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View Full Version : Rejoice all among us, for all is good in the world.



-Ed
09-10-2005, 00:19
John Blanche is working with Warp Artefacts to create his own range of miniatures. Hold me. (http://www.warpartefacts.com/popups/femme-promo.html)

Apparently rejoice and all is good in the world weren't clear enough for the genius of Rabid Bunny. John Blanche captures everything the 40k is about to me and puts it to paper, I'm thrilled he's doing this.

Rabid Bunny 666
09-10-2005, 00:25
:wtf:

this may be the only time i will ever agree with you -Ed, this is bad

edit: i thought that was sarcasm, but nevermind

Sgt John Keel
09-10-2005, 00:35
This could be interesting. Probably won't be in 28mm, do they?:(

/Adrian

Freak Ona Leash
09-10-2005, 01:25
No Ed. John Blanche=bad. Repeat after me. BAD.

Rabid Bunny 666
09-10-2005, 01:32
he has the skill, the enthusiasm, the ideas, but not the application, i mean, red space wolves and red ultrasmurfs sets the ol' alarm bells ringing...

VanDoo
09-10-2005, 02:01
Gah! "The world's best miniature designer"? :wtf:

amagi
09-10-2005, 02:17
I don't get the fascination with John Blanche. I know he's supposed to have been so influential in certain circles, but there are so many fantasy artists who far surpass his ability. Some of his drawings are fine, but many have horrible proportions and a distinct lack of depth or perspective. He's not a terrible artist, but I just don't understand why he gets so much more attention than other, better fantasy artists.
Can someone explain this to me?

-Ed
09-10-2005, 02:17
No Ed. John Blanche=bad. Repeat after me. BAD.

Short sentences. Too many full stops. Are bad.

@Van Doo
When it says designers (not designer) it means unnamed sculptors not John.

@Amagi
I'll agree there are others who have more technical skill than Blanche, but his particular style for me seems to capture 40k like no other.

I'm not sure what you mean by red ultramarines and space wolves, could you elaborate ?

amagi
09-10-2005, 02:32
Fair enough, I'll buy that he contributed to the theme and atmosphere.
(Not that I'm a big fan of the 40K atmosphere...)
But anyone who claims that he has amazing artistic ability is confused. In many of the Warhammer army books (Fantasy), his drawings stand out distinctly as quite poor compared to the other, excellent offerings.
Certainly he can still provide a conceptual framework though.

VanDoo
09-10-2005, 03:10
When it says designers (not designer) it means unnamed sculptors not John.

:o

Colour me stupid! :D

P.S. Don't you guys think some of the smilies don't really represent what they're supposed to?

Trunks
09-10-2005, 03:37
Blanche really is a terrible artist. He doesn't capture the feel of 40k at all to me. Maybe he has some decent ideas on occasion, but he cannot execute them to save his life 95% of the time.

I really, really, really do not like his work. There have been many better artists that have done work for GW.

devolutionary
09-10-2005, 04:03
*hoists up the John Blanche Appreciation Society flag... and lays waste to the heretics* :D

This sounds bloody brilliant. Thoroughly looking forward to this stuff.

EVIL INC
09-10-2005, 04:23
I must say that I like his stuff. You have to be able to appreciate impressionistic art to like his stuff though. If you dont appreciate impressionism, you wont like his stuff. Having said that, you usually either really like it or really hate it. It does not mean his stuff is bad. It just means you dont like his style. Within his style he is good. Maybe as good as Frazzetta, just with a larger scale twist.
Regardless, you have to give the man credit where it is due. It is his artwork that helped to build Games Workshop just as much as the rules and models over the years.

Shadowheart
09-10-2005, 06:34
I don't get how Blanche is so hard to appreciate. Seems like some of you wouldn't know art if it bit you in the ass. Repeat after me. ASS.
Art isn't all about photo-accurate renderings, about the technical skills. That's one aspect of it, and it's not that I don't appreciate the talent of a good illustrator, but Blanche's focus being elsewhere doesn't make his work bad. He's purposefully disposed of such concerns as proportion and depth in order to draw the attention (both his own and that of the viewer) elsewhere. To the feeling and the atmosphere of the pictures, the concepts that are being played with and developed. I don't claim to "get" his art (or indeed, any art) but at least here there's something to get. With most of GW's artwork what you see is all you can get.


