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March 14, 2011
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Dol Guldur by JonHodgson Dol Guldur by JonHodgson
(C)2011 Jon Hodgson. Please do not reproduce without permission.

So this is a very exciting time for me. For the last 2 years or so I've been working on artwork for a new Lord of the Rings role playing game, to be published by Cubicle 7 in partnership with Sophisticated Games.

At last some previews of the artwork are being released, and so I can share this one, which went live on Friday: Dol Guldur, home of The Necromancer in Southern Mirkwood, later revealed as Sauron.

Artrage, Painter, Photoshop

You can learn more about the game here: [link]
Middle-earth, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the characters, items, events and places therein are trademarks or registered trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises and are used under license by Sophisticated Games Ltd and their respective licensees.
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:iconevilscarrlett:
EvilScarrlett Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
this is very awesome and the details can't be beat!
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:iconhouyu1311:
houyu1311 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2013  Student Digital Artist
good job~
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:iconspicedwinefanfic:
spicedwinefanfic Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2013
This is superb!
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:iconxilvian:
Xilvian Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Student
Swizzle version of Dol Guldur! I really like the color schemes you use in your paintings.

Keep up the awesome work!
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:iconcentaine7:
centaine7 Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013
marvellous
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:iconragnarok6664:
Ragnarok6664 Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Fallen indeed, stunning work
Reply
:iconcush1:
Cush1 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012
I'm going to +1 the artwork, particularly the gatehouse and the overall "feel". I gotta say though, this strikes me as too "cathedral-y". Dol Guldur was a fortress, not a medieval town.
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:iconthornfrost:
Thornfrost Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Holy Tesla! This is incredible!
Reply
:iconjulius1880:
julius1880 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Brilliant...
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:iconzak05:
Zak05 Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
fantastic!!
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:iconadarion:
Adarion Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2012  Student General Artist
Aww, this is a very beautiful painting. I love the lots of green. By the way, do you know about the Austria band "Summoning"? Their album Dol Guldur is still among my favourites. And they also used a lot of green on the cover, too.

That art also makes me interested in the game. Heh, I was about to ask if that would run in Linux. lol. Then I noticed it's a pen, paper and phantasy RPG. Nice.
I mean I already own a plethora of RPG books but tend to play mainly "the dark eye" (DSA in German, and very popular here, has a nice background world and an acceptable rule system) but diving in these realms would be nice again. Maybe I can import it once it is released.
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:iconbagasuit091:
bagasuit091 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Very nice.
Reply
:icononiversus:
Oniversus Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing
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:iconbluebumblebee:
BlueBumbleBee Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011
The architecture is beautiful, and I love the gloomy atmosphere.
Reply
:iconmutiny-in-the-air:
mutiny-in-the-air Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very slick
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:iconcinemajack:
cinemajack Featured By Owner May 31, 2011
beautiful!
Reply
:iconjaldithas:
Jaldithas Featured By Owner May 17, 2011
well...this is realy ..unique interpretation
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:iconshimmerinwebofdreams:
ShimmerinWebOfDreamS Featured By Owner May 10, 2011  Student General Artist
woahh
The architecture is superb, and the depth of the imge is beautifully rendered!! Great work!!
Reply
:iconwildwoodartsco:
WildWoodArtsCo Featured By Owner May 5, 2011   Traditional Artist
Great work. You can definitely see te Elvish influence in the architecture. It must be difficult sometimes to look beyond the work Alan Lee and John Howe have done to find your own version of how things should be, but you've certainly done that here. And the muted colours are just right.
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:iconjonhrubesch:
JonHrubesch Featured By Owner May 4, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Really nice work. I love the massive roots over growing the wall.
Reply
:iconwerewolfsfan:
werewolfsfan Featured By Owner May 4, 2011
Wow! This is magnificent!
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:iconayuichi:
ayuICHI Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful work.
Reply
:iconsweetrandomness:
sweetrandomness Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011
This is just gorgeous. The shading and details are breathtaking.
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:iconcarles:
Carles Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2011  Professional General Artist
I think your style matches the "ancient" lores in Tolkien's work perfectly, with the toned-down colors and almost nostalgic feel. The idea of ages-old lores is immediately conveyed in your work. The AD made a good choice for sure picking you !
Very impressive.
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:iconspotlessdestiny:
SpotlessDestiny Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2011
Good work, i think you had put lot's of time for did this impressive fortification :D
Reply
:icon8one6:
8one6 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
Nice!
Reply
:iconukitoki:
Ukitoki Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Mmm... its beautiful!
Reply
:icontoxicbob2000:
Toxicbob2000 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
Hope the game is awesome!
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:iconjonhodgson:
JonHodgson Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Me too! I like what I've read so far.
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:icontoxicbob2000:
Toxicbob2000 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
Decipher's rather lackluster adaptation of Middle Earth was my first exposure to RPGs. Looking forward to seeing what Cubicle 7 does with it.
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:iconmagbhitu:
magbhitu Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011
i like this piece on it's own, but i must say it doesn't feel like Dol Guldur to me. The gatehouse is the strongest part and i love the overgrown effect with all the roots. My problem is with the castle. It's too much. Too fairytale in style - elven even in it's Gothic lines. A beautiful piece but not suitable for Dol Guldur in my view. I'm not expecting Barad Dur, in fact i somehow want less with Dol Guldor. Less buildings and more brooding hill. Not a village or cathedral but a place of primitive fear topped by a lonely tower perhaps. Congratulations on the gig though, i'll be looking forward to further installments of your vision of MiddleEarth.
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:iconjonhodgson:
JonHodgson Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
The eternal problem of illustrating Middle Earth is that one cant please everyone. Of course not! Spun a different way that's the great joy of Middle Earth. We each discover our own.

