Here is something interesting. This piece happened quite without any plan, I just started drawing out of a whim and let it take its own course. I did it fast and in a very unconcerned manner. It was a lot of fun for sure. The results were kinda bittersweet. Some things come out very nicely, for example the dragon's scales. Others, not so much, as for the anatomy on Azaghâl. I think I messed this one up and it is difficult to understand what is happening there. If you good friends have any opinion on how would you have drawn this one I will be very glad to hear it. You know it is too much info in one spot. The strange position of the body, the beard, the armor and the blood/smoke. All getting in the way. If you know how to make it better please tell me.
The scene depicts Azaghâl's glorious death:
“Last of all the eastern force to stand firm were the Dwarves of Belegost, and thus they won renown. For the Naugrim withstood fire more hardily than either Elves or Men, and it was their custom moreover to wear great masks in battle hideous to look upon; and those stood them in good stead against the dragons. And but for them Glaurung and his brood would have withered all that was left of the Noldor. But the Naugrim made a circle about him when he assailed them, and even his mighty armour was not full proof against the blows of their great axes; and when in his rage Glaurung turned and struck down Azaghâl, Lord of Belegost, and crawled over him, with his last stroke Azaghâl drove a knife into his belly, and so wounded him that he fled the field, and the beasts of Angband in dismay followed after him. Then the Dwarves raised up the body of Azaghâl and bore it away; and with slow steps they walked behind singing a dirge in deep voices, as it were a funeral pomp in their country, and gave no heed more to their foes; and none dared to stay them.”
I always wondered how a beast massive enough to squash a hard Dwarf to death could be wounded by a mere knife. Well my answer is that in his rage Azaghâl carved his way into the beast's belly shoulder deep, in between the softer scales on the dragon's belly.
The dwarven King lost his helmet and part of his gear including his weapons in the struggle against the terrible beast. He wears a very nice shirt of heavy Mithril mail, which even the dragon's fangs and claws cannot pierce. So Glaurung decide to crush him to death inside his shine armor. He crawled over the wounded king with his pale slimy and soft belly and dragged his monstrous body over him crushing his bones. As Azaghâl started to be crushed blood sprouted from his nose and mouth, but he did not feel fear of death, only hate and anger, the only thing in his mind was to strike back. In a last effort he searched for a weapon on the ground among his dead bodyguards and found a knife. Even with a broken spine and being trapped under the beast the waist down, he managed to lift his body with his left arm and using each ounce of his fading strength he gritted his teeth and drove the knife deeper and deeper, hacking and slashing as it goes down to his shoulder. Black boiling blood started to flow profusely, scalding the king alive. Smoke raised from the ground where the blood hits and also from the king's skin.
The Dragon felt the pain, a feeling to which he is not used to, and snapped the king with his jaws and tossed him away. The broken and lifeless body of the king hit the ground among his warriors, who laid down their weapons and started to mourn their beloved ruler. The Dragon himself fled the ashen field leaving a huge trail of hissing blood behind and crawled into a forgotten pit deep on the ground to heal his wounds.
The design for Glaurung was inspired by the Blue tongued Skink, a very interesting animal. I think it fits my mental image for Glaurung. A huge flaccid fat beast like an old crock, dragging his swollen body slowly with short legs. The scales are very thick and hard, of a glossy black color, being the underside of a smoother and lighter kind of plates, like a crocodile or snake belly.
The rest is very straight forward and not thoroughly thought but I hope you can enjoy the image by what it is anyway. I'll be drawing a complete design for Azaghâl soon too.
The starting idea here was to depict two upper class dwarven Warriors. The one on the left is a professional Warrior of some prestige, maybe a field official. The one on the right is a nobility member, a person with considerable wealth and power.
Both wear ancient styled armor, being the nobledwarf's one of a foreign style maybe from the eastern dwarven houses. The professional warrior wears the kind of warmask that the dwarves developed in the first age to fight dragon's fire. It is grotesque and frightening with very exaggerated features and proportions. A beastly heavy and strong piece.
