The Raven King

John Uskglass, the Raven King, Soni Alcorn-Hender

John Uskglass, the Raven King

“Even the Raven King – who was not a fairy, but an Englishman –
had a somewhat regrettable habit of abducting
men and women and taking them to live with him
in his castle in the Other Lands.”

The Raven King, with bird and book. Inspired by the character from exquisite Strange & Norrell by Susanna Clarke. (The audiobook is particularly good.)

Acrylics, pencil, liquid gold and silver, sterling silver leaf, and old English magic on paper 21×30 cms. Prints available here.

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Fëanor, spirit of Fire

Fëanor with Silmarils, sword, and blacksmith hammer, illustration by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Brought to life with a little animated light and the influences of creation and destruction.

Thingol the Elf King

Thingol upon his throne, by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Thingol, King of the Grey Elves, from JRR Tolkien’s Silmarillion.

“In Beleriand, King Thingol upon his throne was as the lords of the Maiar whose power is at rest,
whose joy is as an air that they breathe in all their days,
whose thought flows in a tide untroubled from the heights to the deeps.”

Thingol throned in his grand and secret underground kingdom The pillars were said to be sculpted like great beech trees, with golden lamps hung from all their branches.
In the frame, either side of him are symbols based on those for Melian (his wife) and Luthien (his daughter), and above him his doom: the ‘Nauglamir’ necklace with a Silmaril in the middle.

He can also ornament your own underground lair, with pretty printed things from my RedBubble shop here.

Thingol (work in progress) by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Thingol (work in progress)

Thingol (detail) by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Thingol (detail)

 

Eöl the Dark Elf

Eöl the Dark Elf, by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Eöl the Dark Elf from JRR Tolkien’s Silmarillion.:

“But Eöl, though stooped by his smithwork, was no Dwarf, but a tall Elf of a high kin of the Teleri, noble though grim of face; and his eyes could see deep into shadows and dark places.”

If you’d like a print of his glowering suspicion, you can find them in all sizes and finishes here.

This glowering gentleman was painted in a different way (for me): sketched entirely in paint, no line drawing at all until the end for details.
An interesting exercise, though riddled with mistakes and horror and doom. :)

Eöl the Dark Elf (detail), by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Eöl (detail)

Sauron and Ar-Pharazôn

Inspired by The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien.

Created especially for the Tolkien art exhibition: ‘Evil in the Shining Light’, Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, through September 2015.
Acrylics on paper, digital colouring, 11.5 x 8″ Frame element by Stephen Clulow on Flickr.

Sauron and Ar-Pharazôn, by Soni Alcorn-Hender

 Sauron as prisoner of, then advisor to, Ar-Pharazôn

Sauron being fair and flattering as the hostage of Ar-Pharazôn, last great king of Númenor before the fall.
A fall engineered entirely by Sauron in fact, for by cunning he rose from prisoner to most-trusted advisor of the proud king, and convinced him to offer blood and lives to exiled Morgoth. (The smoke of their sacrifices can be seen through the window.)
Then as Ar-Pharazôn felt the weight of old age and death come upon him he listened to Sauron’s promise of life everlasting in Valinor, and how a brave man might take it for himself if he would only sail West to claim it…

Buildings of Númenor adorn the top left and right corners. Embedded in the frame to the left is the shining isle of the Valar to the left, Númenor’s holy mountain Meneltarma to the right. The Eye of Sauron overlooks all above and death awaits below.

Dream & Death

Sandman commission:

Two of the Dreaming (with Matthew the Raven). The frame includes white lilies for Death and her ankh below; and the poppies of Morpheus for Dream as well as his helm above. This was destined for a long-time Queen fan, so Death rests upon a gravestone in honour of Freddie Mercury (with his true name). Dream stands over the statue of a fallen angel…

9×11 inches, mixed media on treated canvasboard.
All praise, honour, and little cakes to Neil Gaiman for the creation of such interesting characters.

Dream and Death, The Sandman, Soni Alcorn-Hender

Dream and Death

Dream and Death detail, The Sandman, Soni Alcorn-Hender

Dream and Death detail

Sauron as Annatar, and Celebrimbor

‘The Craft of Ring-making’ inspired by The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien
Prints and goodies now available on RedBubble here.

Created especially for the Tolkien art exhibition: ‘Evil in the Shining Light’, Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, through September 2015.
Acrylics on paper, digital colouring, 11.5 x 8″ Frame element by Stephen Clulow on Flickr.

Annatar (Sauron), Celebrimbor and the Craft of Ring-making. Soni Alcorn-Hender

Annatar (Sauron), Celebrimbor and the Craft of Ring-making

Sauron‬ disguised in fair form as ‘‪Annatar’,‬ when he taught the Elves the craft of ring-making. It wasn’t until he forged the One Ring in secret, planning that it should rule all the others, that his true identity and purpose were revealed.

Depicted here: Annatar guides the hand of ‪Celebrimbor‬, greatest of the Elven smiths. In the top left and right corners, Elrond and Galadriel shun him. They couldn’t see through his disguise, yet still they didn’t trust him.
The rings that were made in secret are embedded in the frame: on the left, right and bottom and the three Elven rings forged by Celebrimbor; and above Sauron’s head is the One Ring. At this time it was still just an idea.

The Seduction of Sauron

‘The Seduction of Sauron’ inspired by The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien
Prints and goodies now available on RedBubble here.

Created especially for the Tolkien art exhibition: ‘Evil in the Shining Light’, Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, through September 2015.
Acrylics on paper, digital colouring, 11.5 x 8″ Frame element by Stephen Clulow on Flickr.

Seduction of Sauron by Soni Alcorn-Hender

Melkor corrupts Sauron (Mairon)

Long before Sauron was lord of Mordor, before he was even evil, he was ‘Mairon’, a gifted metalsmith among the Maiar. He grew impatient with the slow unfolding on the flawed world and desired to create things to his own plan. Melkor promised to show how this could be achieved, and so step by step, Mairon followed Melkor down into darkness until he became ‘Sauron’.

Drawings contained in the frame, starting from the top: Eye of (future) Sauron, the two Lamps of Arda, and (bottom) the future One Ring. The corner images are of Valinor.

John Uskglass, the Raven King & ivy

John Uskglass, the Raven King with a crown of ivy leaves, for ‘ivy binds English magic’. The magician King raised by faeries, from Susanna Clarke’s book ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’.
Pencil and acrylics on old paper, 8×11.5″, finished digitally.

A detail of the whole (click to see full size) :

John Uskglass, the Raven King crowned in Ivy (detail) by Soni Alcorn-Hender

John Uskglass, the Raven King crowned in Ivy (detail)

And the entire thing.
(If only someone would hire me to illustrate her next book. PleaseOhPleaseOhPlease. )

John Uskglass, the Raven King crowned in Ivy, Soni Alcorn-Hender

John Uskglass, the Raven King crowned in Ivy