Troll Studies (zbrush) Picture

Here's another zbrush piece I've been working on lately. I find it helps, when experimenting in a new art medium, to fall back upon familiar subject matter (plus, how much of an excuse to do you really need to draw/paint/sculpt trolls?)

Of all the "evil" creatures in middle-earth (and in the cannon of nordic mythology and folklore from which Tolkien drew his inspiration) the trolls come the closest to a morally neutral territory. Like the vastly more populace race of orcs, they seem like they'd be some of the more expendable chess pieces in Morgoth's arsenal and, also like the orcs, there seem to be a good number of them living out in the wild, in their own families and tribes, outside of the influence of any dark lord. Bert Tom and Bill from "the hobbit" don't come off as especially evil, just big, dim but powerful, mostly carnivorous creatures making their way in the world. There's something inherently sympathetic about them, at least I've always thought so.

The two portraits at the bottom are the same head, I'd just wanted to try two subtly different options for colors scheme and hairstyles ect, but it occurred to me while painting them that they could very well be the same troll at different ages. In particular I like the idea that, over centuries of low-dose exposure to the sun's UV rays (twilight, overcast days, short summer nights in northern latitudes) a troll's skin would stiffen and go grey in color, perhaps even cracking into shingles like the "scales" the cave troll in moria is said to have, slowly returning to the "stuff of the mountains" over the course of their lives. It seems likely that trolls are one of those species in middle-earth (like dragons or ents) that, while not physically immortal, can go a long time
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