So I'm quite interested in what this miniature stuff is going to turn out like, though I loathe both the terms "exclusive" and "limited edition". I suspect I won't be able to get these miniatures anyway due to lacking a credit card.

taer
09-10-2005, 07:11
Fair enough, I'll buy that he contributed to the theme and atmosphere.
(Not that I'm a big fan of the 40K atmosphere...)
But anyone who claims that he has amazing artistic ability is confused. In many of the Warhammer army books (Fantasy), his drawings stand out distinctly as quite poor compared to the other, excellent offerings.
Certainly he can still provide a conceptual framework though.

The funny thing is, what we all consider 'art' wasn't considered as such during the early renaissance, but as a craft for these very reasons. It was all about the technique (which, frankly, can be taught just as well as machinery)

@Shadowheart: Will you marry me? :D

Tom - Heretic
09-10-2005, 08:07
Humph. I don't like his style, tbh, though his large scale pictures of battles capture the atmosphere very well. I'd love to see some of his ideas done more precisely.

Yodhrin
09-10-2005, 08:18
I don't get how Blanche is so hard to appreciate. Seems like some of you wouldn't know art if it bit you in the ass. Repeat after me. ASS.
Art isn't all about photo-accurate renderings, about the technical skills. That's one aspect of it, and it's not that I don't appreciate the talent of a good illustrator, but Blanche's focus being elsewhere doesn't make his work bad. He's purposefully disposed of such concerns as proportion and depth in order to draw the attention (both his own and that of the viewer) elsewhere. To the feeling and the atmosphere of the pictures, the concepts that are being played with and developed. I don't claim to "get" his art (or indeed, any art) but at least here there's something to get. With most of GW's artwork what you see is all you can get.

Pretentious nonsense used to explain a lack of talent. It's the same argument used to claim certain pieces of modern "art" as true talent, and I dont buy it there either.

Art, in my view, is about creating something beautiful, not about whatever intangible talents you profess John Blanche posesses. Imagery is nothing without technical skill and some kind of feeling behind the work. Blanche has neither, although Ill admit that whether or not you agree is down to opinion alone.

Thats the great thing about art, it's entirely subjective :D

old guard
09-10-2005, 08:37
mmm! great. GW's very own Damian Hurst provides us with the oportunity to purchase a model of 'bisected Grox in a jar'. Not my cup of tea
To be fair though I gues he is just doing the concept sketches. the sculpters may come up with something tasty (though I suspect expensive for what it is)

CELS
09-10-2005, 09:32
I don't get how Blanche is so hard to appreciate. Seems like some of you wouldn't know art if it bit you in the ass. Repeat after me. ASS.
LoL. Well said. But then, the whole art discussion is a bit useless, so let's not go there.

Can John Blanche sculpt? Well, I saw some of his conversions in Codex Daemonhunters, I think, and they weren't too bad. They weren't the best I've ever seen, but I wouldn't be surprised if he came out with some lovely miniatures. I just hope he doesn't screw with my image of any important 40k characters, like making a Primarch model that looks like something from John's bad acid trip.

-Ed
09-10-2005, 10:01
Can John Blanche sculpt? Well, I saw some of his conversions in Codex Daemonhunters, I think, and they weren't too bad. They weren't the best I've ever seen, but I wouldn't be surprised if he came out with some lovely miniatures. I just hope he doesn't screw with my image of any important 40k characters, like making a Primarch model that looks like something from John's bad acid trip.

He won't be sculpting them, and the range isn't anything to do with mainstream 40k. It's called Femme Millitant, take a flick through John's site and see what I mean.

CELS
09-10-2005, 10:11
Oops, my bad. Well, that's too bad. I would have preferred him doing more 40k designs rather than... that. Oh well.

static grass
09-10-2005, 10:19
I think this is a good thing. John Blanche is one of the defining influences of the 40K universe, generally his paintings push the limits of 40K and give us better insight into the madness of the imperium. The only thing he steers away from is the Tau but then there arent many firewarrriors sporting high heels and gimp suits with fur trims.

I thought his conversions looked abit slapped together but thats not the point, the point is the imagery he is invoking.

I think everyone hates john blanches paintings at some point but dont worry you will get over it.

Jonathan =I=
09-10-2005, 10:44
What a lot of art prudes we have on Warseer.

I love his work sure his proportians are off but it compliments many (not all) of his drawings and paintings.

His own minitures are really really bad though ;)

Nineswords
09-10-2005, 11:11
But anyone who claims that he has amazing artistic ability is confused. In many of the Warhammer army books (Fantasy), his drawings stand out distinctly as quite poor compared to the other, excellent offerings.


