In response to the Host's challenge in Episode 0-2 : How to visually depict the Valar

Kyle Latino

New Member
Here is what is in my head for Melkor Pre-Arda Era, Lamp Era, and Silmarillion Era. My idea is that he slowly adjusts to cover himself with armor and makeup as his power diminishes and he is marred and challenged more. After his face is marked from Beren trying to steal another Silmaril, he just completely covers his face.

tumblr_o4m2t15ciM1rab8ejo1_500.jpg
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
That's all really neat, but the comic-book aesthetic is really not something I'm in love with for Tolkien, the Silmarillion in particular. I feel like there's space for a graphic novel adaptation of the Silmarillion, maybe, but that ought to be its own thing, and should not inform the visual style of the show in a clearly discernible way, if at all. I just got through saying how inappropriate I thought visual references to Jack Kirby's work felt to me over in the "Void and Timeless Halls" thread. The flavor of Tolkien is about as far removed from the tone and timbre of comics from the 60s and 70s as you can get, and unless our whole goal for the project is focusing on conflating those two things (potentially a worthy goal but not one that has been part of the project at all so far), I don't think we should try to be sneaking it in at the edges.

Edit: I will say that one area that aesthetic could inform is perhaps Utumno and Angband: the hosts just got through talking about how they wanted Utumno to look "gaudy" and highly detailed and intricate, and looking at the previous artwork you put up kind of fits the bill to me: genuinely beautiful and arresting, but tremendously detailed and austentatious.
 

Anastasia

Member
Bre: I have been thinking about the veil, and I can imagine several ways of making the bottom of the veil either actually be or appear to be more opaque than the top of the veil, with varying degrees of expense (but hey, we're doing a version unfettered by reality). The most expensive would be to find a skilled weaver who could custom weave the veil. The next one could be to add some lace to the bottom of the veil, and the third would be as you suggested, to ombre the veil from dark on the bottom to light on the top.

Kyle Latino: I agree with Ouzaru that the Valar should not be distinguished from the Elves and Men by eccentric armor, with the notable exception of Melkor. The story we are building is one where the Valar are hesitant to go to war because they see it as a fall, and so having their aesthetic being primarily about armor would go against the story we are telling. I do think that the idea of having extravagant armor works perfectly with Melkor, and I like the progression you drew of him over the ages. I like how he looks similar to Bre's Manwe drawings, since they were brothers in the mind of Illuvatar. I also agree with Ouzaru that the images you posted of Phillipe Druillet's look a lot like a possible Utumno, have you posted in the Sets forum?

Also, if anyone has not seen it, I have posted a list of my proposed colour scheme for the Valar and their people to this forum: http://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php?threads/the-valars-posses-costume-concepts-for-the-maiar.200/
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I don't want to be a negative force here, but I'd just like to point out that from a European perspective, the Native American take on Manwë seems reasonable but not close. My mind goes directly to the Greek pantheon and Zeus, who was lord of the skies and also is associated with eagles. I'm not saying that the Native American influence is wrong, but I think it would be a mistake to not consider the king of the Olympians as a source of inspiration.
 

Anastasia

Member
Haakon: In our discussion of Manwe's costume we decided to move away from the Native American inspired headdress (for reasons of cultural appropriation) and more towards the idea of Manwe's hair either being or becoming feathers. From all of the depictions of Zeus that I have seen, the defining feature seems to be medium length curly hair and a medium length curly beard. Most modern depictions have white hair but I can't find any (readily available and trustworthy) information from the mythology as to the colour of his hair. Based on the host's discussion in the casting episode, our Manwe will have silver or white close-cropped hair, we could make it curly quite easily to give a nod to Zeus. With regards to his costume, since he was a god of the Greek and Roman pantheons, he is depicted in the clothing of that place and time. The costume as it currently stands has neither ancient Greek nor Native American influence. Would you be interested in seeing his costume look more like ancient Greek dress? Ultimately I think whether he will have a more Native American influence or a more Greek influence will come down to casting.

I have updated the first post on this thread with some of the clues the hosts gave us in the first casting episode. Not many of them are directly costume related, but they give an idea of where the costumes might go.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Ok Anastasia I guess I missed the moving away from the Native American when I read through the thread. Well in that case... Probably it's hard to use Greek costume details without doing some kind of cliché. I didn't have any bright ideas, I just felt that we should discuss it. But I'm totally fine with a costume design without clear cultural influence.

No, you don't have to give Manwë curly hair. :)
 

Kyle Latino

New Member
Kyle Latino: I agree with Ouzaru that the Valar should not be distinguished from the Elves and Men by eccentric armor, with the notable exception of Melkor. The story we are building is one where the Valar are hesitant to go to war because they see it as a fall, and so having their aesthetic being primarily about armor would go against the story we are telling. I do think that the idea of having extravagant armor works perfectly with Melkor, and I like the progression you drew of him over the ages. I like how he looks similar to Bre's Manwe drawings, since they were brothers in the mind of Illuvatar. I also agree with Ouzaru that the images you posted of Phillipe Druillet's look a lot like a possible Utumno, have you posted in the Sets forum?
I see your points about the armor. Kirby is just always my goto, heh heh. I'll try to sketch up some other stuff this morning.
 

