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MORTIS by NicolasRGiacondino MORTIS by NicolasRGiacondino
[EDIT] The scythe was bothering me, really, so I went and changed it! Now it looks much better I think and I'll explain why:
I meant for it to be a power-weapon, built up of energy entirely, so that's why I left it so clean and luminous. But, having ommitted the energy cracks usually associated with these type of weaponry, I can see how it became a bit confusing. Thus, I've edited the image, adding the crackling bolts which I think make everything look better and much more menacing too (if that is possible!).


This fellow certainly took longer than I expected.
As I told my client, Mortarion was always a bit troublesome for me. For reasons I've yet to discover, the brave leader of the Death Guard Legion seemed to be as ominous as his whole background and the passion the fans always had for him, making him as daunting as Russ, or The Emperor.
Perhaps it was combining both the decadence and rust of his armour as well as the nobility and stature he had during the Great Crusade times, or making his deathly, ghastly looks honourable still so that you'd be both afraid and awestruck; but, whatever it was, it paralised my pencil more than enough times...
And then there was the fact that Adrian Smith (one of my faourite Dark Millenium illustrators) had done such a good job of rendering Mortarion that I felt compelled to copy his design, but felt I was cheating if I did.

After all of the above fears were overcome, I came to this illustration you see here which has satisfied me greatly.

I think there are more original elements here to call this my own as with all of my other Primarchs, but I still kept some of the established looks for him so that he was recognisable as a character.
The overall composition I think has a lot of strength and oozes a dark, brooding mood, which I think fits the Death Guard perfectly. The detail of the sunken eyes and the masked visage of Mortarion also make for a very mysterious atmosphere, coupled with my trying to keep the armour as ghastly as I could. You will notice I've left most of the top part of it in the traditional white colours of the Legion, whilst keeping mostly dark tones in the lower torso, thus enhancing the Death aspect and skeletal reminiscence of the figure (also enhanced by the power cables acting as a ribcage).
The scythe is another detail I'm quite proud of, as it came out looking both dangerous and noble and you'll notice it's the only bit that has no rust in it, as if the Primarch took care of its cleansing each time he carried it into battle.

Finally, the look of Barbarus is also something I relished in very much. I did a lot of designs of Mortarion's homeworld as well as its inhabitants (both human and local) way back when and was happy to put them to use here.

I hope all of you Death Guard fans like this rendition of your beloved Primarch and let me know what you think, as usual!



© Games Workshop Ltd. 2009
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mobilesuitsoldier Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2016
You did REALLY well for the Lord of Death. Captured his Grim look perfectly.
NicolasRGiacondino Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you very much! Glad I could do him justice.

mobilesuitsoldier Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2016
Look forward to more 40K stuff.
d715 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2014
I don't really read the HH stuff but I do have  Mortarion's Heart

 Mortarion was pretty cool in it.  
NicolasRGiacondino Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Indeed he was.

CR-Forge-Pride Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
NicolasRGiacondino Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist

KlinkHammer Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2011
perstilence, death, war, conquest... all rolled into one
Saguinius Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2011
Fantastic, but why are his arms black?
SykA-theblacker Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
He is the symbol of plagues to come :)
AngaelWings Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2010  Student General Artist
one of the many primarch that didnt have psykers, pre-heresy wise. great pic!
Squigzog Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2010
My favorite Primarch.

Well done. It looks fantastic.
knytcrawlr Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
from the line art to the colours, fantastic work.
soulfreeze Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2009  Hobbyist Artist
like it :)
DeviantRye Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2009
Love your pre-heresy Primarchs. :D
NightHerald Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2009

This no doubt continue the excellence of your previous Primarchs. I've always had a soft spot for the Death Guard, and by extention Mortarion.

Anyways, this one is pretty unique due to the use of rust/corrosion. And it's wonderfully done, more importantly not overdone. I also love the pale colors, works very well.

Another superb job, keep up the good work.
KingKaarle Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
I just get speechless when I look at your coloring and your works. Man you're awesome. :O :+fav:
Agemman Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2009
awesome style. i like how you added style to mortarion with the white hair and stylized his face mask to be a skeletal jaw.
Vaelin Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2009   Writer
Damn, I can't believe I missed this!

Great as always. You keep coming out with interesting and awesome new takes on the Primarchs. I'm more than a little jealous.
midarc Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2009
High quality work as ever.
Love the detail on the gauntlets and the deathmask rebreather is nicely done.
The encroachment of rot upon the joins of the armour, and the oaths of the moment looks wonderfully putrescient.

