Evil by Proxy

I have wanted to paint one illustration for a very, very long time.

The first book by Aaron Dembski-Bowden I ever read was “First Heretic”.

It was a gust of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong, I like reading any Black Library books that come out because I love the worlds they describe, both the Fantasy and sci-fi genres. The problem for me has been two things really:

1) No patience. Not from me, but from the writers. They go from beginning, rush over descriptions of characters that usually are pretty shallow or just straight archetypes and then rush head-on to the FIGHTING (dum du duum!).

I understand that these are books based upon a strategic war–game. I understand that the people writing these obviously write with that audience in mind, but I just find it such a big shame that the writing has o be that bad. Especially since ADB, in First Heretic, make the characters come out so well (in comparison) in just one chapter, and then build layers n them the rest of the time.

2) The bombasticness. This is especially true with the books describing the Space Marines.

Again, I understand that the need to show off how fanatical the SM’s are, and how proud, stoic, heroic and just abut every other bombastic adjective you can think of, the Space Marines are. I get that, but you do not need to repeat the “Hail the Primarch” with every other sentence to get this across. Your characters do not need to be carbon copies of one-another and they certainly do not need to have every thought about their Brothers be “He was filled with pride of how they where so fantastic in all ways”.
They are killing-machines, psychologically trained to react in certain ways during battle, that doesn’t mean they like one another at all times.

But that mostly went away with First Heretic.

So I got hooked, I picked up another book written by Aaron Dembski-Bowden.

Soul Hunter

And there my standard got set so much higher then before.

After reading Soul Hunter, I wanted to paint the members of First Claw. The characters where very vivid and evolved throughout the book.
But I didn’t feel I could do them justice at the time.
So after that, I rushed to a friends who had the second book in the series, Blood Reaver.
I read it from cover to cover and decided to buy them all three in ebook-form, once the last book was out.

So just after I got the third and last book in the series, Void Stalker, I got contacted by a guy who has commissioned me work in the past. A really nice guy, who asked me to paint Talos.


I had a couple of other projects at the same time and so I asked if deadline was important, which he graciously said it was important that I had fun painting it. Because of this, I did the sketch for it, we agreed on it and some extra ideas, and then I put it aside to work on the other jobs I had at the time.

I did this for two reasons- it would have been fantastic to paint it right away, but all the other jobs would have felt a little less after it. And secondly, I wanted to evolve a little. I have had a burst of evolution in my skills lately, something I was aware of happening just around the time when I got the commission and I just new that every illustration I made this summer would be better then the previous. I put in every effort into every piece of illustration I do, I don’t do half-measures. It is bad towards the client, it makes me feel bad and just doesn’t go well. But this summer I knew that the image I needed to be the best at to make it come out as I wanted it was this image.

So here I give you-

Talos, on the bridge of the Echo of Damnation, chained to the commandseat and speaking to the ghost/ephemera of Ruven.
Some things aren’t exactly as in the book (the weaponry where in his quarters when this happened, and he was walking in a dreamlandscape of the bridge, speaking to th corpse rather then the ghost) but it is how me and the commissioner agreed on it.

Here is a close-up of Talos

And here is a filmic-format version

I hope you enjoy!



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4 responses to “Evil by Proxy”

  1. Ash Timms says :

    Simply amazing! Talos is easily one of the best 40k characters out, he is more of a three dimensional character than most and quite tragic really. This piece just oozes atmosphere and captures the scene from the book perfectly (With a few agreed on artistic licences) you have done both the character and yourself proud on this one David.

    “Ave Dominus Nox”

  2. James Horne says :

    That is extremely impressive *sets to wallpaper* (including your copyright of course) Just finished Void Stalker – of my 70+ BL books and easily one of the best.

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