Fri. May 24th, 2024

We interview the unusual illustrator who created Tolkien’s worlds.

By ki0nk May9,2024
News

‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’ are only two examples of the groundbreaking work that Tomás Jr. has accomplished with his imaginative style.

The name Tomás Jr. is among the most instantly identifiable names in the world of Spanish illustration. His extremely personal line is made more spectacular by the engraving method, as well as by the works that he chooses to illuminate with his vision. We had the opportunity to speak with him in the podcast titled “Laberinto de papel,” which is a beautiful literature podcast that we produce in Xataka in partnership with Minotauro.

Due to the fact that there is no one more qualified than the artist himself to divulge the secrets of his process, we have established direct communication with Hjo. The engraving involves a meticulous process that the artist explains to us so that we can get an idea of ​​all the hours that go into creating creations like the ones we are dealing with today: the tarot is, as he explains, from engravings, and the adaptation by Lovecraft are illustrations in which he scrupulously imitates the work done with engraving.

According to what he has shared with us, the Shadow Over Innsmouth is a project that is quite tough to imagine due to the fact that Lovecraft’s creatures are always considered to be particularly challenging to visualize. Tomás Jr., on the other hand, not only accomplishes the task at hand, but he also takes a significant role in the conceptualization of the book itself. He meticulously plans even the arrangement of the volume in order to ensure that it is able to showcase the merits of his writing.

‘The Lord of the Rings‘ Tarot is a project that the artist has taken in a very personal way because he is enthusiastic about it and knows Tolkien’s universe in deep. The artist has tackled this project in a very personal way. In this particular instance, it is a piece of work in which he has attempted to establish a certain degree of coherence between the suits of the Spanish deck, which are included in certain iterations of the Tarot deck, the traditional arcana, and the identities of the figures from Middle Earth.

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The Inklings, and it seemed that Tolkien in particular, were naturally first and center in the thoughts, writings, and conversation of the attendees at the Mythopoeic Society conference that I attended last weekend. However, the name of H.P. Lovecraft was also discussed at least once or twice, and it is possible that I was mostly responsible for bringing it up. In a paper that I heard about the writings of our Author Guest of Honor, Tim Powers, which I had not heard of before, there was a description of the narrative that reminded me a little bit of Lovecraft’s masterwork,

“The Call of Cthulhu.” Later on, when I made the courageous decision to inquire about this matter with the author himself, I received confirmation that my “Lovecraft antennae” were correct. In addition, I inquired about Powers’ beliefs regarding whether or not he believed that Charles Williams may have been successful in converting the infamous atheist Lovecraft to Christianity. Later in the evening, additional conversation ensued as a result of a positive response.

At any rate, the purpose of all of this is basically to introduce an astounding finding that I made as recently as today. A fascinating essay titled “The New Shoggoth Chic: Why H.P. Lovecraft Now?” can be found on the website of Amy Sturgis, whose name I thought I remembered coming across at MythCon. Sturgis is the editor of the book Past Watchful Dragons: Fantasy & Faith in the World of C.S. Lewis, which was published by The Mythopoeic Press. (1) [1] In spite of the fact that he is not mentioned in the article’s title, Tolkien is a significant topic of discussion throughout the piece, which is essentially a comparison and contrast of the two authors.

At different points in their lives, Lovecraft and Tolkien had different interpretations of what modernity, that vague and abstract force of the beginning of the 20th century, should be understood to signify. A single thing stayed the same: both of them were opposed to it. According to Lovecraft, the most important aspect of modernity was entropy, which can be defined as the steady deterioration of time-honored customs, traditions, and even individuals into chaos and decrepitude.

It was his racial and nationalistic beliefs that spurred his disdain with the way that industrialization and urbanization brought together people who were not alike in the most deplorable conditions, so insuring (at least in his perspective) that their most undesirable characteristics would be brought to the forefront. His time spent in New York City, which was only for a brief period of time, provided him with a concrete illustration of his greatest fears coming true.

Lovecraft’s description implies more than simply dread or hate of the Other, despite the fact that it is charged with what we would call racism and xenophobia in today’s society. These other people are overcrowded, literally “teeming,” unattached to their surroundings or group, isolated and atomistic, uncommunicative, and “hardened.” In contrast to these images, Lovecraft compared them to those that occurred in Providence, Rhode Island, his hometown. In Providence, generations lived in the same spot and were recognized by their family name and characteristics.

Additionally, the community as a whole had a tendency to share what Augustine referred to as “loved things held in common.” [3]: Lovecraft dreaded the possibility of a humanity that had been disoriented from such a rooted heritage and identity, leaving it open to the influence of external powers that possessed superior power and an unwholesome design.

Tolkien’s conception of modernity essentially entailed the triumph of technology, which he referred to as “The Machine,” over the natural world. In contrast to Lovecraft, who cherished his hometown of Providence, Tolkien held the English countryside in high esteem and considered that the expansion of towns and factories posed a direct threat to the countryside’s ability to continue existing. As a result of his creation of the fictitious Shire and the Hobbits that live there, Tolkien lauded the rural ideals of decentralization, artisanship, stability, and familiarity as superior to the metropolitan attributes of centralization, mass production, disposability, and anonymity.

On the other hand, pleasure and success were not to be. Garish daylight showed only squalor and alienage and the noxious elephantiasis of climbing, spreading stone where the moon had hinted of loveliness and elder magic; and the throngs of people that seethed through the flumelike streets were squat, swarthy strangers with hardened faces and narrow eyes, shrewd strangers without dreams and without kinship to the scenes around them, who could never mean aught to a blue-eyed man of the old folk, with the love of fair green lanes and white New England village steeples in his heart. 2 [2]

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