After taking first place in an (admittedly somewhat niche) art competition on the Oldhammer Forum with my entry “Characters of Chaos“, the sculptor Sjoerd Trouwee contacted me to commission a drawing for his project ‘Nominus Malus’. Sjoerd has sculpted a series of eight miniatures, inspired by Marauder Miniatures’ MM90 Chaos Dwarf range. They’re available to buy online on Sjoerd’s dedicated Evil Little Buggers website and you can read more about the project on his blog.
As Sjoerd would learn, I draw quite slowly.
Here’s the finished drawing, rather heavily inspired by John Blanche’s iconic Chaos Dwarf Renegades, which was used for the cover of Citadel Miniatures own boxed set of eight chaos dwarfs back in 1986. I sketched up a layout of the characters (see below), then as I usually do, I added the textures and details as I went along. There’s some imagery from ’90s Games Workshop: the checkerboard patters, moons, and the winged bull, and the imps are loosely based on the golden demon that once graced the box of Citadel’s paint sets. The axe-wielding dwarf at the back’s helmet markings were inspired by Tony Ackland’s drawing of a demon of Malice. There’s also some Northumbrian runes spelling “ELB” – i.e. Evil Little Buggers, and the design on the hammer head is “Bamburgh Beast” – also Northumbrian, and my namesake.
Here’s a snapshot of my creative process: a pencil sketch on A4 printer paper laying out the main characters and very loosely sketching in some of the foreground and background elements, and a work-in-progress of the ink version. There was some movement of dwarfs in the second row (the unicorn-horned fellow changed sides), but the basic layout and focus on “The Reaper” at the front and “Slambo” at the back remained constant. I almost never plan out all the details of a drawing anymore; instead I’ll draw a small section, pencil in some of the areas around it, fill them up, and repeat. That’s quite a change of process compared to the final year of my degree, where I’d usually draw all the details in 4H pencil first, transfer that onto good quality paper (I usually use Saunders Waterford 300gm2 hot-press rag paper or Pink Pig’s Ameleie paper) then ink over them. I’m not sure if this is because I’ve grown more confident, or just a time-saving exercise.
Lastly, here’s a work in progress shot of one of the miniatures, painted by me (and not particularly following the drawing, although I suppose in both cases there’s an eye on the scythe-head). I chose a half-black, half-white colour scheme, alternating the colours on his scale-mail skirt. To add some colour I painted the scythe red, loosely inspired by an old Warhammer character’s pterodactyl-headed axe, and (slightly more subtly) gave him mismatched leather boots. It’s a super fun miniature to paint, so head on over to Sjoerd’s Evil Little Buggers website and you can pick your own up!