Alan Lee (illustrator)

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For other people of the same name, see Alan Lee (disambiguation).
Alan Lee
Alan Lee 2003.jpg
Lee at a world film premiere in New Zealand, November 2003
Born (1947-08-20) 20 August 1947 (age 67)
Middlesex, England
Nationality British
Education Ealing School of Art
Known for Illustration, painting, conceptual design
Awards Chesley Award
1989, 1998
Kate Greenaway Medal
1993
World Fantasy Award
1998
Academy Award
2004

Alan Lee (born 20 August 1947) is an English book illustrator and movie conceptual designer. He was born in Middlesex, England, and studied at the Ealing School of Art.[1]

Illustrations[edit]

Lee has illustrated dozens of fantasy books, including some nonfiction, and many more covers.[2] Several works by J.R.R. Tolkien are among his most notable interiors: the Tolkien centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings (1995), a 1999 edition of The Hobbit that has been boxed with it, and Narn i Chîn Húrin: the tale of the children of Húrin (2007).[2][3] The latter, a first edition, is his work most widely held in WorldCat participating libraries.[4] Other books he has illustrated include Faeries (with Brian Froud), Lavondyss by Robert Holdstock (as well as the cover of an early print of this book), The Mabinogion (two versions), Castles and Tolkien's Ring (both nonfiction by David Day), The Mirrorstone by Michael Palin, The Moon's Revenge by Joan Aiken, and Merlin Dreams by Peter Dickinson.[2][3]

He has also illustrated retellings of classics for young people. Two were Rosemary Sutcliff's versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey—namely, Black Ships Before Troy (Oxford, 1993) and The Wanderings of Odysseus (Frances Lincoln, 1995). Another was Adrian Mitchell's version of Ovid's Metamorphoses—namely, Shapeshifters (Frances Lincoln, 2009).[5]

Lee did cover paintings for the 1983 Penguin edition of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy.[2][3] He also did the artwork for Alive!, a CD by the Dutch band Omnia, released on 3 August 2007 during the Castlefest festival.[3]

Watercolour painting and pencil sketches are two of Lee's common media.[3]

Film[edit]

Lee and John Howe were the lead concept artists of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films[6] and were recruited by director Guillermo del Toro in 2008 for continuity of design in the subsequent The Hobbit films.[6][7] (Direction of the Hobbit films passed to Jackson who retained the artists.) Jackson has explained[8] how he originally recruited the reclusive Lee. By courier to Lee's home in the south of England, he sent two of his previous films, Forgotten Silver and Heavenly Creatures, with a note from himself and Fran Walsh that piqued Lee's interest enough to become involved. Lee went on to illustrate and even to help construct many of the scenarios for the movies, including objects and weapons for the actors. He also made two cameo appearances, in the opening sequence of The Fellowship as one of the nine kings who became the Nazgûl and in The Two Towers as one Rohan soldier in the armoury (over the shoulder of Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn and Legolas talk in Elvish).[9]

Lee has also worked as a conceptual designer on the films Legend, Erik the Viking, King Kong and the television mini-series Merlin.[6] The art book Faeries, produced in collaboration with Brian Froud, was the basis of a 1981 animated feature of the same name.[10][11]

Two years after completion of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Lee released a 192-page collection of his conceptual artwork for the project, entitled The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook (HarperCollins, 2005). Film director Peter Jackson said, "His art captured what I hoped to capture with the films."[12]

Lee is currently back in New Zealand designing elements of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit films, with fellow illustrator John Howe whom he worked with on Lord of the Rings

Awards[edit]

For his 1978 book with Brian Froud, Faeries, Lee was runner-up for the science fiction and fantasy Locus Award, year's best art or illustrated book.[13]

For illustrating Merlin Dreams by Peter Dickinson (1988), he won the annual Chesley Award for Best Interior Illustration[13] and he was a highly commended runner-up for the Greenaway Medal.[14][a] He also won the BSFA Award for Best Artwork, for that year's best single new image.[13]

Five years later he won the Kate Greenaway Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book illustration by a British subject. The book was Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff, a version of the Trojan War story.[15]

For the 60th anniversary edition of The Hobbit, Tolkien's 1937 classic, Lee won his second Chesley Award for Interior Illustration (he is a finalist eight times through 2011).[16] For that year's work he won the annual World Fantasy Award, Best Artist, at the 1998 World Fantasy Convention.[17]

In 2000 he won the competitive, juried Spectrum Award for fantastic art in the grandmaster category.[18]

Lee, Grant Major and Dan Hennah earned the 2004 Academy Award for Best Art Direction for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, third in the film trilogy.[19]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2007 Lee, his wife, and two children live in Chagford, Dartmoor, Devon, England.[15]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Today there are usually eight books on the Greenaway Medal shortlist. According to CCSU, some runners-up through 2002 were Commended (from 1959) or Highly Commended (from 1974). There were 31 high commendations in 29 years including Lee and two others in 1988.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. "Alan Lee Biography".
  2. ^ a b c d Alan Lee at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 15 July 2012. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Amazing Artworks By Alan Lee". Art. KlingPost. 
  4. ^ "Lee, Alan". WorldCat. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Shapeshifters: tales from Ovid's Metamorphoses". WorldCat. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Alan Lee at the Internet Movie Database
  7. ^ "Guillermo del Toro Chats with TORN About The Hobbit Films!". TheOneRing.net. 25 April 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2008. 
  8. ^ In a documentary interview on the extended edition of The Fellowship of the Ring.
  9. ^ "Cameos and Special Extras in The Lord of The Rings". Anonymous.
  10. ^ "Faeries". Internet Movie Database.  Executive producer Thomas W. Moore and others.
  11. ^ Brian Froud; Alan Lee, (1979). David Larkin, ed. Faeries. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group. 
  12. ^ "The lord of the rings sketchbook" (British edition). WorldCat. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  13. ^ a b c Lee, Alan". Index of Art Nominees. Locus Index to SF Awards. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  14. ^ "Kate Greenaway Medal". 2007(?). Curriculum Lab. Elihu Burritt Library. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  15. ^ a b (Greenaway Winner 1993). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  16. ^ "Chesley Nominees List". The Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  17. ^ "1998 World Fantasy Award Winners and Nominees". World Fantasy Convention. 
  18. ^ 2000 Spectrum Awards.
  19. ^ "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King". AllMovie. 

External links[edit]