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Influences: John Blanche

October 6, 2006

Yeah I was a Games Workshop geek as a teen, I only got over the shame of the whole thing a few years ago, and now I’ve embraced my misanthropic youthful past in a way that’s probably slightly unhealthy (I’ll come back to this at a later date).

John Blanche was so my favourite artist of the lot of them. His stuff was just so twisted and weird. It wasn’t striving for the ultra-photorealistic look of Boris Vallejo or the cheapo stuff you found in AD&D Monster Manuals, but some dream-like point between the two, highly stylised but with depth and detail that made it feel eerily real.

As with all artists, John’s style has developed over the course of his career, but when I encountered his work in the mid to late 80s it was going through a bit of a punk inspired phase. As he puts it in Ratspike (currently OOP, try Ebay):

“The first images of primal man would concern themselves with hunting scenes, heroic action, mighty beasts, death masks, war paint, fetishes and trophies. Today we see the same sorts of themes represented in punk haircuts, studded leather and even the imagery employed in films like Bladerunner and Aliens. This is the heritage of Western culture, and that is what I’m trying to tap when I paint”

I’d never seen fantasy art like it, it was by its nature cheesey but it seemed way less innocent than the Vallejos, Frazettas, Achilleos and all the TSR artists, it looked dangerous and therefore more exciting.

As I understand it John is still at Games Workshop as Art Director and is still painting, check out his website.

Below is what I believe is John’s defining piece, Amazonia Gothique. Okay, she’s still wearing clothing entirely impractical for battle in the traditional fantasy female style (check out the stilettoes) but at least she’s not some vacuous blond bimbo in a chainmail bikini.

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19 comments

  1. Still very prickly!
    Could be proposed to Heavy Metal Magazine!
    Cheers,
    Robert-Gilles


  2. Ive got two of John blanche’s artwork one from 1971 and the other is 1978 got any idea how much they are worth and where to sell them, these are not prints both are original.


  3. Wow, I have to admit I’m interested in seeing them myself! Do you have photos of them. I’m afraid I honestly haven’t got a clur how much they’re worth, outside of Games Workshop circles he’s still a relatively unknown artist which is a shame as his style is so unique. I know he had an exhibition recently (http://warhammerworld.typepad.com/photos/john_blanche_exhibition/dsc03391.html) , it may be worth getting in touch with the gallery.


  4. Wow! I thought I was the one person with originals apart from John himself. My mum was married to John before she met my Dad and was the subject for many of his really early pieces. Between myself and my mum we have a fair few pieces of original artwork.


    • Hello Tom. As you can see from the entries here, you are not the only one with some of John’s art, and I have two of his paintings myself! If you are who I think you are, you were a little bundle weighing in at about ten pounds the last time I saw you. As this is a public place I won’t disclose much here, except to offer this: Your mum is M. Your dad is A., surname B. Dad is/was a director of NFF near the ice stadium, and once drove a Chevvy Blazer (before you came along). That you? Please contact me I live in Vancouver canada. nucksducks@gmail.com


  5. I was first given a painting by Nigel Dawson who knew John Blanche back in the eighties and i was luckey enough to find 2 earlier pieces in a second hand market,I could not believe my luck when i came accross them. Did your mum have red hair by any chance, as i have got an amazing 2D painting of a warrior with red serpents replacing her hair like Madusa.


  6. i have 2 John blanche originals from around 1970.


  7. I have a few pieces of pen and ink illustrations from the Sorcery! series, bought when I was about 14/15 (now 39 🙂 on a visit to a Citadel Miniatures open day in Nottingham. Would love to own a painting though.


  8. Hi guys! I’ve got a load of John’s original artwork, he used to be my lodger (along with other GW artist wayne England) whilst I worked as his Art Editor at the GW studio in the late 80s/early 90. He used to pay me in paintings rather than money – he thought that was really bohemian and we both thought it was fun. I’ve got a fair few pieces from other GW artists too but John’s are my favourites!


  9. Wow, it would be great to see some of John’s old artwork, do you have any scans/photos to share?


  10. i will take photos of said paintings and post hear but will have to take a couple of days


  11. I have an original piece by John that I’ve been trying to identify for quite some time. Does anyone know how to contact John? I would appreciate any help I can get. Also, I would love to see any art that you might have. Thanks.


  12. It’s great to see so many people with old JB originals, I doubt much of this work has seen th light of day, so it would be great to see some of it.

    To be honest, I don’t know of a direct way to contact John, there doesn’t appear to be any contact details on his website. The only possibility I can think of is to go via Games Workshop itself.


  13. I cant post a picture on this site if you are interested in looking at John Blanche paintings email me at liddy1@gmail.com and i will attach a picture of the paintings. Thanks Liddy


  14. Folks,

    Any one got an email address for John Blanche? I had a look at his website but couldn’t see one??
    Regards!


  15. I’m an owner of 2 JB’s artwork. 1 Pencil scetch and 1 ink/pencil drawing, which i think it was used in one of the FF or Sorecery Books.
    Would sell the Ink drawing but have no idea, how much worth they are.


  16. Put my JB drawing on eBay. Look for the Seller pantherangel_0

    Kind Regards
    Torsten


  17. I actually blog also and I’m writing a thing very close to this specific blog, “Influences:
    John Blanche « Dark London”. Do you care if perhaps I personallymake use
    of a number of of your suggestions? Thanks a lot ,Kristi


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