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LOTR - Char Redesigns by Changinghand LOTR - Char Redesigns by Changinghand
Alright, some more practice here. These two are the first in a number of studies I’ll be doing. I’ll be redesigning a handful of characters where the race of each person is changed. Important as an exercise in drawing diversity, and the fact that POC representation in fantasy is mostly non-existant.
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:iconilidrim:
Ilidrim Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2015
Nice.
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:iconherokiller12344:
Herokiller12344 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014
Well it certainly looks good.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2014
 Now this is a very intriguing image and my only quibbles are that Eomer isn't fair-haired, since the Rohirrim are very associated with that look to help distinguish them from Gondorians (I believe that there are blondes to be found amongst the mongols and other steppe peoples, so you would not be obliged to change anything else - while the Rohirrim are saxon by culture there's no reason they have to be White Anglo-Saxon Protestant-types).

 www.trotamundos.ch/dia_show/mo…

 britam.org/blondmongols.jpg

  As for your image of Boromir it's just about perfect even if he isn't as grey-eyed as Tolkien described him (apologies, but I WILL quibble where explicit description in the text is concerned); might I please ask if you drew on Ethiopian physical types when illustrating him? (I believe that the name Gondor may have been borrowed from Gondar in that ancient nation - perhaps you could borrow from local architectural styles should you ever draw up a Minas Tirith to match this Boromir?).

www.exploreabyssinia.com/image…


 I must say that while I'm something of an old fogey when it comes to my mental image of Middle-Earth, I do find these thought-experiments fascinating rather than distressing; The Silmarillion Project of Mr Aaron Diaz holds my interest for much the same reason as this rendition of Eomer of Rohan and Boromir of Gondor does! (even where I middy disagree with it, it's very well drawn).

 silmarillionproject.tumblr.com…
 
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:iconavianosez:
Avianosez Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014
Why Boromir is black? О_о
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:icondabigboss888:
dabigboss888 Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Student Artist
nice

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:icontheicecreamtruck:
TheIceCreamTruck Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014  Student General Artist
See, my only problem with this is that now there's the whole "Black guy dies first" thing going on for Boromir.
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:iconatemozzarella:
AteMozzarella Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014  Student General Artist
This is gorgeous, and I've pretty much fallen in love. I checked around and I suppose you haven't done others (?) but you've inspired me to draw some of my own redesigns <3
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:iconchanginghand:
Changinghand Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you, I haven't done any others lately but I'm planning to expand on it eventually. Glad you've been inspired to make some art :) 
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:iconatemozzarella:
AteMozzarella Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Student General Artist
I hope to see them :) 
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:icondedicatedfollower467:
dedicatedfollower467 Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2014  Student Digital Artist
These are gorgeous! Have you done more yet, or are you still working on them?
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:iconchanginghand:
Changinghand Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you! I haven't done any recently, but I'm planning to do more of these as time goes by :)
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:icondedicatedfollower467:
dedicatedfollower467 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Awesome!
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:iconziggya:
Ziggya Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
WOOOOOOOOOOOW this is so amzing

i mean, eomer has a sort of mongolian look because mongolians were fierce horsemen jut like the rohan and that's not only amazing, it has historical background man I fucking love racebending of Tolkien's works because it adds WHOLE NEW LEVELS to the story that weren't there before because of the whole "written by an old Victorian Christian white guy" thing

in resume, please keep being a badass
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:iconchanginghand:
Changinghand Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks! 
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:iconziggya:
Ziggya Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
and of course, if people have problems with this because "eeeew colored* people in Tolkien", either because a) they're racist or b) they don't want any changes made into Tolkien's legendarium and future interpretations... 

Well, I have two things to say

a) well, sorry if the world is not just white people all the time

b) Tolkien's works are not only inspired by many celtic/norse myths and folktales, they were written in a pretty mythological fashion and are intended to be interpreted as such. This means, by the text's very nature, that his works may and should be read in a myriad of ways (after all, all myths take many forms) and that changes into the text are incouraged. This effect is immensely enlaged due to Tolkien's relevance, both into fantasy culture but also in western culture in general (After all, his works ARE a staple of 20th century's cultural legacy, making it it's own form of modern mythology) so yeah, everybody gets to play with the toys because myths belong to EVERYONE. Even people of color whom noticed the text's flaws at the theme, so they have every right to twist the tales to themselves. That's how history grows and changes amd makes itself beter and wider and more powerfull.

