Following up The Eldar Sketchbook, which was only available on Games Workshop store birthdays in limited quantities, we were now treated with The Eldar Collection, a two-volume tome containing the Asuryani (Craftworlds) and Drukhari (Dark Eldar) concept art by design legend Jes Goodwin. In this review, we check out the contents of both books, including the expanded sections in the Asuryani Sketchbook and surprises like Exodite and Ynnari artworks.
Just as the original Eldar Sketchbook, both tomes are the same size as a Codex book and have a white linen textured cover with beautiful silver letters. The Asuryani Sketchbook has a page count of 136 pages (as opposed to the 96 pages of the original Eldar Sketchbook), while the Drukhari Sketchbook sports 100 pages. Both books come in a well-made and sturdy slipcase. The printing and reproduction quality is fantastic, even on the older art from the 90s and 2000s, while the matte paper confers an authentic sketchbook feel. The set is priced at 100 Euro/75 pounds/$125 and is an online shop exclusive at games-workshop.com.
For those that don’t know Jes Goodwin, he is the designer, concept artist and sculptor behind most of Games Workshop’s most iconic creations – Space Marines, the enigmatic Eldar race, High Elves, Skaven, the original Necromunda gangs, and countless more. Together with John Blanche, he is probably the most influential designer and artist of Games Workshop. I strongly recommend picking up White Dwarf October 2016 for an in-depth interview with this genius.
Let’s take a look at the Asuryani Sketchbook. Everything that has been in the Eldar Sketchbook is reprinted, so have a look at its contents in our Eldar Sketchbook review here. As the Asuryani Sketchbook is about 40 pages thicker, some sections are expanded with never seen before artwork:
- Sketches of the original five Craftworld runes (1 page)
- 2nd Ed era Eldrad Ulthran sketch (1 page)
- sketches of “Proto-Exarchs” that would become the Phoenix Lord (Jain Zar, Asurmen, Baharroth, Fuegan, Karandras Maugen Ra, 10 pages)
- 2nd Ed era Warp Spider sketches (2 pages)
- Aspect Warrior shrine banners sketches (as seen in the 7th Edition Craftworlds codex, 4 pages)
- sketches of Rogue Trader era “Eldar Warriors” (proto Guardians and Aspect Warriors, 4 pages)
- 2nd Ed era Wraithguard sketches (2 pages)
- Revenant and Phantom Titans, both old “Armorcast” and modern style (4 pages)
- Falcon (2 pages)
- 2nd Ed era and modern Fire Prism sketches (4 pages)
- 2nd Ed era heavy weapons (1 page)
- Scorpion sketches (1 page)
- Spaceship designs for Battlefleet Gothic (4 pages)
Still missing are Jetbikes (apart from some detail explorations for the Farseer Skyrunner kit), Vypers, 3rd Ed era Aspect Warriors including Shining Spears, 2nd Ed era War Walkers and Wraithlords, and Forge World models such as Nightwings, Phoenixes, Wasps, Shadow Spectres, Wasps, Lynxes (either because Jes didn’t do concept work for those models, the artwork is lost or they just had a finite number of pages).
Next we have the Drukhari Sketchbook, which contains Jes Goodwin’s artwork not only for the Dark Eldar, but also Harlequins, Exodites and Ynnari. Most of the Dark Eldar art has been shared on the former Games Workshop page when the modern Dark Eldar range was released, but it is nice to have them all in one handy place (and printed in high quality). The 100 pages strong book contains:
- Foreword by Phil Kelly (1 page)
- Early 90s Dark Eldar sketches that might have inspired the original Dark Eldar range (4 pages)
- Kabalite Warrior and helmet designs (2 pages)
- Splinter Rifles, Cannons, Blasters, Shredders (3 pages)
- Raider (8 pages)
- Lelith Hesparax (1 page)
- Succubus (1 page)
- Wyches heads (2 pages) and weapons (5 pages)
- Venom (1 page)
- Hellions (6 pages)
- Reavers (10 pages)
- Scourges (6 pages)
- Shard Carbine (1 page) and heavy weapons (2 pages)
- Razorwing (1 page)
- Urien Rakarth (2 pages)
- Haemonculus seals (1 page)
- Talos/Cronos (5 pages)
- Haemonculi (2 pages)
- Wracks (4 pages)
- Grotesques (2 pages, including an alternate design with snake legs)
- Mandrakes (2 pages)
- Incubi (3 pages)
- Sword (1 page) and pistol types (1 pages)
- Khymerea (1 page) and Clawed Fiend (1 page)
- Lhamaean (1 page), Medusae (1 page), Sslyth (1 page)
- Exodites introduction and Dragon Riders unmounted (2 pages)
- Exodite mounted on a dinosaur (2 pages)
- Harlequins introduction including Rogue Trader artwork (1 page)
- Death Jester and Shadowseer sketches (1 page)
- more Harlequin Rogue Trader era artwork (4 pages)
- Ynnari introduction including crone sword sketches (1 page)
- Visarch (1 page) and Yvraine sketches (2 pages)
- Eldar Wraithgate sketch (1 page, from 2008, maybe for some planned model that was never realized?)
Missing are Archons, Beastmasters, Razorwing flocks, Ur-Ghuls, Voidraven bombers and oddly there are no sketches of Wyches apart from their heads and weapons. The Yncarne is also missing as the model was based on a concept sketch by John Blanche.
These books sure are pricey and you can’t pick them up at a discount as they are online shop exclusives, but they have very nice production values. Compared to some of the more silly Black Library and limited Edition codices it’s not too bad. If you are an Aeldari fan, you will want to have a copy of these tomes, and if you already own The Eldar Sketchbook, there is still a lot of new stuff to discover. The only “real” downside is that the Asuryani book, even with the expanded content, still feels a bit incomplete. I wish they wouldn’t have limited themselves to feature only Jes’ artwork, as I guess there is a lot of concept art by other designers who had a hand in working on the Eldar range (such as the mentioned Yncarne art by John Blanche).
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Hi Stahly…. i'm obsessed with the exodites…. i would love to see the other 2 pages of the mounted rider… any chance to can snap a pic and get it to me somehow?