A few months back I had the happy occasion to be invited by Gallery Nucleus to take part in "Out of the Shire" -- the Tolkien themed tribute show that's opening up in Los Angeles this weekend. I had been waiting for an excuse to make a dragon sculpture, so I leaped on the change to take a stab at Smaug. Far from Tolkien's only dragon, but definitely my favourite.
I took my inspiration mostly from two sources -- the illustrations Tolkien made himself and that of Roger Garland. The latter is hardly the definitive version of Smaug, but it has a particular nostalgia for me since the painting below was the cover of my mom's copy of The Hobbit that I'd seen lying around the house since I can remember. It had an incredibly formative affect on my personal idea of dragons in general and Smaug in particular.
|Roger Garland's cover for The Hobbit|
And although I don't think it's absolutely necessary in all cases to follow to the letter precisely what an author has set forth regarding the look of their characters (see: Daario Naharis in The Song of Ice and Fire), I've always found Tolkien's illustrations of Smaug to be really charming.
|Tolkien's Illustration of Bilbo's Conversation with Smaug|
If you're in LA on Saturday night (Dec 14), please do come by Gallery Nucleus and see all the pieces in person! There are a ton of fantastic artists with pieces in the show -- Karla Ortiz, Wesley Burt, Iain McCaig, Justin Gerard, Donato Giancola, Nicolas Delort, etc etc ... there is no reason not to :)