Having just left her role as a painting presenter at Warhammer TV, Louise Sugden spoke to Wargamer about her experiences working for Games Workshop, and why she’s striking out with her own Patreon funded YouTube Channel ‘Rogue Hobbies’. Taking the leap required a huge change of attitude, Sugden says: “My plan was to stay forever and be in the room where it happened”.
Sugden is extremely positive about her experiences working in Games Workshop: “I loved working for Games Workshop. Holy shit… I was terrified to start working at Games Workshop and they were all lovely. I made some of the best friends I’ll ever make in my life working there”. She adds: “They took a real chance on me, because I’m not very professional. I’m not super polished. I was right out of uni. I was really young when I started”.
Not long after joining the Specialist Design Studio – then called and still generally known as Forge World – studio manager Tony Cottrell tasked her with producing the massive new map of Warhammer: The Old World: “there were so many more people that could have done it and who could have done it better, but he’s like: No we’re, gonna take a chance on you, and I am so grateful for that”.
Her time at SDS saw her make maps and illustrations for many of GW’s specialist games: “I’ve done loads of planets, I’ve done goblins for Blood Bowl… I did the planet Caliban [the lost home world of the Dark Angels], that was a pretty prestigious project”.
Sugden worked at Games Workshop for seven years, with roles that included “book layout, photography, miniature painter, photographer, packaging designer, illustrator, then presenter”. This last role, as a Warhammer TV presenter making video tutorials on painting miniatures, took her out of Forge World and into the marketing department.
She recalls her thoughts before taking the job: “This is it. This is the dream job. I’ll get to talk to people about Warhammer. I’ll get to talk to people about painting, I’ll get to interact with the community that I love. I’ll get to go to open days.” The reality wasn’t what she’d hoped for. “It was just quite limited… I wanted to do more, I just wanted to do way more than my job dictated”.
She made great friends on the Warhammer TV team with co-host Chris ‘Peachy’ Peach and her videographer Hatty. Sugden says that when Hatty left to become video editor for the Midwinter Minis YouTube channel in May 2022, “me and Peachy were heartbroken”. Peachy left in September 2022 to join The Painting Phase YouTube channel.
Despite being stuck in a job that didn’t fit right and with her friends leaving, Sugden says: “I stayed and I stayed and I stayed because it should have been the place, right… I stayed at Games workshop because I was desperately passionate about working for Games Workshop”.
“What was hard for me was realizing that… I could still love the IP, I could still promote the community, I could paint my miniatures, love the goblins and do all of those things, but I could do it in a way which honours myself a bit more. And in a way, honours what I love most about Games Workshop and its IP.”
It was only by reflecting on her friends’ journey that she came to the realisation she was ready to leave. “So Peachy is the best Games Workshop employee that ever has been. He’s worked for the company for 20 years, is an incredible painter, was a manager… There is no reason that Peachy would be doing anything outside of Games Workshop – but there he is absolutely smashing it outside of Games Workshop. It was inspirational to me, seeing my friends go out on the road and absolutely smash it while still loving the thing that they loved on the inside… They were happy, and they were talking to people, and they were going to events, and I was like: I want to do that!”
When she decided to make the leap to become an independent creator, those same friends – and the wider community of Warhammer content creators – were incredibly helpful. “They were all like: Okay, we’ll collab on this day. We’ll do this… they’ve been great. I couldn’t ask for a better group of peers and now friends… it’s been absolutely incredible.”
Sugden launched Rogue Hobbies on April 7 2023. She’ll be continuing her role as a painting presenter on the Rogue Hobbies YouTube channel, and offering extra content to her Patreon backers. That’s not just limited to additional painting videos: Sugden is producing music and even creating STL files of goblin minis that supporters can download and print. “I just need to get my own paints now and do the proverbial ‘Duncan’”.
She’s excited about her new creative freedom: “I’ve been starved for collaboration”, she says. She’s already made one collaboration video with her old videographer Hatty on the MidWinter Minis YouTube channel, and says “me and Peachy are just excited to start streaming together because we work phenomenally well with each other”.
Her enthusiasm for Warhammer and the community she’s found herself in is clear: “I’m so excited, I miss my friends, but now I can buddy up with them again and I’m so happy”.
This is the second part of our interview with Louise Sugden. Make sure to check out the first part if you want to learn about how and why she’s been designing goblin minis with the butt of John Lennon (yes really). If you’re inspired by her infectious love of the hobby, check out Wargamer’s guides to Warhammer 40k factions and Age of Sigmar armies to pick out your next hobby project.