Alan Lee 2003

Alan Lee in 2003

Alan Lee (b. August 20, 1947, Dartmoor, Devon, England) is an English book illustrator and movie conceptual designer.


Alan Lee in 2018 at the Edinburgh National Book Festival

He and John Howe are considered the two most famous Tolkien artists, and their drawings ended up being authoritative for most of the art direction of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Biography Edit

Alan Lee has illustrated several fantasy books such as the centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings, Faeries (with Brian Froud), The Mabinogion, Castles and Merlin Dreams. He won the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration in 1993 for Black Ships before Troy and the Best Artist Award at the World Fantasy Awards of 1998.

After being already well-known, Lee and John Howe were the lead artists of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings movies, starting in 2000. Lee illustrated many of the scenarios for the movies, including objects and weapons for the actors. Costume personnel Ngila Dickson considered him a "team leader" of the crew of designers.[1] In 2004, Lee won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for his work on the third film in the trilogy, The Return of the King. He also made two cameo appears in both The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. Lee has also worked as a conceptual designer on the films Legend, Erik the Viking and King Kong and the television miniseries Merlin.

"My chief concern in illustrating The Lord of the Rings was in attempting to provide a visual accompaniment for the story without interfering with, or dislodging, the pictures the author is carefully building up in the reader's mind. I felt that my task lay in shadowing the heroes on their epic quest, often at a distance, closing in on them at times of heightened emotion but avoiding trying to re-create the dramatic high points of the text."
from Tolkien's World: Paintings of Middle-earth [2]

A major portfolio of Lee's Middle-earth illustrations was published in 2005 as The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook, which has gained immense popularity. In 2008, Lee provided an Afterword in Tales from the Perilous Realm, for which he illustrated.

Illustration appearances Edit

Drawn for publication Edit

Merely featured in publication Edit

For images of his illustrations, see Art by Alan Lee.

Cameo appearances Edit

Nine Kings of Men

Lee, second from right, as one of the Kings given the Nine Rings of Power.

Alan Lee played one of the nine Kings of Men (who eventually became the Nazgûl) in the Prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring, a Man of Rohan in The Two Towers, and a Lake-town musician in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, but all three roles were uncredited.[3]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. The Art of The Return of the King, Introduction, pg. 9
  2. Tolkien's World: Paintings of Middle-earth, About the Artists, Alan Lee

External links Edit