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Black Library: Dark Hunters Umbra Sumus by ukitakumuki Black Library: Dark Hunters Umbra Sumus by ukitakumuki
Check out the book by Paul Kearney here!:…
Illustration © Games Workshop
Art director/producer: Karen Miksza


Umbra Sumus, or "We Are Shadow", motto of the Shadow Hunters.

This chapter are shadowy blue armour wearing descendants of the White Scars, and they are embroiled in fierce urban combat with their nemesis, the Punishers traitor legion.

The brief was conveniently open: to illustrate a fight between a Dark Hunters squad led by a captain against a Punishers detachment. Also, there was to be a Eldar Farseer fighting alongside the Dark Hunters. This gave me all the inspiration/excuse to set up a narrative of an ambush gone awry, playing off the title of course.

This title-play was a cheeky idea that I'm glad Karen went through with; it involves a kind of linear narrative from left to right, or "back cover to front cover". The idea was to portray this detachment of Punishers as having taken a position in the city and successfully springing an ambush, only to be countered by a shock and awe move by the Dark Hunters, thereby bringing light... to the darkness... both literally and metaph... I know... I know... I'm sorry.

So this initial ambush goes off pretty well (as evident from the torn up bridge and ongoing bolter battle and pink-misted Dark Hunter) and having the main "turning point" in the story being a Punisher blind-firing as he takes cover against a pillar- the very spine of the book itself. (In the end, the team decided that marines do not fight with that kind of tactical-cowardice (hoho) and fight with more tactical-glory and so I got him an excuse to be in a reload position while dodging flying debris... legit enough!)

This then made me consider making use of the demonic teeth more and the idea to have him do a Rambo safety pin bite-pull on his grenade was born. I pushed the Punisher warpaint and gave them cheek paint with the impression of more teeth, never quite saw it in any ref and thought it a decent addition to extend the skeletal appearance.

His traitor battle brother handing him a fresh magazine of frangible tipped bolter ammo (nice for urban confines I suppose where you don't want to destroy potential cover with the typical HE the guy with the heavy bolter is doing...) with under-maintained armour, coolant leaking from his thruster pack.

Then we have the captain himself, with battle axe and bolt pistol as his brief-determined loadout (which inspired the counter-ambush idea in the first place) bursting through the wall Jin Roh style. Since I know physically there isn't a really good excuse to create in a two-across-marine-sized breach in a wall with a single axe swing I thought suggesting the Farseer maybe helping out psychically would be half-decent reason to suspend disbelief, along with the fact it was an already low-integrity swiss-cheesed wall to begin with. Lastly, since I'm doing quite a number of firsts for myself, I've never drawn a combi-bolter going off at the same time. Final excuse to introduce more light and colour!

As of this piece I feel like I'm now technically at the point of diminishing return on that scale where "how clear is the vision" vs. "how much content is on display" is concerned, and am constantly trying to rethink my approach and strategy towards mark-making and design in general that still honours the client brief. Illustration and design is so cyclic its not even funny.. anyways, that's all from me folks, hope you enjoy it!

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leinglo Featured By Owner May 2, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Holy balls, the amount of minute detail you put into this is amazing, right down to the ammo counter on the heavy bolter and caution label on the backpack. Awesome work!
Emilion-3 Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
They are sons of Dorn if memory serves.
Triumph650 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2017
this feels like a match of eternal crusade
bobbysaypie Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2016
I was surprised to see no one talking about how someone took a copyright claim on the title (Appearently there is a "popular" paranormal-Romance novels called Dark-Hunter) that some woman tried to claim.
phyzimpa Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2016
everything about this brings honor to our god emperor
agios Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2016
great composition and artistic value
CastleAether Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The chaos marine nearest the heavy bolter looks like he's smoking a cigarette.
matthewmcentire Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I love all the details you worked into this piece. Sure there is plenty of detail like chipped paint, scratches and dirt, but my personal favorite touch is the ammo counter on the heavy bolter. It's always cool to see a more realistic approach to Warhammer 40,000. Hell that approach is what got me to start watching you in the first place about 5 years ago when you posted Last Chapter.
victortky Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2015
I have this book...I hope you can autograph this cover for me!
Aaron-Randy Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
simply amazing!
AndrewMinor Featured By Owner May 10, 2015   Digital Artist
Epic scene!!!!!
ThatPegasusOverThere Featured By Owner May 7, 2015
Gotta love the Dark Hunters- I got an army of them myself. I think ima make a sgt based off the lead figure here- he's just too badass looking not to.
ForgottenDemigod Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
meisan Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015  Professional General Artist
I think the fact that it's amazing because you're working for client but you can capture mass audient as well,kudos
El-Jorro Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015
did you hear about the copyright snafu
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
This then made me consider making use of the demonic teeth more and the idea to have him do a Rambo safety pin bite-pull on his grenade was born.
This is probably the first detail that reached out and smacked my eyeballs.  Epic stuff as always.  ;)