We do have the text though.

Dol Guldur was originally an elven place, so there is deliberately some of that in there. Whether Sauron would have demolished it all, or built on to it is a matter for pure subjective conjecture, of course.

Being there for as long as he was - 1200 years - I'm happy that he expanded his base of operations to be quite large. Whole armies marched from this place against Lothlorien and Thranduil's realm, which to create such battles as they did must have been considerable hosts. Equally the descriptions we have of it's destruction infer more than a single tower.

However all of that is *completely* moot - if it doesn't feel right for the viewer then it isn't right for the viewer. And I support your unhappiness with it, in the sense as I mentioned earlier of us each describing our own Middle Earth in our heads as we read. Tolkien's use of language is such that there is very little direct description of anything. That's one of it's many joys after all.

And that's something I made my peace with at the very beginning of this project. I don't really mind that you have a problem with it, in a nice way, if that makes any sense? I feel we did our reading well, and worked through a great many options to create what we did with this one. But there are so many different equally valid interpretations that eventually you have to pick one of many and run with it. And that's ok.
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:iconmagbhitu:
magbhitu Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011
You response is very gracious and well thought out. You sure can't please everybody and I certainly understand the importance of sticking to you're artistic convictions. As stated before it's a lovely piece just not my cup of tea for this purpose.
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:iconjonhodgson:
JonHodgson Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I really enjoy the process of trying to sift through the text to figure out what things mean, or what they could look like, and chatting about it like this is just like that, so it's all good.

One of the first pieces I had to do was Rivendell, (Ha! No pressure then, right?) and I came to realise that actually in my head there's about 6 different locations in different styles when I think of Rivendell. To make one image, from one angle that sums all that up is really quite a compromise. And it's been the same for every location piece.
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:icontoubab:
toubab Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
wooowwww!
Reply
:iconjonhodgson:
JonHodgson Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
aaaahhhhh
Reply
:iconwolkenfels:
Wolkenfels Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2011
Greatly done!
I really like the architecture here.
Reply
:iconjonhodgson:
JonHodgson Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:icondarkpistachio:
DarkPistachio Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2011  Student General Artist
As keight said, the palette is very reminiscent of Tolkien's own work, which is so refreshing in our often hypersaturated world. I hadn't heard about the game till now, but just looking at the pic I'm excited about it. You've done your job well! :)
Reply
:iconjonhodgson:
JonHodgson Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you! It's really gratifying that little details like the colour are not being missed.
Reply
:icondarkpistachio:
DarkPistachio Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011  Student General Artist
Also other little details, like, it's a painting! We're smart ones out here in internet-land.
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:iconjonhodgson:
JonHodgson Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
It is at once a happy and slightly terrifying thought. :)
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:iconkeight:
keight Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2011
Lovely work, Jon. I love the "aftermath" feel of this. One of the minor things I like about this gorgeous piece is the palette you used is reminiscent of the one in the prints I've seen of Tolkien's drawings.
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:iconjonhodgson:
JonHodgson Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you. I'm pleased you are feeling the aftermath. I think within this time period - after it's destruction as a place of Sauron's power - it's almost at it's most creepy. I think some great adventures will be had exploring it's abandoned and blasted halls.
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:icontinzart:
tinzart Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2011   Digital Artist
This is really well drawn mate. love it. :D
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:iconjonhodgson:
JonHodgson Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Ta!
Reply
:iconalextooth:
AlexTooth Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
love it, the design, everything!
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:iconjonhodgson:
JonHodgson Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks Alex!
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:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Absolutely awesome to see it fullsized. I don't want to specifically pick one thing, but MAN! The wall/gate overgrown with roots, that's epic.
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:iconjonhodgson:
JonHodgson Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! I'm working through comments and have come to yours last. We could talk all day about Dol Guldur I'm sure. :)
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