The thought of a return journey to Middle Earth always lingered in my mind, so when I approached Tony regarding this, it soon became a plausible reality. In addition, he was a fellow Lord of the Rings fan which added that extra spark of motivation to see this through to the best of our abilities in order to bring it justice and meeting the standards of die-hard fans (G’Day TORN & OCAU peeps!) through this fun parody.
A commonly known location in Middle Earth is The Brandywine River (and bridge), which became the basis for this design as a straight up parody questioning â€˜What if Brandywine was actually also a fine wine for connoisseurs?’
The sequence of events which made The Brandywine River standout was of course the beginning of the Hobbits’ journey when they were chased by a company of Ringwraiths, consequently seeing the Hobbits jump and sail away on a raft towards Bree.
My vision was to see a high quality illustration retelling this story with a twist â€“ The Hobbits fleeing along The Brandywine River, upon a bottle of Brandywine ba-dam-tish :p
As many know, Mr. Centeno is a master craftsman in his illustrative skills, plus his hidden enthusiasm for LOTR meant it was a no brainer to snatch a moment of his time to see this vision take fruit.
ABOUT THE WINE:
We modelled this wine on a classic style bottle with a vintage â€˜aged’ label to reflect an â€˜old school aged wine’ feel. We chose Tom Bombadil as the â€˜brand’ as throughout LOTR, Bombadil was known for his magical and mysterious qualities. He was also the â€˜saving grace’ for the Hobbits as he coerced the forest to release Merry and Pippin (this scene was modified in Peter Jackson’s movie as a scene with Treebeard instead of Bombadil).
So in our design, Bombadil once again indirectly takes charge and rescues the Hobbits from the clutches of the Ringwraiths. Not to forget, Bombadil also has that certain element of friendly â€˜grandpa charmâ€˜and appearance, making him the ideal candidate for this brandingâ€¦.and â€˜Bombadil’s Brandywine’ does have a sweet fermented ring to it!
We also made a late inclusion to feature additional text reading â€˜Second Age’ to give the wine a date as all vintage wines do. LOTR fans will pick up this reference as being the time before Sauron’s first downfall.
Then began the hunt for the right font â€“ I came across several Hobbit/Elvish/Dwarven fonts and we decided to select this particular Hobbit font as it gave it an extra element of authenticity due to Bombadil’s location of residence just outside of The Shire - the place of the best booze in Middle Earth.
We can take this piece of Tolkien history, add our own and justify it by conveying the idea that Bombadil’s Brandywine could have been produced in conjunction with The Shire Folks due to location and skill, hence the Hobbiton-styled Font.
We began this fun project by laying my vision before him with the aid of several reference images in addition to a really, really raw concept sketch by master artist, yours truly (ok shaddap you can stop laughing now).
Tony soon returned with his reply and interpretation of my sketch, and when I say â€˜soon’, I mean it literally, returning within a few hours â€“ this bro is lightning quick! We continued to trade feedback daily and from the collage of process images, one can see how quickly this design moved forward from concept to a well-rounded near completion state in just seven days!
TIME OUT, TIME OUT!
Now, the reason why we had a 2-3 day break was because I found out it was Tony’s birthday on Saturday 21st May so peeps, do shoot him some belated love if you haven’t already! =)
NOW WHERE WERE WEâ€¦
Oh yes, soon after it was time to sample the often dreaded step â€“ colors. Options aplenty it was a tough one to decide. Do we go moonlit to simulate the atmosphere of that fateful night? Or perhaps Sepia to give it that Middle Earth vintage map feel? Or go all out with a full color simulated process?
Following some minor delays with our personal lives, we continued the journey by experimenting with various placements for the moon and as its resulting lighting upon all objects. We also began to add fine details to each object, beginning with the label, then the Hobbits, etc.
The following fortnight saw us continually refine details and add minor additions/subtractions before relaying it out there to a few fellow artists and die-hard LOTR fans for any last minute tips and/or blessings, before final touches.
So here we have it, the final outcome of this collab in partnership with the amazing Tony Centeno. Furthermore, this process has been an absolute joy conversing and getting to know the man away from Threadless better â€“ great guy and nothing short of fun to chat with!
On that happy note, Tony and I are extremely proud to present 'The Brandywine'.
Prints available at society6 here
Please spare a few seconds & spread some mintees love too if you can :)