Monday, January 28, 2013

Under Cover: 1980s J.R.R. Tolkien Calendars


Ballantine Books had the license to published the J.R.R. Tolkien calendars, which had illustrated scenes from The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. In 1983, the production manager, Fred Dodnick, invited me to design the 1984 calendar. The cover, and subsequent ones, was designed by in-house art director, James Harris. Below are the calendars I worked on during the 1980s. Color comps of the title page and grid designs were submitted for approval.


The 1984 J.R.R. Tolkien Calendar
Illustrated by Roger Garland

Cover detail

The font, Tintoretto, was used in the marker comp.

Pencil sketch of the grid.

The printed grid with a detail of the illustration
behind the first letters of the month.


The 1985 J.R.R. Tolkien Calendar
Illustrated by Inger Edelfeldt

Cover detail

The font, ITC Zapf Chancery, was used for the title page.
I outlined the title and credit on tracing paper, then it was
placed on a light box for rendering.

Paper was placed over it and a marker comp was made.

Grid design with the fonts Bradley...

...and ITC Zapf Chancery.


The 1986 J.R.R. Tolkien Calendar
Illustrated by Michael Hague

Cover used ITC Zapf Chancery from
the 1985 calendar; cover detail.

Preliminary designs

ITC Berkeley Oldstyle was used for the title page.

A photocopy was hand-colored.


The 1987 J.R.R. Tolkien Calendar
Illustrated by Alan Lee, Roger Garland,
Ted Nasmith, and John Howe

Cover font is Cochin Black Italic; cover detail.

Title page font, Fancy Celtic, was from Photo-Lettering;
detail from the One Line Manual of Styles (1971).

The rubber cement-stained first grid design and...

...second design with two font choices for the month.
Four different ornaments were used in the corners of the
grid; the one in the lower right-hand corner was chosen by
the editor (noted in red) to be used in the printed calendar.


The 1988 J.R.R. Tolkien Calendar
Art by Ted Nasmith, John Howe, Roger Garland,
and J.R.R. Tolkien

Cover font is Bradley except for the large T and C
which are a different font; cover detail.

The font, Tarragon, was used for the title page.

Grid design with the font, Devinne Ornament,
was rejected by the editor.

Revised design with the Tarragon font.


The 1989 J.R.R. Tolkien Calendar
Art by Roger Garland

Cover detail

Title page font, Columna Open, was from Photo-Lettering;
detail from the One Line Manual of Styles (1971).

Two grid designs

Detail of untrimmed page.

(Tomorrow’s post: 1990s J.R.R. Tolkien Calendars)

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