The Making of The Quest Fulfilled: Part 1
By Anke Katrin Eissmann.
Composition of the scene and sketches of Beren
"The scene in the book describes how Beren is attacked by Carcharoth and gets wounded. So he is lying on the floor (of a clearing near a small river), and Thingol, already standing near him as he is attacked by the wolf, kneels by his side. Then comes Huan, after he killed Carcharoth, takes Beren's leave and dies next to him. Mablung fetches the Silmaril and hands it over to Beren."
The first rough outlines of the scene.
"The most important act is Beren giving the Silmaril to Thingol ("The Quest fulfilled"), so I tried to concentrate on that. But that would have meant, also due to the horizontal format of the sheet of paper, that there would have been not much space left for the remaining characters. Of Huan there might have been his head visible, and of the two Elves at most their feet. And even Thingol would have had to make himself small. But I wanted in any case to have Mablung and Beleg in the picture, grieving for Beren."
An already detailed sketch of the scene. Mablung although is yet standing.
"That's why I drew a new sketch of the scene, this time more remote. All of them are now in the image with Mablung standing in the background. I planted a tree on the left side of the image with its twigs enclosing the scene to give it a border, so to speak. But the problem is: when I read the scene in the book and imagine it, I can't see the tree. Also the characters had become comparatively small in the image, so that the handing over of the Silmaril might have lost importance."
A draft of Beren (to the left) and Thingol.
"What I almost already knew, was which postures, mimicry and gestures the persons would have. I had painted Beren already some times for the other images out of the Leithian series, and thus knew how to draw his appearance approximately. The sketch of his head is the first try to develop his facial expression in this scene. I wanted him to look somewhat worn out (at least he's wounded to the death), but also somehow relieved. This sketch shows him very under pressure which doesn't completely match my imagination of his condition.
Thingol instead should be astonished about the Silmaril (which lights his face from below), but also grief about the death of Beren, whom he had already accepted before the hunting as his son-in-law. Although I painted him only once (and that was some time ago - Turin begs leave of Thingol and Melian (1998) ), I had a relatively clear impression of Thingol's face. It should contain some sternness but be nevertheless elfenly beautiful, and thus reflect his character. But this sketch shows his facial features as too soft, and he looks too young."
Another rough draft of the scene. The composition represents the final form, but with Mablung kneeling in contradiction to the last sketch.
"This sketch of the composition lacks the tree again, Mablung kneels also, and I moved the observer again closer to the scene. There is now enough space to the left for Carcharoth which one can see in the background. This sketch shows the characters in the same postures as in the finished image."
Two more detailed sketches of Beren.
"A sketch of the whole body of Beren (part of his body is going to be concealed by Huan) where I pondered what clothes he should wear, and how the wrinkles on them - especially on the cloak - would look like. I also got the impression, that his body looks to tense. His body is not that straightened up in the finished picture. I imagined that he has not enough power left for it, and just manages to raise his hand to give Thingol the jewel. What looks somewhat strange is his right arm with the missing hand. But that's the way it is.
Beren's face in a refined sketch. His expression is exactly as I imagined it. I used this sketch as a model for Beren's face in the picture, although altered then by the colour."
Tutorial republished by permission. See the original at
FARP Article Guestbook
|21 Oct 2003|| Michael James Liljenberg|
Thank you for letting us republish this article.
|25 Oct 2003|| Jonathan Mayer|
Wow, I really admire your technique. I don't think I have ever spent that much preparation time and sketching on a painting. Beautiful work, keep it coming!
|31 Oct 2003|| Rhodri McCormack|
Yeah great article, best here easily. Was thinking of doing a water colour next, so this was good timeing for me. Thanks man.
|20 Nov 2003|| Mike D|
Thats an awesome picture!!
|15 Dec 2003|| Emilie ~*Nienna Vala*~ Dingler|
It's seriously gorgeous, but I have a question.
In Mablung's hair and his broach, there are white lines, as detail...
How do you do those? Do you leave space blank? Or do you go over it in white?
|15 Jul 2004|| Topaz Waters <etvermette@hot...com>|
Oh wow. Wow wow wow. AMAZING pic-- and thank you for being so informative, I'm awful at watercolors and I'm trying to see if I can improve a bit. Great article!
|5 Jun 2006|| Anonymous|
This really is amazing! Not only because it is just a beautiful watercolor, because you showed us the sketched stages. Most tutorials start after the sketches are done, and I really like how we got to see the conceptual stages. So thank you very much.
|14 Jul 2009|| Anon.|
|14 Jul 2009|| Anon.|
Love you xxxooo[/COLOR
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