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Submitted on
October 31, 2005
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The Crossing of Helcaraxe b/w by aautio The Crossing of Helcaraxe b/w 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

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.

I’m quite pleased with this.. I hate my scanner though -- just like with the previous pencil drawings, it just loses all the fine lines.. I put quite a lot of work into the sky, snow and the wind effect and almost nothing is visible, no matter how I try to tweak the curves or levels in photoshop. Stupid piece of junk scanner :shakefist: ..all these look so much better on paper, damnit!

[ EDIT: Updated with a better scan, looks much better.. also no more evidence of weird hair colours and nonfunctional bows! =P]

A sepia version can be found here .
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Geekoftheworld Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Student General Artist
This is amazing. I love galadriel. It is so touching and sad. I felt like I was in the story
Silencem Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2010
Very well done. This picture shows how hard the Helcaraxe's trip was.
deliriouslyelphaba7 Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2009
Very, very good job although a) Idril was blond b)Some of the guys look a bit too feminine and c) broken ice wouldn't still have a nice soft layer of snow.
WedgeFactor Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
This is beautiful. The crossing is one of those scenes that everyone who thinks about it can picture perfectly, so it's wonderful to find someone who portrays it so well. It's also great to find a picture that isn't just everyone marching along in formation. Those pictures don't always convey the same sense of sheer desperation everyone must of had.

It's good to see Galadriel and Aedhel here, it seems most people focus all their attention on Turgon, Fingon and Idril. Galadriel looks so uncomfortable here, her and Orodreth (I never spell his name right) both look as though they aren't quite sure what to do.

Idril's despair, though you can't see her face, is obvious, as is Fingolfin's. This makes me want to re-read (for the billionth time) all my Tolkien books. All of them!
Faraith Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2007
Your attention to detail is mind-blowing. I found myself lost looking from character to character. Outstanding!
LadyMornariel Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2007   Photographer
This drawing, and a piece Filat did regarding the very same crossing are among my absolute favorites. This is a heart-wrenching piece, for many different reasons . . . Elenwe's death, Turgon's grief, Fingolfin's wrath at his half-brother, and the fact that Feanor was driven to such madness in the first place.

Or maybe I'm just too fixated on the Noldor, and Feanor in particular . .. . ::grins::
aautio Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2007
Thank you! :) Drawing emotions was the main idea in this drawing and it's still one of my personal favourites.. I'm glad you like it! :hug:
Plim-Plim Featured By Owner May 1, 2006
I like it!
I wish I had the time, the skills or the patience to draw like you :(

Pretty good job!:)
Gold-Seven Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2006  Professional Traditional Artist


The composition here is outstanding, as well as - again - the characterization. Composition wise, I'd say this is by far your best. The depth here is terrific, and the cold does indeed come across.
aautio Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2006
Thank you! :) I like this one a lot myself, although this is another piece that _really_ needs a rescan.. most of the fine detail is lost in this one. I've also changed this a bit and added some more pencilwork in the sepia version -- it's more final, but i need to rescan that one too.. my current scanner is a worthless piece of junk!

I had not read the part from HoME where Elenwë's death is described when i drew this.. i guess if i wanted to go according to that, Turgon and Idril should have wet clothes.. And i also had this brain flip and drew black hair for Idril -- that i fixed in the sepia version, though.
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