Ring*Con 2015

Back from two absolutely smashing days in Bonn! As usual, I saw little besides my booth, but what was going on at my booth was enough to supply with happiness for the rest of the month.

I had come prepared with a new T-shirt to forestall the usual “Did you draw this?” question. The T-shirt was fun but totally didn’t work. People still asked.

idrewthat nostencils

And yes, I have actually been asked whether I used stencils. It’s amazing what ideas people will develop just because they just can’t imagine that anyone can draw figures/horses/flowers/spiders without cheating.

But yes, I had a wonderful time! I’d brought the kids on Saturday, supervised by my wonderful friend Petra, and I was glad to see that eleven years of nerdy education had made them fully capable of enjoying themselves at a Fantasy convention for an entire day. Parenting achievement unlocked! They spent all their pocket money (and some bribe Euros supplied by me) on Saurons, Bilbos, Radagasts (“Look, mum, he doesn’t look quite as deranged as in the movie!”) pirate pistols, and cuddly wolves.

Three years ago, my first Ring*Con experience had suffered from the fresh Loughborough experience, and the fact that I’d been mostly an unknown entity in the German Con world. Now, after several Tolkien-Tage and other fan events, I was at home here. It was a lovely feeling.


I met a lot of old friends and a lot of new ones – so many great conversations with people who love the same things as I. I love a world where people sit in wheelchairs in full Rohirrim armour and with a hobby horse attached to the wheelchair, where the ubiquitous hair in the women’s bathroom sink isn’t brown but blue, and where everyone smiles at people, whether they sport Orc teeth, princess dresses, battle scars, vulture-topped hats, or haemangiomas. I think we all need more Ring*Con in our lives. Going back to school the next Monday always feels like a parallel, and slightly grey, universe.

I got a whole lot of drawing done over those two days – sketches and small portraits on the first, and commission linearts on the second (coming up in another post).  These three are for three of my wonderful Patrons over at Patreon: Faramir, Odin, and Haleth (whom I’ve never drawn before!)

I also did a small portrait of Finrod that I sold straight off the easel and didn’t take a photo of – sorry!

Ring*Con was a huge success for me and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the old – and new – friends again at HobbitCon in April!

Hobbit Feest

Photo by Leo Munten (L.A. Model Photography)

Photo by Leo Munten (L.A. Model Photography)

Last weekend was Hobbit Feest at Kasteel de Berckt in Baarlo, Netherlands. It was a wonderful and cosy experience (probably too cosy from the organisers’ points of view, as there were really not enough visitors). Though it was rather quiet, I loved it there – I met up with loads of Loughborough friends again, and made loads of new ones. Few visitors but loads of new friends – yes, that actually did work that way. I’ve been trying to analyse why exactly everyone at Hobbit Feest – visitors and vendors alike – were such great guys, and I have several theories as to that.

Theory #1: Dutch people are cool. Yes, they are. So very much so. So relaxed, so friendly, so gregarious, so out- and easygoing. I think this has something to do with it, but the Germans I met there were just as nice, so that can’t have been all there is to it.

Theory #2: Tolkien fans are a much nicer bunch than Fantasy fans at large (as seen at Ring*Con). That’s definitely true. Everyone whom I met at Baarlo had read the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings; and those who had not read the Silmarillion were at least duly ashamed of themselves. XD And they loved to discuss their views as much as I do.

Theory#3: I was sketching at my table. You may remember that one of the things I found so weird at Ring*Con was how people didn’t believe I was the artist of the stuff I was selling there. (Something I don’t understand. I think I fit my drawings.) Here, I always had a drawing in front of me, and people who passed by always acknowledged me. All of them smiled and said, “Those are great drawings!” Some then went on, in a friendly way. Most stayed to chat. Many bought prints. I feel like an idiot for not doing that at Ring*Con! So they all really thought I was just sitting there behind a random assortment of prints – no wonder that wasn’t interesting.

Photo by Leo Munten (L.A. Model Photography)

Something really funny that I heard a number of times over the weekend was the absolutely incredible line: “Did you draw these? Or… are they printed?”

That sentence is just hilarious when you think about it. It implies I’ve printed out some nice piccies from the Internet and take them to a convention. It also implies that nobody (at least not, apparently, a youngish looking woman in a Norwegian sweater) is even able to draw like that. and the one one who can is… the Internet? I thought that mindset was rather funny. Interestingly, I’ve heard it before, from my very inartistic parents in law.

Talking about parents, De Limburger newspaper was there on Saturday, and I made it into today’s issue with a small interview and a photo! The text recounts how my mother read the Hobbit to me when I was a child, “leaving out the violent scenes” (not essentially true…) and how “Tolkien inspires”. That he does. To this day. And many another to come.

So, aside from the many great conversations I had over the weekend, I did a workshop which was fun as well, though it bordered on a speed record that I was able to do it within one hour. Especially as I was talking English and German simultaneously.

Below, there’s a bit of comparative anatomy: Horses, humans, hobbits, bats and dragons. (And an answer to the question why hobbits are often depicted with larger than usual feet: when we see a clothed form with bare feet, the feet appear tiny to us because we expect something the size of shoes.)

Photo by Leo Munten (L.A. Model Photography)

I also wallowed in the absolutely unparalleled luxury of having two, two days in which I could sit and draw! On the first day, I set out to do a pencil drawing (probably soon to be watercoloured) of the “Children of the Forest” sketch I made last week.

On the second day, I gave Fëanor the glamour portrait that he has been demanding since… uh, 2004. I’m sorry, Curufinwë. I feel like treating this one with just a bit of colour too.

Later, I also drew a request sketch for Sarina, of Arwen.

All in all, this has been an absolutely gorgeous weekend – I can’t wait for next May, when I’ll be at Tolkien Tag in Geldern! (Not a weird way of playing tag, by the way, but “Tolkien Day” in German).