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The Crossing of Helcaraxe 2 by aautio The Crossing of Helcaraxe 2 by aautio
The Tragedy during the Crossing of Helcaraxë


“-- and finding no other way they endured at last the terror of the Helcaraxë and the cruel hills of ice. Few of the deeds of the Noldor thereafter surpassed that desperate crossing in hardihood or woe. There Elenwë the wife of Turgon was lost, and many others perished also; and it was with a lessened host that Fingolfin set foot at last upon the Outer Lands.”

- J. R. R. Tolkien: The Silmarillion, chapter 9: Of the Flight of the Noldor


This is the second incarnation of this Silmarillion illustration.. in sepia tone with a brown paper background added in Photoshop (Thank you for the idea and help, Ana! :heart:). For the description I'll quote myself below:

---

Now that I have this Tolkien inspiration rolling, here’s again a Silmarillion illustration. I wanted to study the characters of Fingon and Turgon in particular and I chose a less illustrated scene this time (at least I have seen no illustrations of it.. of course it doesn’t mean there weren’t any.) :roll: It’s the painful crossing of Hecaraxë, more specifically Turgon devastated by the loss of his wife. Again a sad scene, I know, but those make often the best illustrations if one manages to get some emotion into them.. I’d like to think that with this one I succeeded to some extent at least. :)

Tolkien doesn’t tell how Elenwë died in the Silmarillion, but here (to make it more dramatic) I’m assuming she fell into the grinding ice. [EDIT: I read later on the description from HoME that she indeed drowned in the icy water, but i didn't know it when i drew this]. Fingon stares in horror at the crevice where she disappeared while Aredhel, also shocked, tries to comfort her brother together with his friend Finrod. Behind them Idril clings to her grandfather Fingolfin, who silently curses the name of Fëanor, adding yet this tragedy to his half-brother’s ever growing list of sins. Galadriel and Orodreth stand further away.

I tried to get the feeling of cold into the drawing with the wind and snow.. I don’t know if it really works though (especially in this scan).. I also wanted to show that the clothes and equipment of the Noldor were not meant for these conditions. They have a couple of animal hides they have managed to hunt during their journey but mostly they’re just wrapped in their thin cloaks and fancy clothes. Fingon, ever the warrior, wears parts of his armour even in the bitter cold and carries with him his bow and two-handed sword (I never thought he’d one to use a shield..) ;)

HB pencil and 0.5 mech. pencil. I’m not sure how much time I put into this because I was working on it an hour here and an hour there, but probably 8-9.


[ EDIT, ver. 2.01:
I finally got round to updating this.. At first glance it probably doesn’t seem much different, but I actually went back to the pencil drawing and put in another hour of pencilwork. I strengthened the wind, sky and snow effects, some outlines and shadows and tweaked some small details in their equipment and faces in addition to fixing the two major annoyances in this drawing:
1) Fingon’s bow -- I still don’t like it, perhaps I should’ve left it out completely.. but at least now it looks remotely like a functional composite bow.
2) Idril’s hair -- it's now blonde, like it should be.. the dark hair was a stupid mistake -- i have always pictured her as blonde but started to doubt my vision when I was drawing this because I didn’t remember if her hair colour was told anywhere.. but i never bothered to check it out! Thanks to ~Elenai for talking me into it.

I also redid all the digital work and it’s a bit more visible in this version as I made the highlights of the sky and wind a little stronger.

