The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien is one of the most important and influential fantasy books ever written. The books have gone on to influence a number of major properties such as Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance. We are likely familiar with the illustrations of the American and UK editions, but during the cold war in Soviet-era Russia, things were kind of dark.
The 1976 edition of the Hobbit featured the typical Russian style: much more traditionally stylized than Tolkien’s own drawings, they were more angular, friendlier, almost cartoonish. Lets look at some of the more notable drawings from the the book.
Below, the wizard Gandalf, an ostensibly harmless soul, pays Bilbo a visit.
Next, we have the three trolls, arguing about their various eating arrangements, with Bilbo hiding to the side.
Here, Gollum, paddles his raft in the depths of the mountains.
Finally, here’s Bilbo, fulfilling his role as a burglar in Smaug’s lair.