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hagen88
17-12-2015, 15:17
Hey!
Now that's a question that has been in my mind for many months now and I'd like to share it with you.
Many of us remember the days of Mordheim, 40k 3rd edition, Inquisitor and wh 6. I remember armybooks and codexes (codicii?) exuding inspiration through the incredible artworks of talented artists like John Blanche, Karl Kopinski, Ian Miller, Paul Dainton and many others. I remember flipping through the pages in awe and marvel at their grim and fantastic depictions of the Old World or the gothic universe of 40k.

The artistic direction gw seemed to have taken in the last years though is based on a strict policy of not showing anything that does not have (or will have in the close future) a kit to represent it on the battlefield. Now I might be wrong about it but I assume that means that the artists are now instructed by gw after the models are already under production, meaning that their work will have no influence at all on the final product but, on the contrary, their images will have to attain to what has already been created.

That presents a huge issue to me: while in the past gw was able to generate inspiration through their art department thus keeping all in house, now the fact that art comes in a post production phase means that the design team will necessarly have to find their inspiration from somewhere else! Of course that was what the artists were doing anyway, John Blanche and his weird Giger inspired artworks being a great example, but having their creative and detached from the marketing visions as a filter allowed gw universes to maintain a unique and distinctive style which I find significantly reduced in their latest works (mainly AoS and ET)

Another huge problem is the fact that, since gw produces WARgames, all their range represents societies at war, leaving in the background all the other aspects of the setting, economy, policy, art, poetry, etc... If the artists are not allowed anymore to represent these aspects, since they are not relevant to the game and have no representatives in their ranges, that means that we will have no space in publications anymore making it very hard for us to draw inspirations and create the narratives that games like AoS are supposed to be based on.

So my questions are: is creating this gap between design and art a sound decision for gw?
Why and when did this happen?
Did they got burnt by somebody complaining because he/she could not buy the kit for the Emperor of Mankind or the bone titan of the tomb kings depicted in the artworks?
What do you think about that, aren't you bored by looking at different artists representing the same subject over and over again in the battletomes?

Ramius4
17-12-2015, 15:43
Both.

Creativity should never be dictated by policy.

ToLongDidntRead
17-12-2015, 15:52
Both.

Creativity should never be dictated by policy.

Thread/

But for the record, GW have artists dedicated concept artists, as well as those that produce art based on the models.

Source: On their careers page a while back they were advertising for a concept artist.

Philhelm
17-12-2015, 17:09
I agree with both. While the new art is technically good, it is too clinical and repetitive.

akai
17-12-2015, 18:01
Hey!
Now that's a question that has been in my mind for many months now and I'd like to share it with you.
Many of us remember the days of Mordheim, 40k 3rd edition, Inquisitor and wh 6. I remember armybooks and codexes (codicii?) exuding inspiration through the incredible artworks of talented artists like John Blanche, Karl Kopinski, Ian Miller, Paul Dainton and many others. I remember flipping through the pages in awe and marvel at their grim and fantastic depictions of the Old World or the gothic universe of 40k.

The artistic direction gw seemed to have taken in the last years though is based on a strict policy of not showing anything that does not have (or will have in the close future) a kit to represent it on the battlefield. Now I might be wrong about it but I assume that means that the artists are now instructed by gw after the models are already under production, meaning that their work will have no influence at all on the final product but, on the contrary, their images will have to attain to what has already been created.

I was wondering why I felt something off about the illustrations when I was looking through the hardback books. If artwork of the denizens are based only on the figures soon to be produced/released maybe we will get...

1. barbarians of some sort for the Order faction (free people)
2. man-sized flying daemonic beasts
3. Grimnir or an aspects of him and magma-type beasts
4. Shadowy dark elvish models (Slaanesh maybe) with batwings, large claws and daemonic head...
5. long-robed free people/aelves with very long staffs (these might be just the citizens on Azyrheim)

But with what the others have said, both!

Elfhead
17-12-2015, 20:36
although I like some of the new artwork, it does seem to show only the models that are available. Although there probably is a commercial reason behind this, I personally am completely baffled by this decision. I thought the idea of AoS was to create a large universe with endless possibilities of what the worlds look like and more importantly, what it's inhabitants look like. I thought we were encouraged to come up with our own stories and armies. The way you can build armies also makes it possible to create a warband completely to your own liking.
The artwork however doesn't inspire players at all, beyond what is available. no ideas for conversions and the like... so yes, I am bored.

the army I'm creating for AoS (for the fun of painting and sculpting, I don't play) is based on warhammer fluff (elven cult of Slaanesh) and so are the conversions. I find myself looking for all kinds of old artwork from warhammer and 40k depicting Slaanesh to come up with new ideas and looks. AoS artwork hasn't been helpfull at all. when the first artwork and pieces of fluff were released they peaked my interest. but the slow pace of release and no hints at all of the armies that have yet to be (re-)released has been a major letdown.

thank god for all the creative people on warseer that inspire me with the amazing work they produce.

lbecks
17-12-2015, 21:37
GW doesn't seem to utilize their in house illustration team that much any more. They were either downsized to save money or they work on some of the post production art.

Essentially in a company you'll have concept art (the designs for the models), asset art (the actual miniatures), and post production art (illustrations of the designs in action shots). The sculptors make up the concept art and asset art parts, which isn't that common for a larger company. For example Seb Perbet does both concepts and assets. So does Jes Goodwin, so does Brian Nelson. They design and sculpt and it's been that way in GW for a long time. They currently contract for the post production art which is in books. GW's old illustration team did inspiration art which kind of ran parallel to what was in production and was unique in its position. They also used to have some old rules which were pretty interesting, Blanche would require fantasy art to be done non digitally to get a certain feel.

In an ideal world, the sculpting team would make something related to ever piece of art that was published. And the art would be wide and varied and be made non digitally.

Spiney Norman
17-12-2015, 21:54
Both.

Creativity should never be dictated by policy.

While that's true I'd say for this specific question, it depends. It depends on who is drawing the pictures and who is sculpting the models. Artistic drawings have no intrinsically greater value than artistic miniature sculpts both are equally valid art forms and the soulless corporate robots should keep their grubby paws off both.

Dosiere
18-12-2015, 02:59
I bet there's more going on behind the scenes at GW than we realize. Despite an apparently very top down approach, there's got to be at least some cool concepts that get drawn but never go any further. It would be interesting to see how the AoS stuff was created and what alternates were rejected or changed. At some point I would expect there was a vague "here's the rough idea, show me what you can come up with" stage that produced some rather varied concepts.

Darth Alec
18-12-2015, 05:23
In my opinion, it's less of a "should they inspire the model", and more of a "it should inspire the world". The modelers no doubt figure out their own ways to create new models, and I don't think they need the "regular" artwork to define that. The model aesthetic for AoS has been fairly consistent, so it seems like they have a good common grounds from which to create models. I am a fan of the more unified modelling art though. I get that a lot of people find the new models sterile or uninspired. Each to their own on that, but kits like the Mortarchs shows that there is plenty of room for inspired kits in the new warhammer world.

I feel the greater issue is that the wider world of AoS doesn't show up much. Everything is ALL WAR ALL THE TIME. And even worse, it's ALL SIGMARINES ALL DAY 'ERRY DAY. I like the Sigmarines, but they have it even harder than the Space Marines in natural human empathy. They are more human thematically, but less so visually. Their impassive facemasks and greek-armour visage makes it harder to see the human struggle. AoS has infinite room for the human struggle against chaos, but has spent no time at all showing it in images. Where's the "Sigmarines pose heroically whilst liberating starving humans" pictures? Images of humans standing alongside sigmarines in the line of battle? I like a lot of the new artwork, but GW's refusal to show anything that doesn't have a model limits their ability to show the less fighty sides of things. A lot of the best pieces in the 6th ed books (Ogre Kingdoms and Tomb Kings anyone?) were pictures about the society, rather than the battles.

There's a lot hanging on the Duardin release IMO. That will hopefully be our first meet with non-chaos denizens of the Mortal Realms. Maybe we'll get to see what we are fighting for.

Smooth Boy
18-12-2015, 05:43
No hard and fast rules but if the models inspire everything else then GW becomes a toyshop. By making miniatures of already existing concepts they tend to look better.

hagen88
18-12-2015, 11:33
It seems that this "chapterhouse episode" was of fundamental importance in gw's decision of getting rid of every bit of artwork which did not hint at an existing model... Could somebosy cast some light on it, I heard people talk about that many times but never really known what that was!

Zywus
18-12-2015, 12:05
The company Chapterhouse produced (among other things) models indented for unit's that had entries in GW's codexii but that GW did not produce any models for. The prime example is the Tyranid spore pod. GW and Chapterhouse engaged in a legal battle over whether or not Chapterhouse's models infringed GW's copyright and/or design rights.

People theorize that GW since, avoids putting any entry into a codex that they don't produce a model for. This isn't entirely true though. For example the ork codex still contain the option of having a biker Warboss and rules for the looted wagon were published in a WD but i guess those at least are represented by ForgeWorld models.

Avoiding to create any artwork outside of existing or future models would be a very weird (and in my opinion even counterproductive) way of dealing with 3rd party manufacturers but who can know what reasoning goes on withing GW?

