I'm going to start by saying I was wondering why this piece was seemingly taking a bit longer than expected to be released (and I'm not saying I am privy to the new schedule nor motives) but when Mad Max: Fury Road opened- it seemed to make perfect sense to my inner fanboy It was just so inspiring to remember these two titanic IPs, which obviously borrow from common ground, given a "blood transfusion" and reawakened in fantastic new ways and methods not available in the past.
Call me a bit of an optimist but the concept of "failing upwards" is strongly aligned with my personal world view, and maybe why I never quite understood the whole "failbaddon" concept?
Sure, I get the black comedy and the hint at incompetence, but what other entity has united and commanded the uncountable, dysfunctional, maligned psychos of Chaos and takes them to the gates of the Imperium? What doesn't kill the guy is bound to make him stronger at least in some way, right? That tenacity and unbroken spirit is what makes him a force to be reckoned with, as opposed to a porcelain hero that has never been chipped before. The first time you fall is often the hardest, and you get used to it, and after a certain point when all you have is nothing, the only way left is up. Is there something I'm missing?
- I had particularly great fun adapting Drach'nyen into a form that was seemingly vulgar and functional at the same time. The faces of victims of [hopefully] familiar races materialising and morphing across its blade.
- This one had a pretty drastic change in lighting setup that I suggested, moreso because I wanted to make him feel more ominous, as though we stood in his shadow as opposed to spotlighting him on some figurative stage. The idea of his outstretched Talon of Horus, along with fresh propellant gases catching the light, almost beckoning us to join him in his next crusade, seemed quite nice in my mind's eye. Of course, the aiming lasers probably suggest you don't have a choice in the matter too so why not!
- Details wise, no where near as fun as Skarblitz, as this was more stressful to keep up with official miniature specs than anything else. I'll defintely be the first to say that making a "tiny" change (read: complete removal) of an inventive detail you put hours thinking about and executing really doesn't help your position or motivation as an Illustrator on a job such as this, not to mention with a character as iconic as this...
- ...but of course that doesn't kill my buzz entirely so I brought back the "latch on" shin plate armour that I designed for him on the Pandorax cover for Black Library
- Oh and I suppose having a warhound titan as personal retinue ain't too shabby either!
Its certainly been a while since I did 'advertising-grade' work whose amount of brief changes rivals that of theme parks and events... This series (which you will come to see over the following months as part of a ongoing reveal), took a few months to put together. And for me that is one hell of a long time to be 'attached' on a project, one where I play a larger role of illustrator than designer. In my book that is the equivalent of a personal hell, but one that I look back at with pride when I see how far we came from the original brief or the balancing of "IP lore-hound" requirements which I think I needn't have to explain...
In no small way this was thanks to the support and prowess of art director Ghislain Barbe, who pretty much guided me and afforded a wide enough creative berth through it all, at times more of a collaborator than an art director (in the conventional sense). I'll say that I have never been more certain of not wanting his job , and that he has my deepest respect given the creative challenges we had to go through.
The main point I am trying to make, as a kind of "outsider" contractor to this production, is that to all the 40K fans out there, know that you have a team there that is truly committed to delivering what you have loved and will continue to love for a long time to come.
On all of these pieces I very much enjoy reading all your comments as much as viewing the final images. It gives me even greater appreciation of the work and the thought behind it. Plus it's fun to notice a detail in the art and then find out the story behind it!
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abaddon... i had hope it would be huron blackheart leading this campaingn. having the top dog of chaos in this small scale war seems weird to me. how would other faction's leader going to compete with him?
anyways awesome work again man. the moving faces on the sword is especially tasty.
Awesome piece of work there, love your attention to detail, especially on the sword.
If you haven't already, you should read the Talon of Horus novel. Excellent book, and although I didn't really care much about the Black Legion before (huge Night Lords fan), after reading it I have a much bigger appreciation for them and for what Abaddon represents.