Fridays at the Mathom-House: The Grey Pilgrim

The Mathom-house it was called; for anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away, they called a ‘mathom’.
–The Fellowship of the Ring; Prologue 

The week was long, work was . . . longer, but no matter, cause Friday is here and with it comes a boat-load of awesome LOTR and Hobbit artwork. So sit back, get your scrolly-finger ready and prepare to be amazed. This week, instead of focusing on a single artist, I thought we'd take a look at several different artists who've done some great renditions of everybody's favorite wizard . . . Gandalf the Grey.

First up, we've got what might be my favorite version of Gandalf I've ever seen, by Lucas Graciano. Like the artist featured last week, this piece was done for the Lord of the Rings card game. I like this version of Gandalf so much cause it seems to show how the wizard can be gruff and contemplative at the same time. Lucas is an amazing illustrator and you can see more of his stuff at his website.

It'd be impossible to talk about Gandalf without mentioning the two artists who have really cemented the wizard in the world's collective imagination. First, there's John Howe, who's did probably the most iconic picture of the Grey Pilgrim ever (below). Just looking at it you can see where Peter Jackson's Gandalf came from. Below the first picture is a rendition of Gandalf and the Balrog that is one of my favorites. Enjoy.

Along with John Howe, Alan Lee is probably with the most prolific Tolkien artist in the world. Both illustrators were chosen to be concept artists for the original LOTR movies, and they are both back working on the new Hobbit films. This picture by Lee below was (in my mind) the major inspiration for the set-up and framing of a lot of shots during the FOTR movie when Gandalf introduces Frodo to the One Ring.

Last but not last is a rendition of Gandalf by my personal friend, Bryce Lowry, who's currently working on his BFA. Bryce has done a lot of great work, which you can see at his blog. This rendition of Gandalf caught my eye because it has a story-book quality that would be perfectly at home in an illustrated version of The Hobbit. I especially liked the green-colored smoke . . . a detail straight from the book that a lot of people probably don't think about. Nice job Bryce!

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