Anastasia

Member
Hello all,

I have been doing a bit of thinking about the elemental forms of the Valar, and I have some ideas. For a while I was trying to decide whether to draw them out or not, but I don't think my art skills are good enough to properly depict what I have in my mind, so I will do my best with descriptions and internet images alone.

My first thought is that in their pre-elf-contact forms they can be vaguely humanoid. I feel like this is one of those things that most people agree on, but we have never overtly stated it, so I am putting it on the record. The main point in my reasoning is that Aule did a pretty good job of approximating the firstborn when he made the Dwarves, so it stands to reason that the Valar have an idea of what shape the children of Illuvatar are going to take.

My second thought is that we use a variety of methods to produce the elemental effects, from physical makeup and costumes to Visual effects, depending on the Vala in question. For example, Bre's version of Manwe has his lower body looking partially cloudy and nebulous, so I assume we would use VFX for that, but his upper body is feathery and bird-like, which we could use prosthetic makeup to achieve.

So, without further ado, I am going to go through the Valar and explain what I have in mind. I will be linking to some of the images that Bre posted in the beginning to illustrate some of my ideas.

Manwe:
Bre pretty much nailed it.
Finished that Manwe piece
Varda:
I think Varda's form could be primarily humanoid face and hands, and the rest of her body could look as though it was robed in the night sky. I really like this art as inspiration for her elemental form.
http://40.media.tumblr.com/0a97e7b559464cb9976fbe463f798159/tumblr_nl8jzhCecI1t0919xo1_250.jpg

Ulmo:
Ulmo must look like the sea, and these two pieces really evoke to me the humanoid-but-still-elemental feel that I imagine for all of the Valar's pre-elf-contact looks.
http://41.media.tumblr.com/498c08da7146032dde80dff1e8dcf248/tumblr_n55zr58AgG1rfrbx8o2_250.jpg
http://36.media.tumblr.com/d2234f8bc768a9a1b31303c570751e59/tumblr_n55zr58AgG1rfrbx8o4_250.jpg

Aule:
Now, this may seem weird to most people, but I think Aule aught to look like he is made of stone. Now, I have not decided whether I think we should go with a more smooth-skinned stone giant feel like this http://cdn.tabletitans.com/img/bestiary/stonegiant.jpg of a rougher-hewn stone giant feel like this http://pre14.deviantart.net/c18e/th/pre/i/2013/052/7/f/the_stone_giants_by_rodolfoguerreiro-d5vgbm7.jpg
Hear me out though, because I think this could provide a beautiful story-telling device. If I am remembering the discussion of Aule and the Dwarves correctly, there was a moment of discussion about how making the Dwarves look like Aule could make him seem vain, and we need to make sure he looks humble, like the only reason he makes the Dwarves is because he is impatient and wants to make things. His elemental form being one of stone could provide a visual cue. As he makes the Dwarves he begins to look more like them, as though he is changing his form to be more like them rather than the other way around. This could also be a fun pre-cursor to the change which occurs with all of the Valar when they meet the firstborn.

Yavanna:
We actually have a cue for Yavanna's elemental form from the text:
"Yavanna is next to Varda among the Queens of the Valar. In the form of a woman she is tall, and robed in green; but at times she takes other shapes. Some there are who have seen her standing like a tree under heaven, crowned with the Sun; and from all its branches there spilled a golden dew upon the barren earth, and it grew green with corn; but the roots of the tree were in the waters of Ulmo, and the winds of Manwë spoke in its leaves. Kementári, Queen of the Earth, she is surnamed in the Eldarin tongue.” -The Silmarillion
So I am thinking her elemental form is pretty much an Ent. Although, this image shows a slightly different way we could approach Yavanna looking like a tree
http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/e1/25/03/e125036dd23b9eaa72238387baf3fb69.jpg
Here is a good image of a makeup application from Faceoff that we could also use as inspiration
http://images.starpulse.com/pictures/2013/01/16/previews/Faceoff-0020-20130116-63.jpg
I also imagine that plants spring up wherever Yavanna walks, like the Forest God from Princess Mononoke.
Side note - Vana: In the Silmarillion it says “The spouse of Oromë is Vána, the Ever-young; she is the younger sister of Yavanna. All flowers spring as she passes and open if she glances upon them; and all birds sing at her coming.” I think we can make this happen and still differentiate between the movement of plants as Yavanna and Vana pass by making it clear that Yavanna's step creates plants, and Vana's step makes existing plants bloom and turn towards her.

Nienna:
I actually imagine her in her elemental form as being a completely veiled form, so that the defining feature of her form is the veil itself. I think this could work really well with what we have already discussed about Nienna and her veil, If her entire form is veiled, then at key moments she could still unveil herself to mourn or to speak, but it would not be the movement of a costume piece, it would be a change in her actual embodiment.

