Alan Lee was born and raised in London, where he studied graphic art and design. Enchanted by myth and folklore from an early age, he gravitated toward the field of book illustration. Since that time, Alan has established himself as one of England’s pre-eminent book artists, creating exquisite watercolour paintings for, among other works, The Mabinogion, Castles, Merlin Dreams, and Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad (winner of the prestigious Kate Greenaway Award), and for the lavish anniversary edition of JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
Over the last twelve years book projects were set aside while he dedicated himself to Peter Jackson’s film trilogies, The Lord of the Rings (for which Alan won an Oscar) and The Hobbit. As conceptual designer for the films, it was Alan’s job to create the distinctive ‘look’ of Middle Earth. A comparison of the films to Alan’s prior illustrations for The Lord of the Rings gives a clear idea just how influential Alan’s vision has been to the project.
Alan still makes his home here in Chagford, his interests include myth and folklore, literature, poetry, music (particularly jazz, blues, and the singing of June Tabor), archaeology, history, international travel, and long walks through Devon woodland.