016

I expected matte pages like a real sketch book
Book is very small. 8" W x 12 "H and way over priced. I expected matte pages like a real sketch book. Pages are glossy. Also expected all the art from the end of "The Return of the King" while the credits were rolling. Not in the book. Sorry Alan Lee, your art is beautiful. Very disappointed.
5

Jan 08, 2019

For every fan of The Lord of the Rings movies, this book is definitely a must read. Its so interesting to get to know more about all the work that was put into creating all these beautiful locations and sceneries and also to see which designs were actually Alan Lees. You get quite a bit of extra information on the entire creating process and to me that was really interesting and informative since I truely try tolearn everything about these movies I possibly can.
I particularly enjoyed the bits in For every fan of The Lord of the Rings movies, this book is definitely a must read. It´s so interesting to get to know more about all the work that was put into creating all these beautiful locations and sceneries and also to see which designs were actually Alan Lee´s. You get quite a bit of extra information on the entire creating process and to me that was really interesting and informative since I truely try tolearn everything about these movies I possibly can.
I particularly enjoyed the bits in which he talks about his peronal struggles and how he was challenged as an artist. ...more
5

Apr 29, 2011

Right after this book came out, Alan Lee did a book signing in Austin. It was such an amazing talk he did. I loved looking at the slide show and being able to hear him talk. Did you know that he used to be grave digger? Anyway, I was able to get this book, Faeries, and Castles signed by him that night. So awesome!
4

Apr 27, 2011

Such brilliance!! It's impossible for a LOTR geek to truly claim to be one without having at least skimmed through this book. Bonus points for people who choose to read it! Right from the conception to the final execution, Lee's work is remarkable. The movie could have been visually horrifying if it wasn't for his interpretation of Tolkien's work!
5

May 25, 2019

Discovered Alan Lee's drawings from other books like Fall of Gondolin, immediately bought this.
I enjoy Alan Lee's work, he illustrates the passages very well in his drawings and his depiction is one of my favorites. As mentioned in the title, saw his work in Fall of Gondolin and Children of Hurin and decided to buy more of his art work. I enjoyed his book and I think it is a good addition to anyones library. Added other books for size comparison. (PS: While I was buying it, Amazon did not have it in stock, so I bought it from Book Depository US, eventhough the order was not the fastest, they were very fast in responding and was ready to compensate if a mistake occured so credit to them)
5

March 17, 2014

If you liked the movies you will like this book
Alan Lee's drawing were the inspiration for Jackson's three movies. Lee captured a complex world and brought many of the places and people to light. The texture he gives Middle Earth is very real and "romantic" in so many ways, from the faces to the amour to the landscapes. Any fan of the movies will enjoy the fantastic artwork in this book. On the other hand if you really want to know how Tolkien saw Middle Earth there are two other artist to investigate. Tolkien himself sketched many of the landscapes he envisioned and Pauline Baynes (Tolkien's favorite Middle Earth Artist) also left us glances into the people, places and things. In her maps, the small books she illustrated and poems. I have sought illustrations of Lee and Baynes art for my personal library and have enjoyed both.
Bob H
5

Feb 18, 2018

I remember the first time seeing an Alan Lee painting for the Lord of the Rings. Not the movies, but the old school calendars and the LotR trilogy book with the interior artwork. This was the first time I knew someone had a vision that matched my own view of Middle Earth. (Ok John Howe had some sick artwork, too, but Lee's captured the essence of that world.)
This sketchbook shows his pencil drawings through time in developing the iconic images I've come to associate with Middle Earth. I enjoyed I remember the first time seeing an Alan Lee painting for the Lord of the Rings. Not the movies, but the old school calendars and the LotR trilogy book with the interior artwork. This was the first time I knew someone had a vision that matched my own view of Middle Earth. (Ok John Howe had some sick artwork, too, but Lee's captured the essence of that world.)
This sketchbook shows his pencil drawings through time in developing the iconic images I've come to associate with Middle Earth. I enjoyed seeing more to the sketches than what appeared in the actual paintings.
Alan is a very down to earth person with an amazing talent. You can understand why Peter Jackson used him as a consultant for the art direction in the movies. ...more
5

