Television is rather a frightening business. But I get all the relaxation I want from my collection of model soldiers.
Peter Cushing

Sunday, 9 April 2017

I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,

Night and morning with my tears...

William Blake

He approached the shuddering figure, curled up on the ground. Powerful spasms wracked the once strong form of the witch hunter. Gregor drew back slightly as he saw the curled back heave and distend as though something beneath were striving to be born.

"Oh, Anton, my friend... What have you done?"

The curled figure painfully dragged his head upright, revealing a ruin of a face. His eyeless sockets - still bearing the marks of his fingernails - looked up at the old man.
"What... had... to... be... done..."

He snarled in agony and slammed his head back down.
Gregor looked around and saw the rest of the room for the same time. The books. The scrolls. The chalked markings on the floor. "Oh by the gods..."

The figure on the floor laughed hollowly, the laugh becoming a racking cough. There was a wet tearing noise as something shiny and insectile erupted from his back. Cracking and slithering they extended and then unfurled into vast red wings, shaking the gore off them, splattering Gregor's face with blood.
The man that had once been Anton Garnier, scourge of the witches of Cinderfell, slowly rose into the air. Blood dripped from his face and wings.

"The Gods have forsaken us, old friend. The darkness surrounds us and devours us and our weapons are useless. So I shall use the Enemy's strength against them.
"After all," he said, his ruined face twisted into a smile as powerful beats of his wings lifted him to the window, "What does it matter?"

"A soul is a small price to pay for victory against the darkness."

********                  *********

This is my entry in The Eclipse, a competition being run through the marvellous Ex Profundis website and AoS28 community. The brief was very simple - build a Witch Hunter. So i started pootling about with the idea of a Radical Inquisitor from 40K - that is, an Inquisitor who dabbles with the power of chaos in order to fight it: how would this translate into fantasy terms?

The basic idea was wings... a man who sold his soul would have demonic looking wings. 

The rest came pretty easily; a head from the Flagellant's box gave me an eyeless face and suggested the price he'd paid. I toyed with the idea of patterning him after Odin, who famously gave his eyes for wisdom* but the wings kept haunting me... so I turned to Blake and his painting of the Great Red Dragon. 

The key thing here was the very painterly strokes down the wings. The colour tone I shamelessly stole from Hannibal (one of the most beautiful television programs ever made, one with a real sense of artistic sensibility) :

So the painting process became relatively simple; multiple glazes of green ochre and dark flesh with chestnut ink for veins. The rest of the figure was painted with a earth toned palette to allow the face to jump out. 

I intended to do some OSL lighting with a flaming torch but decided against it; I liked the wings much that hitting them with an airbrush to create ruddy light seemed a shame.

So there he is: Anton Garnier, the Fallen Witch Hunter.

As it happens, he turned out to be one of a matched pair: at the same time as I did this, I also created a Puritan Inquisitor in the same pose, armed in a similar fashion and with a similar look. The idea of creating the same character in two different genre really appealed. More on him in the next post. 

*I liked this idea so much that the only self portrait I've ever done is of myself as Mr Wednesday, Odin from Gaiman's American Gods. 
40 Mister Wednesday