When I first read The Lord of the Rings, I thought to draw an illustrated version of the trilogy, just for fun. I never completed the task; I was in college at the time and had other things to do. But I did a lot of research, collected reference material, did preliminary drawings, created character studies, and in the end, made a few finished b/w illustrations. It was really the first time I ever put that sort of effort and concentration into drawing and illustration. I didn’t know anybody who made a living drawing back then; I was a geology major myself. So essentially, I just invented my ‘process’ as I went along.
This drawing is based on my designs for the Balrog in Volume 1 from back in the day. He’s a bit beefier than my earlier versions but similar. I read the material pretty carefully at the time trying to suss out an accurate design. As I recall, Tolkien’s description of the Balrog’s wings was somewhat obscure. It seemed to leave open the possibility that the wings of shadow might have actually been cast shadows rather than real wings attached to the Balrog. So I’ve left the wings here as tonal shapes without too much specific definition.
The drawing was done on legal-sized paper with the usual Pentel automatic pencil. I had to tape three sheets together in the end to get all of the figure in, as he was a good deal wider than my original sheet of paper. The drawing ended up being 17 x 14. I’ve done a little Photoshopping to clean up the seams, the gray smudges of pencil on the backgrounds, and left some of the tone in the figure because I liked the way it looked.