Shoot... I have to get ready for work. I am not sure whether I will have time to finish this list before the next session, but I hope that this gives an idea of what I think the elemental (pre-elf-contact) forms of the Valar could be.

Let me know what you think, or whether I have missed anything. As I have said before, I am struggling to catch up on all of the discussions that took place while I was absent from the forums, so I really appreciate it when people come in and mention pertinent discussions that are happening elsewhere on the forums.
 
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Bre

Active Member
Anastasia, you've pretty much been on the same page with my own thoughts since the beginning; I basically agree with everything you have above, and I don't have much to add.

Though, when it comes to the trailing flower thing with Yavanna and Vana, I generally approach the issue by making Yavanna more about trees and Vana more about flowers. So Vana has an over-abundance of colorful flowers trailer her every step, while Yavanna has more leafy things in her wake.
 

Anastasia

Member
Hello everyone, I've finally watched the casting episode, and I have updated the first post in this forum to reflect the desires of the hosts.

Also, according to Trish I am the de facto head of the costuming guild, which is... Weird... I hope I am not being too overpowering, as I would really like to be as collaborative as possible. Although, I do get really excited when the hosts mention my ideas =^.^=

Bre: I like the differentiation you have between Yavanna and Vana.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Great! I'd like to add some thoughts on Olórin and his costume. He can't wear white or grey. But he learns from Nienna - should he not wear her grey? Well, it is also written that he dwells in Lorien. On top of that, he is associated with Manwë and Varda (when the Istari are chosen, they are the ones promoting him). So perhaps he could have blue colours in different shades, and silver (doesn't Gandalf have a silvery scarf by the way?) and like a slightly "oriental" style?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I've been thinking about Ungoliant quite a bit lately and brainstorming some costume ideas for for her.
Being a jewelry person, my mind went to chain art and body necklaces since having a monster-spider-lady is the perfect time to do some impractical things with lines and strands.
I would like to keep the choice of chain fairly lightweight, since it is supposed to evoke spider silk and because I don't want to be too overtly in the territory of what people might consider kinky-sexy getups.
Doubtless there is a time and place for bedazzled body harnesses, but it is not this day.

This is a fairly simple version of something along the lines of what I am imagining:

http://journalistinajumpsuit.com/2011/04/26/lusting-over-nous-savons-chain-art-necklace/

If I made something, I'd try using some spiral shapes that you see in spiderwebs like so:

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=spider+spiral+web&view=detailv2&&id=E7ECFFCDCD0B40E64AF0EDB2E410C349EF8C27F3&selectedIndex=5&ccid=mciLDIhn&simid=608041703568313686&thid=OIP.M99c88b0c8867f46a02669db9faf0ab82o0&ajaxhist=0

There would be the added challenge of balancing it just right so it doesn't "travel" (ever wear a necklace where the clasp constantly circles to the front?), but we might be able to attach specific points of the jewelry to cloth as needed to circumvent that.
When I saw this, I immediately thought of your Ungoliant idea:

 

Karita Alexander

Administrator
When I saw this, I immediately thought of your Ungoliant idea:QUOTE]

I was toying around with the idea of the chains and necklace starting out fairly fine, even pretty, then having her jewelry get heavier and more elaborate as the story goes along.
Here is something I made a few months ago. The front piece can be worn independently and the back piece attaches to it in four places. I thought about doing a silver version, but decided on something that would show up in photos more easily.
I've worn the front half out a few times and it is as comfortable as most necklaces. The back half is also easy to move around in, but you have to be mindful so as to not get caught on things..
Sorry the photo quality is so low.

IMG_-kobguf.jpg IMG_-iifeds.jpg
 

Vanaran Green

New Member
I really like the idea of making the real actors in costume seem transparent with a bit of an inner glow as well as a glow to the edges of their costumes. Add a wind or floating effect to the fabric and they will seem both real and ethereal.
I can't quite capture the realism but I drew Nienna pre-elves because I liked the idea of so many layers of veils floating in the ether

[GALLERY=media, 80]Nienna concept art (sm) by Vanaran Green posted Oct 18, 2016 at 8:16 PM[/GALLERY]
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I really like the idea of making the real actors in costume seem transparent with a bit of an inner glow as well as a glow to the edges of their costumes. Add a wind or floating effect to the fabric and they will seem both real and ethereal.
I can't quite capture the realism but I drew Nienna pre-elves because I liked the idea of so many layers of veils floating in the ether
[GALLERY=media, 79]Nienna by Vanaran Green posted Oct 18, 2016 at 6:55 PM[/GALLERY]
Some kind of error in the posted pic. Perhaps a link where you have it posted?
 

Vanaran Green

New Member
There we go ^_^; Sorry. This forum is not quite what I am used to.
The set up is very left-brain oriented I think. I had to go searching for the permissions and found it in an odd place.
 
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