MatejCadil's avatar

The Road Goes Ever On

By MatejCadil
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43 Comments
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The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.


J. R. R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Book I, Chapter 1: A Long-Expected Party
ballpoint pen and watercolour pencils

Another illustration for one of the beautiful Tolkien poems, this time it is The Old Walking Song, which appears several times throughout The Lord of the Rings in several variations. This is the first one, sung by Bilbo, as he leaves the Bag End for his permanent holiday after the Long-Expected Party.
For a beautiful musical version, listen to the Tolkien Ensemble: youtu.be/Y8lcVJPX-sk
By the way, can you recognize some particular places details in the picture? :-)
IMAGE DETAILS
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2635x6830px 5.22 MB
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© 2016 - 2020 MatejCadil
Comments43
anonymous's avatar
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MichaelRMaranda's avatar
MichaelRMarandaProfessional Artisan Crafter
:star::star::star::star: Overall
:star::star::star::star::star-half: Vision
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Originality
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Technique
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Impact

At first glance the choice for an extreme portrait length was unsettling, but after viewing the work further it became a fantastic narration. It draws the eye of the viewer on a voyage ahead which compliments the subject matter of the work. I would encourage you to take this idea and compose some variations of different perspectives to convey an even better impact on the viewer. The storybook illustrative style is also a compliment to the subject with light colors that enhance the fairy-tale aspect, however the colors could be altered in hue to enhance a difference between foreground and background. I feel the line strengths could be altered to convey a better effect of distance. As mentioned with the color, the line work in the foreground are just as strong as the line work in the background and this disrupts the illusion of distance. Overall I feel the work is well composed and your ideas for conveying the subject matter are excellent. Your choice of medium I feel was spot on and I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.
MatejCadil's avatar
MatejCadilHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for your fair critique.
I really like how it came turned out, so I've been already thinking about using the same concept for more pictures.
I am aware of the shortcomings when it comes to conveying the effect of distance. Of course I wanted even the further parts to be recognizable, but when I look at the finished piece I have to admit especially the mountains stand out too much from the picture, so that could use some more work and I thank you for your recommendations.
By the way, when it comes to the effect of distance, I really like one WIP photo of it I took, where it is supplemented by the camera focus (though in the illustration itself I wouldn't like it so blurred):

The Road Goes Ever On-wip by MatejCadil  
MichaelRMaranda's avatar
MichaelRMarandaProfessional Artisan Crafter
No problem my friend. I enjoy your illustrative style. I am glad I am able to help. I look forward to viewing your work in the future.
avorteps's avatar
avortepsStudent Interface Designer
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Overall
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Vision
:star::star::star::star-empty::star-empty: Originality
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Technique
:star::star::star::star::star-half: Impact

I must say that I didn't know this poem by Tolkien. However, I instantly recognized the Tolkien world by looking at your drawing! You have captured the essence of this world perfectly while staying true to your own style.

I really like how the road tells a story. You can definitely see the journey the character is gonna go through. The viewer's mind can trace and imagine the adventures even though the road has just begun. A good illustration of a book captures and excites the audience, and you have done this very well.

The composition is standard, classic. I don't mean this in a bad way. I, personally, think it suits what you are visualising very well-a long,exciting journey. The height of the image contributes to the storytelling and allows both you and the viewer to engage with the image on many levels. I personally, like how the landscape gradually transforms in a more harsh environment, which is very typical for Tolkien's stories.

The image gives me a bit of 2D vibes but you have kept the perspective quite neatly by leaving out details the further the eye goes. I would suggest to add a few more details to the hills after the hobbit holes because the mountains after them draw the eye much more and it appears as if they are closer.

All in all, I think this is a really beautiful and engaging piece with a lot of attention to detail. Well done!
aw-landscapes's avatar
I believe that she means that the hills behind Weathertop draw the eye more than the Barrowdowns. The Misty Mountains are just fine. 

Maybe it would help to make the Weather Hills a bit less contrasty and shift the colour a bit more towards yellowish.
MatejCadil's avatar
MatejCadilHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks a lot for your thorough critique.

You're probably right about the more detailed mountains. The picture more or less in a stylized way pictures the road from the Shire to the east, as described in the Hobbit and the first book of LotR. And as far as I remember, the Misty Mountains were always seen as one of the most menacing obstacles on this road, so I wanted to express that. But I agree that in the finished picture it is not good if they stand out too much and appear to be closer.

