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Howe, John

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Artist, Author.

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(1957-    ) Canadian artist, now a resident of Switzerland. After formal training in France, he moved to Switzerland to work on an animated film and decided to remain there. He took on a variety of projects, but an invitation to join other artists in contributing to the 1987 and 1988 J R R Tolkien calendars changed his life. Admiring his approach to Tolkien, publishers then assigned Howe to illustrate books by Tolkien, as well as four additional Tolkien calendars (in 1991, 1995, 1997, and 2001). In 1997, when Peter Jackson began working on his three-part film version of The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955 3vols), Howe was hired to serve as the films' conceptual designer, also working as a carpenter on the films; he is now performing similar duties for Jackson's upcoming film trilogy based on The Hobbit (1937; rev 1951; rev 1966). His Tolkien artwork is not unlike that of his most famous predecessor, the Brothers Hildebrandt, though he is noted for his obsessive attention to detail in rendering medieval weaponry, contributing to the generally darker and more mature ambience of his paintings.

Outside of his Tolkien-related work, Howe has done other book covers, almost exclusively for works of Fantasy, including books by Robin Hobb, Guy Gavriel Kay, and David A Gemmell. However, he did paint impressive covers for two paperback volumes of Robert Silverberg's collected stories, Pluto in the Morning Light (coll 1992) and The Secret Sharer (coll 1993), interestingly juxtaposing imagery from sf and fantasy and suggesting that he might have enjoyed equal success had he specialized in sf. [GW]

John Howe

born Vancouver, British Columbia: 21 August 1957



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