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Orc breeds by Mara999 Orc breeds by Mara999
This is my take on Tolkien's orcs, judging by what little detail is described in the books. Tolkien describes orcs as having many different breeds, bred for different purposes by their masters. He doesn't really differentiate between orcs and goblins like later fantasy fiction does, but "goblin" is mostly used about those in the north of Middle-Earth. These orcs are also a bit like mongrel dogs, as they've lived on their own literally for ages, which is why they're smaller than most of Sauron's orcs from Mordor.

The most prominent of all breeds are the Uruks of Mordor, as well as Saruman's own Uruk-Hai. Saruman's creatures are described as larger than most orcs and even taller than the older "model" of Uruk. I've tried to make the Mordor Uruks look more primitive and ugly than the Isengarders on purpose, to make both more distinct from each other. The same goes for their gear, which for the Uruk-Hais is described as being more like that of humans.

It is implied that there is a breed meant exclusively for labour, except when Sauron gets desperate enough to send them out to war as well. These "snaga" are the troops that Frodo and Sam travel with briefly.

There is also a small tracker-breed, called a "snuffler" in its sole appearance in Return of the King. They're described as having over-developed sensory organs, especially their noses.

The "common" orcs aren't described very well, but I reckon they'd look like a very mixed bunch, with a wide variety of skintones and features shared with the more distinct breeds.
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biohazard09 Featured By Owner May 14, 2018
There more ape like
Zedekial Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2017
Don't forget Mewlips!
Woaddragon Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2016  Hobbyist
Freat Organization
grisador Featured By Owner May 26, 2015
Awesome Artwork ! :D

There're also Gundabad 'Hercules' Orcs, Morannon Orcs, Moria Goblin/Orc & Half Orcs

May I ask do you draw any female orcs in this artwork ? Since there's a thing that says females are pretty much like Males :O
Mara999 Featured By Owner May 28, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
All of these are male, as far as I can guess. I haven't really decided yet how much sexual dimorphism I'd expect from orcs, but I have some ideas for future drawings.
grisador Featured By Owner May 30, 2015
Everyone 'agrees' Female orcs are same as females; Odd fact actually
Clovis-91 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2014
It is very useful to explain people the different kinds of orcs.
alam033 Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2013
Very charming illustrations :-)
Zeonista Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2013
Really great version of all the orc-folk! Pretty much a RPG ID sheet in itself. They really are an unlovely but fierce bunch, aren't they? :) (Smile) 
bagasuit091 Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Very interesting interpretations!
LoneCarbineer Featured By Owner May 16, 2012  Student General Artist
That's some cool stuff, always wondered about the distance between the Mordor orcs and the Uruks!
Samtron75v1 Featured By Owner May 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
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This'll explain all the differences among other stuff if you want to take a peek.
LoneCarbineer Featured By Owner May 18, 2013  Student General Artist
Neat, thanks!
NordicLynx Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Interesting :)
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Submitted on
July 4, 2011
Image Size
557 KB


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