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Tulikoura's avatar

Nar at the gate of Moria

"Erebor had been sacked many years ago. Thror, now old, poor, and desperate left the Dunland, heading to Khazad-Dum with his only companion Nar, and crossing the Redhorn Pass came down into Azanulbizar.

When Thror came to Moria the Gate was open. Nar begged him to beware, but he took no heed of him, and walked proudly in as an heir that returns. But he did not come back. One day Nar heard a loud shout and the blare of a horn, and a body was flung out on the steps. Fearing that it was Thror, he began to creep near, but there came a voice from within the gate:

"Come on, beardling! We can see you. But there's no need to be afraid today. We need you as messenger."

Then Nar came up, and found that it was indeed the body of Thror, but the head was severed and lay face downwards. As he knelt there, he heard orc-laughter in the shadows.

Nar turned the head and saw branded on the brow in Dwarf-runes so that he could read it the name AZOG. That name was branded in his heart and in the hearts of all dwarves afterwards.

That was the beginning of the War of the Dwarves and the Orcs, which was long and deadly, and fought for the most part in deep places beneath the earth."
Pen & Ink work, a quick illustration. First illustration to my "war of the dwarves and orcs" - serie.
Image details
Image size
1496x2144px 2.24 MB
HP psc1500
Date Taken
Sep 1, 2009, 9:27:15 PM
© 2009 - 2022 Tulikoura
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grisador's avatar
Azog : '' I regret nothing... Nothing ! ''

The illustration is astonishing !

Thought tolkien clearly didn't think adults will realize this part İs in a book read by 'young audence' too :D
Tulikoura's avatar
Thank you, I'm glad you like this :)

Mmm, and nowadays kids read G.R.R.Martin's books. I was struck by the sorrowful tales of dwarves, they always seem to draw the shortest straw :(
grisador's avatar
You're really welcome :D

Oh god; The throne '''thing''' ?! İts just a crime that it vent viral; it killed my hope to humanity ! :(
I can't endure even a single episode of it ! :rage:
İts life explains the dwarf subject as a mere 'disease'.... Dwarves are a disease in a fantasty world !!!

Meh... İts clear the fantasy genre is decaying after the twilight trilogy Massacre
TurnerMohan's avatar
this is a terriffic illustration. i think what impresses me most is how well you've caught the layout of the scene as (sparingly) described by tolkien, the body thrown out on the stairs, the voice of azog from within. i love how the orcs are this indescript clamor of figures in the shadows, close enough to be heard but still largely unseen and threatening (that was always hard to visualize, i think it really helps that you gave moria doors) plus nar is absolutely wonderful, the pose the clothing, the exprssion of pain on his aged face. it's all great, and as one or two commentors have already remarked i love the way you composed this piece, it has such an old time children's book illustration feel to it, whimsical but grim at the same time. a perfect stylistic match for tolkien
Tulikoura's avatar
That's the charm of Tolkien's stories, letting imagination do the work while still giving enough details and information. For this reason it's fun to see how other artist's have imagined same sceneries and persons to look like. When it comes to composing of this illustration... well, this design for Moria's west gate was "bad" in a way how it caused problems later in this serie (it's quite narrow looking space so I added some turns to stairs etc). And usually I draw "full" versions but this one looked fine as it is for some reason. Backgrounds aren't my strongest points and usually I get feedback like "it doesn't look finished" if I leave some white space (frankly speaking, quite many times I have just stopped before I do any mistake, hah).

Thank you for the in-depth comment!
TurnerMohan's avatar
I love your Azanulbizar peice where we see the climbing walls of the west gate from far off, with the dwarves under the eaves of the trees. It conveys the size of the structure, much better than the movies (not to rag on the movies, i loved them, but when I think an artist has done them one better I usually mention it)
I see you're too young (if you were in middle school from 01 to 03) to be this person, but at first I thought you might have been this tolkien artist (who's name escapes me) who did some pen and ink illustrations of the battle of Helm's Deep, utumno, the west gate of moria, and a few others, which featured in a david day book (I think it was "encyclopedia of middle earth") from back in the 90's. I'm guessing you might know who I mean, your style reminds me alot of them.
"au contraire" on the backgrounds, I love that style of pen work where an image will "bleed" on the egdges and in the light spots, allowing the white paper behind to do most of the work. It's that old engraving style you see alot of in old-time book illustrations. I did a lot of work in something like that style for a series of illustrations which, regrettably, i cant put up yet (until the book comes out) only I did them in pencil, which is kind of a cop out (I didnt quite have the guts for pen)
Tulikoura's avatar
I think you mean Ian Miller. I have that book in my bookshelf and needless to say, that artist's style has inspired me a lot. I love his heavy usage of black and how he draws "shiny" metal, as light reflects from the surface. Great stuff.

