Thursday, 28 August 2014

Visions of Heresy

One of the great things about working in miniature in general is the ability to bring just about anything to life. If you can imagine it, then you can build it. To a point at least. Not all of us can whip out a sketchbook and doodle a great character (I know I can't – I suck at drawing), and fewer of us can then create an exact replica in miniature. We each have our limits, and just about everyone I know has to draw inspiration from somewhere else for their Inquisitor figures.

Inquisitor Tannenberg, by John Blanche - I managed to score a print of this from Ebay years ago.

The art of Games Workshop is an obvious place to start. 30 odd-years of drawing and painting is out there in rulebooks and on the cover of novels to gaze at. I'm sure most of us will be familiar with at least some of the studio's artists over the years, not least John Blanche, the art director, and man whom a lot of the inspiration behind Inquisitor came from. If you can track down the Inquisitor Sketchbook, released in the wake of the game, you can find a number of concepts for the game imagined by Mr Blanche, some that made it into print, and some that didn't. Recognisable ones like arco-flagellants grace the pages alongside less familiar solar priests, and an archetype I will one day get around to realising in a model – the pirato-grafter. The pirato-grafter is said to love grafting organs and appendages to his flesh. Four-armed, spider-eyed assassin anyone? Of the artists to have graced the studio, my personal favourite is Adrian Smith, particularly his 80s/90s work that appeared in the Realms of Chaos books and Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition. A large number of his pieces appear in the Inquisitor rulebook as well, and he was responsible for presenting Blanche's concepts in the “Creating Characters” section.

Cherubael, by Adrian Smith

With the 40k RPG ranges going from strength to strength I have to recommend checking them out for modelling ideas. There is a lot of great artwork in these books from previously untapped sources. A number of the artists featured in their pages have not worked in the GW design studio, and provide a number of fresh takes on the 41st millennium. Within the the Fantasy Flight Games range there seems to be a move away from traditional pen and ink drawings to digital compositions. I feel this is a great development, and there are some superb illustrations where photo-realism has been the artist's goal.

Dark Heresy Tainted Noble of Malfi by DeviantArt user Cryptcrawler...

...And my take on him in 54mm.

Away from the 41st millennium, inspiration can be drawn from a number of sources, not least TV, films and video games. The Mad Max trilogy has always been a favourite of mine for post-apocalyptic rabble, and there's a trailer for the new Tom Hardy vehicle (ha!) doing the rounds on the 'net at the moment if you need refreshing. Sci-fi staples like Star Wars and Star Trek can provide inspiration, even if their universes are a little too “clean” for my liking. There is a gamut of other, potentially lesser known, films that could be combed for ideas, such as Dark City, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, and the more up to date Elysium. Game franchises like Fallout, Doom, Bioshock, the Elder Scrolls, Half Life and Dead Space all serve as inspiration for heroes and villains. Just about every example of these media will have the potential to inspire, just look at Inquisitor Obiwan Sherlock Clousseau!*

My Reclaimator, wielding a Fallout 3-inspired combat shotgun.

Within traditional art circles, there are a number of artists and pieces that have the right amount of bizarre for use in the 41st millennium. If you don't know who Hieronymous Bosch was, just go and google his name and look at the images that come up. His illustrations of hell are probably his most famous pieces, and what makes his paintings even more incredible is that he was painting these in the 15th century. Its surprising he wasn't burned at the stake! William Blake is another whose paintings could be used to draw inspiration from, especially his renditions of the nine circles of hell from Dante Aligheri's Divine Comedy, which were often bloody and horrific. His illustrations of the punishments dealt out are particularly gruesome. I'm sure those better versed in art history can come up with some more images and artists worthy of study.

The Schismatics and Sowers of Discord, by William Blake

So, I've covered the basics. Most of you will no doubt already have drawn inspiration from some of the sources I've listed above. I'm not so sure that many of you will know about the following however. The World of Wearable Art is an annual show held in Wellington, New Zealand that encourages artists and designers across the world to come up with incredible outfits that are less fashion items than they are pieces of art that are hung on human bodies rather than on gallery walls. I came across the WoW while travelling through New Zealand earlier this year, first learning of it in the Te Papa museum in Wellington, before travelling to Nelson on the South Island where the WoW entered existence in the late eighties. While there I visited the WoW museum which had an exhibition of the most recent year's work and had videos of the show. The show is part theatre, part dance, part fashion catwalk and has a number of themes running throughout it. Last year's Victorian freak show was a particular highlight. I don't think description can really do some of the pieces justice, so here are a few.

I can't encourage you enough to google for more. So many fantastic ideas that really could be turned into denizens of the 41st millennium.

What are your sources of inspiration? Please share where you get your ideas, and if you have models based off artwork please post pictures on Facebook or tweet us @T_C_Inquisitor.

*For those not in on the joke, Obiwan Sherlock Clousseau was the sample Inquisitor presented in the Rogue Trader Rulebook. If you don't get the references in his name, then there's no helping you!

The Carthaxian Inquisitor

P.S. After composing this piece I came across this thread on the Ammobunker which is a treasure trove of grim pieces for the 41st millennium. Not exactly safe for work, so browse at your own risk!

1 comment:

  1. While a considerably less eccentric venue than the World of Wearable Art, I took a trip to the Victoria & Albert museum a few weeks ago, with the deliberate intention of rummaging through their extensive historical fashion galleries.

    Much of WH40K's aesthetic, particularly when pertaining to the wealthy and powerful, has strong basis in the European fashions of the last half millennia or so, which the V&A covers really quite well. But for those not near London, similar inspiration can be found in books of historical costuming (which I also have several of, courtesy of a local charity shop).

    That said, model concepts aren't generally where I start - I more often start down the process with an idea for the character (and then later decide how they may look)... and that's its own beast, with a different spectrum of inspiration sources required.