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This question isn't as broad as it might appear at first glance. I've seen drawings of dragons, Dwarves, Trolls, and Hobbits by Tolkien, and I'm primarily interested in only a few other races. He was a prolific writer and artist, but he seems to have shied away from making too many illustrations featuring animals or people. Perhaps the only imagine along these lines that I have been able to find are these:

The Dragon Glaurung.
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Smaug and Bilbo.
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More Smaug. enter image description here

Even more Smaug.
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Bill, Tom, and Bert, the Trolls, with Bilbo hiding in a bush (left background), a bunch of Dwarves in sacks (left foreground), and Gandalf casting a spell (right).
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Bill, Tom, and Bert again, with a Dwarf in the foreground.

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Bilbo at home.
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The races I am most interested in seeing are as follows:

  • Orcs

  • Ents

  • Elves

  • Wargs

These are the races/species I am most interested in seeing, although I certainly won't complain if you find pictures of other races/species.

Did Tolkien ever draw any of these creatures and races?

8
  • I spent my last vote on this question but it was worth it :D Jul 21, 2015 at 6:49
  • Maybe elves. None of the others. Jul 21, 2015 at 10:42
  • And I even doubt elves, given how reserved he was on the subject of elvish pointy ears. Jul 21, 2015 at 10:43
  • 1
    +1 for including some of Tolkien's artwork in the question :-) Jul 21, 2015 at 18:35
  • 1
    @maguirenumber6 - unfortunately, he was better at landscapes than people and animals.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 21, 2015 at 22:41

3 Answers 3

17

In addition to the Trolls and Hobbits you've already depicted, I've found illustrations containing men, elves, dwarves and a picture of Gandalf.


In Tolkien's illustration of "Laketown", you can distinctly see 6 men (and a further 5 in the far distance).
enter image description here

In this image depicting the "Halls of Manwë" you can see a figure (presumably an elf) at the stern of an Elven swan-ship.
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This pencil sketch shows Gandalf the Grey:
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Another pencil sketch shows "Dwarves Marching and Smaug" enter image description here

Another pencil sketch shows some dwarves "At the Back Door" [to the Lonely Mountain]

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And we see Bilbo here with an eagle

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10
  • 6
    Gandalf the Grey or a coatrack?
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 21, 2015 at 22:40
  • 1
    @WadCheber - The picture is entitled "Gandalf" so I'd guess not a coatrack.
    – Valorum
    Jul 21, 2015 at 22:41
  • 1
    I guess I just didn't realize how coatrack-like Gandalf was. Now I know. The next time someone asks me to describe Gandalf, I'll say "He's like a magical coatrack!"
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 21, 2015 at 22:42
  • Who knew?
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 21, 2015 at 23:03
  • 1
    @DavidRoberts - I took it on the chin (or rather beard).
    – Valorum
    Mar 1, 2022 at 7:56
14

No illustrations of men, orcs, Ents, or wargs (at least that I know of). The only depiction of Elves that I know of is the painting of Beleg finding Gwindor in the forest of Taur-nu-Fuin:

enter image description here

2
  • It's really hard to spot Gwindor, he's lying just below the thick brown tree, stretched out on his stomach, his red hat lying on the ground next to him. Feb 28, 2022 at 22:03
  • His body makes a thin crescent shape just below a dark brown root.
    – m4r35n357
    Aug 2, 2023 at 12:48
2

Beleg Cuthalion by J.R.R. Tolkien

In this picture from 1928 you can see a Teleri elf named Beleg Cuthalion (also called Longbow). What stands out here are not only the backwards-pointing, conspicuous, pointed ears, but also the white eyebrows (which are better visible on the original). In The History of Middle-earth, Volume XII: Part Two “Late Writings.” XI "The Shibboleth of Feanor" (which deals with the late writings of J.R.R. Tolkien) the high King Finwe is described as having literally white brows. Since Beleg is a Sindar (and the Noldor are hardly related to them, which is clearly noticeable in their appearance) and Finwe is a Noldor, it is questionable why they both have white eyebrows (even though they have absolutely nothing to do with each other). Was this perhaps an important external feature in addition to the pointed ears? The elves are also described as having very noticeably sharp, yet deeply beautiful, bright and clear eyes. It is also said that their gazes were similar in appearance to those of eagles. This was another identifying feature of the Elves. So it is also said that Turin, when he found an elf washed up where he thought it was a human, realized only by his sharp eyes (in terms of appearance) that this was a Noldor (since the Noldor had the sharpest eyes) .

1
  • I see no hint of ears, let alone "conspicuous" ones. Likewise, the painting is simply too watercoloury and the figure of Beleg too small to say anything about his eyebrows.
    – Wlerin
    Jan 14 at 23:20

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