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Never Before Seen Illustrations Left Out of The Hobbit

Here Be Dragons

When HarperCollins went about getting ready for the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, they decided they’d check the Tolkien archive in the Bodleian library to see if he’d kept any drawings that didn’t make the book. They were expecting maybe a few dozen sketches.¬†They found one hundred and ten.

Hence, their upcoming book, The Art of the Hobbit, which includes a ton of Tolkien’s own illustrations that didn’t make it into the published Hobbit for one reason or another. The Guardian has six of those drawings up for the internet’s perusal, the majority of them being landscapes of The Lonely Mountain, lair of the dragon Smaug, drawn while the novel was in various stages of completion. Above is what is probably the earliest. More below:

Here is much the same scene, done in watercolor.

In this revision, Tolkien has changed the course of the river Celduin, a change he made in the text of The Hobbit when it was in proof, so quite late in the scheme of things. However, this still appears to depict Smaug flying during the day…

Something that he does not do during the novel. The Guardian speculates that this drawing may have been left out of the novel because of the difficulty of printing a page with such solid black and various gray colors.

(via Geeks.The Daily What)

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.