And Picasso? How about Van Gough? They are considered great artists and yet I have seen thousands of works that I consider to be of better technical quality. The point is moot. John Blanche has a very idosyncratic style that for me and many others sum up 30 years of the evolution of the 40k universe in a single piece. And that my friend, is the mark of a great artist. You may have your own preferences but I am sure you can appreciate why so many people hold JB in high esteem.

And before you ask; a. I am not John Blanche, and b. He is not my favourite GW artist, that award would go to Wayne England - another artist with a very distinctive style.

CELS
09-10-2005, 11:19
Picasso and Van Gogh are clearly overrated though :) After Da Vinci and Michelangelo, it was all down hill...

Nineswords
09-10-2005, 11:25
Pretentious nonsense used to explain a lack of talent. It's the same argument used to claim certain pieces of modern "art" as true talent, and I dont buy it there either.

Art, in my view, is about creating something beautiful, not about whatever intangible talents you profess John Blanche posesses. Imagery is nothing without technical skill and some kind of feeling behind the work. Blanche has neither, although Ill admit that whether or not you agree is down to opinion alone.

Thats the great thing about art, it's entirely subjective :D

I strongly disagree, read above. You do not have to think that something is aesthetically beautiful to call it art - If we are going to talk about the Renaissance for one example, works that we consider pleasing to the eye were considered blasphemous and repulsive in their day - its been well documented that Da Vinci and others like Botticelli have had to modify or indeed repaint entire commissions to fit a more 'conversative' criteria.

Or how about The Impressionists? In the 1860s their works were considered horrible by the general public, whose ideas of what 'art' is stemmed from technically excellent but incredibly sterile paintings from the old masters. Or how about Picasso? Cubism? Dadaism bla bla bla I could pick out many more examples.

The point is simply this: In every single case, these works have all provoked a reaction.

Whether or not you like it of course, as you put it, is simply down to your personal preference. Artists such as Picasso and John Blanche to get back on subject have incredible amounts of technical skill, but have chosen to throw away certain conventions to allow THEIR ideas and styles to come through. Pretentiousness comes when one does not have the skills to justify their ideas but try to pan them off anyway and pull the wool over peoples eyes. Anyone with a trained eye can see past that and expose them for what it really is. John Blanche is not pretentious. The works you have seen him publish you consider to be technically inadequate, and I am sure you'll probably never see the stuff he has done in art school, where you actually have to have some sort of technical knowledge to do well.

I have read enough of the comments on this thread and I get the impression you are all prudes to quote someone else and you cannot justify your arguments beyond 'I just dont like it and that is my opinion'.

NS

Nineswords
09-10-2005, 11:28
Picasso and Van Gogh are clearly overrated though :) After Da Vinci and Michelangelo, it was all down hill...

Dont get me wrong, I think there are much better artists than the ones I have listed, but I wanted to use examples that everyone can relate to.

Carlo Crivelli > Caravaggio > Da Vinci.

http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/MCG/LF65.jpg

Enunciation, Crivelli, National Gallery.

CELS
09-10-2005, 11:32
Caravaggio ain't half bad :)

Couldn't find anything of Carlos' on the internet though. An obscure artist is he?

Adept
09-10-2005, 11:43
40K and WHFB don't need artists to do conceptual drawings of their worlds. It benefits them nothing. The background is already set in place through the written word. All they need are illustraters to bring those writen words to life. John Blanche has contributed next to nothing to 40K. The written imagery of the Imperium and it's style of government came first. The Alien and Human races all have easy to spot sources elsewhere. We don't need his work to go 'wow, that's what a hive world looks like' because he cannot illustrate. Anything he draws won't look like it should. His work is, in short, useless. He cannot illustrate and, barring model design, conceptual artists are not needed at GW.

CELS
09-10-2005, 12:14
If John Blanche is so useless, what do you think of other artists employed by GW that use his work for inspiration? It seems like, especially for the Horus Heresy artwork, a whole lot of excellent artwork was inspired by John Blanche's scetches. The final product was far more awesome than anything John Blanche could draw, IMO, but it was probably also better than anything the other artists could have made without John Blanche's concept scetches too. Or did you hate most of the Horus Heresy artwork inspired by John Blanche?

amagi
09-10-2005, 12:36
Pretentious nonsense used to explain a lack of talent. It's the same argument used to claim certain pieces of modern "art" as true talent, and I dont buy it there either.

Art, in my view, is about creating something beautiful, not about whatever intangible talents you profess John Blanche posesses. Imagery is nothing without technical skill and some kind of feeling behind the work. Blanche has neither, although Ill admit that whether or not you agree is down to opinion alone.