Many historical helmets and masks were as grotesque and exaggerated as this one, and I took my inspiration to create this one from the African tribal masks as well as from Samurai armor. The features resemble a wild boar, and the proportions are so massive that some features do not match the exact size of the face underneath. The mouth on the mask for example is well below the dwarf mouth inside. The plate that represent the mask's beard is long and broad and doubles as a neck and chest guard.
He wears a very sturdy full suit of mail and plates, those darker stripes you see I imagine as being of a different pattern, for example 6x1, for added sturdiness without compromising the overall flexibility and reasonable weight as well as being a decorative feature. He carries a pair of axes as well as a single bladed sword (the hilt is off center because of this) and a chisel bladed knife, very useful to shove into taller opponents' armor gaps. He also carries a medium shield on his back. A very complete and versatile gear fit for most of the situations a warrior could face.
The nobledwarf wears a fine gear, with a crested open faced helmet. He is expected to be seen and to give orders not to fight in the front lines all the time. His armor was inspired by historical Indo-Persian armors, and this early plate armor design is very simple but effective without compromising much the movements. It is not as gilded as a ceremonial or parade piece as it is meant for actual battle, but there is plenty of gold and even a plating treatment that flaunts his wealth. The mail underneath also sports a pattern of different colored rings. He also carries a complete gear including a poleaxe, a short Seax style sword and a slender and pointy dagger. He carries on his back a small rectangular shield with a boss in the middle.
It all was done with my trusted Noodlers fountain pens and watercolors, in my tiny Moleskine with some later PS fine tuning.
This one represents my take on the lower class warriors, largely normal worker class people who afford their own war gear and go to war only when the king needs them.
The Equipment is basic but high quality, as you can expect from them dwarves. A sturdy helmet for withstanding heavy blows from above, all covered in runes, a pair of steel toed boots for deflecting rocks in dark tunnels and knocking goblin teeth, a sturdy reinforced sleeveless Dwarven maille shirt and a padded and strong Aketon. The rest of the armor is composed of hard boiled thick leather panels, all of them finely decorated, of course. The only shine of precious metals here are from a silver belt buckle and a little golden crest in the helmet’s forehead.
This one chose to invest a good deal of his money in an arsenal tough. His primary weapon is a very nasty war mattock and he also carries a one handed Axe and a cleaver style sword. The sword is made of fine dwarven steel and fitted with brass parts all over. A simple and sturdy killing tool.
Some other noticeable details are the metal and hard leater reinforcements on the gloves and boots and the leather fastenings in his beard, a very inexpensive and popular solution among hard workers and also a classic.
I'm working on my designing and rendering skills lately, and I intend to focus on one theme at a time. The first theme I am working on is Dwarves, so you can expect to see a whole lot o them here.
The idea here is to portrait two different castes of warriors, one noble one and one of a much lower class.
The historical references for the dwarven culture that I am using is basically a blend of Islamic, Indu and Japanese cultures, and of course the angular aesthetics established mainly in the LOTR movies, with some other ideas taken from the latter Hobbit movies.
The first warrior displays a lot of gold and many fine weapons, as well as a heavy golden chain. The mask is much less heavy than the ones you will see in the first and second ages, but still carries some of the basic visual traits. The second warrior is clad in a less expensive gear consisting in a basic plain vest of dwarven maille (still higher quality than anything available to humans) that is sure always expensive so the vest doesnt even have sleeves and is shorter in length. The other protections are mostly padded and studded leather and also thick boiled leather plates. He of course also invested the better part of his funds in a solid dwarven steel helmet, the best he can buy, because if you are a dwarf you would expect a lot of blows coming from above. The golden crest piece that I portrait in every dwarven helmet is something that I imagine to be like a plate with the clans name and status carved in very artistically written runes that are women into each other much like Arabic artistic calligraphy. This is the reason for even a humble low class warrior to invest in a golden plated one. The gloves and boots are reinforced worker gear, and the axe is a fine but basic dwarven weapon. He also carry a shield to compensate for the lack of a heavier armor.
It was done with my trusted Noodlers fountain pens and watercolors, with some retouches in PS.