J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892-1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.
Michael Hague was born in Southern California in 1948. His mother, Marie, emigrated from England just after World War II and settled in California where she met and married Riley Hague. Michael is the eldest of three children. His mother introduced him to the stories and art in the fairytale books she enjoyed herself as a child. He attributes this and his mother's encouragement to pursue drawing while growing up, to his interest in becoming an illustrator.Michael Hague was influenced by a wide variety of artistic styles, ranging from the movies of the Disney Studios, to the oriental printmakers Hokusai and Hiroshige. His mother banned comics from their house when Michael was a child, which of course made them all the more attractive to the young artist. Exploring this genre he discovered the work of the comic artists Hal Foster and Windsor McKay. The artists from the Golden Age of Illustration such as Arthur Rackham, W Heath Robinson, Howard Pyle, and Dulac also influenced his work and he is an avid collector of their books and art. His study of classical fine art contributed to his skills in drawing, painting and composition.Mr. Hague describes his technique: Once the subject is chosen, I start out with very small compositional sketches. These small thumbnails are then enlarged to full-sized sketches, where I develop the details of the picture. From there I proceed to re-create these initial sketches as finished pencil illustrations. When these drawings are completed, I am ready to begin painting. Today I have added a new tool to the painting process of my work, the computer. Often I do the complete coloring process on the computer. Other times I paint and then rework the piece on the computer. It has opened up a whole new world of possibilities and I am still discovering new ways to paint and draw.About his work, Michael Hague says, I count myself as one of the most fortunate of beings. For as an artist I have not only the pleasure but also the duty to daydream. It is a part of my work. I have been a contented daydreamer all of my life, often to the exasperation of those around me. I have always wanted to be a book illustrator. Books are what got me interested in the art field in the first place. I try to infuse my illustrations with the same spirit that the author of the story produces in my imagination. I strive to create something from an empty canvas that becomes a whole other world that people can visit for a while and totally believe in - that's what is exciting to me as an artist. It doesn't matter whether it is a Greek myth or an American legend, my approach is the same, to try and blend fantasy with realism.In 1980, the classic novel, Wind in the Willows with illustrations by Michael Hague, ushered in a new era in children's books. During the following decades his artistic talents brought attention to this magnificent tale and other classics in children's literature. Millions of children and adults re-discovered these wonderful stories and delighted in the visions Michael created. Mr. Hague continues to work expanding his art to comics and graphic novels.