Thorin's map - The Hobbit

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Hobbes2594

New Member
Hello all

Having been inspired by lurking on the rpf for a while, I decided to try my hand at my first ever prop replica. I wanted any prop that I attempted to be as authentic and accurate as possible. Due to limited access to tools and materials however, my options were limited. I decided that Thorin's map would be a good entry project, requiring only supplies which could be easily attained at the hobby store, without compromising the materiality of the prop.

I printed off a scan of the original map to scale and copied the design onto tracing paper. I then traced over the other side so that the design could be imprinted onto some paper. I picked up some 190gsm rough watercolour paper, the same paper used for Weta Workshop's official replica, and transferred the design (no pictures to show, though it's all quite self explanatory).

With the map now faintly shown in pencil, I could begin to draw over it in ink. Though I could have used a regular pen for this, which would likely have been the easiest option, I decided to instead use traditional pen and ink. The reasons for this were firstly that I wanted to learn it as a new skill, secondly that, for me, it made the prop feel more authentic, and lastly because I thought it would be more fun! The payoff for this was an increased risk of accidental ink splodges, and a slight sacrifice in precision.

Here is the map shortly after I had begun inking it. Being left handed, and paranoid about smudges, I worked from right to left.
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Once all of the black was completed, I moved onto the red for the runes on the left and for Smaug. The red turned out a little darker than I would have liked, but overall I was very pleased with the look. There was only one unintentional splodge which can be seen on the runes on the left, though this was disguised later on with some acrylic paint. I then tore around the edges to remove the excess border, trying my best to match the pattern of tearing of the original.
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Then it was time to weather it! this step filled me with nervous anticipation as I knew that I could so easily mess it up and end up spoiling my hard work so far. I did this slowly and in many stages, soaking the paper in ever increasing concentrations of coffee and various inks, applied with a sponge to add randomness.
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I added the folds at this stage so that the stains would be accentuated at the folds, as indeed the dirt would accumulate in reality. I also took a stiff brush dipped in sepia ink and used my thumb to flick specks onto the whole map, helping to add texture. Below is the map first with the folds, and then with the various creases added.
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At this point I noticed a significant error, causing my heart to sink! The runes denoting the compass points I had coloured black, following the fold-out map included with the chronicles of the Hobbit art book (a beautiful and fascinating book, despite its shoddy depiction of the map), when in the actual prop they were red. Luckily, managed to recreate the same red as the ink in acrylic paint, and very carefully painted over the runes to change them to red. Phew!
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Now it was just down to some final weathering and tweaks to finish it off. I darkened some areas further to add contrast, and battered up the corners a little more.
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I found that adding some green ink into the mix made a huge difference by subtly adding contrast to the red ink. In the photo below of the finished map you can really see the difference this made. I also took the unorthodox approach of grabbing a handful of relatively clean dirt from the garden, and simply rubbing it into the paper before wiping it off. This helped again to enrich the texture, and it gathered nicely in the folds, helping the weathering to seem more natural and uneven. You can see the official Weta replica below for comparison.
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I was extremely happy with how the map turned out, and I feel that, within the scope of my abilities and resources, I could not have made a more faithful replica. I'd love to hear what you think, and all feedback is very welcome. Thanks for reading!
Will
 

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MurdocXXL

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Amazing result Hobbes :) Congrates... :thumbsup

You've mentioned that you drawn the map with "use traditional pen and ink"... How did you mangaged that the ink(s) did not "started bleeding" while you
aged the paper with coffee and tea? What kind of inks you used? :popcorn

Again.. great first replica... well done!
 

OBI WAN KEN0B1

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Looks great. I have tried my had at this one as well. I did it very similar. Tracing it then inking it. But after a while i decided that i need to hand draw it and it took forever but it was worth it. After you have done this a few times i recommend hand drawing one. You will Love it. :)
 

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Hobbes2594

New Member
Amazing result Hobbes :) Congrates... :thumbsup

You've mentioned that you drawn the map with "use traditional pen and ink"... How did you mangaged that the ink(s) did not "started bleeding" while you
aged the paper with coffee and tea? What kind of inks you used? :popcorn

Again.. great first replica... well done!
Thanks for your feedback! I had the same concern about the ink running actually. Initially I had thought that I would have to do all of the weathering first, and then the ink afterwards to avoid this issue, however I did a test on a piece of scrap paper and found that the ink oddly didn't run at all after being soaked in water for at least 5 minutes. I used Winsor and Newton ink which I believe is the most widely available ink, at least in the UK. Its a gorgeous, deep and even black and I look forward to an excuse to use it again!
 

Hobbes2594

New Member
Looks great. I have tried my had at this one as well. I did it very similar. Tracing it then inking it. But after a while i decided that i need to hand draw it and it took forever but it was worth it. After you have done this a few times i recommend hand drawing one. You will Love it. :)
That does sound like fun. How accurate were you able to make it? Did you just go freehand with the reference picture next to it? I think if I did do another it would be a while later as I don't want to make myself tired of it. Im considering doing the middle earth map from lotr next but taking into account its larger size, and increased density of detail it looks as if it would be around 10x as much work
 

MurdocXXL

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks for the feedback and info about the inks used Hobbes... Much appriciated :thumbsup
Might give them a chance the next time!
 

OBI WAN KEN0B1

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
That does sound like fun. How accurate were you able to make it? Did you just go freehand with the reference picture next to it? I think if I did do another it would be a while later as I don't want to make myself tired of it. Im considering doing the middle earth map from lotr next but taking into account its larger size, and increased density of detail it looks as if it would be around 10x as much work
Yep just freehand with a picture next to it. It was hard to get all of the portions right but I was using a 12x18 paper. I plan on making copys of the original then inking it buy hand then weather it. If I can find a picture of it I will post it
 

OBI WAN KEN0B1

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
20150318_132156.jpg20140413_142117.jpg The one in the frame is the first one I did. Tracing it then inking it. The other w a s free hand buy just looking at a picture of the original.
 

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