Aaron Dembski-Bowden

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

Cyrene & Argel Tal Artwork

Someone sent me this a couple of hours ago, prompting me to head on a very short Google search, for Noldofinve on Deviant Art.

I’m in love with this. It’s Cyrene and Argel Tal. It’s like… actually them. And it’s perfect.

It’s also now my desktop background while I write Betrayer, which is pretty apt considering where I’m at in the story, and what Erebus and Argel Tal are discussing. Ho, ho, ho…

It’s really, really, really strange to see your writing having an effect on people. In the handful of years since I started – I’m still pretty new to all this, remember – I guess I was prepared for some of the awesome comments online,  and the reviews, and the chatter at signings and conventions. That doesn’t devalue any of them, it’s just that all that stuff was easier to imagine because it’s considered a perk of the trade. (Incidentally, I’m often cripplingly uncomfortable and anxious at signings, and do my best to disguise it, so I don’t consider it a perk. I consider it terrifying.)

Same with minis of my characters – I’ve seen so many killer conversions of Talos and co. but you almost expect it, given the passion of readers and hobbyists, when there’s a nebulous realm of overlap between the two.

But actual artwork of my characters? Someone cared enough about my head-mess to capture them outside of converted plastic? Sort of mindblowing. And this perfectly captures the soul of those two characters, at least as I imagined it. On a similar note, I’ve seen tattoos people got based on my work, like, in a language I freaking invented. That’s terrifying, too.

But in a good way.

June 21, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,


  1. Hmph. “Beauty and the Beast……”

    Comment by Gene | June 21, 2012 | Reply

  2. I really liked her as a character, and she was the last part of humanity for Argel Tal I think. It was so sad to see her go like that cause a bit of Argel Tal died as well. :/

    Comment by Forkmaster | June 21, 2012 | Reply

  3. Wow, that’s exactly how I pictured them. So beautiful.

    Comment by Deva | June 21, 2012 | Reply

  4. …Fuck the Ultramarines!

    No, but seriously, that is a gorgeous piece of work.

    Comment by Tim Sweeney | June 21, 2012 | Reply

  5. I agree with Gene. Definitely a Beauty and the Beast moment! A space marine in love?

    Comment by shavenwookiee | June 21, 2012 | Reply

    • The heart is a complicated organ, with a lot of chambers and valves. It has room for a lot of types of love.

      Comment by Aaron Dembski-Bowden | June 21, 2012 | Reply

      • And with space marines it’s double the love…. I can’t believe I just said that….

        Comment by shavenwookiee | June 21, 2012 | Reply

  6. I … In my entire life I’ve never been speechless as I am now…

    Comment by Warsmith Kondexus | June 21, 2012 | Reply

  7. i love when the astartes and humans are compared showing that while they became so much more than us, they lost so much of what is important in humanity

    Comment by matt | June 21, 2012 | Reply

  8. I just appreciate you taking the time to post it for us Aaron. It’s really fantastic, and it sparks fond memories of your book.

    Comment by David | June 21, 2012 | Reply

  9. Most people (including me) would cower in fear at the sight of a space marine, and would barelly be able to look at his breastplate, and theres cyrene looking a possesed marine who see’s her blood thumping through her viens and thinks about eating her,directly in the eye!!!

    Comment by Rob W | June 21, 2012 | Reply

  10. I’m going home tonight to begin reading The First Heretic again for the fourth time.

    Comment by Itchy | June 21, 2012 | Reply

  11. Best horus heresy book to date…. brilliant piece of artwork!! ADB you are an inspiration to many…. But with great power…. 🙂

    Comment by Rob C | June 21, 2012 | Reply

    • …comes great financial rewards?

      Comment by Aaron Dembski-Bowden | June 21, 2012 | Reply

      • or huge energy bills?

        Comment by Edward Krupski | June 26, 2012 | Reply

  12. This is killer. Very compelling.

    Argel Tal became a monster, even more so than most of his brothers who turned… yet he was perhaps the most human.

    I fucking love the intricacies of post-humanity, and none capture it better in words than ADB. Dan who? Heh heh

    Comment by Dave K | June 21, 2012 | Reply

  13. Absolutely nothing at all to do with this post of yours, absolutely nothing….
    but just wanted to say that I freaking loved ‘The Emperor’s Gift’. Fantastic.
    The ending… that was…moving, and proper. Beautiful. The ending, the whole book, all of it.
    Never have I read a story so smoothly flowing, so nicely coming together, so full of awesomesauce. There was none of the friction that usually, at some point during a book, plagues it. None.
    And the book was rather touching.

    You made all the scenes so breathing, so living, loaded them with emotions like only a few others do. This book is definitely something to be proud of and I’m quite unhappy to have read it so fast. Should’ve read slower and spared it a little.

    Anyway, thanks for another great treat !

