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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Hobbit: Reference Hunting and the Mad Dwarf Workshop

Earlier this week I went through the exhausting process of hunting down reference for this piece. (By that I mean that I sat on my couch and watched Kingdom of Heaven on mute and ate a very rare steak.) The people who worked on the costumes and weapons for Kingdom of Heaven literally could have invaded China with the manpower and resources they devoted to trying to keep everything historical and real. I really admire Ridley Scott's fantastic attention to detail in this film and I hope to learn from his example. 

One great source that I am using for reference on this piece is from a few really amazing swordsmiths I know who also have a penchant for detail. For the Lord of the Rings fans out there who are not familiar with them, let me introduce you to The Mad Dwarf Workshop.  Comprised mainly of the phenomenal talent of Andy Davis and David DelaGardelle, the Workshop hand-makes epic-inspired weapons with a phenomenal attention to detail. They also recreate historic examples from Viking and Celtic history. I really love to see artists really dedicated to their craft in this way.  

Their talent with Viking and Dwarvish weapons is really inspiring. I asked David if they ever made any goblin weapons, I was really curious what real swordsmiths might come up with if they were to put their efforts into the crooked weapons the goblins might have used.  He sent me the following image from a performance of the Hobbit that the Workshop was involved with. 

You can check out more of their work on their flickr gallery.

1 comment:

  1. Justin, Thanks so much for featuring our swordsmithing work man! :)

    Usually the share of ideas goes in the other direction for us. We get inspired off of weaponry an artists paints and we translate it into steel. So for that to be flipped and for you to get even an ounce of inspiration out of our work is a HUGE compliment!... haha

    At the moment in our shop we are workin on crafting tons of new Tolkien inspired blades including a folded steel elven sword and Turin's black sword "Gurthang" from "the Children of Hurin" so if anyone else is interested keep an eye on our site!

    And I cannot wait until you get this stinkin painting done man! You are steadily making Howe and Lee's work look like finger paintings when compared to this series!

    God Bless!

    David D.
    - M A D -