The Gigantic Miniature Art of Jes Goodwin
The Original Rogue Trader
Alongside John Blanche, Jes Goodwin is probably the man who has most influenced the aesthetics of the worlds of Warhammer. A fine arts graduate from Nottingham, a city that still serves as Games Workshop‘s headquarters, Goodwin has been inseparable from the illustrations and figurines produced by the British company since its early days in wargaming.
For him, it all started in the 1970s, when we could already play a few role-playing games, sure, but back then, there were no figurines to represent our favourite characters! And the young Jes will start sculpting and converting his first miniatures to fil this gap.
An art student by day and a sculptor by night, he supplied the local fanzines with illustrations, before joining the Asgard then Citadel Miniatures, which would become a branch of Games Workshop. More than thirty years later, Jes Goodwin still works there!
His meeting with John Blanche, with whom he shares punk and gothic sensibilities, changed everything for the company and its worlds. Warhammer Fantasy Battle first then Warhammer 40,000 will take advantage of their vision. Especially after the release of Realm of Chaos, a famous book that made them realise they have gone beyond the Heroic Fantasy to enter new, unknown lands.
Goodwin, specifically, will leave his mark on the High Elves and Skaven ranges, then Space Marines and Eldar. We owe him what Goodwin sometimes refers to as a “visual vocabulary” of these different factions. For example, all Eldar helmets, regardless of their shape or the warrior who wears them, always have the same, almond-shaped lenses. Weapons, equipment, technologies, angles, colours: Jes created a real design system for each of these ranges, the principles of which still endure today.
And for good reason: Jes is still in charge. He was the one who slightly redesigned the Space Marines to bring them into a new era with the Primaris. He’s also the one who dusted off many of his old concepts to create two of the visually richest factions in Warhammer 40,000: the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Genestealer Cults, alongside painter turned sculptor Darren Latham.
Known for his expressive but impeccable mastery, halfway between technical drawing and concept art, Jes Goodwin has a knack for drawing everything to scale. This explains why several of his drawings have been directly transposed by the sculptors of Games Workshop over the years. And indeed, the company has compiled its work in several books, unfortunately nowhere to be found, these days!
While waiting for an anticipated re-release, we can’t recommend enough that you listen to his various appearances on VoxCast, the official Warhammer 40,000 podcast, which features his powerful voice and some of his famous binders, full of sketches.