by David Sharos
Special to the Chicago Tribune
While the movie release of The Lord of the Rings remains weeks away, fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s elaborate fantasy world got a jump start on the newest frenzy last week.
A variety of activities at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Naperville, including a trivia contest and a lesson in character drawing were included.
We got some artists together to draw some of the characters for children to copy,” store manager Joan Cortesi said. “For the older kids, we [had] a trivia contest. This event is kind of like Star Wars was after the latest movie was released–everyone is getting into it again.
“There are people who haven’t read the books that want to read them now and others who want to reread them. This movie has created a whole new audience and enthusiasm for the trilogy.”
Naperville artist Scott Bavlnka, 24, showed participants step-by-step instructions to draw a dwarf. The self-taught artist said he enjoys drawing cartoons and wouldn’t mind doing it for a living.
Amy McCandless, 22, of Winfield, who works in the store’s children’s section, said the drawing demonstration was arranged to help youngsters see the various ways artists might depict the book’s characters, as well as to offer some instructional tips.
“Kids [saw] that despite reading the same book, no two artists’ ideas will be the same,” she said. “When people finally see the movie, I don’t think that will limit their imagination either. Some will watch the film to see how the book was done, while others will want to read the stories after the movie because they’ve never read them before.”
Kevin Steppings, 12, of Naperville said he had read the trilogy in recent weeks and believes most fantasy books borrow heavily from Tolkien.
“While I don’t like all of [Tolkien’s trilogy] as much as modern fantasy, I can see where authors today have borrowed a lot of stuff off of Tolkien,” he said. “Since I read so much fantasy anyway, I thought I’d go back to the beginning and see where it all started.”
Frank Brooks, 48, of Batavia said enjoys The Lord of the Rings trilogy as much as he did when he was a teenager.
“I read all of the books once a year for 10 years straight,” Brooks said.