"The Last Stand of Thorin Oakenshield"
30x40 Oil on Masonite
One of my first illustrative drawings when I first started attending art school was the iconic scene of The Battle of Five Armies from the book The Hobbit. It was a decent effort, but an ambitious image to tackle, especially for a new art student. I had always wanted to illustrate the scene again at some point. So, when Ares Games emailed asking me to illustrate their The Battle of Five Armies board game cover, I jumped to the opportunity.
There were a couple of artists Matt Stewart and Justin Gerard who've illustrated this scene before and they just nailed it! As much as I wanted to do my interpretation, I just didn't know how I was going to go about not looking like a hack next to these amazing works. The director and I agreed that picking another moment in the battle might be best. There were a few key things that happen in the battle that would make for a cool image.
We finally decided on the scene where Thorin enters the battle and is surrounded. Seeing this as a golden opportunity, I wanted to go as epic as I dared with the image. I came up with a composition that I thought would make a great image. It encompassed a pretty large scene with 20 or so characters in it. The director only needed a certain amount of the image for the box art, but I had a second agenda. I made sure to finish what they needed first so that I would be able to hit their deadline. The final box art also has some digital manipulations. They wanted key elements on the box art that didn't fit exact with what I had in mind for the original paintings. For example you'll notice the eagles in the background are moved closer to the center.
After the assignment was over I would spend another few months, off and on, finishing the painting. Since half of the painting was for my own pleasure I had to work on it in between jobs.
I wouldn't normally do something like this, but the subject was something I've always had a strong passion towards. I would have been a fool not to take the opportunity to do it. Plus, I wanted to get this out before Peter Jackson put the visual out there that will forever be in people's minds!