Hobbit fans will have to wait several more months to see Peter Jackson's second installment in his new Tolkien adaptation. While we count the seconds till The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hits theaters this December, website Open Culture has something to cure what ails us. We discovered a collection of J.R.R. Tolkien's personal book cover designs for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. They reveal an imaginative artist behind the epic novels that have entranced readers — and later, film buffs — for generations.
As Open Culture notes, "it’s unclear if these designs ever made it onto books published during his lifetime." However, certain elements of his original artworks — like the eye of Sauron illustration pictured at the very bottom of this post — were featured in some editions (in this case, the first edition of the trilogy).
We also uncovered several gorgeous illustrations Tolkien made for his stories that are featured in a book by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, J.R.R. Tolkien Artist & Illustrator. The tome contains 200 reproductions of the author's designs, including his childhood paintings, drawings, calligraphy and art Tolkien made for his own children (jealous!). Pick up a copy of the book over here, and head to Flickr or The One Ring for more examples of Tolkien's life as an artist.