Thats the great thing about art, it's entirely subjective :DI couldn't agree more--except for the idea that it's subjective whether Blanche has technical skill or not. When you look at a drawing of a real object, like a person, it's not subjective whether or not it's accurate. It's objective because we can compare it to a real person. By any objective standard, Blanche's technical skill falls vastly below what we might call photorealism--which many artists can acheive. And the proportions in some of his drawings are not simply non-photorealistic. They're horrible.
Sure you can claim that he actually has spectacular technical skills--secretly--but that he chooses not to apply them to his work, but that's a very weak argument. What evidence do you have?
You can claim that he's just doing it for some kind of effect, but that argument only goes so far, since many of his drawings don't benefit at all from any kind of "impressionistic" effect, as someone suggested--they just look amateurish.

But look, I fully realize that perfect realism is not necessarily a requirement of good art, and don't get the idea that I hate Blanche. I agree with the person above who said that I'd like to see some of his large-scale battle scenes done with a bit more accuracy. Like I said I can certainly appreciate that his drawings have served as a conceptual framework. I like the themes in some of his work. Just don't claim that he secretly has awesome technical skills, as that's a baseless argument.

And I view Picasso as the most overrated artist in history, and Dadaism as an "artistic" abomination--it's valueless absurdity-worship.

For those who want to support real value in art against talentless modernist nonsense like signed urinals and all-black canvasses that sell for $20,000, I highly recommend looking into the Art Renewal Center
http://www.artrenewal.org/index.html
They're an institution dedicated to supporting artistic standards against the modernist/abstract assault. They've got some great resources for finding schools that teach the rigorous technical skills in drawing and painting that are necessary to produce visual art of real value.
Plus they've got a huge online gallery of excellent fine art.

I'll gladly take the abuse and smears of "art-prude" from the supporters of rubbish as high art. Also see this Warseer thread for a discussion of ARC
http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12717&page=2
before you start screaming "art-prude," as I've already refuted such nonsense.

Brandir
09-10-2005, 12:43
Well, I quite like Blanche's work. But he does seem to attract a large number of people who absolutely hate his work. Never mind, but it is a bit far to label him a bad artist when art in it's nature is extremely subjective.

Isn't Warp Artefacts owned by GW?

Batwings
09-10-2005, 12:47
"40K and WHFB don't need artists to do conceptual drawings of their worlds. It benefits them nothing. The background is already set in place through the written word."

Absolute nonsense.
It's clear you have no understanding of how a collaborative creative process (whether within GW or elsewhere) works. To suggest writers work in blinkered isolation, or that their texts exist prior to the creation of visual imagery is deeply ignorant.
The art and literature of Games Workshop develop in tandem, ideas being shaped by both artists and writers.

Adept
09-10-2005, 13:17
"40K and WHFB don't need artists to do conceptual drawings of their worlds. It benefits them nothing. The background is already set in place through the written word."

Absolute nonsense.
It's clear you have no understanding of how a collaborative creative process (whether within GW or elsewhere) works. To suggest writers work in blinkered isolation, or that their texts exist prior to the creation of visual imagery is deeply ignorant.
The art and literature of Games Workshop develop in tandem, ideas being shaped by both artists and writers.

Piffle.

When talking about the creation of products, you are correct. When desiging new models, the design team makes heavy use of concept sketches and artwork.

However, John Blanches artwork has had, effectively, zero impact on the background of 40K and Fantasy. Some people might still like it. Bully to them. But it is very hard to find supporting evidence once you posit that John Blanche's art has directly impacted the way the writers have shaped the history and background of the Imperium or the Old World. The races (and their histories) come from many sources, usually popular fiction (ala Aliens and LotR) or history (ala Imperial Guard or many WHFB races). There is no role left for John Blanche to fill.

CELS: I quite like most of the HH artwork. It's not some of the best GW stuff I've seen, but it's not too shabby. I would, however, postulate that the HH has enough evocative imagery without Blanche's input that any artwork centred on it would not be lacking for inspiration.

CELS
09-10-2005, 13:36
It seems to me that sometimes John Blanche smokes a little marijuana, draws crazy things, and then shows this to the rest of GW. Both writers and artists seem to benefit from this. For example, it seems that John Blanche has done concept scetches (or whatever you'd like to call them) for a lot of characters in 40k, which have later been incorporated in the fluff. This includes a lot of characters for the Inquisitor game, the now famous Death Cults (which are clearly a product of John Blanche's fascination with women in strange leather outfits) and of course the Horus Heresy stuff.