Finally, a better scan and background paper.. at last!]
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:iconwordsmith7:
WordSmith7 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2010
I can feel the cold seeping out of my computer... *brr!*
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:iconlemonlyman:
LemonLyman Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2010
Oh, this is simply amazing. I like that you portrayed them as a host going against the gale.
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:iconmrs-haldir:
Mrs-Haldir Featured By Owner May 30, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Nice work :)
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:iconbadonel:
Badonel Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007
very nice job.
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2007
Thank you! :D
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:icondamirius:
Damirius Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Amazing such detail!!!
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2007
Thanks! :)
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:iconsenekha:
Senekha Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2006  Professional Digital Artist
I love the motion in this picture! I really get a feel for the Helcaraxe through this picture!
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2006
Thanks a lot! I'm quite happy with this one myself. :)
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:iconkurakdarcia:
KurakDarcia Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2005
wonderful!
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2005
:thanks:
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:icongrisznak:
Grisznak Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2005
Brillant work. This scene was pictured not so often, but this is definitly the best ilustration to it's.
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2005
Thank you very much! :thanks: Sometimes it's the less described scenes that are the most inspiring.. one sort of wants to find out what actually happened by drawing them! :)
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:iconelenmire:
Elenmire Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2005
Very expressive, it is possible to see the faces of desperation and pain. A great very well-considered work.
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2005
:thanks: Thank you! I'm quite happy with the way their expressions turned out. :)
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:iconthinuviel:
thinuviel Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2005
great shading...and wow the details are fantastic, great job:)
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2005
Thank you!
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:iconswimmingpool:
Swimmingpool Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2005
Brilliant. Ted Nasmith also made a painting of this subject, but your drawing is much more intense.
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2005
Thanks a lot! Wow, it's a real compliment to be compared with a highly accomplished Tolkien illustrator! :thanks:
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:iconivoignob:
ivoignob Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2005  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You really get the feeling of coldness and icy conditions here (I can almost hear the winds whistling :-)). And I love the blurring on the edges. The lips of Fingon captured my attention. Maybe they have a little bit too much color. But thats only a small detail. I really like this picture like all the others. They are inspirating me and forcing me to continue on my Silmarillion painintg which i stopped some 4 months ago.
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2005
Thank you. Yes, perhaps Fingon's mouth looks a bit strange since the lower lip sticks out but there is no upper lip at all.. I'm not completely happy with this portrayal of Fingon here and i tried to picture him a little differently in my WIP character sketch collection as you probably noticed.
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:iconelenai:
Elenai Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2005
I love the idea - I mean, the way she died - very emotional scene. Turgon's expression is amazing. I love Finrod and Galadriel (and her clothes!). I love how Fingolfin hugs Idril (but she's a blonde... - I know, we Tolkienists are annoying with our obsession about right hair colour ;) :D ) Your vision of elvish armour is excellent... All in all, a great piece and a great idea...
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2005
Ah, but you were right! I should've trusted my own vague image too! That's what I get for not having actually read the Silmarillion in ages.. :ohmygod: I leafed through the book today and suddenly it caught my eye; It's told indeed in Chapter 16, "of Maeglin" that Idril was "...golden as the Vanyar, .."

Oh, bugger.. Why didn't i do a throughout check first! I guess i'll need to change that too when i'll finally get around to doing something about Fingon's annoying bow!
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:iconelenai:
Elenai Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2005
wow, you've changed it fast :omg: it looks as if it was this way from the start, great job (is it Photoshop? I'm kind of addicted to it :devilish:)

I remember Idril being blonde, becouse I love to draw her - actually, she's the only one Tolkien character I've drawn in a non-comical way so far..
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2005
No, the changes are done with just the good old pencil-and-eraser-method, then re-scanned and added the brown paper and adjusted the leves etc. in Photoshop.

Yeah, i should've just trusted my original image of her and remembered that her hair colour was actually stated in the book! Thanks for making me check it.. I'd hate to have "historically incorrect" details in my illustrations, the nitpicker that i am.. :XD:
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2005
Thank you! I think Tolkien's text is so wonderful, his characters and world so rich, that you can go deep into it an find great scenes from something that he just narrates with only a couple of sentences.. I enjoyed drawing this and i'm pleased with how it turned out -- it's great to hear others like it too! :)

Yeah, i know.. Hair colours are a funny obsession for us tolkienists; I've been quite a "hair colour nazi" myself. :D For example, i'm one of those people who picture Legolas with brown hair, but let's not go into that.. ;) Funny thing is, i always had some kind of image about Idril being blonde too, but i can't remember Tolkien ever describing her hair colour anywhere (or perhaps i've forgotten, please tell me if you know where it's written). So when i was drawing this i specifically went against my own "vision" in order to be "historically correct." I figured that since Idril is Turgon's daughter, her hair has to be dark (i thought about brown, not black), since Tolkien was quite specific about the fact that among the Noldor only Finarfin's descendants had golden hair.
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:iconsirielle:
Sirielle Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2005   Digital Artist
Her mother was Elenwë of the Vanyar, that's why golden hair. I'm obsessed with hair colors, too ;)

I can see the difference. So it's possible to make such changes with a real pencil, too. If it was my drawing there would be holes in paper and no better result ;) I like both of Fingon's bows, though the new one looks stronger :thumbsup: I love his braids :D
The whole scene is great, Fingolfin with his fist cursing traitors, the faces of main characters, especially Turgon, Finrod and Aredhel. I like these figures in background, too. Fantastic illustration. Must direct here my net friends outside of DA ^_^

Tolkien doesn’t tell how Elenwë died, but here (to make it more dramatic) I’m assuming she fell into the grinding ice.

