Ten thousand years after the Horus Heresy ended the Emperor's Great Crusade and damned humanity, the Traitor Legions of the Chaos Space Marines still venerate the Arch-Traitor Horus for "freeing" them from the yoke of the Emperor and delivering them into the bosom of the Gods of Chaos. Behold the face of the freedom.
The Death Guard of Barbarus, children of the Primarch Mortarion, are the servants of Nurgle, God of Disease. The grim and fatalistic XIV Legion gained a reputation during the Great Crusade for their indefatigable infantry forces and their relentless determination to overcome any opponent through sheer unbreakable willpower. During the rebellion Mortarion sided with Horus and led the Death Guard against the Imperium, however on their voyage to the Siege of Terra disaster struck their fleet after they foolishly culled their Navigators, discovering them to be Imperial loyalists looking to sabotage their former-masters. The Death Guard fleet became lost in the Warp and Nurgle, God of Pestilence, descended upon the hapless soldiers with the daemon-spawned Destroyer Plague. Virulent disease and unfathomable agony gripped the Death Guard and their Primarch, infecting them with every malady imaginable until finally Mortarion, who prided himself on his ability to withstand any opposition, succumbed and offered his soul to Nurgle in exchange for release. What emerged from the Warp bore little resemblance to the XIV Legion that had first turned from the Emperor's light: the horrifying Plague Marines. For ten-thousand years since the Heresy the Death Guard have ravaged the Imperium, spreading disease and misery, spitefully driven by the secret knowledge that they failed the ultimate test and are now eternally enslaved to the darkness.
So yeah, this started off as a quick sketch that became something much more. I am experimenting with this new style of painting where I am constantly collapsing my layers to create a single canvas. Anyone reading this, let me make this known: this technique WORKS. For years since art school I have been struggling with the barrier between fine art and digital art, and now I've found a way to cross it. Don't be afraid, just experiment.
This is to be the first in a series of four. Not sure why I started with the Death Guard, they're not really even my favorite Chaos Space Marine legion, but I do think they present a lot of interesting visual opportunities. I think I like them because they're so spiteful. Next is the Emperor's Children!