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WIP:Lords of Noldor: Finwe

By aautio
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WORK IN PROGRESS: Finwë, King of the Ñoldor

”In those days [Indis] had looked upon the Lord of the Noldor, and he seemed to her fairest and noblest of the Eldar, dark-haired and white of brow, eager of face but with eyes full of thought; and his voice and mastery of words delighted her.”

-- J. R. R. Tolkien: The Later Quenta Silmarillion (II): Of the Silmarils and the Darkening of Valinor, §24 (HoME X: Morgoth's Ring)

Character Background

Finwë was one of the four original envoys of the Elven peoples who visited Valinor with the Vala Oromë and then persuaded the Eldar to leave their original homes at Kúivienen. He led the Ñoldor during the Great March and eventually became their king in Tirion. He was undoubtedly among the oldest Elves in Aman and was renowned for his wisdom. But later he, like most of his people, seems to have become more proud, vainglorious and often let emotion overrule his famed wisdom. He favoured his eldest son, named all his sons after himself, and pursued his own happiness over that of his people..

Design Concept

I picture Finwë as very tall (although not as tall as most of his descendants at 6'5" /196 cm) and thin, with a narrow face, sharp features and very long and straight raven-black hair. He would wear incredibly ornate and luxurious raiment wrought of the most exquisite materials, embroidered with gold and jewels. His colours would be gold, ruby and sapphire. He would be fond of intricate jewellery and carry many tokens of his exalted position, like the crown, the sceptre, the necklace, the belt, the signet ring..

The heraldic design is my interpretation of Tolkien’s original design for Finwë. The smaller design below his name is my idea for a more simplified emblem of the House of Finwë - a silver/gold.. star (I’ll avoid calling it “sun” since the mythology is confusing and contradictory..). I might still simplify it by removing the circle, but let’s see..


This is a WIP character sketch for my “Lords of the Ñoldor” project. It combines the scanned, not-yet-cleaned-up pencil lineart without shading or highlights, the current idea for the heraldic device(s) and the Tengwar inscription (I haven't decided yet whether I want to use the regular script or the cursive style, so I included both) to be used in the triptych. At some point I might finish it up as an individual character portrait but for now it’s just a WIP component.

Character drawn on regular copy paper, no references used. The originals are quite small; each character is under 15 cm tall (that’s a bit under 6” for the measurement-impaired). I draw them with a regular HB pencil that I try not to sharpen too much.. gives the line a nice thickness and more lively(=uneven) character. The size also keeps me from adding too many details, which would be lost anyway in the finished piece where the characters are fairly small.

The heraldic designs were drawn in AutoCAD, I looked at Tolkien’s design for reference. Assembled in Photoshop. (--Hard to say what category this should go into, but let’s say traditional, since the pencil drawing is the main thing..)

It’s still WIP, so comments, ideas, suggestions, etc. are more than welcome! :)

WIP:Lords of Noldor: Triptych Layout

WIP:Lords of Noldor: Character Portraits
Image details
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© 2007 - 2021 aautio
anonymous's avatar
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VisAnastasis's avatar
Finwe! Must fav! How to resist ? :heart:
Iavas's avatar
I love this picture, even though I have always had a tough time deciding between envisioning the high-ranking Noldor wearing elegant, royal but utterly uncomfortable finery (as you have depicted) and seeing them as wearing equally elegant and ornate but practical clothing that would allow them to partake in more physical activities regardless of status. Perhaps it depended on their mood and plans for the day. One question I must ask, though, is why you considered Finwe to be so egotistical. The naming convention was, as far as I am aware, a custom of the Noldor, and his only failure to his people was the decision to accompany Feanor to exile (which was based more on love for his firstborn than any lack of wisdom). I'm just saying I never got that impression when I was reading the Silmarillion and am wondering if I perhaps missed something.

Anyway, great picture. I'm going to go explore some more of your gallery now.
Zephyr-Zucchini's avatar
Its very good! Quite the elfy king :)
But his robes...a bit much...
aautio's avatar
Thanks! :) Yeah, bot Finwë and Fëanor turned out quite dandy.. but I just figured they liked showing off! ;)
Zephyr-Zucchini's avatar
elf lords showing off? SCANDELOUS! whats next? Tall dwarves?
aautio's avatar
:lol: Possibly..

I've just always pictured the Noldor as quite vainglorious.
Zephyr-Zucchini's avatar
oh yes, naturally....but they cover it up with arrogance.....does that sound stupid to you? as i re-read it i find myself blushing...
aautio's avatar
Umm.. no, I wouldn't say stupid, but it doesn't make much sense.. since I see all that as pretty much one and the same (but being a non-native speaker, I might miss a nuance there..:roll:)
Zephyr-Zucchini's avatar
nope, not at all . Maybe theres a difference like the one between car and automobile..I do that alot :P
Sirielle's avatar
Fantastic, finally my poor Finwë will have a decent avatar (though all details will be gone, but I'll link back here). I'm between travelling, but will take a closer look later and tell of any suggestions if I have them :) Keep doing great job! :D

Finwë is missing so much, there are almost no portraits of him! (And I've never finished mine, eh.)
aautio's avatar
True, not many Finwës out there.. I'm glad you like mine. :)
Idril-Celebrindal's avatar
Wonderful work. I can't wait to see the whole project.
aautio's avatar
Thanks! Me neither! ;)
Lilies3's avatar
Wow, that looks absolutely amazing :D
the detail and proportion (<-- did I spell it right? :S)
is perfect ;P
wonderful job:love:
aautio's avatar
Thanks a lot! :hug: (and yes, the spelling is correct.. although to be precise, it's almost exclusively used in plural in this context -- hence "proportions" would be better.. :))
Lilies3's avatar
yur welcome:D
and thank yu! I will keep in lesson in mind :hug:
Unreal-Abstract's avatar
The outfit is amazing. His face even more. The expression somehow highlits his noble birth I may say...
aautio's avatar
Thank you! :) That's what I was going for.. noble and gracious, but perhaps slightly patronizing..
Unreal-Abstract's avatar
:) Then you succeeded!

And sorry i didn't reply to the first message. You were talking about how nice it is when you meet the real Tolkien fans. Alas, today everybody calls themselves real Tolkien fans, and in the end you realize they've only watched movies and played the game which is very bad. Speaking of games, I remember the LOTR game I played on my old pc. I think it was 286 or something. Maybe even older. But anyway, it is a game made by Interplay which no one remembers anymore. It helped me to learn to read. :) So I grew up on Tolkien's stories!

*whispers* and the first book I ever read was The Hobbit. ;)
aautio's avatar
Thanks! Hhmm.. I don't think I've ever played any Tolkien-themed computer game, so I don't remember that either.. too bad, I'm sure I would've loved it if I had had it back then!

Good choice for the first book to read! :D
Toradh's avatar
That's a very special clothing design this time. The fur and the jewelly look so… unused! I'd call it "unusual" in a totally positive way of meaning. It's different from many other interpretations of Tolkien's elves and yet fits very well.
Great job on that!
aautio's avatar
Thank you! :) I made a small sketch for his outfit an those clothes just.. happened. :D
atsouza's avatar
Oh my, if this is any indication, this completed piece is going to be fabulous. Again, I'd just like to state how remarkable your Tolkien characterizations are.
anonymous's avatar
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