Thursday 1 June 2023

John Blanche Retired from Games Workshop

I found out today that that the Master of the Grimdark Vision of 40k Retired today/ yesterday. I wanted to pay tribute to a legend and who has inspired so many including myself and who arguably paved the way for the huge success GW has had over the years.
Gothic punk , a collection of his artworks John's art has been a huge influence on me, Back in the early 80s when i was living on a council estate in leeds, my brother baught one of teh sorcery series books, i had been reading loads of enid blyton and had tangenitally heard of the sword and sorcey boon but not yet engaged. We combined our pocket monies or arther he convinced me to pick up the first book the shamuntanti hills by stave jackson, and i never looked back.
his lighthearted anti establishment art ethos combined with odly humorous and bizzare forms made it entirely captivating to my young mind and i eargerly poured over all the books and then baught more including the clash of the princes . another Fighting fantasy book filled to brim of his proto warhammer old world art. In those time i was not yet fully versed on his style and would often confuse the also brilliant but sadly recently passed Russ Nicholsons work with his , some similar styles and the black and white printed art of those early Fighting fantasy books made it a difficult distiction to my eye. Much later in the late 80's 1987 i think i found his work again via a copy of ratspike from the hull games workshop , i hadnt relaised that the fighting fanatsy books and games workshop were so entwined .
Ratspike became a bible for fantasy art for me , no longer did i confuse his art with other contemporary artsist, i could see so many other layers to it the bold colour work and vast scale and immagination. I read and reread that book for next 5 years constantly. White dwarfe then opened my eyes to many other british fanatsy artists many of whome started out under his guidance as head of the art department many more chosen by him to form a style of art that would become synonoimous with GW over the next few decades. It cemented within me a desire to be an artist myself , one i pursued through college and univeristy. Graphic design was my choice of tool and in no way was it obviosu that any work i did could be traced back to those inspiring years but it did and it was. just indirectly . many years later i jumped back into nthe hobby via dakka dakka , this blog is a time capsule of those years , and through blogging John Giscovered my wrk and invited me to meet him , literally not only my art idol but a kind of surroagate father that i had never met . It was entirey daunting to meet him and yet he prooved a quite humble man , quite diffrent form what i epxected from the photos from the scary WD leather jacketed Motorcylce dude .:D I consider John one of close friends these days and ia m not gonna lie sometimes feels weird to hang out with someone you conisder your idol. Games Workshop has had so many talented Artists Writers and designers over the years its hard maybe not wise to try and choose one single person who has helped define it the most, but honestly i would consider John that guy, not only through his own Art infusing GW in its DNA but through his succcint art direction.
John is Legendary miniature painter and convertor who has straddled the hobby genre and fantasy sci fi concept art genre as a titan. Not only pushing the development of both but really helping esatblish code for what it is and why it looks good, his many Blanchitsu Articles in WD have established a theme that alongside eavy metal has braught the world into his hobby. Famously fond of converting miniatures and reconverting his own models thousands of beautifully crafted figs have flowed through his hands and are all out there somewhere sitting of collectors shelfs and still inspiring. I recall noticing fine lines on an inquistorial agent and he told me it was just pencil, recently he told me he has used watercolours on his last models, always daring and inventive and curious he is the best of the hobby, and will be a sad loss for GW, but his huge catalouge of works and works not yet seen (his ongoing collaberation with Hollow press is a boon) will continue to inspire for many more generations to come.
Enjoy your retirement John you have certainly earned it!
Ars Longa Vita Brevis


  1. John is amazing! Thanks for writing this nice tribute to him. I hope he enjoys retirement and is able to focus on personal projects.