Usage of "white space" is something I need to practise more. Most of my earlier works are very, say, "dark indistinguishable mass" as described by some viewers thanks little to none contrast between objects. And in some works I didn't know how to draw sky/clouds in a good manner so I left those blank - and people say it's sun, as it's so bright compared to the rest of the image...

Hmh, "only did..." In capable hands pencil creates very soft and vivid look, which can't really be compared to ink-based tools. I dare to say your art doesn't lose to Lee or Howe in that sense.
ElrondPeredhel's avatar
As a huge fan of Dwarves like you I thougt I should let you know that Dwarves don't get bald. That's at least what Tolkien stated in one occasion (can't find the quotation right now but if you want I'll make some research) and he never described a bald dwarf so it's probably a permanent statement :)

Your drawing is still awesome though, I like how Moria looks in the same time amazing and real in your drawings, and I have to say that even knowing it I can't prevent myself from seeing bald-dwarves in my head. :D
Tulikoura's avatar
Hahaa, challenge accepted! This is the same as arguments where people swear they have read about how dúnedain don't have beards or moustache due elven blood while others swear that they have never ever seen those lines (fyi, I belong to the former group...)

Don't get nightmares there, ha ha, for that's what artist's liberty can cause. I personally regret the day when I carelessly clicked lotr-images under tag "bishie Sauron" :XD:
ElrondPeredhel's avatar
Ho you did nor understand me : I don't get nightmare cause of your bald-dwarve. I was saying I still continue myself, even if i know there are no bald-dwarves, to see some dwarves as bald. It's a strong "cliche" and I learnt it only lately so it's difficult to eliminate it.

Bishie Sauron ? You are speaking about this : [link] ? It's not that chocking though. Not like "chibi Sauron", with those my eyes are bleeding...

But I was not kiddding. :) I say a lot of b***s*** about Tolkien but here I was sure cause when I rode that I was chocked. Here is the quotation :
"The Making of Appendix A" Part IV:
Durin's Folk suggests different Dwarf "breeds" vary in longevity, giving an average life expectancy of 250 years in the Third Age, though some made it to 300. Dwarves are said to "harden" and gain the appearance of age (by human standards) quickly. Between the ages of 40 and 240 was their prime, and they looked much alike in age. During this time their capacity for toil and fighting was equally great amongst most Dwarves. After 240 they began to age, wrinkle, and go white quickly (though they don't go bald). While immune to the diseases that affected Men and Halflings, they could suffer from corpulence (a danger when they had stable lodgings), and if they grew very fat at 200 or before, they couldn't do much except eat afterwards."

Sorry :/

On bearded Dunedain it's also an interisting subject (I saw you commenting long time ago about that on one of Merlkir's drwaings). Here is what I know :
- Tolkien never said "all Dunedain". The only Dunedain we know with elvish blood are the line of Elros and the Princes of Dol Amroth. All the others are not concerned.
- But it's true that Tolkien said that. You can find it at the End of the texy called "of Amroth and Nimrodel" in the Unfinished tales II (I only have a french version so you'll have to look by yourself) : the elvish blood could be seen in some men cause they didn't have beard (an elvish thing) or something like that. Unfortunately it's only a resume from Cristopher and not the exact words of Tolkien, so it's difficult to know if Tolkien was speaking about ALL men with Elvish blood or just some.
- Cause Tolkien don't tell anything for Boromir or Aragorn for example. But we know two "men" with Elves ancestors and beards (as I said to Merlkir) : Theoden with a long white beard and the statue of the King of Gondor, at the Cross-roads.