*don't call anybody colored, that makes you look like a nasty racist ass from the 50's
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:iconmillennium-fae:
Millennium-fae Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Student Artist
Awesome work! It's always great to see poc as anything other than bad guys in a fantasy setting, and a diverse cast at that! 
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:iconchanginghand:
Changinghand Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you :)
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:iconmillennium-fae:
Millennium-fae Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Student Artist
By the way; if you ever have trouble explaining the diversity of Middle-Age Europe in terms of racial diversity, there are lots of records of POC living in northern Europe for hundreds of years.

You could bring up:
Goderan the Monk of Belgium (9th century) medievalpoc.tumblr.com/post/69…
Saint Maurice of Germany (11th century) www.metmuseum.org/collections/…
St. Gregory the Moor of Germany (12th century) medievalpoc.tumblr.com/post/62…
Dub, King of Scotland (died 967) He had a continuing line of black kings that ruled Scotland. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dub,_Kin…
Sir Morien, one of the knights of the round table en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morien
The various Black Madonnas found in Poland, Germany, France, and Italy medievalpoc.tumblr.com/post/51…

Or you can show ancient European art pieces showing POC:
Portrait of baker Terentius Neo and his wife, (Italy c: 55-79) 3.bp.blogspot.com/-Y59dgA9i8E8…
Bamberg Apocolypse (Germany c: 1000) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamberg_…
Tympanum Fragment: Rising of the Dead (France c:1220) medievalpoc.tumblr.com/post/69…
The Beheading of John the Baptist (England 1200) medievalpoc.tumblr.com/image/6…
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:iconchanginghand:
Changinghand Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014  Professional General Artist
Awesome, thanks for the references!
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:iconnozzyall:
nozzyall Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS I AM SO PUMPED FOR THIS YES FINALLY DAMN ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ yES POC yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssss thank you thank you a thousand times this is all i wanted for 2014 and more THANK YOU
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:iconchanginghand:
Changinghand Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks for the feedback :)
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:iconkai-deathwalker:
Kai-Deathwalker Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013
You can dig shitting all over Tolkien's work just to be "progressive and diverse"? Why the fuck don't YOU create your own Mythology where you have these elements instead of taking the easy, entitled, tumblr SJW way out of fucking with the original story like this? Why don't you take piece by piece elements of African, Asian, Indian, South-American mythologies if you want to make something more "diverse" in terms of race and "culture" and make your own fucking story?

>I WANT MUH RACE DIVERSITY
>MAKE MUH ELVES BLACK
>MAKE DIVERSE TRIBES ON MIDDLE EARF EVEN THO IT BE BASED ON THE MOTHAFUCKIN YUROP
>YOU DISAGREE? FUCKING NAZI ANTI-SEMITIC RACIST PIECE OF SHIT SCUM

I hope you realize how fucking retarded you look.
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:icondanger-chu:
Danger-Chu Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Student General Artist
epic nice meme arrows dude /v/ery /pol/ xDDDdddddddddd
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:iconkai-deathwalker:
Kai-Deathwalker Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2014
What are you talking about, you idiot?
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:icondanger-chu:
Danger-Chu Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2014  Student General Artist
ur mimi arrows dude epic win xdd
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:iconkai-deathwalker:
Kai-Deathwalker Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2014
What's wrong with you, moron?
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013  Professional General Artist
it's hardly shitting on tolkien's work to be interested in it enough to take the time to make a beautiful, detailed drawing like this, the artist is clearly a fan of LOTR, and is just trying an experiment to mix things up. It's like how Kurosawa's "Ran" is a re-telling of shakespeare's "King Lear" set in medieval japan. Tolkien himself once said of his own work "I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic to the level of romantic fairy-story... The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama" it doesnt sound like he would have had a big problem with a fan trying something like this. you just sound like an angry, venom-filled person with some huge axe to grind about "progressive" society.
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:iconkai-deathwalker:
Kai-Deathwalker Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2014
Except, you know, in other interviews the author claimed clearly that Middle-Earth is what England of the 12th-13th century would be if set in a Fantasy landscape. There were no other races there. Tolkien intended to paint a portrait of a Mythology dedicated to the Brits, such as the one Norsemen have, the one Greeks have, the ones Romans, Iberians, Slavs have. He built it and he intended to build an exclusive European mythology. There's no room for "gender swaps" or "race swaps" in there, this is just victim complex wishful thinking coming from SJW's and people who are upset because they are "under represented" in the books and movies. THAT, my friend, is a venom-filled attitude.