Overall it was an interesting challenge for me as I had to make a compromise between perspective (and realistic depiction of the landscape) and a map-like stylization, showing the course of the road and keeping even the furthest parts recognizable.
avorteps's avatar
avortepsStudent Interface Designer
When I pressed reply on your comment, the drawing appeared in a small thumbnail and I was able to see the great job you've done with the perspective. It looks really good! 

And you are welcome ^^
kumarkiranb356's avatar
kumarkiranb356Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Your picture looks really, really gorgeous! I like the color pencil and ink shading you gave!
MatejCadil's avatar
MatejCadilHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks! :-)
kumarkiranb356's avatar
kumarkiranb356Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You’re really welcome! And be sure to watch me soon.
noleme's avatar
I think I can recognize almost all the little details, but I'm not sure about the white stones on the path before the mountains - are those the markers for the way to Rivendell, or...?
And lol, Bilbo is too eager to go and left his dwarf company to chase after him from Bag End. ^ ^
MatejCadil's avatar
MatejCadilHobbyist Traditional Artist
Yes, these are the stones marking the way, though in the small size I didn't bother to make it very precise... :-)
And about Bilbo leaving his company... Well, it is obviously not intended to be a literal illustration of the scene from the book, more an illustration of the song itself and of the road that goes on and on... :-)
aredhelfromtirion's avatar
Strašně, strašně moc se mi líbí, jak záložka obsáhne doopravdy celou Bilbovu cestu až k Ereboru, ty detaily jsou ohromující: most přes Brandyvínu, Hůrka, Mohylové vrchy, hrady Rhudauru, Roklinka, Skalbal, Meddědův dům, Jezerní město... jsou to Komáří močály, co vidím??? Nemůžu se vynadívat. :)
MatejCadil's avatar
MatejCadilHobbyist Traditional Artist
No jo, hrozně mě bavilo to tam všechno poskládat. =D Samozřejmě v těch bližších částech jsou to hlavně místa známá z první části Pána prstenů, ale říkal jsem si, že to celkem sedí dohromady – ostatně ta písnička sama je z Pána prstenů, i když ji jako první zpívá Bilbo. Určitě by se tam dalo ještě pár detailů přidat (podrobnější krajina v Kraji, dům Toma Bombadila, orlí hnízda v Mlžných horách...), ale to se mi sem už nevešlo. ;-) A ano, Komáří močály tam jsou, kousek za Hůrkou. :-)
peet's avatar
peetProfessional Traditional Artist
Beautiful work with a wonderful vista, capturing all the many elements of that long, epochal journey! Reminds me very much of a similar Howe piece, though I think that was for the LotR saga? Do you know which one I'm talking about?
MatejCadil's avatar
MatejCadilHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for your comment! :-)
I'm not sure what illustration you mean, though I vaguely remember seeing something of this sort (but I don't know whether it was Howe or some other artist).
peet's avatar
peetProfessional Traditional Artist
It's in one of John Howe's art books that I own, illustrated for a board game. Here's a link - the only one I can find, but it looks a lot nicer without the paraphernalia all over it :).

Anyway, this piece reminds me a bit of it :)

thumbs.picclick.com/00/s/NTMzW…
MatejCadil's avatar
MatejCadilHobbyist Traditional Artist
Interesting, I am almost sure I have never seen this one.
Rearda's avatar
ReardaHobbyist Traditional Artist
I love it! You take the road all the way to Erebor in very pleasing detail. Bilbo also took this road after he had relinquished the Ring.
MatejCadil's avatar
MatejCadilHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for your comment, I'm glad you like it! :-)
MensjeDeZeemeermin's avatar
That would also make a great illustration for Bilbo's Last Song.  Very much in harmony with Tolkien's own graphic style.
MatejCadil's avatar
MatejCadilHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you say that, i love Tolkien's own illustrations and it's an honour to be compared with them (it's an interesting thing that although I have seen most of his illustrations by now, some similarity of my style had been pointed out to me before I knew them, so there couldn't have been any direct influence).
MensjeDeZeemeermin's avatar
Sometimes you just think like someone else did...
Toraach's avatar
ToraachHobbyist Photographer
An impressive portrait of the Hobbit in one picture :) 

I miss new pictures from Gondor series :) 
anonymous's avatar
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