In lesson one, we learned about safety guidelines, products, and most importantly, how to build a practice blank or a design tool. In lesson two, we learned how to take our ideas and develop them into concept boards. I also gave you my definition of the grimdark style, which I will discuss later in this article.
First, I wanted to touch on the order of processes in case of confusion due to how the information has been presented thus far. Even though I talked about and we practiced making blanks in the first video, that step would actually fall into place after the concept phase. So, of course, when we sit down with a new project, we should take our ideas and narratives into the concept/inspiration phase as the first step and then develop those concepts via the practice blank as the second step.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, in our third lesson this coming Friday, I will be demonstrating how to make blanks based on our concepts. I will also be demonstrating when it is better to work with bits or model parts instead of the blank. I typically use bits or model parts as design tools to figure out the “key elements” that I want in my final work. So, you may be wondering, “what do you mean by key elements?” For example, I have specific design tropes in mind for my Headhunters. I want the shoulder areas of my characters to have a very distinct styling with stacks of skulls skewered by long mundane spikes. I also want to incorporate a lot of roping into my designs. The idea will be to build an example or two of these shoulders using bits and other items until I come to something that looks the way I want.
The Grimdark Style
“The grimdark style is derived from the dark and dystopian environments of a war-torn far future (or fantasy realm in the case of Age of Sigmar) and the effects that those same environments would have on the characters that dwell within them. Thus, the implementation of the grimdark style is to seek out an accurate representation of those environments, characters, moods, and narratives.”
In this definition, I am specifically referring to the grimdark style as it pertains to Warhammer. That is not to say that the grimdark style or those moods and narratives only relate to Warhammer. Dark and Dystopian are the keywords here, and we can apply those tags to many sub-genres within the realm of fiction. Let’s look at a sci-fi-cyberpunk setting, for example, and see what a grimdark styling of it would look like.
When we look to find images of a grim and dark Cyberpunk world, it turns out to be pretty easy to track down exactly what we are looking for. Cyberpunk or Cyber Futurism is inherently grimdark due to its token “high-tech low-life” style, which can easily be associated with the words dark and dystopian. After some research, I found that I could easily find dark-dystopian imagery and stories in almost all of the fiction sub-genres. I think it’s safe to say that a grimdark style can be applied to most genres, and it turns out that it’s not that hard of a style to define afterall. If we compare the above images to Warhammer, we could certainly say that they are both grimdark, only in different ways. Warhammer is more of a gothic dystopian future, while the above images are more of a sci-fi or cyberpunk dystopia.
If I were to rephrase my definition of the grimdark style, I would say that Grimdark is simply dark and dystopian. Even when put as simply as that, there is nothing vague about it.