It says in Inquis-Exterminatus that "John Blanche's artwork has been a driving force in the appeal of the full range of GW's games and miniatures for over twenty years." It seems to me that if he was totally useless, they wouldn't use him for twenty years. GW doesn't seem like the company to pay someone's salary for twenty years because they don't have the heart to tell you you're useless. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't find John Blanches artwork to be visually appealing half of the time. But it's clear it has its uses. It seems rather clear to me, anyway. Unless, of course, you're looking for evidence in the form of written testimonies by GW staff and videotapes that show how the GW staff are actually inspired by his work :rolleyes:

And you could argue that eventhough some characters are clearly influenced by John Blanche's work, he is still useless, because the GW staff would be fully capable of creating equally cool characters without him. Which, of course, makes as little sense as saying that John Blanche has secret photorealistic painting skills rivalling those of Michelangelo.

Adept
09-10-2005, 13:41
Unless, of course, you're looking for evidence in the form of written testimonies by GW staff and videotapes that show how the GW staff are actually inspired by his work :rolleyes:

Well, that'd be a start. Of course we'd have to verify that all testimonies were delivered free of outside influence and coercion.

;)

EVIL INC
09-10-2005, 13:46
Actually, his artwork and the design crew has built upon one another from the very beginning. If you were around at the beginning of "40k" you would be able to see this. The 40k game started out as a rule set and Blanche was brought in to illustrate and evoke the imagery that the game possessed. Then, as the game grew, they used his artwork to expand the game, rules and subgames. It IS his artwork that has inspired the newer stuff as it has been put out. All you need to do is see that what started out as him being illustrating the imagery in the game has moved on to the expansion of the game being inspired by his art.
Now, with the addition of newer (and younger) members onto the dev team and the desire to draw in younger crowds, his art has waxed and waned in influance over the years of course, but that is only human nature.
Now all that being said, no one is saying he is the SOLE inspiration of the game. We are only saying that he is one of the factors in it. We are also not saying that he is the BEST artist involved. We are saying that his artwork has had the most impact upon the game(admittedly part of that is a time factor because of his seniority).
Now, on a personal not, I will also not say I like his stuff the best. I like different artists they have depending upon what they are illustrating. Up close detail work, I prefer the more "realist" artists. For grand portrayals and large scale images that are meant to provoke emotions, I like his stuff. Model conversion-wise, he is the absolute LAST person I would want to do my stuff. :rolleyes:

Adept
09-10-2005, 13:51
Maybe it's just me, but I don't see how Blanche's art, specifically, bears any resemblance to the 40K universe. Where are the things that he has inspired?

Rabid Bunny 666
09-10-2005, 14:08
I'm not sure what you mean by red ultramarines and space wolves, could you elaborate ?

in the HH books, there are red Ultramarines, Space wolves and an Orange white scar

Brother Loki
09-10-2005, 14:32
John Blanche really has shaped the development of both the Warhammer world and the 40k universe. The Warhammer world was stuck in standard high fantasy D&D imagery until JB came along in the early 80s and started drawing people in early rennaissance costume and plague victims - the words and background generally came later, largely inspired by his images, along with those of Ian Miller - another 'love it or hate it' GW artist.

The 40k universe is described as gothic precisely because Blanche drew it that way in the beginning. People then wrote background based on his images. A lot of the darkness in the background comes from his pictures far more than the game designers.

Of course he shapes the worlds - he's the Art Director for goodness' sake! Every bit of artwork GW publish passes across his desk, and has done for years. On top of that, he's one of their chief ideas guys - he comes up with a concept, and then the design team go and try to flesh it out.

Pete

CELS
09-10-2005, 14:39
Maybe it's just me, but I don't see how Blanche's art, specifically, bears any resemblance to the 40K universe. Where are the things that he has inspired?
An obvious example are the Death Cultists, as mentioned above. He started drawing women in leather, which lead to the creation of Severina and Sevora in Inquisitor, and eventually the Death cultists in 40k. I think Acro-Flagellants are also his idea. And then there's the more meta-theme stuff, as Brother Loki and Evil Inc mentioned.

Wisdom
09-10-2005, 14:46
I had a look at his site and some of them birds would make well good miniatures. That said some hopefully won't (eg that big fat nurgle woman). Is he doin them in 28mm?

EVIL INC
09-10-2005, 15:41
Another example is Necromunda. Each and every model within that range bears his "touch". Some more obviously then others though of course. Look at the esher. Then again, if you look at the other ranges, you will see it as well. Sisters of battle, the animal hide capes and carrying of decayed heads and skulls. Hell, look at the servo skulls themselves. The gothic imagery that he instilled in the game is obvious. Some of it is just easier to see as being directly created or influanced by him then other aspects.

neXus6
09-10-2005, 17:36
Red and brass, red and brass, red and brass = John Blanche artwork 90% of the time. That is not a good thing. I really am not a fan of his work, in my opinion the only good thing he has ever done was the inspiring of Dan Abnett to write the Eisenhorn books, that is it.
He is good for pieces that good artists/sulptures/writers and take and make good, which I suppose isn't the worst place in the world ever.

Shadowheart
09-10-2005, 23:10
LoL. Well said. But then, the whole art discussion is a bit useless, so let's not go there.

It takes more effort than it's worth for me, at any rate. I just find the "criticism" levelled at Blanche surprisingly short-sighted for a community like Warseer. Not liking his work is one thing, but it's also being dismissed merely because it's different. Maybe I've just been misjudging my fellow hobbyists.

In any case, the influence Blanche has had on 40K is plain to see for me. It's not in specific concepts, it's in the overal style and atmosphere, which may again be intangible factors, but they are what defines 40K. It's the grim darkness, the anachronisms, the gothic twist, the madness. It's why things that wouldn't make any sense in our world do fit in 40K.
The Inquisitor game and everything it spawned (mainly the Inquisition books/miniatures) had a particularly strong influence from Blanche, and a well documented one. Stuff like daemonhosts, arco-flagellants and sisters repentia all came out of Blanche's sketchbooks.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
10-10-2005, 00:03
Let us not forget Johns frankly ground breaking vomit-on-paper technique developed for the 2nd Edition codecies.....

Some of his stuff, when he takes his time, is pretty good. But he can't paint models for toffee in my opinion. Not saying I'm great or anything, but he is definitely sub-par!

his sculpts are thus, quite likely to be *****.

The Hoff
10-10-2005, 00:16
Im relativly new to the hobby, and that has given me a rather interesting perspective. Ill tell you a little story that may give a clue as to why some people like JBs work.

Ok, remember I only started playing/modelling 40k a year ago. But going to school in Chatswood (Sydney) close to 6 years ago now the GW store was one of the ones I would occasionally visit while waiting for my bus. Of course I didnt know what anything was, I just loved looking at the miniatures and watching games. They always had excellent displays of Orks, Eldar, Catachans (at the time) and some White Scars or Blood Angels.
My memory of 40k back then is of something huge, with infinite depth and so much flavour. Of course sitting on the wall was the 3rd Ed box set, with the Black Templars on it, at the time I loved that painting. And flicking through White Dwarfs (because back then it was worth reading) I always saw Blanche's illustrations amoung the hobby articles and battle reports that didn't include Space Marines. All this meant that I came to associate Blanche's work with this massive and mysterious fiction universe of Aliens and strange places.

Ok, present day now. A new (small) town and boredom drove me to actually start the hobby. Blanches work is not as common any more, and the once nicely illustrated box covers are being replaced by those awful Photoshop pictures of the minis. The mystery and coolness was gone from the boxes, and the contents were revealed for what they were, thickly sculpted toy soldiers.
The new 4th Ed. was just out, and here and there contained some Blanch images, but most of it was filled with shiny (and admittedly technicly better) works by other artists. At first everything seemed ok, I started Ultramarines and bought White Dwarf.
But reading WD I realised it wasnt the same magazine I had perused so long ago, to begin with nigh on all the fluff was gone. The battle report was marines vs something, every month. There were no hobby articles, less artwork, in fact less of everything other than monotomous advertising for upcoming products ( and of course LOTR, yawn). Needless to say I dont buy the mag any more.
And what happened to the Orks for Gods sake, they are meant to be THE enemy of everyone, and yet it has been a years since I saw anything but the vaguest reference to them in WD. The Eldar get only slightly better treatment.
The great depth of fluff that once seemed to exist is drying up, being culled of the GW simply through not being published.
Sure, most of the art these days looks superb, life like and technicaly excellent, however I would argue it has no soul.

All this is a long way of saying that for me, the work of John Blanch is one of the last links to a time when Marines were not the only army in the galaxy, and White Dwarf was something other than an expensive advertising brochure. For me John Blach images are tied in with the cool jungle board (complete with trenches and camo netting) that used to sit in Chatswood GW, and with Ork crazyness.

In short I agree with those who say that Blanche has been integral in creating the original feel and character of Warhammer and 40k, something which (in 40k at least) is on it last breaths.

[/rant] apologies if I skewed slightly off topic.

