We’re proud to present the final editions in our Hobbit film tie-in books, which have followed the award-winning trilogy to its epic conclusion: The Battle of Five Armies.
We have a dedicated team of designers who work on the internals and covers: Terence Caven and Ben Gardiner work tirelessly creating layouts and sourcing imagery, Stuart Bache designs the covers.
We asked Stuart to tell us about the process behind each cover:
Back in March Team Tolkien and I sat down to discuss how we would approach the final jackets. The paperback uses adapted promotional artwork from the movie, which means we have to wait until it’s available, but the Visual Companion and the Official Movie Guide are ours to create from scratch.
Though both books approach the same subject they each have different propositions: the Visual Companion, for example, accompanies the story of the movie with layouts created by Ben that give an ‘in-world’ feel. Whereas, the Movie Guide created by Terence gives you a peek into the process behind the making of the movie.
We never really know what Peter Jackson’s vision for the films will be until the images begin to arrive, so our initial brief was based on what we knew would happen in the story. With Smaug’s impending desolation of Lake-town and the final battle between the Five Armies (see what I did there?), we at least knew there would be fire and the iron and steel of war – which gave us a starting point and a way to create two distinct looks.
With that in mind, here’s the process behind each jacket.
The Visual Companion:
I started with Lake-town and, as we had no screen shots showing this, I set it aflame. Then I moved the jacket on from the static poses of last year by applying some movement and depth; there are scenes of battle behind the characters along the top and the flames engulf the book along the bottom, licking the title.
In terms of finishes, we wanted strength of colour so we kept it gloss and added impact by embossing ‘The Hobbit’.
The Official Movie Guide:
This jacket reflects the battle, silver and grey with hints of blue. We talked about having a close-up of a weapon or armour and tried battle-axes and war-hammers, but the helmet, perhaps because of it’s resemblance to a face, won out. It also allowed us to have an intricate emboss to bring out the detail along the ridges of the eyes and markings.
The Official Movie Guide, Signed Limited Edition:
There is also a signed limited edition hardback of this book, which reflects the title of this film and includes weapons from dwarves, humans, elves and orcs (the fifth army are the eagles, I guess I could have added a talon!). This jacket has many more finishes, including a detailed foil, a deboss to allow the weapons to stand out and a spot UV along the metal to give a gleam.
The Hobbit, film tie-in paperback:
We received a series of prospective promotional images, some showing of the battle with Thorin standing proud, some with Smaug flying towards Bard… but this image of Bilbo, kneeling, exhausted and with sword in hand stood out. Not only did it represent the end of a journey it reflected the previous tie-in jackets.