Nice work.
Havoc4ever Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2009
Ahhh another fallen primarch.
Guy likes Skulls I will give him that. But in all seriousness I do like the 40k imagine of the Grim Reaper it shows his bitter look on life (If I recall his past correctly) and the use of fear to terrorize opponents. His machine like presence is also very well depicted. Another scroll of approval from me on this one keep up your work!
RubricMarine Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2009
Ah, I'm back from the dead and being treated to the creme of the crop, as seems always to be the case with your art.
I have to say, this is sort of how I imagined Mortarion before I ever saw a picture of him. The Death Guard doesn't care for wealth and ostentatious trinkets (except for the gleaming skull), which is well-represented in this picture. Also, I like that you remembered to have venomous gas emanating from Mortarion's collar/grille.
Two things I'm not too sure about... his expression seems very menacing, and while I'm sure that he could look like that, I was under the impression that out of all the primarchs he was arguably the calmest, always composed and impassive. Also I would have thought the blade of the Manreaper to be bigger, but I suppose you've got to deal with the limited space you have on a portrait of sorts. ^^
Still, all things said, this is definitely Mortarion. Aside from being delighted at the level of detail and the obvious research you've done on the character, I find it striking that although the man's a primarch, you kept his form somewhat gaunt and not as baulky as his brothers, even in full power armor... wonderfully fitting, considering he'll end up looking like the Reaper.
Great job as always, please keep up your excellent work! :)
Supremehydra Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2009
Your warhammer pics are always clean and shiny. :D Neat!
damonx99 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
SO little time to enjoy the wonders of the net now a days...But enjoy it I do when I see art from you.

I glad to see that one of the Net's most talented artist is still going strong and then some.

Great work as always man.
ColonelYeo Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Unbelievable! :wow:

I love the old and worn look to his armor. Especially on his pualdrons. Did you use watercolors to make the cloudy water stains? It must have been hard to keeping it in the trim.
Salidas16 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2009
I must admit that I'm mixed when it comes to Mortarion himself. The Death guard is my favorite traitor legion and yet I know very little regarding the Primarch himself. Anyway the image itself is good as always.
imric1251 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2009
wow just wow, wondrous work sir. i especially like how you worked the grime into his armour.
precinctomega Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2009
Things I like: the way the hood combines with the rebreather to both echo the legion's emblem and foreshadow its primarch's doom; the background; the subtle use of colour that's almost monochromatic.

Things I don't like: there are some very odd twists of perspective and angle that are very un-Aerion. The way he's holding the scythe and the angle of its head are weird. His hand anatomy doesn't match with the incline of the scythe and the blade's angle doesn't match with the angle of the boss. His torso also appears to be twisting to the right, as the upper skull on his chest and his head are seen at a different angle to the lower two skulls and his waist.

I also don't like the design of the scythe, generally. It's a personal thing, more than a technical one, but it seems too flimsy and delicate to be the weapon of a primarch.

I still love you, Nic. But this isn't one of your best.

(and yes, I still have a couple of commissions due to come your way as soon as I can work out how to send you the money...)
Johnzaku Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009
I was wonderin' when you'd get back to the Primarchs ^_^

I am not disappointed! Awesome! Fantastic detail =]
Vlaskiyov Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009
And here I thought you weren't going to be making anymore Primarchs for a while now. I was quite surprised to see this old bastard.

Yet again you dish out another superb piece of word, and I am pleased to see your using those new lightning effects on Mortarion's Scythe. I never trually was a fan of the Death Guard, but after reading "Flight of the Eisenstein" I had always wondered what Mortarion would look like. The book didn't have the best description.

Thank you again for bringing out another great piece of 40k fluff. CHEERS MATE :icondemomanplz:
AmrothDin Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009
I'm pretty sure the majority of my faves are made by you, Nic, and it seems that won't change. I don't know what to say other than that this pic is one of the best you've made since i made my dA account. Pure epic, mate!! :D
LRV Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009
That hits the spot! :)
Ravenburg Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009
Absolutely fantastic! Great work!
witch-of-chaos Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009  Hobbyist
Just next fantastic work... Nothing new ;p

Thebuild Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009
Great work Nic,

I've seen tons of Mortarion pieces of work both pre heresy and post, but I prefer yours, you've got a great balance and included skulls without him look over the top, especially the hungry sort of look in the eyes.
alchemius07 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009   Photographer
Kickass portrait... wunderbar!

