Monday, June 22, 2009

Rankin/Bass Bilbo Design Inspiration

Arthur Rankin, Jr. always asserted that they looked to the work of Arthur Rackham for inspiration on the design of The Hobbit (1977), and here is the proof. Here in a detail from Rackham's early illustrations of Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle we see the inspiration for their original design for Bilbo, with unmistakeable snub nose and buck teeth. The "little men" on either side of this proto-Baggins easily contain elements used in the Rankin/Bass conceptions of Thorin, Balin, and Gandalf as well. The design for Bilbo as actually animated was modified, making his features rounder and younger looking; this look for "THE" hobbit has descended on to Sierra Entertainment's The Hobbit video game, right down to his rusty red-brown hair.

1 comment:

John said...

This design always seemed to be based on pictures of JRRT himself!