LOTRArts card collection
All images in this gallery are scans of sketch cards in the collection.
The card collection is based on Topps Company, Inc (Topps)The Lord of the Rings Masterpieces (MI) and Masterpieces II (MII) sketches.
Other sketch cards (from the Evolution or Hobbit sets etc) were only acquired as they supplemented/complemented The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) storyline created by the Masterpieces sketches.
• by character, race, objects or location
• by artist, showcasing artist return, artist proof or after-market sketches
• by Middle-earth sketches
The collection contains a ‘Master Master’ set for both MI and MII, and at least one artist return/artist proof sketch from 93 of 104 MII artists.
Card types: there are nine types of cards in the collection.
LOTR Evolution (EVO)
The EVO card set was released in February 2006.
Topps commissioned 47 artists to do hand-drawn character sketches to be inserted in hobby card packs (there were six levels of sketch inserts, odds of finding a sketch ranged from 1:32 to 1:346 packs).
LOTR Masterpieces (MI)
The MI card set was released in October 2006.
Topps commissioned 87 artists to do hand-drawn art to be inserted in hobby card packs (there were nine levels of sketch inserts, odds from 1:59 to 1:1653 packs).
LOTR Masterpieces II (MII)
The MII card set was released in 2008.
Topps commissioned 104 artists to do hand-drawn sketches to be inserted in hobby card packs (the number of sketches completed by each artist ranged from 6 to 2,006).
LOTR Personal Sketch Cards (PSC)
A PSC is a sketch card not in an official commercial set.
They are original art completed by an artist usually on their own card stock. Often these are commissioned by a collector if the desired image was not permitted or available on an official card. (37 artists have created PSCs in this collection).
LOTR Autograph cards (AUTO)
Topps released four sets of autograph cards containing the signatures of actors and crew members on the Jackson movies.
• 2001 FOTR series 1 and 2: a total of 14 autographs
• 2002 TT and 2003 TT Collector’s Update: a total of 17 autographs
• 2003 ROTK and 2004 ROTK Collector’s Update: a total of 19 autographs
• 2004 Trilogy Chrome: 14 autographs
The odds of pulling a particular autograph varied significantly. The rarest autograph was that from FOTR of Dominic Monaghan (Merry); Dominic purportedly only signed 100 cards.
Topps Vault LOTR First Edition Cards, Blank Back cards (BB)
The MII trading card set contained 72 trading cards (reproduced from original artwork).
After the finalization of the reproduction process, Topps had the proofs of these cards sealed and slabbed by Beckett Media.
Each BB was registered with a serial numbered hologram and certificate of authenticity.
Of these 72 proofs, 44 are in the collection.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (UJ)
Cryptozoic Entertainment (Cryptozoic) released the UJ card set in September 2014.
Cryptozoic commissioned 62 artists to do original hand-drawn art cards to be inserted in trading card sets (1:96 packs).
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (DOS)
Cryptozoic released the DOS card set in May 2015.
Cryptozoic commissioned 57 artists to do original hand-drawn art cards to be inserted in trading card sets (1:108 packs).
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (BFA)
Cryptozoic released the BFA card set in March 2016.
Cryptozoic commissioned 70 artists to do original hand-drawn art cards to be inserted in trading card sets (1:72 packs).
to a Master film maker (Peter Jackson): a meeting of genius…
The transformation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary masterpiece of The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) by Peter Jackson (PJ) into film, ‘spawned’ three sets of sketch/art cards.
An ultimate goal has been to collate these sketch cards into a storyboard depicting LOTR’s epic journey across PJ’s Middle-earth.
A separate storyboard has been created for:
• The Fellowship of the Ring
• The Two Towers
• The Return Of The King.
These storyboards are displayed by film chapter, and feature script excerpts, sketches and screen caps.
Specific features of the storyboards are given below.
The creation of these storyboards has only been possible due to the creativity and dedication of others.
To all those who have contributed their insights and art in all its forms, go immense gratitude, indebtedness and sincere thanks.
To Jack Trautman (j2112tbooks) who shared this sketch journey across Middle-earth, and without whose encouragement and enthusiasm, insights and many of his precious gems, these storyboards would never have come to be.
LOTR film scriptwriters and composer
• Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens for their marvellous and highly acclaimed LOTR screenplays, and
• Howard Shore for the majesty of his award-winning musical scores.
To those artists officially on the Topps sketch card sets, and those who have been asked to contribute PSCs where official cards were not available. In particular, it has been a privilege to develop a special rapport with Soni Alcorn Hender, Len Bellinger, Javier Gonzalez, Jason Potratz and Keven Reinke.
To those fellow Scoundrel members and OCD collectors (the ‘old LOTR-gang’ of Jack, Ken, Len, Ian, Holly, Phil et al) for their support and camaraderie. In particular, to Ken, who has provided leadership through good and difficult times, in being an inspirational appreciator of art and passionate advocate to maintain integrity in the sketch-world.
To the websites for painstakingly capturing not only the images of PJ’s Middle-earth, but providing the storyboard narrative.
• FRAME CAP Library
• Arwen Undomiel
• SCREEN CAPPED
Creation of the storyboards: the principles
Story in sketches
To capture the essence of the major storyline through sketch images. There was no intention to capture every moment of the films – just their emotion and drama.
