|Proof that if GW wants evocative artwork, they can find artists to create it.|
As a long time Deathwing player, I was extremely excited to see a new Dark Angels codex release, and purchased the digital version immediately. Although I was excited to see the new rules, what I was most looking forward to was seeing the new artwork. Codex releases have always been one of my favorite aspects of the hobby because they are the primary means that Games Workshop release new artwork to further the grim imagery the whole universe is founded upon. Unfortunately, in recent years, the artwork has taken somewhat of a back seat. Games Workshop no longer credits the artists, and they often resort to coloring older artwork (often times rather poorly) rather than commissioning new material. Despite this, I was still excited to see what new art would be in the new Dark Angels codex. All of my hopes were shattered upon looking at the new book. I dare say the book may contain some of the worst pieces of artwork that Games Workshop has ever released. Instead of writing too much about how the art has changed, I decided to show a few images comparing some of the old and new artwork. After all, a picture is worth a thousands words, right?
|A battle scene created for the last codex (2013) and one for the new book (2015). I do not think there is really any question about which is more dynamic and exciting.|
|First we see a fantastic piece of Dainton art, reminding me why I love Space Marines, then we see some new artwork (2015) and I question my lifetime love.|
|The amount of care and imagination that went into the Chapter Master on the left (recolored version of 2006 art) is far superior to the Deathwing Knight from the new book (2015).|
|A progression over the years, starting with an excellent Paul Dainton piece (2006), moving to a needless and sloppy photoshop edit of the first (2013), to a current Ravenwing piece which is very one-dimensional and ill proportioned (2015).|
I think the images above illustrate the general decline in quality in the artwork that populates Games Workshop’s newer books. And while not all of the new pieces are terrible, they tend to be ill-proportioned, flat, and generally lifeless. I suspect the rapid book release schedule in the last year has had a lot to do with the decrease in artwork quality. With a new book being released every month (sometimes two), there cannot be much time to commission new material, something which is certain to put further stress on the artists that they do employ. It wasn’t my goal to be overly negative with this post, but I realize that is basically what happened. I suppose it is just the crushing realization of how much less Games Workshop values the art inside of their books. The artwork had been one of my favorite aspects of the hobby, and now the best one can hope for is that older pieces are used instead of getting new material created. Oh how things have changed…