Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey pt1

A few years ago I remember the impact that the Lord of the Rings films had on me, and so many people around the world.  To say I was captivated is a gross understatement.  I remember getting the art of books and just studying them religiously.  The work of Alan Lee, John Howe, Jamie Beswarick, Mike Asquith and Gino Acevedo to name a few were particular driving points for me to get off my arse and become something.  I never would have realized that some day I might feature in one of those types of books.

Working on the Hobbit has been the realization of a long term goal, and coming from South Africa, a little town called King Williams Town, with NO connection to the entertainment industry in anyway, it seemed like a fools dream.  My parent's were the best support any kid could ask for, and they did nothing but encourage my determination.  To have ended up with the Lead Creature Designer credit for the movie is incredibly fortunate for me and I rest on the shoulders of the giants that lay the foundation for this world and the awesome team I worked with, namely Greg Tozer, Jamie Beswarick, Dave Meng, Nick Keller, Paul Tobin and Gus Hunter (there were many others as well).  Led by our amazing boss, Sir Richard Taylor.  My partner Lindsey who helped design some of the dwarves and does collectibles as well was my inspiration and an amazing artist herself!  Could not have done it without her.

Featured in this book you will see SOME of the fruits of our labor.  I wish I could share more but unfortunately, this is all I'm able to show now, and please, go out and get the book if you're interested!  I hope the work inside inspires as it did me years ago.  Many thanks to the talented Daniel Falconer for putting this masterpiece together!

 Goblin King - Creature and costume design illustration.
 The ComiCon statues of the Trolls.  I designed these characters and was able to use the Zbrush files to create the life sized versions for the display.

 Some Goblin Designs.

A collection of what I could find online that has been released.  But there is plenty more in the upcoming books!


  1. Glad you can finally share some of your hard work bro :) Why is everyone not allowed to post the high res versions of images that have already been published? Seems ridiculous to me :(

  2. congrats on the amazing work on the movie, it was really breathtaking! my personal favorite is the goblin king - i wish there where more info on the development, especially early sculpts, and some more info on people who were involved on it. i guess i have to wait for some artbooks :)

  3. Congratulations on your amazing work and your journey to get here. The creatures in the Hobbit are some the of the best I've ever seen, not just in execution but in their design and concept. They posses that mystical quality that makes a fantasy creature work, that sense of humor and individuality in the design layered with anatomy and character. As a student, your work continues to inspire me everyday to keep learning and studying. I cant wait to get the book!

    1. Thank you very much Dario for your kind words! I'm so glad you feel that way about them. I had one of the biggest learning experiences working on it. You never stop learning! :) best - AB

  4. I am a fan of your work. I wonder how you achieve that kind of look for your renders?
    Maybe someday you are able to post some stuff over at zbcentral?