Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Original Art - Part 3: Eldar Terrain & Cityscapes by Roberto Cirillo

After the purchase of artwork by Tony Hough and Des Hanley, it's safe to say that I was now in full on collecting mode. By instinct rather than design, I had sought out Eldar pieces, and it now struck me that this would be a nice collection to put together. The parameters were fairly broad - I would just see what pieces of Eldar artwork I could acquire by contacting ex-GW artists. Although the artwork in current publications now appears to be largely digital, even 5 or 6 years ago GW was still producing large quantities of traditional artwork.

My approach to tracking down the artists was simply to scan through GW publications, and try and make contact through any online presence. Through this process I came across Roberto Cirillo; if you're not familiar with Roberto as a GW artist, it's because he worked for GW, primarily as a concept artist for 3 years during the early 2000s. His output included Tau, Tyranid and Imperial Guard concepts, as well as the bulk of the design for the Warhammer 40k Cityfight scenery. You can see some of his excellent concept work at http://rcstudio.co.uk/

Given the nature of Roberto's role at GW, it is no surprise that the bulk of his output was never published (although you can see the outcomes in the models sculpted from his work). Roberto is also a skilled technical draughtsman, and you may recognise his highly detailed cityscapes and battlefield illustrations from the Warhammer 40k 'Cities of Death' (2006) and 'Apocalypse' (2007) supplements.

'Dhneb Capitalis' from Cities of Death (top), 'The Defence of Cyros Prime' from Apocalypse (bottom)
The 2006 Eldar Codex also included one of Roberto's illustrations, 'Ixia Wayport, Biel-Tan Craftworld':
Original compared against the published version
You can see the Roberto's original is meticulously drawn in pencil on an A3 sheet and dates from January 2006.

I find myself blown away by the sheer precision of the pencil work, and the wealth of detail, but I guess that's where Roberto's background as a concept artist comes in; when you're producing concepts for sculptors to work from, you can't have any areas of uncertainty. Let's have a look at some of the details:
In the annotated published image, these spear-wielding chaps were labelled 'Everguard'
Check out all the starships, large and small
One particular Bonesinger has enjoyed himself with some fretwork on those windows!
Alongside the purchase of the published piece, I also bought this preliminary work up of the scene (dated August 2005). The details are a bit looser, and Roberto has shaded it with grey marker pen.

Roberto also very kindly included some earlier sketches from when he was planning the piece:
Exploratory ideas for the look and feel, with different perspectives

Some of these towers and extended platforms/walkways were incorporated into the final piece
The final piece I purchased from Roberto was one of a series of 6 pieces intended to support the studio hobby section in building terrain for use in miniatures photography (you can see some family resemblences to the terrain used in the 2006 Eldar Codex).

Concept work for Eldar terrain
Since leaving GW, Roberto has gone on to undertake freelance concept design services for a wide range of miniatures companies, including Privateer Press, Studio McVey and my very own Beast Face Miniatures.



  1. Beautiful.

    You collection of artwork is really very nice. I have a soft (or possibly hard edged) spot for artwork with a technical bent, like Robertos beautiful work.

    I have a couple of comic book pages that I have picked up over the years (Dredd stuff) and I have always fancied adding more. It hadnt occurred to me until you started blogging this series that old GW stuff might be available.

    Very nice indeed.

    1. Glad you like them!

      I've found in most cases that ex-GW artists have generally never given any thought to selling their stuff, and that no-one previously has approached them. A few of the artists have a wider appeal as more widely recognised artists (Ian Miller, John Blanche), but my advice (if you want to pick up some artwork) is simply to find one you like and get in touch with the artist. I'd guess 75% of the artists I approached replied, had the artwork and were willing to sell it :)

    2. Thats pretty much what I gathered from reading these wonderful posts: getting in touch directly opens all sorts of doors in my experience. With my own budgetary restraints I am afraid to start any artwork hunting process for the time being however: I spend too much on hobby stuff as it is.

      But these posts sure dont make it easy to maintain my resolve :)

  2. Being an eraly eldar fan myself I have to say I'm in awe too. Roberto has really captured Jes Goodwin's vision of the eldar and his neat and precise drawing really bring the best of it.


    1. Interestingly, when I spoke with Jes last year about Eldar design, we said that Roberto was one of the few GW artists who instinctively "got it"!

    2. Great minds think alike B)

      Roberto's work is th eonly one (apart from Jes') depicting a good vision of inside craftworlds. The early eldar fluff was full of it (think about the guy with a rose and a hoover car or the dire avenger guarding a platform) and it really gave a depth to it.