Orcs

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
Here's a place for me to try to make sense of all the stuff whirling around in my brain about what to do with orcs, and what influences to follow, avoid, or ignore.

I should start by noting that in addition to the famous John Howe Morgoth/Fingolfin and Gandalf prints, I have hanging in my bedroom Alan Lee's Gorbag and Shagrat. I look at this literally every day of my life.

Now, this print is a grand-daddy to what we get in PJ's movies - Lee, after all, had a huge hand in the concept art for the films.

So, the first thing I want to think about is how far we want to go to avoid (or embrace?) the roots of the PJ film orcs/goblins.
 

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Marielle

Well-Known Member
The best thing about the PJ's films -- to me at least -- is the aesthetics they developed. I love how different the various cultures/races/places look, all without having anything there that I could pick up at Ikea. So let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

That being said, I don't mean we should copy exactly how PJ's team did it: what's the fun in that? But the amount of scale, sharp/rough edges, and spikes seems highly appropriate.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
I also have this vision of orcs as kind of progressing through the ages - the orcs of the 1st age are different from the orcs of the 3rd age in very obvious ways. Like there's just one kind of proto-orc in the 1st age, and then over the largely quiet (from an orcish perspective) 2nd age they spend the time differentiating, and then in the 3rd age we have Moria goblins, different from other Misty Mountain goblins, different from Ithilien orcs, different from Mordor orcs.

So I'm imagining 1st age proto-orcs to be kinda.... bland? Plain? Uniform? A canvas upon which the later 3rd age variants can be brushed.

I don't really mean bland, exactly, but sort-of... smoothed? Rounded? The later ones will be all points and edges, but the early ones are still too close to the root stock.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
I don't hate the thing you posted in the other Orcs thread either.

But I'm not sure if that is exactly what we'd want. I think this is going to be tricky to work out for a guy with no real drawing skills (me). I think we want to come up with a sort of common ancestor that then evolves into the several different orc families we end up with, so you have to be able to see the seeds of fighting Uruks, and of gangly goblins, without actually being either of them.


 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I agree with amysrevenge - I feel the orcs should start out with very limited diversity, and that diversity should increase through the later ages, so that there are very distinct visual differences among the various 'tribes' of orcs in the 3rd Age.

As for Alan Lee's illustration - notice how it is rather 'real' and not fanciful or cartoonish in any way? These are, sure, characters out of dreams/nightmares, so I don't mean realistic like you could bump into them on the street. I just mean that they look like they have a history to them. I like that, very much, and would want to avoid anything too....hmmm. Brian Froud's illustrations are wonderful, but they would almost definitely not fit into Middle Earth. Even less, I would not want to turn this into a Tim Burton production.

Skin tone is another open question. My vote is for 'not green', but I am open to arguments for various tones.
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
Skin tone is another open question. My vote is for 'not green', but I am open to arguments for various tones.
I generally agree, but we need to be really, really, really careful about assigning skin tone. I suspect one reason green is so popular is it's hard to mistake for any skin tone actually found among ethnic groups on planet earth. I'd prefer gray, myself (which is safer), but if we give them recognizably "flesh tone" skin, we need to have a lot of range in coloring, unless we accidentally say something we really didn't mean to.
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
as much as a Marvel fangirl as I can be, I don't think comicbook colors are quite what we're looking for, lol. Whatever colors we choose, they probably ought to be a bit muted, hinting at the sickness/twisted nature of the orcs.

That, of course, is presuming that the entire show isn't washed out or put through a brown, grey, or blue filter, which.... please, no. I'm so very sick of that in films and TV. Bring back color, damnit! (/rant)
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Maybe parchment color? Or something that looks unhealthy?

Perhaps something like this guy.


Speaking of which, I think Ray Park would be a pretty good orc, maybe like a high-ranking one who has a great fight scene.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Oh, I agree, Marielle, it's a very fraught question. When I made my own orc costume, I decided early on to use a painted mask (vaguely inspired by African masks), but the decision to make it 'dark' wasn't one I was comfortable with, so I went with a lot of grey over a black and brown base, with some brick red for highlights. Now it lives in the back of my car, hopefully getting bleached out even paler. But. I'd be pretty naïve to think that it didn't matter what cultures I was inspired by in making my orc costume, especially since I came up with the idea to make it while living in Africa, and used props purchased there.

That being said, I absolutely don't want a Guardians of the Galaxy skin-tone palette. Nebula is the closest to being *maybe* acceptable, but still no.


I like the idea of 'pale creatures' for the oldest orcs, because they grow up underground in a sunless world. They should be somewhat cave-dwelling-albino or deep-sea-albino, I think. But maybe not. Maybe they could have some red in them (I think that is a color that blends into darkness better than you'd think, whereas pale stands out in dim lighting.) They need to be able to emerge suddenly and startlingly from dark places, but any design could be made to work for that, I guess!
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Maybe parchment color? Or something that looks unhealthy?

Perhaps something like this guy.


Speaking of which, I think Ray Park would be a pretty good orc, maybe like a high-ranking one who has a great fight scene.
That may happen at some point, but we don't get a lot of orcs in great one-on-one fight scenes. They simply don't seem able to compete with our heroes on that level.
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
Getting Ray Park to play a hero Orc seems almost inevitable, doesn't it?

Yellow skin tones could have some... unfortunate associations, but if we make it clear it's jaundiced/unhealthy color rather than... anything else, we should be okay.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
That, of course, is presuming that the entire show isn't washed out or put through a brown, grey, or blue filter, which.... please, no. I'm so very sick of that in films and TV. Bring back color, damnit! (/rant)
Yeah, for this show in particular, I would think you could almost plot a graph of "colourfulness" vs time, and it would increase linearly as you go backward in time from the 3rd age. (If not for the Middle Earth parts, at least for the Valinor parts)
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Getting Ray Park to play a hero Orc seems almost inevitable, doesn't it?

Yellow skin tones could have some... unfortunate associations, but if we make it clear it's jaundiced/unhealthy color rather than... anything else, we should be okay.
Jaundiced/unhealthy is what I had in mind.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
some sketches I made... different Orc-Types...

1. a demon-Orc/Orc-Captain/Boldog
2. fallen Elf/Thrall-Noldoli/Kaukarelda
3. slave-Orc/lesser Goblin/Beast -Orc/Soulless-Orc
4.Soldier Orc/Soulless Orc-Robot-Golem

Orc /Fallen Elf Faces
 
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