Flash back 32 years to 1979, and even then I am doing complicated fantasy cities. This one is Minas Tirith, from Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings." It was a commission from the head of the publishing house I was doing illustrations for at that time. Minas Tirith is described as having seven levels, each with a rampart wall and a gate. I gave each battlement a different color, according to the specifications not of Tolkien but of Herodotus. Tolkien, who would have known the histories of the ancient Greek geographer Herodotus, based Minas Tirith on Herodotus' description of a Persian fortified city. My style in 1979 was still heavily influenced by late Medieval or early Renaissance book illuminations. This picture hung on my patron's office wall for many years.
"Minas Tirith" is ink and watercolor on illustration board, 18" x 13", February 1979.