Let's hear it for the other primarchs who have yet to have a portrait...

Cedautinger Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great Space-marine! YEAH!
MisterScourge Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
As awesome as always Nic.

Hmm, if you ask me, for greater accuracy in its description to the story, you should make him bald. But that doesn't matter much; you got most of the out looks correct and nicely done and it should deserve a praise.
VrRyoko Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
MORTARION! YES! *Fangirl squee*

Yes, you get a goddamn squee from me with just about every Primarch picture you do, honey. ;D I love the art (and the characters) just that damn much!

But! Oh my god, unf! This is just amazingly well-done! Mortarion looks VERY much how I see him in my head when I read the Heresy novels (and I'm rereading them. >_> I need new copies of the first three books. xD Gah.) and it's just spooky, to me, how much I like to compare my mental images to your art! I've even had my mental images shift some to match what I see in your pictures, but this one? This one is just perfect in how well it shows off Mortarion.

The quiet, grim broody nature. The seriousness of the moment. The harsh crackle of the Manreaper Scythe. And the very, very certain fact that if you don't speak the right words, you just may not get out of this unscathed.. or at all.

I'm going to sit here and drool and stare and then wish I could draw the Consorts because I really, really, really want to draw them. Fff. I should write out their stories and backgrounds while I'm at it someday. xD *Makes a reference to her own creation, har.*

But yeah. *Goes back to staring at Mortarion now.* Gah, now I really want this one and the Sangy ones. Waaaaaant. (Hell, I'd steal them all if I could from you. xD Lmao.)
StriderDen Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Great designs, well done!
Imperial32 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009
very well done makes my eyes come on due to the awesome detail and the way it looks :thumbsup:
Belazikkal Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Didn't catch the first version as I've been a bit busy lately and the time I want to spend on you pictures wasn't available (I'm writing this inbetween reading reports!).

You should really feel proud over this one, Nic! Mortarion is no doubt a daunting character and his story is one of pride and fall. Perhaps not that original when you consider the Emperor's Children, but the story of the Death Guard still has a very different ring to it. Both were/are proud Legions, but where the EC are arrogant the DG just know what they're capable of.

And Mortarion personalises these ideals. A tall gaunt figure, it is hard to bring a sense of pride to that appearance. The power armour helps greatly.
Glad you kept the original white and green armour rather then the murky green-brown blobs that pass as DG in the 41st millennium. Interesting to see the slight drips of oil from cracks and the splotchy effect on the green parts. It emphazises Mortarion's infection with the Plague without detracting from his bearing.

The scythe is pure love. Clean and deadly: the Death Guard look after their weapons' helth, if not their own. Illustrative of their priorities.

Also, the fore-arm guards makes me think of black metal bands for some reason. Or Bruce Dickinson during his early years in Iron Maiden. Fethed if I know why...
DNecro Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009  Professional Filmographer
dude.... I can not say how awesome you have portrayed Mortis. the way you used ghostly white plays very well with the rush and dirt on his armor and on the seals. I’m gusting that his is before he was tricked to join chaos. But the over bad ass that he exhumes makes the 40k universe even more darker with him in it
1tyler Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
awesome work, he is actually one of my favorite primarchs.
Scumdog47 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009
Meanwhile, in Awesomeland:

Aerion-The-Faithful is relaxing in his pool, sipping exquisite whine while being entertained by talented musicians and exotic dancing girls.
Sexual-Yeti Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
I think you have succeeded in what you set out to do, in that you tried to make him both corrupted yet still somehow untouched. Indeed, he still shines despite the tarnish. The yellows, browns and greens work very well to get that effluent tinge but the contrast with the white on the armour works very well, like bone speckled with putrid flesh.
There is very little to crit, because you have executed this so well. So well done, and here's a fav! :+fav:
WarhammerFanatic Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009
I can understand the difficulty in trying to both make him noble and creepy looking. You have executed this very well!
IronWarriorofChaos Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2009
Amazing work as always!! how do you do it??

KouNaraishi Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2009  Professional Filmographer
Very nicely done! You do the Death Guard proud!

Though I am still in anticipation of seeing your rendition of Vulcan! =P
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Submitted on
August 4, 2009
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