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Legolas Greenleaf, child-snatcher by hibbary Legolas Greenleaf, child-snatcher by hibbary
Painted while I was looking for a style I wanted to use on the FWA badges. (They're almost done but I'm afraid I can't show you until after the con :P ) This was just a doodle that I painted up super quickly.

I'm not certain that I like how domesticated elves have become. As with sparkling vampires, elves are losing their edge and have become magazine models who pose in front of beautiful vistas. Mythological elves, even good elves, were not people you'd want to fuck with. They'd dance you to death, steal your children, or send you the plague if you looked at them funny. The Mirkwood elves supposedly contain some of this eerie wildness but that was not at all present in the films. Orlando Bloom is such a doughy boy-scout. He had no teeth.

Elves are graceful by nature and I imagine that for the elves of wild places this grace takes the form of that which belongs to untamed animals, tiger-like and dangerous; the sort that can jump from languid tranquility to violent action in the blink of an eye. Legolas might not technically be a wood elf by birth but he inhabits Mirkwood and I'd like to think some of that prowling, slightly sinister nature has rubbed off on him.

Edit: I keep repeating myself over and over in the comments so I may as well post here. I've somehow given the impression that I don't like Tolkien elves or that I want to limit other people's creativity. Noooooo that is not how I feel at all. I love all incarnations of elves. If someone edited the films and replaced Orlando Bloom with someone more edgy, I would be very upset. I'm glad this version exists. I just want other versions to exist, too.

What bothers me about Tolkien elves, Dungeons and Dragons elves, PJ elves, is that they're SO pervasive, nobody moves beyond them. It even gets to the point that people start to attack anyone who tries to do something different. It's the trend that I dislike, not the representation itself. There have been a lot of pre-modern versions that deserve research. (Same with vampires, kappa, werewolves, whatever.) I WANT there to be good elves, bad elves, boy scout elves, etc. I made this image *because* it's different from what is becoming 'standard'. I am not a purist. I find mythology fundamentalists who's self-appointed mission is to tell other people that their creative interpretations are wrong to be ridiculously tedious.
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:iconalwaysforeverdreamer:
I'm a big fan of new takes on old myths, I'm a big fan of traditional takes on old myths, but I'm a humongous fan of new myths.  :)  Have good, bad, or ridiculous elves.  Have sparkling vampires, but if you can't find the creature you need for your story then create it!  That said.  I love this picture.  No one is wholly good or bad, least of all elves, and Legolas is definitely about to wreak some major havoc in this picture. :)
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:iconcrossoveradiction:
crossoveradiction Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014
This....this is exactly the kind of picture I was trying to find of Legolas. This is so very beautiful, you've done wonderfully. His eyes looks so alive.
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:iconnoctourneangel:
NoctourneAngel Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
The Inheritence Cycle by Christopher Paolini. 1st book written when he was 15 yrs old, so there's defiantely some flaws, but his creativity goes insane (in a most positive way) as the Cycle progresses. His elves, along with the ones from the Deverry series by Katharine Kerr, are definately some of my favourites. They are beautiful, otherworldly, ethereal, but also powerful, mystical, strange and very much their own. One of the elven characters describes his own race during a feast by saying that "we go crazy. It is a wonderful, beautiful kind of crazy, but crazy nonetheless", or something along those lines. Give it a try!
Also, love your art and I adore your interpretation of the Mirkwood elves!
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:iconmariealexandrinne:
mariealexandrinne Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2014
You stated the only reason why I like Peter Jackson's take on Thranduil. He's waaay more interesting that the goddy-twoo-shoes elves of Rivendell. But I still love all pointy-eared beings Tolkien created =P
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:iconsmall-myth:
small-myth Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2014
LOVE IT Heart - Free Heart - Free Heart - Free Heart - Free Heart - Free 
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:icontoatepsak:
ToaTepsak Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Aaah I love thiiiis muuuuuch~
I've seen a few odd-and-end creepy!Legolas pictures and I love 'em!
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:iconmgraphicdesign:
MGraphicDesign Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Student Digital Artist
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:iconlotraddict:
LotrAddict Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
Take Sam's Kid
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:icontheanonymouspen:
TheAnonymousPen Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Seriously, I've never given much thought to elves (although, yes, I do love LOTR). Looking at your description, I think I've just discovered exactly why they've never held much interest for me.
Fortunately or unfortunately, reading your post has converted me :P
Your picture has so much expression, and I'll just repeat what you've probably heard a bunch of times before, but I absolutely love the eyes. They really are cat-like, and not in a "I'm so cute and fuzzy" sort of way.
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:iconmanwathiel:
Manwathiel Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013   Photographer
I love this! It's such a great, refreshing interpretation. ^_^
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:iconyikyik:
YikYik Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013
I agree with all of the above! Elves should be mysterious. That's what they have lost most I feel with all the popularity they have at the moment. Elves are mysterious and secretive and like you say, kinda wild and dangerous. But also beautiful, graceful and kind (if they like). I like that smug looking smirk. :D
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:iconmeganbednarz:
meganbednarz Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013   General Artist
I want to color a frame from your comic where Legolas sings the song from Little Mermaid. THE FUTURE!!
Can I do that?
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:iconhibbary:
hibbary Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Professional General Artist
Sure! You can color any of them :F
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:iconbyrnstar:
byrnstar Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013
Heh. Definitely has that ‘oh by the way, did you like the present I left you?’ smug look cats get. Said present being somehing bloody and dismembered across half the house.

