Deed of Contract
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Together with Thorin's map, this is one of my most favorite paper prop replicas from the Hobbit. It is the contract that Bilbo Baggins signs in the beginning of the adventure when he assumes the role of a burglar in the company of Thorin Oakenshield. I love how ridiculously long the contract is.
This project was exciting, because it's not just a few pieces of paper, there's a lot of other things that complete the replica - the papers are sewn together and there are wax seals all over the place - fun stuff. Just like for the Thorin's Map replica, I used expensive high-quality handmade paper, which gives the prop an extra level of detail and texture.
The first step is always research. In this case, there's not much reference pictures around, so when I first started, I was convinced that I'd have to eventually come up with most of the text myself - but - in the end, I was able to gather enough information to recreate the actual exact text used for the prop, so I'm confident that it's an authentic read. Anyway, the design process was quite repetitive, there's a lot of text. I used AAE Map Maker (a tool I made) to convert the simple black and white design into a printable prop that looks like something that was written in ink. It also generates the ultra HD parchment texture.
Just like with Thorin's Map, the design process was quite fast thanks to the AAE Map Maker. This is just another project to test its potential, and it worked amazingly so far. Since I already created Thorin's Map, I knew from the beginning that I was going to use the handmade paper for this prop as well. However, the format of this prop is quite large (longer than A3), so I had to wait for a larger paper to be delivered. Anyway, while I was waiting, I did some test prints with a leftover paper from Thorin's Map.
As you can see, the paper is too small for the prop, but I was pleased with how it looked. When the larger paper arrived, I was ready to print it and everything went smoothly. I put it all together and faced the last obstacle - how do I fold the map? This turned out to be quite a problem, so I decided to print a smaller replica that I could use to figure it out without damaging the actual prop.
I figured it out and that was it - all it needed was the green ribbon as a final touch. This is not the first time I printed a miniature replica to prove a concept, I used the same technique when creating the Marauder's Map and it proved to be quite useful.
The design part of the process was exhausting, because there's just loads of text, but once that was done, it was actually quite enjoyable. Thanks to the AAE Map Maker I quickly converted the design into a printable prop, printed it, and spend quite a lot (a looooot) of time putting it all together. Anyway, just like with Thorin's Map, I ordered more paper than I actually needed, so I ended up creating more than one replica, I just couldn't help it, hehe.
If you're interested in a more detailed look at the piece, feel free to watch the demo video on my youtube channel, here it is: