Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Hobbit That Might Have Been

[Via Drawn]

It seems that Maurice Sendak did a few sketches for The Hobbit. Unfortunately the project was canceled after Sendak suffered a heart attack. Such a shame, it would have been awesome to see. (Sendak's Hobbit, that is, not the heart attack.)


Slate has a slideshow of children’s book artwork that is featured in a new publication, Drawn to EnchantOriginal Children's Book Art in the Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection.


Yale University website has more images and a podcast with the author.
According to the podcast, Sendak went to England to meet Tolkien and propose the book to him.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Though it absolutely shouldn't, the whole wonderful idea makes the job/task/duty of designing a Hobbit poster seem somehow... sweeter.

Thanks (as ever) for sharing.
Your site is a treat.

-lee moyer

Lana Gramlich said...

Sendak's hobbit would have been a joy, I'm sure. Pity...

Charles Vess said...

Lovely, lovely drawing. I can only echo everyone's comments and thoughts: "Wish there'd been more."

While we're on the subject of illustrating The Hobbit, has anyone else seen the edition illustrated by Tove Jannson (Moominland)? Very nice! Certainly the anti Alan Lee so to speak but absolutely refreshing.

Charles Vess

Carl V. said...

I am so into the look that Lee and Howe have created over the years for the creatures and creation of Middle-earth that I don't think I'd be a big fan of these illustrations, sorry to say. Especially Alan Lee's work. It is so ethereal and unique. Love it!

Charles Vess said...

Well, I probably wouldn't have been much of a fan in my earlier years either, although I've always had a great fondness for Sendak's work. His drawings for the Grimm's Faiiry Tales that were published in 'The Juniper Tree' are gorgeous to say the least. But I've come to enjoy and appreciate a larger artistic world than the rather rigid confines of the Frazetta/Williamson/Krenkle aesthetic. Not that I dislike Alan's work, quite the contrary, his work IS ethereal and unigue it just that I have no problem now accepting and am indeed very excited by other visions and other aesthetic worlds.

Charles

Irene Gallo said...

Charles - I Love those Jannson drawings!

Carl - Alan Lee is a treasure, no doubt, but I love seeing all these different interpretations of the work.

When I get a book in that I know that one guy in particular is good for, that's great. But I LOVE the projects where I can imagine many different people doing a great, but completely different, take on it. That's when just sitting around a daydreaming about a cover is the most fun.

Jack Ruttan said...

That's what worried me about the movies, that one look would pasted over the books for a while. Of course, given time, that will settle into the background, and we'll get fresh interpretations.

Of course, I like looking at illustrations of other books than just Lord of the Rings.

Carl V. said...

Oh I agree, and I love Sendak's work as well. For me I came to love LOTR after the movies came out so I have always equated the look of the novels with the Peter Jackson and Lee and Howe's work...I've always seen it more seriously and Sendak's work has more of a child-like look to it that I personally don't like as relates to Tolkien but really enjoy in other things. So its really just my vision of Tolkien and the limited views I have on it right now.

As for art, one of the things I love about coming here, visiting Drawn, and other artist's sites is discovering the seemingly endless variety and styles of art and artist out there. It is one of the sole things that keeps me glued to my computer more than I probably should be. There is just so much great stuff out there!

And the internet has allowed us the opportunity to interact with artists in such a unique and personal way now that we didn't have prior. So amazing!!!

Irene Gallo said...

Hey Carl - I also think The Hobbit lends itself to these less-realists styles more readily than the rest of the series. I shouldn't admit this but it's been decades since I read the books, I seem to remember The Hobbit as less weighty and a littler freer than LotR.

Carl V. said...

I totally agree with you there, because to be honest with you I don't really lump Hobbit in with the LOTR trilogy because it reads much more like a kids book. As does the beginning of Fellowship for that matter, in my opinion. It only takes on a more serious tone as the story gets more complex.

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Cory said...

That's really terrible! What a loss for us.

I got to meet Mr. Sendak in NYC in 2005. It was only for a few minutes but be able to meet a hero of mine was such a joy.

* * *

Irene, we met briefly at Comic-Con this past summer at Donato's mermaid drawing demo (I believe it was that demo, it may have been Manchess' HellBoy)

What got me was sitting on the floor watching Donato effortlessly produce the single most beautiful drawing I think I've ever witnessed in person, and to be sitting next to Jon Foster (another artistic hero of mine) chatting about how awesome Donato is.

Not bad way to spend the last few days of July.

Thanks for your blog! I just stumbled across it tonight.

Cory

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