To provide continuity, threads of words from the film scripts have been inserted between sketches.
To link to the imagery of the film, a screen-cap of the scene is provided alongside each sketch.
To provide Howard Shore’s emotional operatic feel of the films, an option is provided to play segments of the score to immerse oneself in the sound of the films.
Four main ‘rules’:
• official Topps sketches were to form the basis of the storyboards
• any sketch could only feature once in a particular storyboard
• for some generic poses, if the sketch accurately portrays the scene, it could be used again in a separate storyboard
• if there was no official Topps sketch available to depict a major scene, a PSC or Evolution after-market sketch could be used.
All storyboards have been mapped out, aligning sketches and screen caps.
• The Fellowship of the Ring storyboard is completed and uploaded.
• The Two Towers storyboard was uploaded on 2 February to commemorate James Joyce’s birthday.
• The Return of the King storyboard was uploaded on 25 March, the Tolkien Society’s ‘Tolkien Reading Day’ (day of the fall of Sauron).
• As changes occur, the storyboards will be updated, and a chronology of these changes will be recorded separately.
Call for feedback
Feedback, comments or suggestions for improvement are sincerely sought – please post them on the message board.
Card collecting terminology
For those unfamiliar with card collecting terms, this overview relates primarily to two of the sketch card sets produced by Topps Company Inc.
(Topps) from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) movies:
• Masterpieces (MI) released in 2006 and
• Masterpieces II (MII) released in 2008.
Topps produced many cases containing these card sets (eg 2,250 cases of MII).
For more details see NS Lists MI and NS Lists MII
There are varying forms of LOTR cards: trading cards, etched foil cards and sketch/art cards. In all cases the card is 2.5”x 3.5” in size. A brief outline of these cards follows.
Topps commissioned a number of artists to do a series of artworks. These were then reproduced as trading cards and placed in packs in trading card boxes.
For MI/MII, there were 90/72 art cards in the set, and each trading box contained 36 packs of seven of these cards.
Topps commissioned artists Rafael Kayanan for MI and Russ Walks for MII, to create a composite LOTR etched artwork (equivalent in size to six sketch cards).
Etched foil cards
Each of these etched artworks was cut into six pieces and reproduced as etched foil cards. The six pieces of the original art were randomly inserted into trading card boxes.The chances of finding one of these original artwork pieces was for MI 1:68,000 and for MII 1:108,000 oacks.
Two of these are in the collection:
A sketch card is a one-of-a-kind piece of art; it features original, hand-drawn artwork on one side of the card surface (the other side has printed logo of set).
For the official sets, Topps commissioned 87 artists for MI and 104 artists for MII.
Depending on the availability of artists etc, the number of sketches completed per artist ranged from around 50 to 1100 (with some doing considerably less, eg for MII DeLiz did only 17).
Two of these sketches were inserted randomly into packs in each box.
The artwork is diverse in terms of the array of media used, and the form and style of art, often belying the label ‘sketch’.
Diverse artwork forms
The artwork ranges from:
• simple line drawings
• shaded monochrome
• with color highlight
• to spectacular in colour, design, detail, and subject matter, in scenic form, or
• oil portraiture, eg sometime amazingly gruesome, or
• beautifully poignant,
Diverse artistic styles
Arwork ranges from
• comic form, to
• dramatic realism,
Artist Return sketches
As compensation for contributing to the MI and MII sets, artists could nominate six of their sketches to be returned to them to keep or sell. These are called Artist Return sketches (AR).
In rare cases, the artist chose to use all six AR cards in one composite scene, eg:
In addition, artists contributing to the ‘second wave’ of MII, were typically provided with three additional AR cards, eg:
The Cryptozoic Hobbit sketches chosen by artists and returned to keep them or sell are referred to as Artist Proofs, eg
For the Evolution set Topps permitted artists to be commissioned by collectors to repaint the sketches the original sketches and were inserted into packs. These are called After-market sketches (AM).
The example shows the original drawing and the reworked AM:
After-market sketches for MI and MII sets
Topps disallowed after-market sketches for the MI and MII sets. However, it seems that Topps provided extra MII blanks to some artists (in addition to the nine official AR cards). ‘After-market’ sketches were then completed by artists years later on these additional cards.
The discussion of this controversy can be found at: Scoundrel Publishing
Some artists completed sketches over multiple cards, these are called panels. Sometimes each piece is stand-alone. However some only form a complete portrait or scene when the separate pieces are reunited, eg: If the individual pieces are pack-inserted, a major goal for collectors is to reunite these panels.
The MI Kansas triptychs: three artists (DeLiz, Dillon, Engstrom) collaborated on two three-card panels. They each drew on and signed each card, see Ents and Gollum triptychs:
Master and Master Master sets
• A ‘Master set’ contains a sketch from each of the artists contributing to the set.
• A ‘Master Master set’ is one which also contains one of the original Kayanan or Walks etched foil cards.
Personal Sketch Cards (PSC)
PSCs are not part of the official sets.
They are sketches completed by an artist on their own card stock, often commissioned by a sketch collector, especially if the desired image was not permitted on an official card, eg imagined meeting of Tolkien and Jackson.