I've been a big fan of Alan's work since the Fairies book and have loved the art for lord of the rings. I have 2 questions. First, how much in the stetchbook is new material (previously unreleased)? Secondly I'm curious how much reference material (if any) Alan uses while working. I'm an artist myself, who does mostly wildlife imagery, and it would be interesting to find out how much pure imagination and how much reality is involved in the work. Thanks!
Most of the pencil drawings in the book haven’t been published before. Some have been published in the various “art of“ books, and some have been used in the menus for the DVD’s, but the majority have been taken either from the bulk of the conceptual material that hasn’t been seen, or from drawings done while working on the books about 10 years ago. There are also quite a few drawings that were created especially for the “Sketchbook”. I’ve been keeping sketchbooks since my student days; they form a sort of visual diary, and the majority of the work in this volume is scanned from sketchbooks. The background of the cover is scanned from one of the books that I’d had bound while in New Zealand. There is some observational drawing in the book; a friend modelled for Goldberry, and there are studies of buildings and trees. There are two drawings which were based on photographs, but the rest of the work is sourced from the imagination and is part of the process of designing sets and miniatures etc, and coming up with ideas for illustrations. I will sometimes use photographs to refer to while doing a finished piece, but I try to avoid using them too directly, as I find that it usually shows - and it makes the process less enjoyable for me.