John Howe Talks About Illustrating Middle-Earth For New LOTR TV Show

Illustrator John Howe is known for his beautiful depictions of Tolkien’s works, having served as an artist on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, as well as illustrating maps for various editions of the books. Howe was one of the earliest names known to be attached to both Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films and Amazon’s new TV show. In an interview with, translated from French, Howe has talked about how he became a go-to artist for Tolkien’s work.

Howe says he has been fascinated by J. R. R. Tolkien since he was 14 years old. “He is one of those authors whose visual evocation is extremely strong: what he describes triggers visions,” Howe told Swissinfo. “Things that are unknown are the most interesting. They are full of decisions to be made, challenges that have to be mastered. Heroic fantasy, when written well, answers questions every generation is asking.”

The illustrator lives and works in Switzerland, a country whose beautiful mountainous landscape inspired many of Tolkien’s magical locations. However the version of Middle-earth Howe is currently working on, for the Amazon Lord of the Rings TV show, is returning to New Zealand where Peter Jackson’s two trilogies were filmed. Unfortunately the interview doesn’t offer much in the way of details on the still-mysterious TV project.

Recent reports suggest the TV show is back to filming in the functionally COVID-19-free haven of New Zealand.

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