>There isn't a negro in this movie or book? 
>RACIST! NEEDS MORE DIVERSITY!

Tolkien's works are fine. They don't need this. If they want more representation in these type of works, they should pick up a pen themselves and do what Tolkien did.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2014  Professional General Artist
if you look at my own page (i do middle earth concept art) you might find that you and i are quite in agreement about tolkien's general aesthetic aims with his work (except that, if you like to be specific which it sounds like you do, he was very NOT interested in creating a mythology for the "brits", who already have their own cultural mythology in the form of the king arthur stories and such, but for anglo-saxon england) tolkien was very specific about that kind of thing, and even as a huge fan of his, being a person of mostly scottish and irish ancestry, i sometimes chafe under the relentless anglophilia of his work. that said it's a huge central part of his whole aesthetic, and its part of what makes his work (which i love) what it is. my point was that i dont think he would have taken particular offence to people of later generations trying experiments with adapting his work, as is done with shakespeare or homer, if anything it probably would make him feel extremely validated that his work has become such a staple, especially since there is absolutely no danger of people forgetting what the "classic" version of middle-earth is intended to look like (between decades worth of tolkien art and three of the biggest movies of all time being adapted from his work with all-white casts).

 i think this axe you seem to have to grind is purely your own, tolkien was no twenty-first century anti-liberal who hated SJW's, so i dont think you need to be offended on his behalf.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
man, black boromir kicks ass! eomer's great too. excellent work
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:iconartbygloriacolom:
ArtbyGloriaColom Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome!! Love this concept.  It is definitely something fantasy lovers around the globe can totally relate to!! :)
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:iconrayne156:
Rayne156 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013
I'm going to chime in on the praise here because your work is seriously INCREDIBLY AWESOME. Now excuse me as I peruse your gallery for more...
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:iconenm80:
ENM80 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013
I have a friendly tip to those of you who crave Africans in RPGs: The fantasy enthusiast Varg Vikernes is in the process of developing a new RPG by the name MYFAROG (Mythic Fantasy Roleplaying Game, [link], which appears to be "evil" and "bland" according to your criteria. If you get in touch with him and share your concerns, perhaps he'll be open for persuasion...
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:iconenm80:
ENM80 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013
For some reason, Deviantart interpreted my end-parenthesis as part of the URL, and merged them. So, you'll have to copy the URL and manually remove it, if you decide to fall for my devious ploy...
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:iconthedeathspell:
theDeathspell Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013
I really enjoy the discussion these have sparked! Apart from them being gorgeous in their own right, it was worth starting this study just for the sake of turning a few people's heads.
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:iconnosweater:
NoSweater Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I think this is beautiful.

To be honest, I think it's silly that fantasy worlds always have just white people as the dominant, and sometimes only, ethnicity. It makes the whole thing just seem bland and whitewashed.

The way you drew this makes it feel like this is how it was supposed to be. They seem suited for it. And the attention to detail is magnificent.

this whole thing restores my faith in fiction

:iconmanlytearsplz:
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:iconsilver-comet:
Silver-Comet Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013
That whole "white society" fantasy is largely because of Tolkien, according to my understanding. Not on purpose of course, but other authors came after him and followed in his footsteps, essentially. Some authors are getting away from it now though, and include both major women and poc characters. If you are interested, you should look at Brent Weeks' trilogies c:
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:iconnosweater:
NoSweater Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
i think that Tolkien has been a major influence, which is good, but i really think that people should start imagining their own worlds, their own races. of course, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, if that's how the saying goes, but i can't help but get a bad taste in my mouth when reading a work that could be a LOTR fanfic, you know?