2DSick
18-12-2015, 13:46
I like a lot of the new artwork, but GW's refusal to show anything that doesn't have a model limits their ability to show the less fighty sides of things. A lot of the best pieces in the 6th ed books (Ogre Kingdoms and Tomb Kings anyone?) were pictures about the society, rather than the battles.

There's a lot hanging on the Duardin release IMO. That will hopefully be our first meet with non-chaos denizens of the Mortal Realms. Maybe we'll get to see what we are fighting for.

I've been trying to find something, anything about greenskins. Love my orcs! Da Snaptoof Clan. Started a new beastmaster hunter clan of mountain goblins...

I'd like at least something to try an draw some inspiration from. All I've found so far is a few battle's involving greenies.. One lead by a ogor. Yeah, less ALL WAR ALL DAY and a but more actual fluff wouldn't go amiss.

Unfortunately all the inspiration I've been able to take has been from Holier Than Thou's dragon hunter goblin cadre rant. It's a good one. Much depth. Big love.

Cybtroll
18-12-2015, 17:00
Usually there are Concept Artists to do that.
And they usually work before art department and sculpture department.

Or, at least, this is how movie and AAA games get things done.

I suppose that GW, giving their attitude and their relationship with the expertise, do not follows this path any more.

Their bad, after all.

P.S: ok, it seems they have at least a concept artist. Good for them.

Zywus
18-12-2015, 17:01
Perhaps concept art/sketches is deemed otiose these days.

Cybtroll
18-12-2015, 17:04
Another options is that he/she/they are fed with precise indications from sales department.
Which will be atrocious, if ever happened. But a good explanation indeed to why art seems so "soulless" recently..

MDSW
18-12-2015, 18:00
I have ceratainly seen a shift over the many years... Frankly, it certainly can go either way depending on where the master art or inspiration will come from. Typically, a concept drawing is made and then a sculptor is hired to create the mini based on the artwork. Not only is it significantly cheaper to do it this way, but modifications can be made to a drawing much easier than a concept sculpt. This has been how it traditionally always HAD BEEN done.

OK, now let's fast forward to today where many sculptors are not really traditional sculptors, but CAD artists working in sculpting software. Now you can basically create the 3-D art and make any mods you want before it goes into production and there is no need for a concept drawing to be done - saves money and time.

Lord Dan
18-12-2015, 18:09
The company Chapterhouse produced (among other things) models indented for unit's that had entries in GW's codexii but that GW did not produce any models for. The prime example is the Tyranid spore pod. GW and Chapterhouse engaged in a legal battle over whether or not Chapterhouse's models infringed GW's copyright and/or design rights.

People theorize that GW since, avoids putting any entry into a codex that they don't produce a model for. This isn't entirely true though. For example the ork codex still contain the option of having a biker Warboss and rules for the looted wagon were published in a WD but i guess those at least are represented by ForgeWorld models.

Avoiding to create any artwork outside of existing or future models would be a very weird (and in my opinion even counterproductive) way of dealing with 3rd party manufacturers but who can know what reasoning goes on withing GW?

I remember hearing from several sources that an entire Bretonnian book and release was postponed indefinitely, and it was widely speculated that this was because they didn't have a model to cover every army book entry.

Darth Alec
18-12-2015, 21:36
This might sound a little biased, but I just took a look through the Archaon book. There is a lot of great art in there. All of it of existing models in the range. Some of it was straight up inspiring.


But it does also suffer from the "no model, no picture, no fluff" attitude of GW. Everything is a combat, or dramatically posing near combat, picture.

I think the hobby suffers overall from the bound-to-models attitude. Maybe GW also has a "everyone needs to look like they're fighting/about to fight" policy as well. Which would be bad. I would have loved some images of the Varanguard, dismounted, acting as judge, jury and executioner. Or of Archaon staring down his hordes, demanding fealty. Or of the mustering chaos army in the allpoints. Lots of stuff that we were told about, but never got to see.

I guess that's a tiny bit off topic. On topic, I don't think the modellers need themselves need the art, as long as whoever controlls the art direction is on point. It may or may not help of course, but I believe in their creativity. On the other hand, it's nice to look at art where everything looks like the tabletop equivilant. We veterans may be a bit jaded, but not looking at art from four different generations is a blessing in its own way. It was frustrating when models looked amazing in pictures, but looked terrible in real life. Greasus Goldtooth had a really nice picture in the Ogre Kingdoms book, but looks like a fat, drunk parody of Croesus when you have the model in hand. A lot of the old art was much better than the models they represented, but now the models have mostly caught up in what they can be.

Smooth Boy
19-12-2015, 02:14
I remember hearing from several sources that an entire Bretonnian book and release was postponed indefinitely, and it was widely speculated that this was because they didn't have a model to cover every army book entry.

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.