John Howe (illustrator)
Canadian illustrator, best known for his work based on J. R. R. Tolkien's worlds
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- Illustrating Tolkien means treading warily, dipping one's brush in shadow and rinsing them in light. Battle and balance, down the impossible path between the clear and the obscure.
- As quoted in Tolkien's World: Paintings of Middle-Earth (1992) published by MJF Books
- History is like a jigsaw puzzle, except every piece is from a different puzzle, and you try to make them all fit. Although you many never have a finished picture, the time you spend, I think you end up understanding at least the pieces.
John Howe : Fantasy Art Workshop (2007)Edit
- Drawing is giving yourself up to an exercise with no immediate application. It is a form of communion with your subject, be it in front of you or in your head. Expertise and skill go hand in hand with your desire to express feelings, to tell stories, to create and share worlds. It's personal.
- p. 6
- It is wise not to confuse information and inspiration. The former is the result of studious application, the latter is what happens when you don't think about it.
Each has a role to play, but must not look to play the role of the other. Inspiration may be the bright tower in the clouds; information is the solid rock where the foundations are.
- p. 11
- Like any admirer of Celtic myth, I was eager to have a go at depicting Cernunnos, the antlered god. I often sit with one of my many books on the subject and look in awe at the reproduction of the Gunderstrup Cauldron, on which he appears.
- p. 52
In the Artist's Studio interview (2010)Edit
- Quotes from interview at In the Artist's Studio (7 January 2010)
- From Alan, I learned to take a more instinctive and intuitive approach to pencil work. I used to let my mind get far too far ahead of my pencil, which can be productive, but removes the serendipitous switch of direction when the pencil and hand discover an idea the mind’s eye had missed. Drawing at the right speed is a sort of graphic contrapposto providing what I’d be tempted to call an “intuitional resilience” unobtainable with more energetic methods. I very much enjoyed working with him, a situation of symbiosis between enthusiasm and despair, the former because his work is just so good, the latter because his work is just so good. He is hard to keep up with, but then I believe he says the same of me. He is a dear friend and a wonderful artist.
- On Alan Lee
- I dislike giving advice, and am always very careful to find out what the person needs to hear (not necessarily wants to hear; the two usually have little in common) before venturing into that territory. I’m sure I have received much good advice, but can only recall the bad.
- If your work reflects not only your technical skills, but also who you are and more importantly what you have to say, then it will do the talking in your stead. I agree that networking and meeting people is very important, but a foot in the door doesn’t always stop it closing.