I remember reading the Time Life Enchanted World books and Brian Froud’s Faeries in grade school. Seeing what’s become of elves in the modern media is just...disappointing, given the historical variety. :X
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:icongoku-san:
Goku-san Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I love his eyes. They make him look dangerous. I agree. I think there should be many interpretations of elves. Whether they are boy scouts, warriors, or tricksters they can be anything you imagine them to be.
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:iconleialeaf:
LeiaLeaf Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013
my first thought about "childsnatcher" was a reference to "Legolas by Laura"
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:iconaidanq:
Aidanq Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013
Oh goodness, I totally agree with you. I hunt all over for fanfics that show a dark side to the elves. Orlando Bloom portrays Legolas as almost comic relief (what with the scenes with Gimli and all that). Such a joke! So boring...
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:iconcrossoveradiction:
crossoveradiction Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014
Got any recommendations? Been trying to find stuff like this/that for a bit now.
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:iconanicchi-tan:
anicchi-tan Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013  Hobbyist
so hotĦĦĦĦĦ
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:iconlonelyzoner:
LonelyZoner Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Maybe we should combine the versions! Snatching away your children, and then...taking them to boys-scouts? :hmm: (I'll have to work on that...)

Anyways, great shading! I absolutely love the lighting and the bright eyes. =D The expression looks extremely confident too, definitely someone you would think twice about messing with.
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:iconfan-fluff:
fan-fluff Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love your interpretation of Legolas. I am a fan of the old style Black Forest style elves and I feel they are often overlooked. But what I truely like about this image is that you have taken someone who is very often drawn on DA and put your own spin on it. It makes this image stand out and the fact you have reasoning behind your artistic process just makes it better. You are a creator rather than a copier and that is something to be proud of.
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:iconforerunner-naviri:
Forerunner-Naviri Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
I very much agree too many fantasy creatures have had their teeth pulled.
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:iconvioletarchriot:
violetarchriot Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Yes! No more homogenized fantasy. Fairies, elves, nymphs... All creatures you didn't want to cross. Now they're all safe and nice. Not that this is bad but there's nothing wrong with a don't screw with me elf.
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:icongraceswan:
GraceSwan Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I agree. There are many different kinds of elves, all of them awesome.
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:icongentlemanchogath:
GentlemanChogath Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
Can i use this pose for practicing digital painting? not sure if its going on deviantart as im just learning photoshop and stuff, but if i will i'll refer to you.
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:iconhibbary:
hibbary Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
Absolutely :3 Feel free to use any of my artwork so long as it's not a commission.
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:iconwammy1337:
Wammy1337 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
Once in DnD, I RPed a Elf that was a paladin of Bane. He was pale with long black hair. Born and raised in the city. He was so un elfish. I got a great reaction from my group with that guy.
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:icona-nessessary-studio:
A-Nessessary-Studio Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
I like what you had to say about Elves of variety.
I spend a great deal of my time writing elves that break the molds and aren't to be trifled with.
:D
fav+
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:iconanduinel:
Anduinel Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
If it helps, Tolkien's Eol was a complete bastard and his son was no great shakes either. ;)