I'll check it out! It sounds promising! Thanks a bunch!
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:iconsilver-comet:
Silver-Comet Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013
I'm not sure if it's imitation so much as it is just that Tolkien was (and sort of still is) the definitive "this is how high fantasy is done", but I get what you mean. I think we're coming away from it, anyway.
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:iconnosweater:
NoSweater Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, that's true.

I'm looking forward to that day.
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:iconsilver-comet:
Silver-Comet Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2013
It'll be interesting when LGB (maybe even T but that seems like it's going to be hard to portray without pissing off the whole queer community) are included as a regular chill part of the social landscape in fiction, I think. Or at least when it's not outright like "WHOA THIS DUDE LIKES MEN QUICK BURN HIM" etc.

Not that I think I've ever seen a thing like that, I think... hmm.
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:iconnosweater:
NoSweater Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I completely agree! It's either "oh he's gay the twisted bastard" or "hey here comes Robert. Have I mentioned he is gay and that is totally okay because the author is a kind and open-minded person who sees nothing wrong with this!"

I just want something that'll have its own rich and engaging culture that I can look at and be like, wow, I can see this happening. Is that what that series you recommended earlier like?
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:iconsilver-comet:
Silver-Comet Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
Definitely 100% with Night Angel. I conferred with a friend of mine and they don't feel that it is as strong in Lightbringer, the trilogy he's still finishing, which I am thinking about it now and I definitely don't disagree with it. On the other hand there is something to be said for the characters and how they interact with the world I think.

There's still a third book to come and it might get stronger there, but we'll see. Definitely yes for Night Angel though.
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(1 Reply)
:iconchanginghand:
Changinghand Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thanks, I see where you're coming from. If there can be dragons, ghosts, demons and magic, why not people of color as well?

These were fun to draw. It was nice to imagine what Jackson's version of LOTR would look like with a PoC cast. Though later on, I should be doing more original characters/stories that are a lot more labor intensive. These are just some quick, fun designs I did in 2-3 hours for practice.
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:iconnosweater:
NoSweater Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Well I'll look forward to that!

it's dangerous to go alone, take my watch.
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:iconenm80:
ENM80 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013
Speaking as a veteran roleplayer and fantasy enthusiast, what we care most about is immersion. If you cannot immerse yourself in the fantasy, the whole exercise becomes fruitless. If you play in a fantasy setting based on medieval Europe, then of course immersion is going to break if you apply modern liberal standards to it, by balancing out the races and sexes in the name of political correctness.

Why not create a roleplaying game based on African culture instead, if you have such a passion for it? You could try to find someone to Kickstart it with, and be the lead graphics artist.
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:iconaberrant-robot:
Aberrant-Robot Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
What, so magic doesn't break your immersion, but poc do?  Which one of these things is more realistic?
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:iconenm80:
ENM80 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2013
Whenever I see someone dress an African up in the clothes of a Norseman, I cringe. It reminds me of the Hollywood movie where one of our major deities, Heimdall, was played by an African. It's political correctness run amok, and an offense to the Nordic people. Hopefully European culture will never become so depraved that we'll see characters like yours in the quintessentially European masterpiece The Lord of the Rings.
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:iconnidira:
Nidira Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
There were a lot of POC back in the day-- this isn't a new thing. It's called traveling. White people did it. Asian people did it. Black people did it. Middle Eastern people did it. Get over yourself. Things are not exclusive to whites.
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:iconenm80:
ENM80 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013
You are correct that there have always existed different races, and you are correct that people have always traveled. Those things are self-evident and were never up for debate, though.

Many things have been exclusive to the European people, although we've chosen to share them with the rest of the world; nearly all scientific achievements and high culture have come exclusively from the European and the Oriental peoples (whereas the wheel first came to Africa in the 19th century, with Europeans colonists). Most new ideas still originate from our people.
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