Tuesday 4 February 2014

Original Art - Part 2: Craftworld Eldar by Des Hanley

Last month I showcased my three pieces of original art by Tony Hough. That iconic 'Eldar Broadside' piece was the first piece of GW artwork I bought. Today I'm going to share my second and third pieces, both by Des Hanley.

In 2011, I happened to spy a post on Frothers by Des Hanley. He had, he said, a selection of art from his time with GW, that he was looking to sell. Interested, I asked Des if he had any Eldar pieces. Happily he did:

With budget tight, I had to limit myself to two of the smallest pieces (3 and 4), both from the 1999 Eldar Codex on page 3. Don't believe me? Here's the bottom half of page 3 - a montage of images. My two pieces measure just 4x4.5cm in the printed book:

Eldar in action...as many tiny images as you can squeeze into half a page in a codex!

The original artwork is significantly larger than the shrunk published versions, each measuring approximately 11x13cm. Both pieces were painted using inks and pencils onto photocopier paper, with a masking tape surround.

Howling Banshee
Interestingly the Banshee image has been worked over a photocopy of another sketch (see top left), presumably to provide some background texture. There's a lot of added texture with ink spatters, and the whole feeling is of something fast and dynamic.

The whole A4 sheet of paper, with underlying photocopied sketch showing
Both pieces came with their cover sheets and GW art labels intact. I assume the code (DH181) means this was Des' 181st piece for GW. Hey, I just realised this piece is almost exactly 15 years old according to the date!

Art label with all the key info
Finally, here's the original compared against the published version. I think it's fair to say most of the impact has been lost. In fact, I wonder how many people would actually recognise the image?

So small in the codex, you just flick right over it!

The Guardian follows the same loose, dyanmic style as the Banshee. It's interesting to see the very high contrast between the light and dark areas, and also those lovely effects made from splatting water into the wet ink (having spoken with Des he said that's an effect that's very difficult to recreate digitally; he now produces digital artwork almost exclusively).

Check out the great ink/water effects in the top left corner
As with the Banshee, the cover sheet is still attached. This piece appears to have been done on the same day...or are the dates simply the date both were added to the art archives?
DH182. Done immediately after the Banshee?

 And again, he's the comparison against the published version. Much of the contrast has been lost

Look at all that ink running down the sheet! Des was working hard to get some serious depth to the black I think!

That's all for now. You can check out part 1 (Tony Hough's Spacefleet Eldar) by following the link below. I will aim to bring you another piece of original GW artwork in the next few weeks.

Part 1: Spacefleet Eldar by Tony Hough


  1. God, I think I wouldn't be able to make more than 2 steps in your house without crying...
    Much impressive.

    1. You'd be sadly disappointed - the only visible evidence of any hobby material is a small shelf with about 20 models out on my desk. Everything else is in boxes or stored elsewhere!

      There's plenty of lego and children's finger painting on show though :)

  2. What a wonderful collection! /Hans


  3. I am officially envious of those. Very nice, thanks for sharing them.

  4. Hey again Axiom...

    I don't suppose you'd consider selling any of these pieces would you :D After 4 years you may have become less excited by them ;)

    1. Sorry, they're not currently for sale. You could try contacting Des to see what illustrations he still has.

    2. :D Then sir, you have beautiful artwork with you!!