Curufin son of Fëanor coloured sketch, Soni Alcorn-Hender

20×30 cms, pencils and acrylics.

“Curufin the crafty … who was of perilous mood.”

From JRR Tolkien’s ‎Silmarillion

Sketch of ‪Curufin‬, favourite son of ‎Fëanor‬ (who made the Silmarils and started lots of trouble), and father of Celebrimbor (who made the Elven rings and ended in lots of trouble).
Called ‘the Crafty’ – possibly because he was good with his hands, possibly because he was a devious git.
Also tried to shoot Luthien, twice.
Fëanor had many gifts, apparently parenting wasn’t one of them.

And the un-coloured sketch:

Curufin son of Fëanor sketch, Soni Alcorn-Hender


Eöl the dark elf, work in progress

An experiment in pencil-less sketching, where instead of drawing lines and then painting, the whole thing is sketched in paint with brushes, no pencils involved until at the end for details. It’s an interesting exercise to create something just using colour, shape, and brush-stroke.

The character is an experiment too, as I’m trying to get a clearer idea of how Tolkien’s (book) elves should look.
This particular gent is/will be ‪‎Eöl‬ the dark elf from the ‪‎Silmarillion.

Eöl the dark elf, work in progress, by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Painting in the basic figure using a broad brush and big strokes.

Eöl the dark elf, work in progress by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Still just painted at this stage, no drawn lines. Using armour references from both Ancient Greece and early European Medieval (circa 13th c.) And also spikes.

Eöl the dark elf, work in progress by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Now the drawing stage begins to bring out the details, starting with his face.

Rohan finished~

Éowyn and Éomer among the simbelmynë flowers, in memory of their uncle.
9×11 inches. Painted with acrylics and gold media and pencils and inks and *everything* and the horse they rode in on.

Rohan Meduseld

Rohan Meduseld det1

And a rough animated gif of the progress of the painting from start to finish:




Rohan prettiness, work in progress

Work in progress: 'Ferthu Théoden hal' by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Work in progress: ‘Ferthu Théoden hal’

Funeral tree over Moss Oak, work in progress

Soni Alcorn-Hender

The Raven King & Ivy, work in progress

The medieval magician and monarch, the ‘Raven King’ from Susanna Clarke’s ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’.
Pencil and acrylics on very old crunchy paper, 8×11.5″

Raven King (Strange & Norrell) work-in-progress 2, by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Raven King, work-in-progress 2

Raven King (Strange & Norrell) work-in-progress, by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Raven King work-in-progress 1

Duchess of Richmond’s Ball, 1815

Duchess of Richmond's Ball, WIP sketch, Soni Alcorn-Hender

Duchess of Richmond’s Ball, wip sketch

Part of the preparatory sketches for ‘The Duchess of Richmond’s Ball’, (very rough version of the whole thing on the right, a more finished part of it on the left).
It’s been called ‘the most famous ball in history’ because half the guests had to leave suddenly for war; in many cases marching straight from the ball to the battlefield, literally.

But a few sketches, much research, and several days later I realised trying to draw a room full of people (many of whom in excruciatingly specific military dress) might need more time than ‘a few days’. So it’s been shelved for now, but perhaps every year on the anniversary of Waterloo I’ll work on it a little more.


The Duchess of Richmond’s Ball, 15th of June 1815.
Brussels, approximately 8 miles from Waterloo, in present-day Belgium.

It was intended as a merry night of diversion for Brussels’ nobility and the gallant young officers of the Allied army.  
Many of the guests considered war to be a distant thing, like storms on a far horizon; they’d grown accustomed to living with its threat and seizing every pleasure while they could. As they prepared for the evening’s festivities they couldn’t guess that war was only hours away.

But that night, in the middle of the music, laughter and dancing, a dispatch arrived with the impossible news that Napoleon’s army was upon them. Faces that had been flushed with pleasure suddenly became pale or sombre. The music played on but only the heartless could dance.
In the distance, bugles summoned men back to their divisions: they were to march out at three in the morning. Some officers had no time to change their attire, and were obliged to go forth in the odd splendour of their evening dress.
As they prepared to leave that night, some of the men looked grim, and others wildly elated, particularly the dashing boys who’d never entered battle before. But there were tears with the farewells, for many of the sons, husbands and dear friends leaving that night would not be seen again.

Strange & Norrell: ‘Gentleman with the Thistle-down Hair’ wip

Work in progress of that most notorious of the fair folk: ‘The Gentleman with the Thistle-down Hair’, from the gorgeous book by Susanna Clarke. (Also now a surprisingly splendid adaptation by the BBC)

Gentleman with the Thistle-down Hair, from Strange & Norrell, sketch by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Sketch of ‘The Gentleman with the Thistle-down Hair’

Sleeping Beauty preview

Preview excerpt of the Sleeping Beauty painting, 10×13″ on canvas-board, for the forthcoming trading card set ‘Classic Fairy Tales’ by Perna Studios.

Sleeping Beauty preview, by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Sleeping Beauty *preview*