Winning entries will be chosen by three of the world’s most renowned creators of Middle-earth artwork, currently working on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again.
John Howe is best known throughout the world for his contributions to a wide range of J.R.R. Tolkien publications, ranging from calendars, posters and maps to book jackets and board games. The same passion that brought The Lord of the Rings to life is now being taken to new heights for the two films based on The Hobbit book; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again.
Howe has illustrated dozens of books, primarily fantasy, historical, and children’s titles. He has illustrated BEOWULF, and been commissioned to create paintings for a limited edition of George R.R. Martin’s A Clash of Kings. He has recently published Fantasy Art Workshop, which he calls a “philosophical how-to book”, on drawing and painting, followed by two other titles: Forging Dragons and Fantasy Drawing Workshop. John has also written and illustrated Lost Worlds, an exploration of two dozen lost civilizations, both historical and mythological, and is working on new titles in the same series. He has regularly held personal exhibitions in France, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland over the past twenty years. Two documentaries, John Howe: There and Back Again (Sweden/Switzerland, 2004) and The Lord of the Brush (Canada 2005), trace his life and career.
Alan Lee, who is responsible for the fifty watercolor illustrations in the centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings, along with The Hobbit, Tolkien’s Ring, and The Children of Hurin, spent six years in New Zealand working on designs for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He has been invited back to work on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again.
Other adventures in the film industry have included conceptual design work on Ridley Scott’s Legend, Terry Jones’ Eric the Viking, and a few weeks on Skull Island in Peter Jackson’s King Kong.
Lee has long had a preoccupation with the Celtic and Norse myths which influenced J.R.R. Tolkien. His other books include Faeries (with Brian Froud), The Mabinogion, Castles, The Mirrorstone, The Moons Revenge, Merlin Dreams, Black Ships Before Troy and The Wanderings of Odysseus. Lee has received several prestigious awards including the Kate Greenway Medal for Black Ships Before Troy. His most recent book is Shapeshifters, tales from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, written by Adrian Mitchell.
Richard Taylor is co-owner and creative lead at Weta Workshop, which he runs with his wife Tania Rodger, and is co-founder of the Weta companies in Wellington, New Zealand. Weta Workshop has an international reputation as one of the film industry’s most successful special effects studios. Richard and the team worked on The Lord of the Rings trilogy for seven years designing and creating armor, weapons, prosthetics and miniatures for these films.
Richard received four Oscars and three BAFTAs for Weta’s work on the trilogy in the disciplines of Costume, Make Up, and Visual Effects. Weta Workshop has been fortunate to work on films such as King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, The Return of Zorro, Master and Commander, Black Sheep, 30 Days of Night, Daybreakers, The Water Horse, District 9, Avatar and the two films based on The Hobbit book; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again.