So I don't know about that, I prefer to say nothing as long as nobody said "Dunedain don't have beards".

No I don't have answers to everything. Yes I still like your drawing.

Have a good day (or a good night, I don't know) ;)
ElrondPeredhel's avatar
*bald dwarF, my bad
Bladescream's avatar
I'm utterly amazed at your artwork, and certainly no less this piece. I've read this part of the story in the appendices many times, but I've never come across a work of art that illustrates the scene so closely as I've seen it in my mind - except this one. I imagine this is what it must have looked like, if pictures went along with the story. But aside from the amazing depiction, your talent is also incredible. :) Thanks so much for sharing your artwork for all to see - I'm glad that you did, because works like this are rare.
Also, I'm fond of the way you depicted the orcs/goblins. Of all things Tolkien-related, they seem to be among the most mysterious as far as appearances go. They're shady in the book; we don't really know what they look like aside from subtle hints that could be interpreted in so many ways. It's hard for me to come across an orc picture that I like, but yours is one of them.
Tulikoura's avatar
I'm glad you like this! Hehe, it's quite flattering when someone thanks me for drawing, as I do it just for my own joy. Still, it's somehow nice to know someone's image about the scene matches with mine. I love how many Tolkien artists here are - everyone are able to find something that is similar to their vision of the Middle-Earth. There aren't too much artwork made about "war of the dwarves and orcs", which is a shame, though... but on the other hand that was an aspect that inspired me to draw. Stories about dwarves are very sad and still almost ignored; this was another reason.

Ah, orcs and goblins. Tolkien masterfully left enough room for imagination when describing certain locations and creatures. There are surely as many versions of orcs as there are artists! I think my version is strongly influenced by the great artist Ian Miller, like my style altogether.

Thank you very much for the comment!
JamesCloudy's avatar
That is amazing! my favourite piece
Tulikoura's avatar
I'm glad you like this. This was the first drawing I made to the "War between Dwarves and Orcs" -serie which was fun to draw. Chronological drawing might be a real pain in the ass sometimes, but luckily it wasn't the case in this serie - from the gate to the pyres all events were equally interesting and fun to illustrate.
Qitian's avatar
Okay, now that I've seen the whole series, I'm even more impressed. All those details! And yet you manage to keep the focus on the heart of the picture each time. As another commenter has already said, you're really bringing the emotions of the story across - not an easy feat with dwarves (I think)! And now you've made me want to go and read up on this storyline.
Great job all around!
Tulikoura's avatar
Thank you for watching this serie and for the in-depth comment. Whole idea was to tell this story (in short) using my point of view, story which is rare even to some Tolkien fans I think.

It isnt easy to "add" some emotions to illustration, as facial expressions are still hard to draw... so I wouldnt brag myself and tell I have succeeded in that aspect. Its up to viewer to decide. But when you tell it works, it naturally adds my confidence.
Qitian's avatar
I think it works very well! I find facial expressions very hard even with bare Elvish faces, and would probably find them impossible with additional beards, so I admire your efforts all the more. (And I definitely think you succeeded :))
Artigas's avatar
Very emotive piece! You have the gift of transmit emotion in your drawings. The composition is also a strong point here.
I love your expressive style of crosshatching.
Tulikoura's avatar
Well, I have to say I consider myself succeeded if you think my drawings can provoke feelings. This work isnt flawless, after all - some mistakes with drawing ink which are hard to hide.

Here I tried to "restrain" the area I drew, as I noticed full-sized picture may have been too complicated. Not entirely new thing to me, but it was worth of trying - and it was naturally faster to draw.
Artigas's avatar
One that I like the most!
You make it all emotion and feeling. Reminds me of Gustave Doré, in some expressive pieces of him.
Moumou38's avatar
what a beautiful drawing ! I love it

by the way, at the beginning it reminded me a scene from Final Fantasy 9, when we're going to Freija's birth city ^^ xD
Tulikoura's avatar
That sounds interesting, although I have to admit I dont have any FF experience. It's a shame, considering how great serie it is. But thank you for the comment!
Moumou38's avatar
you're most welcome ! xD
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