    Comment by Drayhen | June 22, 2012 | Reply

  14. Your books always get me to work the plastic crackpipe.
    Emperors Gift cost me close to $1000 now but inspireing me do finally tackle the Inquisition.
    But I tend to always get carried away and have to find every wierd old model.
    Paid way too much for a model of Silas Hand for instance
    I suspect Betrayer will have me use up all these Mk4s I have sitting in the bag.
    Check out Emperor’s Gift in B&C’s wip,you see a familar squad early on.

    Comment by Bigwill | June 22, 2012 | Reply

  15. Such wonderful artwork, gives me the feeling that Argel is just about to kneel and Cyrene reaches out to gently touch the cheek of his helmet.

    You know how to write a book, no matter how long it takes, ADB!

    Comment by InsanityRequiem | June 22, 2012 | Reply

  16. “Sort of mindblowing.”
    But you first did this effect. Your characters (Cyrene, Argel Tal, Aquilon, Captain Thade and his men and other) are very bright and alive. Furthermore, you managed to do them so human, even primarchs, in “The First Heretic”. May be too human since they become like friends during reading and you a. This Horus Heresy is really magnificent and striking.
    And I’m very happy (actually, I feel like in heaven, he-he) you liked my artwork. It’s a biggest reward an artist can get.
    And until you’ll write such cool novels there are always be people who care about your characters. There are even poems about Cyrene and Argel Tal – sadly, only in Russian.
    Thank you very much for your novels and inspiration!

    Comment by Noldofinve | June 22, 2012 | Reply

  17. And thank you very much for the warm words to all of you, guys. I’m very grateful for your support.

    Comment by Noldofinve | June 22, 2012 | Reply

  18. Very nice artwork. If Argel Tal had been human I think he would have been in love with Cyrene, but as an Astartes the relationship he had with her was the best he could ever do. Her death was a tragic moment, especially her final moment with Argel Tal.


    Comment by Lord of the Night | June 22, 2012 | Reply

  19. Noldofinve has always been ridiculously good. Glad she’s still going strong!

    Comment by DarkChaplain | June 22, 2012 | Reply

  20. I like this a lot. I love Space Marines that are huge, but not EXTREMELY HUGE TINY HEADS.

    Comment by Bobo | June 23, 2012 | Reply

  21. I agree about not liking space marines with tiny heads. I don’t particularly like big Space Marines either. I like the Space Marines I first imagined in the early nineties. 8 foot tall, big but human, long-lived but not immortal, brave rather than fearless, with military precision and crew cut hair. Loyal to their monarch and to humanity. Holding back disintegration and external threat only by constant exertion. Stopping the inevitable degeneration of history, by sheer human effort.

    Since then some aspects of their persona have come through stronger. I appreciate that most fans now want space marines with gigantic bodies and tiny heads, and Orks to match. But myself, I want to relive my childhood, when a Guardsman stood a chance against an Ork boy and when an Astartes was about as tall as the Ork, or an eldar.

    Comment by CBofWilts | June 23, 2012 | Reply

  22. Awesome! I think the way the colors were done and the way she was rendered show uncommom talent.
    P.S ADB
    Blog again, the hospital is boring as hell without you spludunkin humor and awesome tirades!

    Comment by Shan | July 1, 2012 | Reply

  23. I don’t find the words.. but I was listening to Ólafur Arnalds – This Place is a Shelter and I found myself staring at this picture. all the troubled times Argal was at cyrenes side.. haha this got way emotional! One of the best books I’ve ever read and one of the best pictures of Astartes and human relationship.

    Comment by Kharnath | July 5, 2012 | Reply

  24. You’d be surprised how many people have commented (outside the hobby) that my Nostraman tattoo looks good, even though they haven’t the foggiest what it says heheh. 2 of my colleagues also over here (Afghanistan) appreciate the geeky-ness of it, though I am yet to have anyone recognise it on sight except my local store manager haha.

    Comment by Lianne O'Sullivan | July 27, 2012 | Reply

    • What does it say?

      Comment by The5thBlade | August 10, 2014 | Reply

  25. I really enjoyed Betrayer and reading about argel tal has made me want to convert one, any suggestions? Also this has also inspired me to right my own story.

    Comment by The5thBlade | August 10, 2014 | Reply

  26. […] piece even received ADB’s official blessing, so I thought it would be cool to take some visual cues from it when building my own version, and I […]

    Pingback by The State of the Hunt, Week 22/2017: Too hot for painting… | eternalhunt | June 1, 2017 | Reply

  27. Could you please tell me if this beautiful peice of artwork is for sale in a poster or picture or any other form?

    Comment by Darce | November 12, 2017 | Reply

  28. anyone know where i can get a poster of this

    Comment by Tim | January 16, 2018 | Reply

  29. Your bravery in the face of passionate fans is commendable, and your interaction with us and the mutual inspiration that apparently results in is taking this gaming universe and lifting it to new horizons and a depth of content rivaling and even surpassing some of the older sci-fi and fantasy concepts, like Star Wars, Warcraft, Star Trek etc.

    /Dark Apostle Malechai of the 17th Legio Astartes (Running a Word Bearer host with mutant & renegade armored auxilia since 2006) 😉

    Comment by Erik Artéus | September 1, 2019 | Reply

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