I admit, I'm not the biggest fan of PJ blinging out Thranduil -- I'd have liked to have seen more fur and leather, less in the way of sparkly bathrobes. But with any luck, we'll get something different from what we've seen in Rivendell and and Lothlorien. I always had the impression of the Mirkwood Elves being territorial and more rustic, good but not [b][i]nice[/b][/i]. The whole "more dangerous and less wise" business, essentially. Here's hoping.
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:iconhibbary:
hibbary Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yeah I hear a few of the elves were kind of total bastards ha ha ha ha.

The sparkly coat thing is SUPER weird but I kind of really like it because it reminds me of 80s sci-fi/fantasy villains. I don't think it suits his character at all, but God help me, I just love 80s sci-fi so very much and always feel intense joy when I see it (even unintentionally) revisited. He just needs a much bigger collar. And really big, pointy shoulders. Gee, who am I thinking of? Ming from Flash Gordon? He had some kickin' robes.
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:iconfrootcake:
FrOoTcAkE Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Student General Artist
This is awesome and I totally agree. I was looking forward to seeing the wild and strange elves that were described in the Hobbit. Though I am happy with the elves portrayed, I would love to see some interesting interpretations. I love seeing different takes on mythology. :D
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:iconl-zee:
l-zee Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
A very interesting interpretation that's shown and conveyed really well :D

This view also reminds me of the characterisation of elves in Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett, which is a personal favourite. Though I've gotta say, I've never studied them as much as some of the previous commenters seem to have.
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:iconhibbary:
hibbary Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
I've read snippets here and there but never made it my serious study. So I'm not an expert by any means. I just know a tiny bit about the Norse elves vs. the Scandinavia elves, etc. A lot of information is conflicting and confusing and that doesn't help. :D
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:iconomni-time:
omni-time Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is gorgeous!
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:iconshamziel:
Shamziel Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
AHEM. The so-called 'mythological elves' you refer to, the ones who snatch children are Christian bastardizations. Tolkien's elves, while far off the mark, are much closer to the originals, the Tuatha De Danaan, or demigod children of the goddess Dana. They are a wild, proud, warlike, deeply traditional people, far more long-lived and beautiful than any human, and honorable in nature, but so fierce that when they landed in Ireland the stories say they set fire to their ships so that, even in the case of defeat by the native peoples, they would not be tempted to retreat. When the Milesians arrived and finally drove them underground after many years of war, the Tuatha de Danaan retaliated by cursing the Milesians so their land would not grow crops and their cows would give no milk; when the Milesians asked their forgiveness, they relented.

But 'dark' interpretations are just as foolish and wrongheaded as overly-peaceful ones. The Tuatha de Danaan are like neither interpretation; neither one does justice to the fullness and richness of the original legends. There are no child-snatchers in the oldest tales.
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:iconhibbary:
hibbary Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
Mythology is complicated. I don't consider any version especially 'wrong' except to the extent that it completely takes over all other others. My beef is with the McDonaldsization of mythology, not different interpretations. If all modern incarnations of elves were evil and nasty I'd find that just as annoying.
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:iconshamziel:
Shamziel Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
Ah, that makes more sense. Thank you for clarifying that. :)

My own interpretation of the situation is that people continue to modify legends and folklore based on what the common culture wants or needs. It's a bit sad for me because I see both overly 'dark' fairies and overly 'light' ones as tragically sterile... You see it in Tolkien's work, their weariness with the world and their departure from it, and the ridiculous, rampant 'evilness' and excess of 'dark' fairies. They are both completely detached from the world and all responsibility to it, and I think that may actually stem from modern fears and anxieties, particularly environmental and economic anxieties. Does that make sense?
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:iconhibbary:
hibbary Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
That is certainly true. And I get tired of these oversimplified versions as well. I had never meant to portray this particular version as 'evil', but merely more complex. Or at least different.

