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Home » Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Discussion Forums » Alan Lee discusses The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook and J.R.R. Tolkien

Topic: Motivation
Replies: 1   Pages: 1   Last Post: Nov 11, 2005 10:20 AM by: moderator

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Replies: 1

Posts: 1
Registered: 11/7/05
Posted: Nov 7, 2005 10:54 AM
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First of all, I would like to say that I deeply admire your work as both an illustrator of Tolkien's writings and as a pre-production artist on Peter Jackson's trilogy.
As an artist myself (I just started posting my work at kongisking.net if you have time for a look), I find that I can be my own worst enemy in that my impatience to see my own finished pieces is often the cause of endless procrastination. It's a paradox, I know, and perhaps there is an explanation that I am not aware of, but I have pages and pages of sketches that look like the beginnings of scenes where only the most pertinent elements are completed. I do find, however, that- since taking up the digital pen and tablet, with all its conveniences- I am much more inclined to see a piece through.
My three-fold question is: a) do you also experience this frustrating, procrastinative tendency in yourself? b) do you have some sort of exercise or routine to help you get over that hump? and c) have you found at all that dabbling in digital media has opened new doors for you in any way as an artist?


Posts: 12
Registered: 2/18/05
Re: Motivation
Posted: Nov 11, 2005 10:19 AM
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I have many more ideas for pictures and projects than I actually complete. Very often the process of planning and executing one picture will stimulate a great many more ideas, and having too many ideas can end up with you being unable to follow through on any one of them. It obviously helps having a commission, or being part of a team all pulling in one direction, but if you donít it would help to act as though there were and set a schedule for yourself. Itís important to enjoy every part of the process if you can. The initial conception can be more exciting than the subsequent more exacting and difficult work, but in my experience, if that part starts to bore me, it somehow shows in the finished picture, so I try to continue that initial fresh and exploratory period as far into the completion of the painting as possible. Working in watercolour really helps, as it keeps responding in slightly unexpected ways. One of the things I find exciting about digital art is that you are progressing through all the stages in one continuum. You donít have to put one sheet aside to continue the work on another as you do in more traditional media. So you can start with the vaguest and most loosely executed sketch and go right through to a highly finished end result without breaking your concentration, and have every stage preserved through the process so that you can feel free to experiment. That is possibly why more bold and experimental work is being done in Photoshop than in other media at the moment.

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