January Artwork Roundup

January was another great month for Black Library’s Art department. Given that it was also the first month of the year, that can only be a good thing right? I certainly think so. As I have mentioned previously, Black Library hires some excellent freelancers and the covers that these artists turn out are almost always of the highest quality. This is especially, especially true for February, but that roundup is still a couple weeks away at the least.

Let’s see what we got from the silver towers in Nottingham for January.

First up, is the covert art for William King’s first novel after a long absence, Blood of Aenarion. This novel is the first in a brand-new hardcover series for Warhammer Fantasy and it charts the life of two of the greatest High Elf characters to have ever lived: the twins Tyrion and Teclis. Now, this artwork is not new so what merits its inclusion in this roundup is that it was nominated for the David Gemmell Legend Award, which is awarded to authors and which in this case means that William was up to potentially win. Also, Blood of Aenarion got a second nomination for the Ravenheart category of awards which are awarded to artists and which consequently means that Raymond Swanland is up to potentially win.

Personally, I think the left side of the artwork is too empty, for obvious reasons. There could definitely have been more focus on Tyrion here, perhaps even depicting some sort of an army in the background or maybe him fighting against an indistinct opponent or something to that effect. That said, I do quite like this artwork. It has a very strong martial feel to it and the colour palettes are quite smooth in transitions and it is not a cluttered piece. So big cheers to both William and Raymond for this one.

You can vote for the artwork and for the novel here and here respectively and access the artwork in full here. The paperback version of the novel will be available this year in December.

Next up we have a blast from the future and a triple offering no less! Be prepared to be amazed for these are pretty spectacular artwork pieces, especially the second one, featuring as it does one of my favourite characters in the entirety of Warhammer 40,000 fiction.

The first one here is for Nick Kyme’s audio drama Perfection, coming out later this year. It is a tale of the Emperor’s Children and it promises to be a cracker. I quite enjoy Nick’s work and Perfection is definitely one of the most anticipated titles coming out from Black Library this year in October. Then again, pretty much the entire 2012 catalog is on my most anticipated list.

This second one here is the teaser for another Nick Kyme offering, the Tome of Fire. This will be an omnibus collecting all the Salamander short stories and the print version of his audio drama Fireborn, which all tie into his Salamander novels. There will also be an exclusive novella as part of this omnibus. This particular fellow is none other than Vulkan He’stan, Forgefather and former Captain of the 4th, tasked with the recovery of the lost artefacts and relics of the Primarch Vulkan. Pretty awesome cover. The omnibus will be another December offering.

This final teaser is the artwork for Mike Lee’s Rise of Nagash omnibus, which collects all three novels that Mike has written for the Time of Legends series and is a Warhammer Fantasy offering. Just as with Stef Kopinski’s artwork for Graham’s Legend of Sigmar omnibus, this artwork is also a very different take on Nagash than is seen on the covers of the individual novels, especially in its style. Stef seems to have captured the ethereal feel of this master necromancer quite well I think and that heavy green palette just adds to it. The omnibus will be available in January of next year.

Moving back to William King, we have the artwork for the second novel of the Tyrion & Teclis series, Sword of Caledor. This one features the archmage Teclis himself and is similar in tone and style to Raymond’s cover for Blood of Aenarion.

The attention to detail in this artwork is very good as you can see with the next set of pictures. However, I do have to say that my criticism of the Blood of Aenarion cover still stands where this one is concerned. One half of the entire artwork is just empty. That would be one of the reasons why I don’t like this artwork, the other being that I just don’t like it. Unlike the one for Blood of Aenarion, it really does nothing for me on the excitement-o-meter. Regrettably. The hardcover version of the novel will be coming out in December this year and the paperback presumably in December of next year.

You can find the full artwork here.

2012 happens to mark the 25th year for Warhammer 40,000 and as a commemoration, Black Library released the following artwork to celebrate the occasion. At the time, it was all a big mystery what this artwork was for, but we know with a great amount of hindsight that this is for a special eBook that is to be released today. More details on the Black Library blog itself.

Warhammer 40,000 fans, especially tabletop players, will recognise that this teaser is for an Emperor’s Champion, a battle-brother of the Black Templars chapter who is chosen on the eve of battle to go up against all enemy champions and engage them in single combat. Quite a drooling piece of artwork if I do say so myself. The link to the e-Book is here.