Mar 11, 2013

Having received this as a gift from my other half, I was rather extatic as I have been wishing for this sketch collection for this past couple of years. Alan Lee showcases his talent at reimagining the world as created by J.R.R. Tolkien in the years just shy of 1950. I love the perennial feel to the drawings, the immense attention to detail, the slightly altered look and feel as compared to the movie. A must for any LOTR fan.
4

Jun 06, 2011

For any LOTR fan, this book is a must-see-must-read. It is of the utmost importance that you read the comments made by Allan as well as drooling over the images (use a towel, dammit, don't drool all over the book!) to get the extent of his work in LOTR.
Unfortunatelly, some of the sketches came out a bit faded when printed and some of the lines are unclear, but such is the fate of pencil sketches, not much mode you can do! Only reason why i didn't rate it 5 =)
5

Nov 29, 2015

This book is an absolute treasure! This contains over 150 delicate pencil sketches and Alan Lee is a pencil genius. There's writing all through the book on how Alan Lee took inspiration and how he drew a lot of the pictures.

As a keen amateur artist, I found myself glued to the book. I love to do sensitive and detailed sketches. Lee's ones are some of the highly refined pencil sketches I've seen.
5

Oct 27, 2018

I was very lucky to receive this book for my birthday this year, as it has been on my wish list for some time. I must admit I had forgotten this book was on my wish list, so it was a great surprise to receive it. I remember my mom buying me the centenary illustrated edition of The Lord of Rings and it is one of my favourite books, so to actually be able read how Alan Lee came up with his amazing art work has been rather exciting.

Firstly, I must admit I did not read the book, I just sat there I was very lucky to receive this book for my birthday this year, as it has been on my wish list for some time. I must admit I had forgotten this book was on my wish list, so it was a great surprise to receive it. I remember my mom buying me the centenary illustrated edition of The Lord of Rings and it is one of my favourite books, so to actually be able read how Alan Lee came up with his amazing art work has been rather exciting.

Firstly, I must admit I did not read the book, I just sat there looking at each page and the beautiful art work appearing on each page, remembering where the sketches fit in with the narrative. I was pleased I took the time to enjoy the art work first, as I know I am quite often guilty of getting too absorbed in the words and missing out on the beauty of the art.

Once I had seen all the artwork I then went back to the beginning and started to read. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the book, sometimes with these types of books I easily loose focus and find it hard to finish the book. However, this book I could not put down. I loved how Lee described the history he has with the story and how parts of his childhood influenced his imagination for some of the scenes. Lee describes how when he read The Lord of the Rings he was constantly imagining what the scene looked like and thinking what was Tolkien wanting the scenes to look like and what images were influencing his descriptions in the book and Lee wanting to be as true to that as he could.

Seeing the little sketches and ideas that Lee worked through in the book gives you a glimpse into what it must be like inside Lee’s head. I can not imagine that he ever stops creating either in his head or doodling on paper, that is what comes across most in the book. He is always thinking and working.

The details in the book about how the film sets were created are fascinating and just magical. It really brought it home to be just how many people were involved in the making of one of my all time film series. I also loved how Lee is happily telling the reader about his frustrations, the art work he wasn’t so happy with and particularly when he had to pull all nighters.

I truly loved this book and even though I have finished it, I still pick it up and dip in to look again at this stunning artwork.

For the full review please go to my blog at ladybookdragon.com ...more
5

Jan 19, 2019

A perk of marrying another massive nerd is getting to add their collection of books to your own. I’ve been eyeing this book up on his shelf for years but it only after moving in together did I get the time to sit and read it properly. It’s beautiful. The sketches are wonderful and I loved reading the accompanying anecdotes from Alan Lee.
5

May 17, 2018

Fantastic. Great and inspiring illustrations for an artist like myself.
Really interesting to see (or read) the "behind the scenes" in book form instead of watching videos of them. I never knew how much Alan Lee impacted the movies. Highly suggested to read if you are a LotR fan!
5

November 28, 2019

fascinating art and creative process book
I am still in the early stages of reading this. In the first chapter there are already some valuable insights, and very intriguing descriptions of the work and process of this accomplished, highly professional artist.
5

April 25, 2017

Great art used for story development for the Lord of the Rings movies
I'm not sure how helpful the selections that Amazon gives for rating the book, "full of surprises", "steady pace", "well developed characters". It's a sketchbook, full of art from the Lord of the Rings, there's no plot/story/characters (except characters in the movie). The book is a little smaller than I was expecting but the inside art is fantastic.

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