In Tolkien's writing "Easterling" is a catchall term for all peoples living in the eastern regions of Middle-Earth, rather than for just one specific culture. As such there is an implied wide variety in ethnic groups and civilizations to the east of Gondor, some of whom have united in their service first to Morgoth and then to Sauron. The man here is based on the description of axe-wielding bearded Easterlings, with some additional inspiration from the works of Robert E Howard.
Yeah. Don't get me wrong, I do like the designs of the Arab Asian Easterlings, but I also like the idea that Sauron didn't just recruit one race of humans, but several, including several races of Caucasoid humans (asides from Corsairs and Wild Men), which would go along with that scene from the Rankin Bass return of the king. Where there's a regular human in league with Sauron and his men get in a fight with the orcs?
I imagined that group of men seen in RotK as being some analogue to ancient Bulgars or some other Turkic people in conflict with the Byzantines, whom I see the Gondorians comparable with. The Black Numenoreans would be a good example of explicitly European-looking humans working for Sauron, but I also picture the Variags of Khand as Northmen working for eastern kings.
This Easterling looks awesome. Kinda looks like a Mongol and a Viking
My main source of inspiration are how many Hyrkanians (ancient proto-Mongols) look like in Marvel's old comics about Conan the Barbarian.
I like this Easterling, who looks pretty tough, and ready to fight for the Ruler of Men.
Way a runic that does not spark a racist arguement.