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Tolkien Years: Greg and Tim Hildebrandt [Paperback]

Greg Hildebrandt
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1 2001
The million-selling Lord of the Rings Calendars created during the 1970s by renowned fantasy artists Greg and Tim Hildebrandt are now considered artistic masterpieces. Greg and Tim Hildebrandt—The Tolkien Years tells the untold story behind the creation of these cherished illustrations, written by an author with real first-hand knowledge of the creative genius behind these paintings.

Written by Gregory Hildebrandt, Jr., Greg Hildebrandt's son, this fascinating book tells the story through the eyes of young Gregory of how at ages 5, 6, and 7 he posed for the various "little people" characters known as the Hobbits. Gregory reminisces about his key role in the development of these calendar paintings, and the unique creative ingenuity of his father and uncle.

The Tolkien Years provides Tolkien-lovers with a fantastic treasury of Lord of the Rings art. Not only are all the paintings from the best-selling 1976, 1977, and 1978 calendars included, but this reference also features the original sketches for the paintings; photographs and sketches of the costumes worn by the inhabitants of Middle Earth; and an incredible pull-out poster of a never-before-published painting specially created for this book.

Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

When the tall, bearded, wild-eyed man showed up for the photo shoot, Gregory Hildebrandt Jr. knew that his "father and uncle were in league with the greatest wizard of all time." In Greg and Tim Hildebrandt: The Tolkien Years, the author recalls his childhood days in the studio of the creators of the wildly popular 1970s Lord of the Rings calendars and features 122 color and 75 b&w illustrations.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-A lavishly illustrated book written by the son and nephew of fantasy and science fiction artists Tim and Greg Hildebrandt. These talented brothers painted the artwork for the popular J. R. R. Tolkien calendars. The vivid color pictures illustrate their fantastic imagination and their concepts in bringing to life the characters and locations of Tolkien's Middle-earth. The lively story gives readers an inside peek at not only this creative team's work, but also their methodology in creating the fantasy paintings for the calendars. This semiautobiographical account also gives insight into the younger Hildebrandt's unorthodox childhood. With all the interest in Tolkien's work and the first part of the movie trilogy now out, it is fascinating to see the characters and settings come to life through the work of the Hildebrandts.
Patricia White-Williams, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars charming Jan. 27 2004
As any Brothers Hildebrandt fan knows, Greg and Tim's first Tolkein calender went on to become a worldwide bestseller. Some of the art,such as Unexpected Party or Gandalf with the Balrog was simply brilliant. Some of it looks dated today such as the hideous 1976 granny dress that Galadriel wears or the Sgt. Pepper mustache on Aragorn and the silly looking Fell beasts ridden by Nazgul who look like they're about to fall off at any minute. Oh well. Nobody got out of the 70s without some style howlers. Laugh at the funny stuff and be awed by the great.
One of the strongest and most charming elements of the book is the descriptions from Greg Hildebrant's son who was five when the brothers began working on the calenders. Young Greg's memories are full of wonder that's in keeper with what his uncle and father were working on. It's not all sweetness and light however, young Greg remembers that toward the middle of the project things got increasingly difficult in the studio. The pressures of the deadline, creative disagreements and artistic disappointments (Among other things the brothers didn't have time to do a huge battle scene that they'd planned) and the need to do separate projects are all mentioned.
Besides all three Hildebrandt calenders, the book has pictures of privately commissioned works (some of which are better than the orginal paintings), prelim sketches, and photos of the models. If you loved the work of the brothers or have just discovered it this will be a highly entertaining treat for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some great art, some not so great Dec 30 2003
I loved the Hildebrandts' art as a kid, and I appreciate being able to revisit it in this handsome volume. Engaging scenes, fabulous detail, vivid colors, and some of the best Tolkien paintings ever (the Ring of Galadriel, Old Man Willow, the Pillars of the Kings, Saruman and the Palantir). Their influence can be seen in many subsequent interpretations of Tolkien (compare the Hildebrandts' "Eowyn and the [left-handed] Nazgul" with the same scene in the 2004 Ted Nasmith calendar) and in much "generic" fantasy art.
But... Some of the earlier works have odd perspective (check out the chimney in "Gandalf visits Bilbo"). The hobbits look like children (the 5-year-old Greg Hildebrandt Jr. was the model). Shadowfax just fell off the carousel. Treebeard is a cartoon. Rivendell looks like a gingerbread house. Smaug appears to be made of plastic. The Nazgul fly around on rubber chickens (really, that's what they used as the model). And Aragorn's mustache! Perhaps it looked majestic in the 70s, but now it's just laughable.
It is interesting to see the sketches (some of which are superior to the final painting) and reference photos. The text is annoyingly told from the author's perspective as a 5-year-old model, but contains some amusing nuggets like the rubber chicken fell beast. I didn't think much of the pullout poster -- it's certainly not their best work. Still, on balance I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Tolkien (unless you already have the calendars).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Middle-Earth Illustrations April 13 2002
By rzaster
Greg and Tim Hildebrandt's "The Tolkien Years" is a wonderful set of illustrations that go along with mostly "The Lord of the Rings" but this book does have a few illustrations from "The Hobbit." These gorgeous works of art were originally apart of calendars that the Hildebrant brothers worked on. This book will make reading "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" much more fun as you will be able to visualize things perfectly.
Along with beautiful illustrations this book has a lot of text that includes quotes directly from Greg and Tim and full text entries by Greg Hildebrant, Jr. All of the artwork in this book is in full color and look just like original pieces of art. In addition to the final artowrk there are also concept drafts from "scribble" stages, to a general rough draft, all the way to the ginal, full color, and eye-catching pictures. There is also a very nice pull out poster as a special bonus. This is a book of artwork from Middle-Earth that no Tolkien fan should be without. The art in this book will be appreciated by everybody. Get this book and enjoy!
Happy Reading!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This great book is LONG overdue...this is the first time all the Hildebrandt Tolkien calendar art from the 1970's has been collected in one place (there are some nifty newer pieces, too). While the pictures are slightly smaller than they were in the original calendars (occasionally, they're bigger), the photographic reproduction is head and shoulders above the old sources. The colors are richer and truer than ever. The assorted preperatory sketches are priceless, too. The commentary by Greg's son, Greg Jr, is mostly silly, as it is told from the point of view of a five-year-old onlooker---but the comments by the artists themselves really helped me to appreciate the artwork even more. Highly recommended...especially for anyone who finds the current Tolkien art by Alan Lee to be too cold. This is the REAL stuff!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I hadn't actually heard of the Hildebrandt brothers,but got this book for the simple fact that it bore the name of Tolkien.I opened it up and there it was,scenes I pictured in my head were now right in front of me,in richly painted acrylic colors,with moods of sadness,fear,peace,and courage.I recommend this book and give it five stars!Get it come on you know you want to....
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