Where J.R.R Tolkien's impressive fantasy worlds have often been a source of inspiration for artists; the most recent is Dresden Codak cartoonist Aaron Diaz who has shared his own Tolkien-inspired illustrations from The Silmarillion.
Each character and creature contained in the book has been lovingly depicted where the artist's intentions are explained 'on The Silmarillion Project blog' (via i09):
He decided to undertake this illustration project in part because, lovely as they are, Jackson's movies have so overwhelmed the popular vision of Middle Earth and Diaz wants to encourage a diversity of artistic interpretations. He also wants to add a bit of diversity to Middle Earth itself.
Another motivation was to provide a broader 'representation of women and people of color in the narratives'.
While Tolkien made more than a few missteps regarding race and gender, the "everyone is white" trend in adaptations is a symptom of other people ignoring what's in the texts. Additionally, all of Tolkien's writings are presented as if they're written from a limited and flawed historical perspective (LoTR and The Hobbit were "written" by Hobbits, etc). The position of my adaptation is to present what "actually" happened- the events upon which the flawed or biased history is based. Just like with real historians, the presence of women and people of color, and their achievements, are frequently ignored.
Here are a couple of the incredible illustrations below:
What do you think of the illustrations? Do they do Tolkien's original world of The Silmarillion justice?