-Ed
10-10-2005, 03:08
in the HH books, there are red Ultramarines, Space wolves and an Orange white scar

Part of that is poor editing (Not Johm's job), part of it is lighting.

Adept
10-10-2005, 06:28
Personally, I feel that the 'darkness' of 40K is more due to the nature of Chaos (which owes more to Moorcock than anyone else) and the ever present nature of Xenos threats. Not so much to do with batshit insane drawings by John Blanche.

The same is, I believe, true of most of the background. I can't deny that, as the art director, Blanche has done well in picking the artwork to accompany the books. But I don't see where his actual artwork has had any significant influence on the background of the galaxy as a whole. Apart from servo skulls and deathcult assassins.

And frankly, all he's contributed to WHFB is two pages of fluff in the Mordheim rulebook.

TheHood
10-10-2005, 09:01
For me, I think some of his work is amazing, whereas others I don't like.

I love the pictures he did for the original Necromunda book - his work in that, along with the stories and background made it easy for me to visualise the world of the Underhive. For me, those works of his are the best because they are so evocative for me.

Personally, I don't think he is as successful at capturing the feel of the Warhammer world as he is at the 40K setting within his work, but that is just a personal opinion.

As for his miniatures and sculpting... the only things I have to go on from him is his stuff shown in the old 2nd edition Chaos Space Marines Codex and that Beserker from the Inquisitor book. All was rather messy if I remember correctly, but I do recall that it had character...

Just my 2c :p

Cheers

neXus6
10-10-2005, 09:19
Personally, I feel that the 'darkness' of 40K is more due to the nature of Chaos (which owes more to Moorcock than anyone else) and the ever present nature of Xenos threats. Not so much to do with batshit insane drawings by John Blanche.

That last sentence had me in stitches, and the fact that the whole thing is so very true just makes it even better. Nice post Adept. :cool:

GavT
10-10-2005, 09:36
Some of you would be surprised at the scope of John's involvement in the background as well as the visual imagery. As was pointed out earlier, entire concepts exist in WH and 40K driven by John's pictures, but also the words most of John's sketches are accompanied by mad little quotes, snippets of who the character is and so on.

John will admit his draughtsmanship isn't as good as that of Messrs Dainton, Kopinski, Boyd and Gallagher. However, anyone that knows his earlier work wouldn't have a doubt as to his painting ability not just his ideas his Amazonia picture, for instance, or my favourite, his Knight Panther. They are classical paintings in content and quality.

Anyways, it's all arty innit?

GAV

devolutionary
10-10-2005, 09:53
The work Mr Blanche did in the Tolkein Bestiary is good enough for me. There are some wonderfully complex pieces in there that while not the supreme in art sure as hell convey the imagery without fail.

Rabid Bunny 666
10-10-2005, 09:55
the david day one by any chance?

dancingmonkey
10-10-2005, 10:12
just my thoughts...

I for one am happy. Im a pretentious little art student! (failing) and I think Mr Blanche is one of the greatest artists GW has ever had, therefore the chance to own a JB model is rather interesting.

I accept that not everyone likes his style, but thats art!

Look at the work of Davis Shrigley, he's amazing, if you like that sort of thing, but to some he would just be a childishly bad artist.

I guess you either are gonna love this or hate this, but you can put me in the former catagory!

(i do have a signed framed JB on the wall of my student hovel though)

Mr Blanche has a brdth and depth to his work that I feel others can lack, although I place him equal to the work of Adrian Smith and Mark Gibbons, (damn them firing him again!)

CELS
10-10-2005, 10:34
What's this now? They fired Mark Gibbons? That guy must be a raging alchoholic or something, because there's sure as hell nothing wrong with his artwork.

Well, Adept, there's the written statement by GW staff. We also have a heap of examples of characters and units in the 40k universe that were inspired by John Blanche. I guess all we need now is the videotape, eh? ;)

Sai-Lauren
10-10-2005, 12:39
Red and brass, red and brass, red and brass = John Blanche artwork 90% of the time.
And skulls. Don't forget the skulls.:rolleyes:

I don't really mind his style, but I find it a little too dreamlike. Too soft and just slightly out of focus - and full of skulls. (Did I mention the skulls?)


or my favourite, his Knight Panther
Cover of WD 84? (yes Gav, I go THAT far back ;))
I'm sorry, but I think these days he's trading on his earliest work (Kinky Chaosette was one of his IIRC), and hasn't really come up with anything of that quality since.

As for better artists, Adrian Smith, Mark Gibbons, hell, bring back Carl Critchlow.

