Wombat Wargames will release Blanche: The Rise of Grimdark, the first official and authorised biography of renowned Warhammer artist John Blanche, on December 1. The book documents his life and fifty year career, including his “unprecedented forty-year collaboration with Games Workshop”.
John Blanche worked on many prominent projects for Games Workshop, including the first editions of Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000. Much of his artwork is still regularly reprinted, particularly his illustrations of the Emperor of Mankind and Golden Throne. Blanche retired from Games Workshop on May 31 this year, having worked as an illustrator, miniature concept artist, and even the head of the design studio at Games Workshop.
The biography is a full color, 218 page publication. It includes reproductions of Blanche’s illustrations, “some previously unpublished”, pictures of his models, and “an extensive selection of John’s personal photographs, which document both John and his family”.
The book is currently available to pre-order from Ral Partha Europe, and costs $50 / £39.99. An initial limited edition sold out “within hours”. The pre-order page notes “this is a very busy time for us and this book is proving very popular”, so while shipping will start after the launch date of December 1, the firm cannot guarantee delivery in time for Christmas.
Many of John’s friends, family, and colleagues have contributed to the book. These include fellow artists, such as Paul Bonner and Ian Miller, sculptors like Jes Goodwin and Trish Carden, game designers like Tuomas Pirinen and Rick Priestley, and professionals with deep histories in Games Workshop, such as former head of intellectual property Alan Merrett and current IP archivist Tim Molloy.
Blanche’s aesthetics, often called “Blanchitsu”, not only informed Warhammer and Warhammer 40k but inspired a whole field of indie wargames, particularly the Inq28 scene. If ‘The Rise of Grimdark’ inspires you to create some gnarly Blanchitsu conversions, check out our guide to the best horror wargames, where you’ll find several games that will suit them down to a tee.