Medicine Hat Media

Art Exposure 13: John Howe

Portrait of John Howe

Portrait of John Howe

John Howe is a Vancouver born illustrator, now living in Switzerland, known widely for his renderings of the Lord of The Rings canon and movie trilogy series. He also happens to be my favourite artist. Born in 1957, Howe attended primary and high school in Vancouver, but one year after graduation, he enrolled at the Ecoledes Arts Décoratifs in France.

For years, Howe had been drawing and painting scenes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic history of Middle-earth. Most of these can be found in his online portfolio categorized into The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of The Rings books. Other works can also be found online as well, including cover art for books and novels, rough sketches, unpublished work, and loads more. Howe’s website also contains a few tutorials, such as how to paint grass, what kinds of brushes to use to achieve a desired outcome, and how having drawers full of rocks is a good thing for any illustrator.

Gandalf outside Bag End by John Howe

Gandalf outside Bag End by John Howe

Going beyond art, Howe puts some serious thought into his paintings, as can be seen and read on his website, and even in the special feature DVD’s of The Lord of The Rings. On his website, Howe¬†tries to render many medieval objects that do not necessarily exist today as part of his artistic planning process. He recreates many artifacts, such as a sword, to understand the weight, motion of the swing, the muscles needed to swing it, etc. Only after this can one properly understand how to render it. As a result, there are photos found on his website of Howe wearing suits of armour and wielding swords.

Check out John Howe’s website portfolio.

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