Today is J.R.R Tolkien's birthday and in his honor I made a toned paper drawing of Fingolfin from the Silmarillion. Fingolfin faced off with Morgoth and was the second high king of the Noldor. Tolkien's books have been a huge influence on my childhood and now my adulthood.
As a kid, I always wondered who J.R.R Tolkien was because he was often mentioned with Narnia creator C.S. Lewis. In sixth grade, my mom purchased me a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring. I carried it to school everyday and it took me all year to read the book (that was clearly above my reading level). Also in sixth grade I did a report on J.R.R Tolkien for my English class. The next year in my English class I did a book report of The Hobbit. I created an illuminated book of the scenes and characters of the book (which ended up inspiring my thesis). In High school, I continued to read Tolkien's works of the Last Tales and other texts. Many of the characters and creatures were drawn in my sketch book while sitting in class.
In college, Tolkien no doubt was inspired my work. I focussed on character design and fantasy illustration. I did an independent study of watercolors for the Hobbit. And created two digital illustrations in another independent study for my final semester. And I am still continuing to sketch new illustrations for Middle Earth. It's hard for me to think of what direction my work and life would be like with out reading Tolkien.