Short Series: Tolkien Travel Posters. Meet the Artist: Autun Purser

Tyrn Gorthad (c) Autun Purser
Tyrn Gorthad (c) Autun Purser

Second in my short series on Tolkien Travel posters (following up on Nana Leonti) is Autun Purser who has done a whole series on “Fantastic Travel destinations.” If you love Dune, Cthulhu, Riverworld, 2001 – A Space Odyssee and more you should definitely stop by his shop to get yourself some of the amazing work he has produced. I can’t really decide what to go for first 😉 I might actually go for Amber, to be honest.

Tolkien Travel posters with Autun Purser

What made you do those posters?

Well, I started the series for several reasons. I travel a lot for work (I am a deep sea marine biologist, working for a German university in Bremen), and when I travel I often read sci-fi and fantasy. I am also very keen on 1940s and 1950s design. A few years ago I bought a British Rail travel poster advertising the joys of ‘Scarborough’ – a northern England holiday destination. After sitting below this poster and having dinner for many months I thought, hey, why not design posters advertising travel to locations in fiction, in the same vintage format? As with the initial travel posters, I maintained a limited color palette and a strict set of fonts throughout.

It started as a little hobby and became an overriding obsession.

Tyrn Gorthad (c) Autun Purser

Tyrn Gorthad (c) Autun Purser

 Are you a Tolkien (fantasy/scifi) fan?

I am a big Tolkien fan, and one of my greatest childhood reading memories is sitting in a garden in Cornwall (where I was then living) and reading Fellowship of the Ring avidly. At the age of about 10 Radio 4 played the fantastic 13 part Radio drama out again in the UK, and I recorded each episode religiously on C60 tapes. I must have listened to each of them 100 times.

So, as a big Tolkien fan I really wanted to include a location in this series. I didn’t however want to put in a location which had turned up in the movies, or even in the radio adaptations. I always liked the Barrow Downs section of Lord of the Rings, so I selected that for this poster. I also liked the quietness of the place, which I tried to put in the illustration. The shapes of the trees in my picture are similar to the type Tolkien himself would draw, so a bit of a homage there.

Will you do more in the future?

I am going to continue my poster series in general. I have had great feedback at events and via the internet. People are demanding Ringworld, a book I liked that I didn’t realise was still so hugely popular. I have also had many calls for China Mieville stories. Neil Gaiman himself said I could do something from one of his, so I probably attempt Neverwhere. One thing I want to do with the series is maintain a reasonably high percentage of posters advertising locations for lesser known books. I think part of my self imposed remit is to draw attention to these partially forgotten books.

Here is a quick list of some locations either pencilled out or underway: The Mountains of Madness, The World in Winter, The Hall of Bright Carvings, Ringworld, Grendon’s Farm, Innsmouth, World of Tiers.

For Tolkien, I may well do another one from Lord of the Rings. I always loved the ‘silent watchers’, so maybe I have a go at something with them in.. or perhaps ‘The Dead Marshes’…

Arrakis (c) Autun Purser

I know, this isn’t strictly a Tolkien poster but it’s LotR to SciFi to me. Arrakis (c) Autun Purser

Have a look at Autun’s website for all of his work.

Visit his shop for a full list of his Fantastic travel destinations.

Follow him on Twitter.

Artist bio
Autun Purser is a deep sea marine biologist working at a German university in Bremen.

He has been drawing and printmaking for quite some years and quite a few people have swamped him with suggestions what to do next, including Neil Gaiman himself.

Pictures used with kind permission.



A Tolkien fan for twenty-five years (and more to come...) Founding chairman of the German Tolkien Society, Co-Founder of Ring*Con, Co-Founder of the ITF, host, presenter and fantasy expert

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  • Dromgoole

    There’s a mistake in your “Barrow-downs”poster. Alan Garner’s spiritual home is not “Alderney Edge” but “Alderley Edge”. Alderney is one of the Channel Islands.