This piece is a digital painting done by an artist known on deviantART and Tumblr as 89ravenclaw. She was commissioned to create an artwork for a class on Tolkien’s writings, specifically The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and The Silmarillion. Here we see elements of all three works: the dragon Smaug from The Hobbit, the One Ring from the famous trilogy, and the Simiril sigil and text from The Silmarillion.
The detail is what really caught my eye. There is so much visual texture, from the wood grain in the table to each link in the Ring’s chain. The overall value and composition of the piece really helps the eye move all around. When I step back, I first see the dragon’s head. It’s hard to tell if he’s sleeping or looking straight at the viewer, which adds a lot of interest and makes you look closer at the piece itself. The curve of the dragon’s body leads to the Ring held in his tail, and the eye travels down the chain so that all those little bits of paper aren’t forgotten or overlooked. The unified light source brings the viewer back to Tolkien’s hand - beautifully shaded and detailed - which draws attention to what he’s writing. Even the paper has an alluring yet subtle texture. I think the last thing you really notice is the table itself, but it is worth noticing.
What I think is the icing on the cake is the fact that, even though you can only see Tolkien’s hand, the overall angle of the piece doesn’t suggest the viewer is seeing this scene from Tolkien’s viewpoint. Rather, the viewer is looking over Tolkien’s shoulder, implying that the viewer has a personal relationship with him, which is personally something I’ve always craved.