[EDIT] The scythe was bothering me, really, so I went and changed it! Now it looks much better I think and I'll explain why:
I meant for it to be a power-weapon, built up of energy entirely, so that's why I left it so clean and luminous. But, having ommitted the energy cracks usually associated with these type of weaponry, I can see how it became a bit confusing. Thus, I've edited the image, adding the crackling bolts which I think make everything look better and much more menacing too (if that is possible!).
This fellow certainly took longer than I expected.
As I told my client, Mortarion was always a bit troublesome for me. For reasons I've yet to discover, the brave leader of the Death Guard Legion seemed to be as ominous as his whole background and the passion the fans always had for him, making him as daunting as Russ, or The Emperor.
Perhaps it was combining both the decadence and rust of his armour as well as the nobility and stature he had during the Great Crusade times, or making his deathly, ghastly looks honourable still so that you'd be both afraid and awestruck; but, whatever it was, it paralised my pencil more than enough times...
And then there was the fact that Adrian Smith (one of my faourite Dark Millenium illustrators) had done such a good job of rendering Mortarion that I felt compelled to copy his design, but felt I was cheating if I did.
After all of the above fears were overcome, I came to this illustration you see here which has satisfied me greatly.
I think there are more original elements here to call this my own as with all of my other Primarchs, but I still kept some of the established looks for him so that he was recognisable as a character.
The overall composition I think has a lot of strength and oozes a dark, brooding mood, which I think fits the Death Guard perfectly. The detail of the sunken eyes and the masked visage of Mortarion also make for a very mysterious atmosphere, coupled with my trying to keep the armour as ghastly as I could. You will notice I've left most of the top part of it in the traditional white colours of the Legion, whilst keeping mostly dark tones in the lower torso, thus enhancing the Death aspect and skeletal reminiscence of the figure (also enhanced by the power cables acting as a ribcage).
The scythe is another detail I'm quite proud of, as it came out looking both dangerous and noble and you'll notice it's the only bit that has no rust in it, as if the Primarch took care of its cleansing each time he carried it into battle.
Finally, the look of Barbarus is also something I relished in very much. I did a lot of designs of Mortarion's homeworld as well as its inhabitants (both human and local) way back when and was happy to put them to use here.
I hope all of you Death Guard fans like this rendition of your beloved Primarch and let me know what you think, as usual!
© Games Workshop Ltd. 2009