I've heard and read several times that Tolkien wrote when there was a respite in combat during his tour of duty in WWI. Maybe some of his characters were inspired by fellow soldiers, maybe the thought of them comforted him in battle. We do know for certain that the war impacted him heavily and that his writing is predominantly about death, and not necessarily from a bad view, it's a solemn but beautiful element in his writings.
As always I start out with a post-it, this time it took me about passes, tracings, to get everything where I wanted it.
Tight, blown up drawing, 9x9in on series 500 Strathmore bristol, vellum surface.
Progress of the gouache stage, I usually paint everything around the characters first.
Masking phase, this time I masked in more detail, more sections.
Collage stage, using the stamp tool to push the image in each section out to the edges, giving it a clean, no-show-line.
Quite a jump to here, didn't save very many digital progress shots.