To help design the world of ''The Hobbit,'' Peter Jackson turned to veteran ''Rings'' conceptual artists John Howe and Alan Lee. Here are just three of the more than 5,000 sketches they created.

Bilbo’s Food Cellar
When Gandalf and the company of dwarves arrive at Bilbo’s cozy hobbit hole, Bag End, they nearly eat him out of house and home. Fortunately, he has a well-stocked food cellar. ”We actually designed a [hobbit] cellar back on Rings, but it never got built,” explains Howe. ”Then I went back and did this fairly quick pencil sketch just to outline the look. It’s a little more rustic than the rest of Bag End.”

A Secret Passage
Fleeing from wargs and on the verge of being surrounded and torn to pieces, Gandalf and the dwarves escape into a hidden passageway leading to the elven city of Rivendell. ”Peter wanted there to be a sort of hidden crevice in this landscape that only Gandalf would know how to find,” Howe says. ”That’s actually me in the front [of the sketch]. It’s a little bit stretched in Photoshop and there’s extra hair in the beard, but that’s my face.”

Radagast’s House
Lee and Howe had a lot of creative freedom in designing the home of the wizard Radagast the Brown, since the character, who has a deep affinity for nature, is only briefly mentioned in Tolkien’s book. ”We thought, ‘What if a tree had grown up through the middle of the house?”’ Howe says. ”Poor Radagast doesn’t like to uproot trees, so he just left it, and what’s left of the house is all askew and awry.”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Movie
  • 170 minutes