Inquisitor Samos
10-10-2005, 14:00
For my part, John Blanche's art is an integral piece of my whole 40K experience: his was some of the first art that I saw when I started following the game. Perhaps some of it isn't as "realistic" or "anatomically correct" or "clear and concise" as other artists' works done for 40K, but it's still part of the essential background art of the setting. And yes, I feel some of his works are better than others...... but that doesn't mean I think any of them are worthless contributions.

On a different tack: I find the idea of these miniatures to be simply intriguing...... except for that part about "Limited Edition." To me that implies expensive, and possibly hard-to-get. Seeing more of Blanche's ideas as miniatures, though, that's great; after all, not a few of the Inquisitor 54mm figures were inspired by his work, and those I find very nice indeed! I'm hoping this "Femme Militant" line will be in 54mm, personally! (And not too expensive, either!)

EVIL INC
10-10-2005, 14:22
Personally, I feel that the 'darkness' of 40K is more due to the nature of Chaos (which owes more to Moorcock than anyone else) and the ever present nature of Xenos threats. Not so much to do with batshit insane drawings by John Blanche.

Yes, anyone who has ever read Moorecock can easily see that 90% of GWs stuff is pulled directly from the pages of his books and just given different names. However, the way it is presented and portrayed is done through the artists. They could have easily gotten photo proffessional to alter photos and create an entirely different "feel" for the background. Then again, they could have also done it through any number of art types. The imppressionist gothic feel is what GW wanted so they went with it. It was later, after it become well understood how it was portrayed and additions were added that they started pulling from the art to add to the game. The skulls and cherubs for example.

From the way people are putting down his work, it is easy to see that it is because they simply do not like his work on a personal level rather then for any honest belief that it has not influanced the game. That is the thing with imppressionist artists, they evoke emotions and feelings. Since not everyone is alike (thank god, the world would be boring otherwise) people have different emotional reactions to it. It is easy for a person to speak in accordance with those emotional reactions rather then logic.

Moi Dix Mois
10-10-2005, 15:45
I'm a big fan of Blanches work, I look at some of the other pieces (especially the more photoreal stuff) and it lacks something, like it makes too much sense, and it shouldn't, Johns' work captures the insanity of the setting for me, it really shows just how outlandish and ****ed up the 41st Millenium is supposed to be, it may not be technically excellent, but then it doesn't need to be. There are already far too many souless, boring, predictable pieces of art for 40k.

I particularly like his concept drawings for the Tau - lots or reds and earthy colours, the Tau themselves had a much more 'punk' look (if that's the right word...) it was much, much better than the sterile miniatures and art we ended up with (though the Kopinski's did excellent work on the artwork for the miniature boxes, the Devilfish (I think) in particular stands out for me.

You can tell John has technical ability, you don't need perfect proportions or whatnot to see if someone has talent, it comes out in their use of angles, shadow, lighting, the little details that bring art to life. Having said all of that I don't like modern or impressionist art usually, I much perfer 'High' or classical art work, Keep your unmade beds, formaldhyde'd cows and all that **** to yourselves thank you very much....

Spacemunkie
10-10-2005, 17:28
I despair.

I'm just wondering when some people will realise that many artists make a conscious decision to develop their own style and actively steer clear from photographic and realist ILLUSTRATION. It's what makes them unique and also what pays the bills! The fact is that people like Blanche have spent YEARS honing their skills to achieve precisely the effects some say require no skill.

And please don't lump Impressionism in with formaldehyde tanks.... :D

Monet. Now there's a painter.

The Judge
10-10-2005, 19:27
I think its a cool idea - you don't have to paint them red do you?

God, think of the number of skulls there's gonna be on them...

Bloodknight
09-11-2005, 14:23
My problem with John Blanche´s Art is the selection of colours, it´s all red and gets bland after the 30th pic. But then it´s his style (I remember to have read an interview with him where he said he disliked blue, so that´s where the red UM and SW comes from).

Odin
09-11-2005, 15:47
I can understand why some people might not like Blanche's work - I used to hate it when I first got into 40K. Nowadays he's one of my favourite artists in GW. Some of the pics in the new 40k rulebook are clearly inspired by Blanche as well. Servo-skulls, cherubim, death-cultists, chrono-gladiators, arco-flagellants and countless other additions to the 40k universe have come from Blanche's work - pretty much all the sort of things which I love about 40k.

Getting back to the point, I will be very interested to see how this turns out. There's not enough weirdness in most models in my opinion, so some more blanchian stuff could be good. I hate all this limited edition and mail-order only nonsense though.