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Ecthelion of the fountain

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By Snow-Monster   |   Watch
Published: November 10, 2018
© 2018 - 2019 Snow-Monster
"And high and noble as was Elemmakil, greater and more lordly was Ecthelion, Lord of the Fountains, at that time Warden of the Great Gate. All in silver was he clad, and upon his shining helm there was set a spike of steel pointed with a diamond."

― Unfinished Tales, Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin

A wounded Ecthelion prepares to take on Gothmog, lord of the balrogs and the hosts of Morgoth at the fall of Gondolin. From J.R.R.Tolkien's the Silmarillion.

A good deal of Greek hoplite designs were used in Ecthelion and his armor, but without intending to make him look Hellenistic. Since Gindolin fell relatively early on in Middle-earth's history the idea was to make the city and its elven warriors feel as ancient as possible while keeping in mind that these were a very skilled and intelligent race. Plate mail would still have been new, armor would still have been relatively simple, and swords less intricate, but all would still have been perfectly well designed and soundly crafted.

The fountain of kings is described as being large enough to drown a balrog so that presented an interesting challenge since fountains are rarely much bigger than large bird baths...even the ancient ones. In order to make it large enough, I opted to make it more of a waterfall flowing down from the snowy peaks above making the basin below similar to a small lake.

Again, I wanted to stay away from Weta workshop and Peter Jackson's balrog design and went for a more human approach with the monsters. The Norse creature Surtur (most recently appearing in Thor Ragnorok) was undoubtedly an inspiration to Tolkien in his sub-creations so I incorporated a look that felt similar to a viking silhouette especially with Gothmog.

Done with graphite and pencils.
Image size
3492x2295px 3.39 MB
IMAGE DETAILS
Make
Canon
Model
Canon MG2500 series
Software
ArcSoft PhotoImpression 6
Comments35
anonymous's avatar
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BricksandStones's avatar
Wow, this is another stunning work from you! I love it!
Snow-Monster's avatar
Snow-MonsterHobbyist Traditional Artist
I really appreciate it! Thank you.
JeffLafferty's avatar
JeffLaffertyProfessional Traditional Artist
Awesome piece!
Snow-Monster's avatar
Snow-MonsterHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you very much!
ilikaterina's avatar
ilikaterinaProfessional Traditional Artist
Great!
Snow-Monster's avatar
Snow-MonsterHobbyist Traditional Artist
Much appreciated!
Billy-OCEAN-pi's avatar
Billy-OCEAN-piProfessional Traditional Artist
Fantastic artwork!  The balrogs are my favorite part of it!
Snow-Monster's avatar
Snow-MonsterHobbyist Traditional Artist
Many thanks! I'm happy you like it.
Magnus-Strindboem's avatar
Magnus-StrindboemHobbyist Digital Artist
Wonderful to see some Tales/Silmarillion drawings, and for doing it according to your own vision of them. I love the little ornaments, their in spirit with some of Tolkiens own pictures. I hope you'll do more in time! 
Snow-Monster's avatar
Snow-MonsterHobbyist Traditional Artist
Really pleased you like it! I plan on it. Thanks for your comment!
GinnyFan765's avatar
GinnyFan765Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Really love the non-movie take on Gothmog, and I absolutely adore the design of Ecthelion's armor!
Snow-Monster's avatar
Snow-MonsterHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks a lot!
MatejCadil's avatar
MatejCadilHobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome picture and great design choices for both Ecthelion and Gothmog. I too come to prefer more human-like (and wingless;-)) version of balrogs more and more over time. :-) As for the Golndolindrim and other Elder Days elven designs, I see an interesting dilemma for an artist: On the one hand it seems natural to express the antiquity and early times by simpler and less intricate designs, but on the other hand in Tolkien's legendarium there is the ubiquitous notion of gradual decline from a lost Golden Age, at least for the Exiled Noldor from Valinor (and later for the exiled Númenoreans), so it might be argued that their culture was at its highpoint exactly in its earliest days.
Snow-Monster's avatar
Snow-MonsterHobbyist Traditional Artist
Interesting thoughts, I admit I hadn't thought about this being the golden era of the elves. I agree with what you propose, but I would differ only on the point that this may have been the pinnacle of elven smithwork in function, but I believe that form would have evolved further into the third age. So perhaps there is a decline in the forging of the material, but a natural growth in the aesthetics since there might have been a gradual shift in focus from actually protecting the warrior in countless battles, to producing beautiful craftsmanship due to there being fewer wars and elves to fight in them. Thanks for pointing that out and for the kind words!
BenjaminOssoff's avatar
BenjaminOssoffHobbyist Traditional Artist
Beautiful illustration. I like the dramatic angle you have chosen for the composition.
Snow-Monster's avatar
Snow-MonsterHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! I'm pleased you enjoy it.
katnor's avatar
Beautiful! I love all the details on his armour and the feeling of menace you get from the Balrog. Ecthelion looks very determined.
Snow-Monster's avatar
Snow-MonsterHobbyist Traditional Artist
I appreciate the feedback! I happy you like it!
SabreRoseO's avatar
SabreRoseOHobbyist Artist
Wow. This is just wow. I love the style of shading and highlighting. 
Snow-Monster's avatar
Snow-MonsterHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the kind words!
Libra1010's avatar
 I really love this concept of the Fountain as a natural feature quietly improved upon - which feels very Tolkien - and I definitely think you have done credit to this dramatic moment in the History of Middle Earth.Nod 
Snow-Monster's avatar
Snow-MonsterHobbyist Traditional Artist
Many thanks, Libra! I'm glad you find it appropriate.
Libra1010's avatar
 Thank You for posting your work to be appreciated.Nod 
Fractaldragon's avatar
FractaldragonProfessional Artisan Crafter
Oh well done. And I really appreciated any Tolkien artist who does their own interpretation and avoids the influences of the movies.
anonymous's avatar
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