Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Battle of Five Armies: Round 2

by Justin Gerard

As some of you may recall, a few years ago I took a stab at a battle scene which was inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's Battle of Five Armies from "The Hobbit."  

I had originally decided to do a version of "the Hobbit" for myself, both out of love of the story, and also so I could nail down my own ideas about it before Peter Jackson and the good folks over at Weta released theirs, (and risk having it possibly influence, or even replace, my own ideas). 
To see the original series I did on "The Hobbit," visit the collection here.

Now it is several years later and Jackson and co. are about to release the third and final installment of their films based on "The Hobbit." This one will almost certainly feature a particular scene that I have always wanted to paint.  One that Bilbo never even sees, but that nonetheless was one of the most interesting little side events from the story.  

Beorne's final showdown with Bolg

It's only mentioned very briefly, but yet it always held my imagination. I've always wanted to paint it.

So now I am going about drawing all of my various heroes, villains, miscreants and warriors.  There are so many interesting little moments to work with in a battle scene like this.  Especially a battle scene where so much interesting development has occurred throughout the book leading up to this moment.    

I'm hoping to have the painting finished long before the final installment hits...  but after working out my rough sketches, I am realizing that I have more than 50 figures performing some kind of action in the scene.  Maybe I've lost my mind... I mean, there comes a point when you have to ask, 'how many goblins is too many goblins?'
But I can't wait to jump in and start painting them.  

The Battle of Five Armies 2014

One last note for those wondering: We finally have our print store back up! Check them out at GalleryGerard.com.  

To follow the developmental work from my original series on "The Hobbit," visit the Hobbit posts on my old blog at quickhidehere.


  1. You should know by now - you can never have enough goblins. Even so....good luck!

  2. oh mama, this is gonna be great!

  3. Justin, your work is wonderful as usual. By the way, I'm ordering the Morzog print for my daughter who is dragon and book crazy.

  4. WOW, i am impatient to see the final.

    So many little stories, with a lot of orcs, gobelins and dwarves.
    What is it not to love here?


  5. I followed your link to the other pieces you did like this. I love 'em and am stoked to see the end result for Beorn v. Bolg.

    My experience of Middle-earth has always been illustrated in someone else's style.

    When I was in first or second grade, the book I coveted most was the illustrated Hobbit hardcover at my schools library (art by Michael Hague). I went in everyday to try and read a bit of it, but mostly just to look at the pictures.

    The Jackson Middle-earth films definitely affected what my mind renders when I imagine Middle-earth but I stopped watching those films, and I find that my brain is moving back towards it's default, which is closer to the Michael Hague and Rankin-Bass designs that are my first foray into that world. I will never know what my pure imagination would see since my first experiences were already peppered with images.

    This other artist I dig, Matt Rhodes, had a similar realization about how the Jackson films had changed or tainted his own renderings.


    Anyways, thanks for sharing.

  6. Wowza! Everything looks good, even the preliminary sketches. I wish my sketches looked like that. This brings back memories of scribbling painstakingly detailed, utterly perspective-less Civil War battle scenes as a kid. Can't wait to see the final painting!

  7. Okay, I accept Piranesi wasn't in your thinking with an earlier post, but Victor Hugo's drawings clearly inspired your '5 Armies prelims! Great job by the way! http://bittleston.com/artists/victor_hugo/

  8. This looks awesome! I can't wait.