Riddles in the Dark

A new illustration for The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien of one of my favorite scenes in The Hobbit, riddles in the dark.


It has been a while since I made a Middle-Earth illustration. I decided to take one of the watercolors I made for an independent study and finish it to a level I was unable to do with the original piece. The composition is similar to the watercolor, but the rendering is much different. The light source of Sting is much brighter and better color theory overall. In the book Gollum is said to have dark skin. Since blue plays an important role in the piece, I gave Gollum blue skin as well along with rim lighting the color of Sting. Bilbo's design remains the same but with a coat and cloak. For the cave, I found some good reference images on the internet and combined parts I liked from the photos to create the atmosphere. Overall, the piece turned out the way I originally hoped for and learned more techniques to add to my photoshop skills. 


Monster Monday- December 16, 2013


This week I drew an orc. I found this green paper and was inspired to create an orc. It's interesting how a color can flash an idea in my head. I created this piece due to the excitement of Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. Though I had mixed feelings of the film, I have my own visual vocabulary that I associate with the Hobbit and the movies won't change that. The drawing came together pretty easily, sketched the piece out during a lecture, inked it between classes, and added whites while waiting for class to start. I'll be creating more drawings on the bright color paper in the future.

In other news, in January I will be open for personal character commissions on toned paper. This pieces are for non-comerial use, meaning for personal display only (hanging the original piece in home) and can not be used for publication. If you are interested in an already created piece displayed on the blog, they will be available as well. Paypal will be the only way to purchase an original drawing or created piece.


The Unexpected Party 2.0

Recently I have finished my second full page digital illustration. Each piece I create I get more comfortable using Photoshop as a means to render my work in color. For my second piece, I choose to go back and revamp a watercolor I made last fall for my independent study of book illustration. Here's the original watercolor.


This was one of my first watercolors I did in 2 years last fall. Though I am happy with completing an illustration with multiple characters and the warm feeling of the hobbit hole. I knew with the great improvement I've made over the past year, that this piece could become even stronger for my portfolio.


For the new illustration, I used the strong elements of the original and added more narrative. I pulled back the scene a little bit to have a little bit more breathing room and make it possible for Gandalf to be in the illustration. The Dwarves were redesigned with more color to create a broader color palette. Bilbo's design remained the same, I always imagine Bilbo with a red vest. And Gandalf joined with his signature blue pointed hat.

The original drawing was done on two pieces of bristol, one with all the characters and props, the other with the background elements. Having 2 layers made it easier to edit the original black wood grain lines to color. Prof. Gash helped me nail the color as well as experimenting with different techniques to create the warm feeling of the hobbit hole. Over all I am pleased to add another digital piece to my portfolio.

Radagast the Brown

Radagast the Brown

The Hobbit has been a favorite of mine since I was 12 and did a report on the book for my English class. (the year before I read The Fellowship of the Ring) At a young age Tolkien's middle earth has shaped and inspired my illustrations.

A while ago I was sketching bored after a full shift on the boardwalk and sat down to draw. Lately all I have been wanting to do is create a new Tolkien piece, I feel my design, composition, and painting skills have all improved since I finish my 5 Hobbit illustrations in my independent study last fall. This time I'm thinking of illustrating a piece from Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion. I just need to find a scene that inspires an exciting image to add to my portfolio before I attend Illuxcon in September.

Creating Lord Thunder Beard

Lord Thunder Beard started out as a drawing I did at work to pass the time. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to finish it.

ImageHere is the drawing I started at work. It was based off a sketch created in my sketchbook that I posted a while back. I spent a while on the drawing because I didn't know I was going to end up finishing it.

ImageHere is the inked sketch that I scanned and cleaned up in photoshop. After I decided that I wanted to add some textures to the image to make it look more like a page from an old book. I used a textured filed and used color burn to change the color of the line art. 


Then the image is finished. I added a little text on the top of the characters name, Lord Thunder Beard. 



Lord Thunder Beard

Lord Thunder Beard

I created this for myself as a spare time piece. I sketched it at work on Wednesday, inked yesterday, and edited in photoshop today. This character is from a fictional history I've been thinking about called the Iron Halls. A dwarven kingdom located in a cluster of mountains, each owned by a separate lord involve in a war with a Troll king who is interested in taking over the mountains due to its large amount of valuable crystals.

