Middle-earth on the back of an envelope: Sketch of Thorin and Others

Every now and again it’s fun to opt for something less wordy here at the blog.  Middle-earth usually provides the inspiration. I have a habit of doodling on random bits of paper I find – very often it will be the proverbial back of an envelope.  A series of lines or a bit of shading might sometimes morph into a sketch, which somehow or other takes a Middle-earth turn.  I usually have no idea what scene or even character the sketch represents, but that’s  OK – I like to leave it ambiguous.

The more disposable the piece of paper, the better – doodling purely for fun, with nothing at stake, is good for creativity it seems. Though I enjoy it, the only time I might draw something ‘properly’ these days – i.e. sitting down with a clean piece of paper, with inks, pencils and purpose – is if I’ve had a request from my niece and nephews. (They’re probably too young to read The Lord of the Rings, but they love and are often re-reading The Hobbit). I usually get them to draw the character or scene they’ve requested from me, so that we can compare our different imaginings at the end – it’s a lot of fun to see similarities and divergences; but it’s also a way of capturing the spontaneous images they had already created in their minds, without imposing my own images on them.  Everyone has their own interpretations – each reader/ listener is constantly creating and building the visual universe that the author has already articulated for us on paper.  In that sense there are two creations that take place with any secondary universe – the author’s and our own.

Anyhow, I promised this post would be less wordy! So, here are a few sketches. this one here literally was on the back of a small brown envelope – it became something quite dark. I’ve never seen rocks like that in my life, but there they were, threatening and horrible.  I cut the drawing to size and ended up using it as my go-to bookmark whenever I read The Lord of the Rings.


This one was a simple, quick sketch – a tree turned into a forest, which inevitably ended up lining a path to a distant mountain.  It has the honour of being drawn on a ripped bit of paper – some shopping list on the back.


And this one was done as a request from my nephew. It’s supposed to be Thorin son of Thrain from The Hobbit.  My nephew has not watched any of the Peter Jackson films, but of course he caught sight of the various posters and Lego figures depicting the characters – he did not approve, for him Thorin looked much older and had grey-white hair.  I concurred, so this is what came about. I wonder what Thorin has seen or noticed. He doesn’t look noble enough for an exiled king, but I think dwarvish enough to pass for a dwarf.


We had some fun trying to imagine what the Necromancer looked like – did he even have a body? What is he? Will he come back? Just how bad is he? Though he gets only small mentions in The Hobbit, the kids are intrigued by him – they’re convinced there must be much more to it than the book tells us… I think they’re on to something.

A friend of mine said her favourite blogposts here are the drawings – since they are so scant, and since I know she is not interested in my ramblings about To Kill a Mockingbird and whatnot, I hope this compensates 🙂 .

This entry was posted in Art, Tolkien and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Middle-earth on the back of an envelope: Sketch of Thorin and Others

  1. A very pleasant read and great drawings. I love the Lord of the Rings. I have a draft that I started a year ago that was meant to be a humourous take on events in Middle Earth. Still haven’t been inspired enough to finish it. I liked your line ‘I think they are on to something’ about the Necromancer. It made me chuckle. They totally are! Thanks 🙂 Tony.

    • earthoak says:

      Thanks Tony, that’s very kind! 🙂 yes it’s funny hearing the kids debating what might happen in the sequel – they don’t yet know the significance of the Ring. i hope you do finish your own LOTR project, it sounds a lot of fun – I’d read it! Thanks again for dropping by.

  2. Saya says:

    ooo the bookmark is my favourite
    I want a bookmark
    make me a bookmark

  3. What a great conversation to begin! What does this or that character look like? What is happening in that scene, in that landscape. I think your niece and nephew are fortunate to have you. And, of course, I am so glad that they are enjoying READING The Hobbit!

    • earthoak says:

      Thanks, that’s most kind! Yes I’m thrilled they’re able to appreciate the story as a book, leaves so much more room for their imagination than other mediums.

  4. T says:

    4 bookmarks for us please! Enjoyed the read and sketches- though ended much too soon….thank you! Oh when oh when will I get time to finally read Lord of the Rings *sigh*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s