I saw the quotation and see your words and now I'm confused. For I was sure he told somewhere that when Elenwë and Idril felt into the hole in ice Idril almost drawned; Turgon managed to take her out of the water, but couldn't save Elenwë. Now it looks like he didn't or it was in HoME, which I haven't red, yet, and someone told about it at one of JRRT boards. Or I just got problems with my memory, it's possible ;)
Anyway, if it was this way, Idril should be wet. It's a detail and I wouldn't know myself how to draw it to make her clothes wet. In that wind her hair would be blowing, like you draw them. So don't care about it since I don't know the source of this information.
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2005
Yeah, i didn't remember Elenwë was a vanya when i drew this and i didn't check it out properly.. :stupidme:

I've never heard of that story, but then again i haven't read every HoME volume.. At least in the Silmarillion no more is said except the sentence i quoted in the description.. But if Idril is supposed to be wet, then it would explain why Fingolfin is covering her with his cloak and why her hair seems to be resting so heavily on his shoulder.. just a coinsidence but that would fit.. :XD:
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:iconverwildert:
Verwildert Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2005  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah, such emotion. You protrayed the despair and sadness so well, in their faces and the body language. Well done. I love the paper effect as it gives it an aged feel, and also makes it somehow more believable. Sorry it's taken me so long to comment on this. ^^; My message box is overflowing.
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2005
Thanks, I'm really happy with this myself.. it turned out just the way i wanted. I'm happy with the paper effect too, though i must say i wouldn't have thought about it had *mindofka not suggested it to me, so i can't take any credit for that. And hey, no problem.. Nobody is forcing you to comment, but it's always so nice to hear your opinion! :hug:
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:iconlilie-morhiril:
lilie-morhiril Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2005   Traditional Artist
wow!
wonderfull as always! and I love the clothes as always!!!!>__<
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2005
Grazie! :D
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:iconlilie-morhiril:
lilie-morhiril Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2005   Traditional Artist
eheheheh...great^^
I was very surprised when I read "grazie" ahahahahahah....uhm, I don't know how is "thank you" in finnish!>__<
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2005
It's "Kiitos." (Should be easy for Italians, but just in case.. pronounced just like "mosquitos", just leave the "mos" out of it! :D Or "key-toss", that's pretty close too.. :))
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:iconlilie-morhiril:
lilie-morhiril Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2005   Traditional Artist
ahahahaha, well I know...is like italian....I saw watching Nightwish's lirycs in finnish!
so kiitos...I've learnt a new word!!!!!!^^
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2005
:D
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:iconelegaer:
elegaer Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2005
This is wonderful - the most realistic pic I've seen of the Helcaraxe crossing by far. The *detail*, and all the people - Idril, Aredhel, Fingon, Turgon - and Galadriel is perfect! Really, really, really well done!
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2005
Oh, thank you very much! I'm really happy with how this turned out too! (though i still think i ought to do something about Fingon's bow.. perhaps i'll go do it right away!)

I've made several illustrations now as kind of character sketches to estabilish my image of each of these individuals. I'm planning a big triptych painting where they would all be portrayed and that's actually where i thought of using your heraldry too. :)
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:iconmindofka:
mindofka Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2005
This one stays out so much in narrative feature and also as cut and scenario, i'll always love so much this one, one of my favourite of your works, Anti :XD:
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2005
Thank you, dear! It's my fav too for the time being (things are going in a good direction when each new work is one's own favourite.. so far so good. :XD:). The only thing that i don't like is Fingon's bow.. actually i dislike it so much that i might even go back to the pencil piece and draw it once again. But not quite now, maybe later.. that'd give me the reson to touch up those highlights too one more time.
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:iconmindofka:
mindofka Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2005
I don't find it disturbing, but if you're not satisfied you should absolutely change it ;)
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:iconviking-heart:
Viking-Heart Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2005  Student Digital Artist
That's great drawing!!! ^^ I loved The Silmarillion
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2005
Thank you! I'm glad you like it.
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:iconscars-and-stripes:
scars-and-stripes Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2005
!!!!!!!!!!
That paper effect really ~Is~ awesome! I think you got the "cold" feeling in there really well! I love it ^^
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2005
:hug: Thanks! Hmm, this was the first with paper.. so perhaps i was too careful with the highlights -- i might make them a little stronger later to really bring out that wind effect.
Reply
:iconscars-and-stripes:
scars-and-stripes Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2005
yeah, that would be good, make them stand out a bit more ^^
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