Radagast the Brown



A while ago I posted the toned paper drawing of Gandalf the gray, to continue the series of Middle Earth Wizards is Radagast the brown, wizard of nature and animals. For his staff, it's made of twisted vines from the forest that he constructed himself. His clothing is made of durable fabrics and furs for long journeys into the deep woods. For his hat, I wanted it to have a wizard feel with out being cliche. With the addition of the straps, berries, feathers, and stitching it strays away from a pointy wizard hat. Though Radagast doesn't play a large role in Tolkien's books, it's easier to design him since he doesn't have a standard classic look like Gandalf does.

Next up is Saruman the White. 

Gandalf the Gray




For the past few days I've been listening to the Lord of The Rings audio books while drawing. It didn't take long for me to start sketching some of the characters in my sketchbook. Gandalf was the first to be drawn followed by other wizards of Middle Earth. Which is going to be a small series of Gandalf, Radagast, and Saruman. Each one will be drawn on a different color of toned paper to make the color that is associated with the color of each wizard. I may even draw each dwarf from the Hobbit, but that's in the future. 

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. 


Happy Birthday J.R.R Tolkien



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. 

Monster Monday- December 9, 2013


I experimented more with the pastel pencil over the past week. It's been a little stressful with the semester ending, I'm finally going to graduate. So I took a little time from class work to sit down and just draw something. Of course, I drew a tree folk...sorry (not really). Trees are just interesting, they have interesting shapes that can be molded into faces and distorted anatomy. Plus it's always fun to play with texture.

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.

Ent's Attacking


My first full color digital illustration created for my independent study at school. I started sketching and conceptualizing the illustration while I was at Illuxcon in September. With rounds of redrawing the tower and scanning my ink drawing to place together in photoshop, to create the base of the illustration of the final line art.

I had a good understanding of photoshop before starting the piece but it was an experiment to find the best way to render the piece. With alot of guidance and help from Prof. Chris Gash, he guided me to create a final piece that I'm very happy about.

Since I got to choose the content of the illustration, I picked the scene in Lord of The Rings when the Ents attack Isengard to stop the destruction of the Fangorn Forrest. It's a scene that I've wanted to illustrate for a while and thought that it was a good time to finally create it. Plus I've been drawing lots of Ents and Tree Folk in my sketch book (and drawing them is still not out of my system)


The Halloween weekend, I'll be at my favorite comics store, The Comic Book Shop in Wilmington, DE on Saturday the 26th selling zines, prints, stickers,  magnets and original drawings. I'll also be drawing monsters for customers at the shop. It's going to be a fun weekend so stop by!

Monster Monday- September 23, 2013

Monster Monday- September 23, 2013

Tree Folk have been dominating my sketch book since the beginning of summer. I can't stop, there just so cool. This was a inking practice for an illustration I am currently working on for one of my classes. It has to do with tree folk.

Later on this week I will post Illuxcon Part 2 as well as share some sketchbook pages.

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.

Tree Folk of Autumn

Tree Folk of Autumn

This painting has been sitting on my desk of over a month and I'm happy to share a new painting. Lately I've been drawing many tree folk in my sketch book and am planning a small long term project with the wandering trees.

I experimented with some new techniques on this piece. The red watercolor was becoming more pink then I wanted, I then mixed some Doc Martins ink to create red. For the Tree Folk, I tried a different bark pattern then I usually use and it turned out great.

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.