Someone's about to catch a bolt in the back of his helmet... :devilish:
leaflake Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
DamianKrzywonos Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015   Digital Artist
tomsymonds Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2015  Professional Artist
Zelphis Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2015
I've always hoped they would expand on this chapters background since that first short story. Plus this artwork is amazing as usual! :D
sarsgnu Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015
Stunning as usual, but i just have a problem with the size of the casings being ejected from the Heavy bolter they look like 7.62mm when the Bolts from a Heavy Bolter is .998 Calibre and from a normal bolter they are .75 calibre or 20mm, wich is to say a small modern day Autocannon.

The standard Bolt Round consists of:

  1. A solid-fuel rocket propellant base
  2. An outer casing containing conventional charge
  3. Gyrostabilizer 
  4. Mass-reactive fuse. Has a split-second timer to delay detonation upon impact until after the shot penetrates the target.
  5. Hardened diamantine penetrating tip. This allows for the bolt to penetrate most armor before detonation.
  6. Main Explosive Charge
  7. Depleted deuterium core. This is a very dense material, adding weight and thus momentum to the round when in flight. This aids in the bolt's penetration of the target.
Lichen93 Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Student Filmographer
Maybe because the Shooter is a Bulky Chaos Space Marine?
CJMArtandGraphics Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
the detail, the action and Aramis-Dagaz say you can see a story as your eyes move around the picture. Amazing   
ObsidianOrder Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015
I really like all the little details here like the ammo display on top of the heavy bolter. I also like how the chaos marines have teeth instead of a vox grill.
Aramis-Dagaz Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015
Still looks pretty cool, and there's that bit of a story in there as well.  I just noticed the huge bullet hole in the chest of the traitor Marine handing his buddy a magazine, as though to say "Hey bro, take this.  I'm not going to need it in a second or two."
DawnDynasty Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
<3 great!
revpermin Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015
Furk yeah!
RogueFinn Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015
Heavy bolter dude on the left be like

"Jat tat tat tut tat tat tat tat tat AHHHAHAHAHAHAHAAA"

Stunning work! :D
DrXanatos Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015
"Heard you talking shit."
salycap Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015  Student Digital Artist
looooooove it!
Sagittarius-A-star Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Ha ha, cool! :)
AnonymousONIagent Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
As soon as I saw the cover for Umbra Sumus, I knew it had to be my next desktop background.
rachelrate Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015
this White Scars are gods ! it's creepy!OMGI think I've fainted.  
firewing2 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015  Professional Writer
I love all of your work, but I have one note.  Your shell casings are very small relative to the weapon.  A casing is going to be the same size of the muzzle of the weapon, more or less.  Look at how small the brass ejecting from the heavy bolter are compared to even the muzzle of the bolt pistol or the bolter held by other warriors?  They look like necked down AR brass, not the fat, square edged brass you'd expect from a bolt weapon.

Super nitpicky, I know.  Otherwise another amazing piece.
Mineraleater Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wait, is that Chaos-Marine in the middle trying to reload a grenade?
Awesome piece of art! Nice that they attack with the sun in their back! 
Wyzilla Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015
Good to see the Dark Hunters haven't been forgotten. They haven't appeared in the Black Library in years.
JerryCai Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
quiklain Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015
ya know i really want to know why a Eldar Farseer is fighting with a squad of Marines, is that not...........heretical?
Private-Funny-Man Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015
Awesome work.
Blaquesmith Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
You could have fooled me into thinking they were Ultramarines from the third company. Great piece as always!
Noedig Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015
I cannot look at this and not say 'OOOOOHHHHH YEAHHHHHHH!" as the Dark Hunters burst through the wall. Have some koolaid, bitches. XD
Maysiro Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015
Anyone can make serious money from photos --> check how I do it.
m0narch Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Amazing piece as usual!
SirRinge Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Badum... Ts.... Sooo punny xD
algenpfleger Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
oh god i love it! thanks for all the insight, so interesting to read
Santosbzz Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015
Muy bueno!!!
DeadCobra Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015
coralys1 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I love it :)
V0D-KA Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Student Digital Artist
fantastic level of detail in this and a really great composition!
EigoKensai Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015
Awesome work!
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Submitted on
January 30, 2015
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