That does make sense and is an enjoyable interpretation. The way in which fables change to suit our needs is a super interesting study. In some ways I think I find the most modern versions of a lot of myths to be troublesome is just because so much of the entertainment industry is so shallow and dreary and it seeps into everything.

I think if I were a myth buff living in the time of Christian bastardization, I'd have been up in arms about them warping everything and destroying old beliefs, but because I'm in the future and I get to have that perspective, I don't mind it so much and can luxuriate in both versions and everything in between. A carousel of elves. A big line of multi-colored elves holding hands under a rainbow. :D

Sorry, this response was kind of all over the place. I might be getting tired. @_@ It's hard to tell when I'm sucked into the internet.
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:iconshamziel:
Shamziel Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
Haha, I know what you mean. I understand where you're coming from, too. I just tend to gravitate towards the oldest stories in all cases, but I have a deep fascination with the history of folklore and how it evolves - I'm really sad that HorrorMasters isn't online anymore, because it was a wonderful source of all sorts of pre-modern vampire fiction, including S. Baring Goulding's 'Glamr' - a vampire story excerpted from the legend of the outlaw Grettir, the origin of which can be traced back over a thousand years!

I have a tentative desire to write a novel about Tuatha de Danaan in the modern world, and their history as it has been shaped by human interaction. I want to explore things like the original stories of the Welsh bard Myrddin, the predecessor to the Merlin of Arthurian legend.

Oh, and I've been reading a really interesting series of articles about Robin Hood depictions over five hundred years of popular culture! This stuff is all fascinating to me. :heart: I'd love to talk more with you!
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:iconkattotang:
KattoTang Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
...but you should also hide all the copypasta spam comments you left to other people. That's just rude.
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:iconkattotang:
KattoTang Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
You should write that novel. I would read it.
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:iconshamziel:
Shamziel Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
Thank you for your words - and for your criticism. Duly noted. :)
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:iconhibbary:
hibbary Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
I'd say that if I were ever asked which interpretation of myth were the most 'correct' I'd go with the oldest. They tend to be the most genuine in that the people really believed them and so were a part of the fabric of their real lives. It makes them feel more meaningful.

I wholly support your desire to expand on old mythology. Fantasy has become very bottle-necked and I really want to see more authors returning to the roots of these stories.

What is this series? I find I'm so busy I don't do much reading these days but I'd like to :P
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:iconshamziel:
Shamziel Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
Haha, it's on TVTropes. I'm not a big frequenter of the site, but when the contributors do their homework, they REALLY do their homework. It has a complete list of all known Robin Hood adaptations, right from the first known reference in Piers Plowman and you can find it here: [link]

Would you like me to tell you more about my ideas regarding the Myrddin legend, and the old stories of the fairies?
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:iconhibbary:
hibbary Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
I'd be happy to listen, though I'm not very knowledgeable about said legend. I'm kind of a jack of all myths and master of none. Feel free to note me or link me to a submission or put it right here if you like. I'm not very finicky about keeping my comments tidy and someone might read it and have some input.
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:icongirlonwantedposters:
girlonwantedposters Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
I need to correct myself on the image.
Im using a phone to view it so i was not able to see it more clearly the glint in his eyes.

Also, arnt the silvan elves eyes a silver blue? I remember something about that in thd silmirillion.
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:iconhibbary:
hibbary Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
Legolas's complete parentage is never explained. From what I am to understand, his mother is a big question mark. So his hair and eye color are kind of up in the air.
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:icongirlonwantedposters:
girlonwantedposters Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013
So I see.

Tolkien did mention something about liking the idea of having some parts of the story unexplained.
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:icongirlonwantedposters:
girlonwantedposters Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
O.O please keep talking about elves like that.
Its so amazing, i love it more than the frufru elves of the film- it just makes more sense and gives them more of a 'realistic' edge.
So please, keep talking.
Like, what about the rivendell elves? Would they, expecially lord elrond, be towards humans, seeing as he has to deal with them so often, along with other species of critter, ie: hobbits and dwarves.

And as for the image itself, i love the colors and the design, however it doesnt portay what your discribing, such as a mischivious grin.
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:iconnominus-expers:
Nominus-Expers Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
YES. THIS.
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