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“Ecthelion”— ink version • compare to color version

©2001 Sam R. Balcomb

This is probably my favorite recent piece I’ve done—mainly because it reflects my imagination’s images so accurately. This is a moment from Tolkien’s “Fall of Gondolin,” where an Elven captain, Ecthelion, makes a final stand in the burning city. He faces not only hundreds of thousands of evil soldiers but one nasty looking Balrog. It’s an epic story, and I had a very specific geographical layout in my head while reading it. Tolkien mentioned that all the fountains of the great courtyard had turned to fire, so I enjoyed playing with the flames and smoke trails—all Photoshop, of course. Personally, I find that the coloring is what adds the depth to the scene, much more so than the inks (if you compare). Also I wanted poor Ecthelion to look really outnumbered in a sea of foes (so he’s really the only cool color in the scene).

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