Now we move back to the Horus Heresy with the artwork for Dan Abnett’s latest, Know No Fear. This is another re-posted artwork from the previous year, keep in mind. Know No Fear is an excellent novel as it turns out and the artwork is just as amazing. This is one of Neil Roberts’s compositions and to be honest, he is really excelling himself with each new piece of art that he’s doing for the Horus Heresy series.

I mean just look at it! This is one of the few Horus Heresy novel artworks that has a Primarch as the focus. And looking at it, Roboute Guilliman is definitely not in a good mood. Not at all. My heart bleeds for that Word Bearer who just got chopped up.

You can find the artwork here. Know No Fear is currently available as an e-Book and audiobook alike and pre-orders for the print version have already shipped. It is generally available in less than five days.

Then we have a quartet of old artwork, relatively speaking, that was reposted as part of a series of posts about Know No Fear. You can find the post, Who is the Ultramarine, here. The next four pieces all feature Ultramarines, who are coincidentally some of the most famous of all the Ultramarines during the Time of Ending.

Gorgeous isn’t it? This would be Scout-Sergeant Torias Telion, an old veteran of the chapter and one of its most decorated battle-brothers. You can usually find him sniping enemies with his awesome stalker-bolter. Pretty cool. Hardy Fowler has captured Telion’s hardcore look very nicely and the armour lines are quite clean too. But I suppose that is to be expected for the senior Sergeant of the Scout Company. One of the best Ultramarine covers ever.

You can find the original blogpost here. Eye of Vengeance will be available in May this year and if you are coming to Black Library Live in less than a week, then you can pick up a copy there!

Jon Sullivan always does amazing artwork, and his work for the Space Marine Battles range is really exceptional all told. Just look at that artwork for Nick Kyme’s Fall of Damnos. Heroism and badassery in equal measure there. As is usual for Jon, the characters have an amazing amount of detail on them.

All those honour trappings, marks of valour, purity seals, etc combine to really convey that Captain Sicarius is one of the best of the chapter, no two ways about it. Too bad he is wearing his helmet because seeing Sicarus’s face would have really made it a truly exceptional piece.

Even the Necrons get a fair amount of detail and that bright, glowing green lighting really makes them quite ethereal. It goes without saying that Jon should definitely do more Necrons, perhaps a full-blown Necron Lord!

Unfortunately I cannot provide a link to these images from the Black Library blog since I got these nearly a year and half ago.

The difference between Uriel here and Sicarius up above is quite stark. Uriel doesn’t have quite the same amount of decorations on his armour, although that is a simplicity that suits him since he is not as vain as his senior. I do have a gripe about this artwork for the second Ultramarines omnibus though: Uriel looks has too much of the wild-eyed look in my opinion, and an almost manic expression. Not sure if that suits him really. However, it is still a decent composition. The omnibus will be available in June this year and is on my to-read list for sure.

Finally, we have the fourth piece of the quartet and this one is of course for Gav Thorpe’s Catechism of Fate, the first limited edition Space Marine Battles novella. Quite a mouthful I know! You can find my thoughts on this artwork in the December Artwork Roundup post here. You can also find a review of the novella here, courtesy of forumite MalkyDel. Once again I’ll point out that the Bolthole blog hosted the first ever review of the novella, and was the first such attempt by Malky.

The last of the January artworks is this gem for Anthony Reynolds’s next offering, Chosen of Khorne, an audio drama about Kharn the Betrayer. How awesome is that, just in the name and subject matter?

This is another Hardy Fowler offering and by now, we can all agree that his approach to Space Marine armour is very simplistic, especially when compared to Jon who always goes to town with his own characters. At a first glance, this is quite an impressive piece of art, especially since it incorporates that infamous helmet that is common to the World Eaters in general and Kharn in particular.

A very bloody piece too, comparatively. Just look at all those drops of blood falling from his chain-axe! I guess somebody just got served? Of course, Kharn is best at that sort of thing and his title Betrayer has been given to him for a reason. All very appropriate and all for one of Khorne’s chosen servants. My only real gripe about this artwork is that Kharn’s armour is too simple. There really should be more skulls and chains and stuff on it. He is Kharn after all! Not to mention that that chain-axe doesn’t look all that impressive here and that is supposed to be the infamous Gorechild.

You can find the blogpost here. The audio drama will be available in October later this year.

Unfortunately I don’t have actual cover art for novels from January since this post is so late, and for that I apologize. Unfortunately, the Roundup for February will be a little late as well since I will be at Black Library Live in the first week of March and am then travelling elsewhere for a few days. Have fun however! February has been a truly spectacular month for new artwork.

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