Lord Thunder Beard will be available as a mini print at MoCCA fest this weekend. I'll be at the Montclair State University table E149. Hope to see you there.

Elf Lord

For my roommate's birthday I wanted to draw her something really cool. We are both huge Tolkien admirers, Ginette is an elf person, I am a dwarf person, and Claire likes people (most importantly Rohan, as Jared said 'it takes Lord of the Rings to get Claire to say she likes people). 

So I broke out the sketch book to throw some ideas down. I don't draw elves very often so I had to find designs that I liked, I prefer stronger looking characters so I gave the elf lord a strong jaw line and cheek bones. Around the portrait of the Elf Lord, I wanted to create a frame, something I have not experimented with. Art Nouveu reference was used, but I tried to put my own twist on it. And is definitely something I want to continue experimenting with.by Paige Connelly

After filling 2 pages of my sketchbook, I pulled out some illustration board and got sketching. It took a while to draw because of the frame, I wanted to make sure I was happy with the design before I inked the image. Got my trusty FW ink and brush and inked the Elf Lord creating the final image 

by Paige Connelly

The Unexpected Party

The Unexpected Party

First of 4 paintings I created last semester for my independent study. Finally got the illustration scanned and learned of a new tool in photoshop that combines 2 files seamlessly into 1.

The Hobbit is written by professor JRR Tolkien and has been a favorite book of mine since childhood. The project was created from a book report I did in 7th grade where I drew images to include with the report. I've always had strong images set in my head for Tolkien's creations and I used the independent study to create large rendered watercolor illustrations.

This is 'The Unexpected Party' of the dwarves arriving at Bilbo's hobbit hole in order to plan the journey to reclaim their treasure.

The Hobbit

ImageTonight I am going to see 'The Hobbit' at midnight. Its a good way of ending the semester since I have been working on 5 illustrations as an independent study. I currently have 3 paintings done, and 2 left to finish. I have really enjoyed illustrating the text and already have plans on continuing some pieces that didn't move past the sketches. Scenes I am looking forward to illustrating are: when Gandalf meets Bilbo outside his hobbit hole, the trolls, and the goblins. I also want to illustrate the scene where Bilbo steals gold from Smaug. But those are ideas for larger illustrations, I also have a list of smaller illustrations I want to complete like Bard, single paintings of the dwarves, and an impossibly long illustration of the whole party crossing the misty mountains.

There is enough work to keep me satisfied in the mean time since I have an ever growing list of non-Tolkien inspired pieces to accomplish as well. Starting in January I will be doing process posts for the creation of 'the Hobbit' illustrations. They will go through each stage of the creative process; sketches, comps, pencils, inks, and painting. 

The drawing above was drawn while waiting for paint to dry, its based off a little drawing in my sketchbook.









I am not one of those people who have a natural talent for dragons. Its like horses, you are either awesome at it, or have to struggle to grasp the anatomy by pages and pages of studies. For my independent study, where I am illustrating scenes of 'The Hobbit' as a portfolio exercise, I am drawing the great Dragon himself, Smaug attacking Lake Town. When I first thought of illustrating the scene I wasn't thinking of how I haven't drawn a Dragon since maybe the beginning of high school,( and even then I was drawing japanese dragons based off of wood block prints, not European Dragons.)Image Luckily, there are many illustrators who are great at Dragons to study. My favorite was William O'Connor, who happened to have 2 books called Dracopedia, that are filled with Dragons of all designs.  After a few days of studying his books and doing pages of studies in my sketchbook, I worked up the courage to draw a large scale drawing of Smaug.

It would have been difficult to start Smaug Imagewith out the studies to work off of. Unfortunately this drawing was to large for the scanner, so enjoy the poor quality iphone photo. After completing the drawing, I realized it was a good first try, but needed more work to make him unique and not a standard dragon, after all he is SMAUG.


The 2nd drawing of Smaug turned out much better. After more studies of anatomy I got the feeling I wanted, I gave him a longer head to balance out the body and lost some of the other parts, like those little wing things on his tail. Over all, a more simple design. But now I have to draw all the scales on this guy... its going to be time consuming, but it will pay off when I use this image as reference for the final illustration.

Don't forget to check out my tumblr. ThinkillustrationPaige.tumblr.com

For more sketches and a back log of illustrations.