Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The art of 40k - Gary Harrod

As a child obsessed with Games Workshop there was certainly one aspect that fired the imagination above others and that was the imagery. I'm a visual person, I'm reasonably adept when it comes to all those things 'arty'. I was one of those kids at school who 'can draw' and have since gone on to be creative in my working life, or would do if the Powers That Be would let me, but that's verging on politics.

I have a very strong sense of aesthetic and certain artists in the GW fold became my Favourites. I wasn't a big fan of comics at the time because the cheap colour half-tone patterns of that age never appealed to me and I never really got into 2000AD. However, the imagery in White Dwarf and the Rulebooks was more than enough to sate my visual augmetics. In particular Adeptus Titanicus conjured up images of a scale I don't think have been witnessed since. It managed to capture all the gritty weirdness that John Blanche could throw at the 40k-verse but also the smooth detail of Kevin Walker all ticked off by Aly Morrison's tiny little battelscapes that had so much detail - from the smallest Guardsman to the tallest titan, awesome.

So I'm going to share some of my favourite artists and some of my favourite images along the way, I hope you don't mind, it's all grist for the mill and inspirational too. First up, my all time favourite, Gary Harrod. Trying to find any more than the two images present is nigh on impossible. I'm pretty sure I have an image somewhere of Horus/another Chaos Marine/maybe even some marine from the Blood Angels/Drinkers chapter raising a chalice from a font made of skulls that may have been his work but these two will have to suffice. How I grew to love this guys work above all others based on so little printed output is beyond me but his name was always on the tip of my tongue if someone would have asked me who my number one was [nobody did].

I always envisaged this picture as Horus himself, well it was on the AT page titled Horus Heresy so it had to be, right? Anyway I don't need anymore evidence of the fact than that his eyes are glowing so he's definitely a bad'un. I love the levels of contrast, the stark highlights versus the deepest shadows, awesome.


One of the really cool things about Adeptus Titanics was that the original prototype models for the Warlord Titans were used both in the phtographs and the artwork. there was something really cool about the chunkiness of the amour, weapons and heads. Something the plastic end-result never quite captured. I still prefer them to the new 'boxy' style of Warlord Titan but it was those original ones that fired the imagination. A few years ago I came across a website where the owner had a number of these beasts but I can't find the link so they got out into the wild.

The picture itself does very little and yet so much. I can't quite explain why I like it above all else, the style of the head the overabundance of missile firepower, it just speaks to me on a primal level.


Meanwhile, from my googling it turns out Mr Harrod went on to work for a number of computer games magazines and companies and now runs an independent design studio for print and digital media. So if he needs an occassional long-distance weekend freelance designer, I have capacity ;) Check out his website though.

Anyway I'll have a look for some of my other favourites and once they're wound up maybe look at some of my bestest pictures too, thanks for the indulgence.