Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Don't worry. None of this blood is mine.

First Claw, by Shane Cook

Shane Cook just finished the painting of First Claw, and I figured that maybe some of you ladies and gents might want to see it.

I really want to be glib about this. I really, honestly do. I just can’t. It’s so completely awesome that I’ve got nothing to say except that it rocks my world.

The detail on this really has to be seen to be believed. Zoom in, and take your time. Blood Reaver is about to be released, so the guys aren’t going anywhere for a while. Void Stalker is another year away.

I should add (with an alarmed glare) that Blood Reaver right now seems to be one of the best-reviewed Black Library books on the blogosphere, in the history of ever. So no pressure for the third one on the trilogy, then.





Anyway, let’s do this.

40Ks most badass cowards.

Here’s the thumbnail for actual zoomings. And you really have to zoom into this, because the attention to detail up close and personal is insane:


You’ll notice, from left to right, that this is set after ‘The Core’. You can tell by their distinctive features:

Variel the Flayer, with Red Corsair helms; a lot of flayed skin; and a bionic leg.

Xarl, with his Executioner chainblade; the most trophies; and his Legion crest helm.

Uzas, with his gladius and chainaxe; his flesh cloak; and his bloody palm-print faceplate.

Talos, with the Blade of Angels; the skull helm with his name rune; Malcharion’s double-barreled bolter; and prophecies scratched into his armour.

Cyrion, with his bionic arm; “stabby-class” bolter; and lightning bolt tears on his faceplate.

Mercutian, with his master-crafted heavy bolter; and his stylised horned helm.

***   ***   ***

And what was the first thing Katie said when she saw this? “Will he draw my WarCraft characters?”

I… could ask, I guess.

April 15, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,


  1. Incredible.

    Comment by aaron kent | April 15, 2011 | Reply

  2. Guess what’s my new desktop background?

    Comment by Khestra the Unbeheld | April 15, 2011 | Reply

  3. That is an amazing piece of artwork.

    Comment by AJ | April 15, 2011 | Reply

  4. It’s my wallpaper now.

    Comment by CamperWen | April 15, 2011 | Reply

  5. They look like the galaxy’s most badass metal band!

    Comment by dethmunky | April 15, 2011 | Reply

  6. SO jealous. I commissioned a guy about 10 months ago to do a piece with my special characters and haven’t seen anything yet.

    I love how Variel’s armor is starting to take on Lightning bolts. And they yellow marine helmet with flayed skin…

    Xarl’s crest helm, wonderful. Mercutian’s family crest, hmmmm, so good.

    Awesome piece.

    Comment by DantheDman | April 15, 2011 | Reply

  7. Damm dude! This guy is freaking unbelieveble!

    Comment by Forkmaster | April 15, 2011 | Reply

    • Check the topknot, that’s M’shen, not an Inquisitor.

      Comment by veyveyr | April 20, 2012 | Reply

      • Whoops, that should be a reply to the below comment.

        Comment by veyveyr | April 20, 2012 | Reply

  8. Who was the Inquisitor who left their head on Talos’ belt?

    The Night Lords must be one of the most difficult legions to draw/paint. Not only do they cling to darkness by their very nature, but they may (or may not- depending on the depiction) be wreathed in a weird lightning field with all the light source problems that brings.

    Could do with an EVEN higher resolution version… So much detail.

    Comment by G | April 15, 2011 | Reply

  9. if i met first claw this is what i would do http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5mK7dzyUkM

    Comment by J.Sibley | April 15, 2011 | Reply

  10. Like my fellows above this will now be my wallpaper. Don’t worry about the next book, I’m sure it will be just a great. No pressure at all…

    Comment by BrotherStynier | April 16, 2011 | Reply

  11. That is awesome! Variel is badass in personality and appearance 😀 (I’m getting a sig made out of this). I wonder if he’d draw Lucoryphus and the Bleeding Eyes or The Exalted and the Atramentar. Perhaps Malcharion and Deltrian, so many awesome character designs.

    And I see that my review is among those. Don’t worry ADB, theres no pressure for Void Stalker to be the crown jewel of Black Library… hmm now that I think about it, hehehe.

    Lord of the Night

    Comment by Lord of the Night | April 16, 2011 | Reply

  12. This has ended me!!!! Jesus wept shane you’re getting to good at this bloo!

    Comment by Freaky | April 16, 2011 | Reply

  13. That picture is sooooo awesome 🙂
    I can’t wait for the book!

    Comment by Christopher Meyer | April 16, 2011 | Reply

  14. Beautiful…

    Comment by Rob Sanders | April 17, 2011 | Reply

  15. New desktop background at my work PC, here we come! Ironically, the previous one was the “Helsreach” cover.

    Comment by Midgard | April 18, 2011 | Reply

  16. Too many positive reviews. You’re doomed. DOOMED!

    Comment by James | April 18, 2011 | Reply

  17. I love the diversity and creativity here, the uniformity of Chaos marines in the art has always annoyed me a bit.

    Comment by Viljami Veljenheimo | April 19, 2011 | Reply

  18. True brilliance! This is a great rendering of the characters. My wife LOVES this piece, too!!!

    Comment by Ryan Parkinson | April 21, 2011 | Reply

  19. This book is quickly approaching “can’t sleep on Christmas Eve” status in the anticipation department.

    Comment by Jimmy | April 22, 2011 | Reply

  20. hmm.. too chaotic for me.. i remembered them more true to the imperial standards..

    but thank you for that picture, will help me, when creating my first claw which is WIP standing on my Table atm

    Comment by Stefan | April 28, 2011 | Reply

  21. quite how would you put it…. skully.

    Comment by Lindsey | June 15, 2011 | Reply

  22. This has to be the greatest piece of artwork I have ever seen.
    I think it would look so awesome if it had Septimus and Octavia standing in the middle in front of them with some laspistols/knives.
    Can’t wait for Void Stalker, ADB is the best author in the Black Library, even better than Dan Abnett. Helsreach was the best 40K book I had ever read, until Soul Hunter, and then Blood Reaver. Keep it up.

    Comment by Death Jester | October 10, 2011 | Reply

  23. Truly amazing artwork.

    The only thing amiss is that Uzas’s hands aren’t in red though.

    Comment by Reinhart | November 29, 2011 | Reply

  24. Amazing work! And I’m enjoying your writings so far, Aaron. Listened to Throne of Lies and am now reading Soul Hunter. Who knew the night lords could be so full of personality?! Enthralling reading. 🙂

    Comment by R. C. Fountain | January 27, 2012 | Reply

  25. Don’t you ever stop writing ADB and Mr. Cook’s artwork certainly does your work justice. So much talent out there.

    Comment by John Stowe | April 24, 2012 | Reply

  26. Time to resurrect the Talonmaster or is he just worth lip service now?

    Comment by john | May 12, 2012 | Reply

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