dimanche 20 avril 2008

alan lee

Tol Brandir. Alan Lee - 1992


Les premiers dessins qui me firent voyager sans quitter ma chaise ou le fond de mon lit furent certaines aquarelles d'Alan Lee réunies dans l'ouvrage Tolkien's World - Paintings of Middle-Earth (ed. Harper Collins). Je me souviens en particulier d'un dessin intitulé Galadriel's Mirror où le paysage d'arrière-plan était d'une beauté comme j'en avais rarement contemplée, mais ce fut l'aquarelle de Tol Brandir qui me donna plus envie qu'aucune autre de dessiner moi-même mes propres images et mes propres histoires. Ce dessin m'émerveilla par la richesse de sa nature, sa profondeur et sa composition, et sa disposition presque invisible des deux personnages principaux. Les peintures de John Howe étaient très accrocheuses également, d'une beauté plus puissante, aux couleurs vigoureuses. John Howe me semblait un génial illustrateur, et ce mot peut être si grand pour moi, lorsque je l'associe à Edmund Dulac, John Bauer, Ivan Bilibin, Franklin Booth ou Jeffrey Jones. Alan Lee, quoiqu'illustrateur également, me paraissait être un merveilleux aquarelliste et dessinateur, un poète utilisant des pinceaux et des crayons.

Plus tard, je découvrais certaines de ses illustrations dans d'autre recueils, dont les éditions luxueuses du Hobbit et du Seigneur des Anneaux, les très beaux Castles, Merlin Dreams ou son Sketchbook. Mais si je ne devais retenir qu'un seul livre, ce serait les Mabinogion (Harper Collins), en attendant sûrement de prochaines œuvres, tout aussi fabuleuses j'en suis sûr. Ayant rencontré Alan Lee chez lui en compagnie de Cécile Adam, puis plus tard ayant trouvé sur Internet l'un de ses premiers ouvrages (Once upon a time), j'ai été rassuré de constater qu'il fut au départ très inspiré par Arthur Rackham, William Heath Robinson, John Duncan, William Russell Flint et encore davantage Edmund Dulac, avant d'acquérir son style propre, toujours empreint de la même douceur que les images de Dulac et du travail aquarellé de Russell Flint, mais unique et reconnaissable entre tous.




The Mabinogion. Alan Lee - 1984


I remember first travelling without leaving my chair or the warm cosiness of my bed when I discovered Alan Lee's illustrations in Tolkien's World - Paintings of Middle-Earth (Harper Collins publishers). A couple of his drawings struck my imagination : Galadriel's Mirror, in which the background was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen at the time, and the brilliant Tol Brandir, which was so rich and poetic I immediately started to write my own stories based on that very picture. This watercolor was full of an incredible nature description, designed in a marvelous composition, deep and of great scope, and I loved how he placed the main characters where you wouldn't find them. John Howe's paintings were really great too, so powerful and bright and colorful. John Howe seemed like a terrific illustrator to me, and God knows this word is great to me when associated with names such as Edmund Dulac, John Bauer, Ivan Bilibin, Franklin Booth or Jeffrey Jones. While being an illustrator too, Alan Lee seemed to be an incredible watercolorist and draughtsman, a poet with pencils and brushes.

Later, I saw many Alan Lee's pictures in several books, including The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Deluxe Editions, the beautiful Castles, Merlin Dreams and his Sketchbook. But if I had to pick only one book among his, it would definitely be The Mabinogion (Harper Collins), my favorite book to date, even if I'm sure one or two of his amazing books to be will make me think twice about his best work. When I met him at his place along with Cécile Adam, and later when I found one his first published paintings, in the compendium Once Upon a Time (Peacock Press), I was glad to see he used to be very much inspired by Arthur Rackham, William Heath Robinson, John Duncan, William Russell Flint, and even more Edmund Dulac, before acquiring his own style, still in phase with Dulac's softness and Russell Flint's genius with watercolors, but unique and recognizable among all other artists.