Ask the Artist: Christoffer Schou aka @Dornsarrow
Being relatively new to the hobby, (around 2 years) I came in on the wings of the Primaris Surge. I was so new I didn't even realize these were a significant "update" (brace for impact!) to the standard marines. My arrogance and naivety reached its zenith when I discovered there is an entirely different aspect of the game: The Horus Heresy. I was torn, because I absolutely had to have the new models, but I felt I should start at the beginning to understand the lore. So, after tearing into my first box of Intercessors, and cracking the top on a fresh can of NOS, I clicked PLAY on the first book of the Horus Heresy and my journey into the hobby world began. It was quite disorienting building Primaris Marines while learning about champions with plumes on their helmets and bulky terminator armor. Once I got past that weirdness, I decided to do a little digging of my own into the 30k timeline.
One of the most prominent and interesting people I saw while doing this personal research was @dornsarrow. His beautiful interpretation and mastery of the amazing color schemes caught my attention immediately. I honestly feel a very deep and strange connection with the Sons of Horus when I see them through Dornsarrow's eyes. I see them as they were meant to be, the legion of the Warmaster, the most trusted, honored and respected son of the Emperor. Due to the effort and care taken in his miniatures, I was finally able to make sense of my confusion. Until this point, I had only ever seen Ezekyle Abaddon as a ferocious, terrible, evil guy. I only knew of the Black Legion, and their despicable, treasonous fall from grace. However, as I listened to the first few books in the Horus Heresy, I couldn't imagine these traitorous dogs the way the author's were portraying them. I dealt with this diametrically opposed mental image for several books. Then I saw Christoffer's Sons and the picture was complete. I couldn't help looking at his miniatures and re-picturing the amazing scenes described in the Horus Heresy books. Times when these monstrous death machines are portrayed to be passionate, devoted and thoughtful sons, with a deep-seated, overpowering love for their father.
Ok ok....I got a little lost in my mental space. Not everyone will share my same view of these boys. Some of you might just look at them and think "DANG, those are some fantastic looking Sons! (Not thousand sons....those dust-bunnies never look good. VLKA FENRYKA!!)
Enough bloviating....Ladies and Gentledudes, DORNSARROW!
1. How long have you been involved in the hobby in general?
"I think I got my first Warhammer Fantasy or 40k miniature in around 95-96, at the age of 7’ish. I played some fantasy in my teens but it wasn’t before 2015 and forward I really started playing, up until that time I was only a painter".
2. How long have you been actively promoting your content on social media?
"I started my first blog https://panzermarch.blogspot.com/ in 2011 at that time I wasn’t really painting much Warhammer but instead primarily model kits in different scales. About a year later I also started my Warhammer blog https://dornsarrow.blogspot.com/. As far as I can tell my first hobby related Instagram post is from 2014. Also, I think “promoting” might be a bit too fancy of a word to describe my chaotic Instagram posting".
3. What initially drew you to the miniature model hobby realm?
"I was interested in art at a fairly early age and did a lot of drawing in my younger years so it was probably a combination of the fantastic art by GW and their cool looking minis. But it was my father who introduced me to the hobby of building and painting model kits, just like his father had introduced him. My first ever model was probably a 1/72 scale Spitfire, shittily glued together and painted with the finest enamel paints from Humbrol".
4. What tabletop game would you say is your favorite? What particular faction within that game is your favorite and why?
"Definitely Horus Heresy, especially the lore I find to be so much more interesting than the current 40k. But I have small armies for Bolt Action and Age of Sigmar and used to have a fairly decent sized Flames of War army even though I rarely played the game. In the future, I would very much like to paint a small skirmish army for the Lord of The Rings game by GW and also get started on my Caesarian Romans for Hail Caesar. But all that will have to wait a bit as I still have loads I want to add to my Sons of Horus and Ultramarines armies for Horus Heresy. I originally fell in love with the Luna Wolves after having read Horus Rising, False Gods and Galaxy in Flames and my first idea was to make a loyalist army, but since it wasn’t really supported by Forgeworld I ended up doing Sons of Horus and never really looked back".
5. What is more enjoyable for you personally: painting or playing the game?
"Until 2015-2016 I only painted, now I still mostly paint but I try to play as much as I can. We have a very active Heresy community in the city where I live (Herning, Denmark) so I sometimes play several games a week. But I really love painting as I find it to be a great way to relax after a hard day's work".
6. If money or time weren’t a consideration, what single purchase/upgrade/expansion would you make to further your hobby enjoyment?
"I really need to invest in some better lights for my hobby table. Not that my current is bad or anything but it could definitely be better".
7. Where do you get the inspiration for your particular army theme or style?
"...There are so many people who inspire me daily, but I would have to at least name @HeresyBrush (Rubén Torregrosa) as his videos and style not only got me to practice and learn to use an airbrush but also heavily influenced my own style.
Together with reading the Heresy novels, it was probably @Fortunatesonfhorus (Dan Collister) who made me want to paint Sons of Horus.
Here’s a list of some hobbyists who inspire me nearly every day:
@mr_mclaughlin (My little brother, infinitely better at painting than me),
@Lillegend_Studio (Great guy and has a fantastic Patreon),
@Hendarion, @Andywardle_artwork, @Daemonrich, @Mb_Shizune, @Broken_arrow_2000, @Raptorimperialis, @Upplander, @Smilingontheinsidepainting, @Praetorian_Painting, @Heresy_Gremlin, @Kenkenwf, @Highland_painting, @anvils_of_konor and so many more I can’t list them all...
Lately, I’ve also gotten to know a few of these people rather well, as we have made a little Social Painting Discord server where I regularly talk to people like
@Omegonedge, @Norrissoncrusoe, @bb_miniatures, @dsix_miniatures, @thewarriorpainter91, @m0nolithpainting, @liberalchimp. There’s a lot of feedback, random bullshit and social painting sessions going on which is so much fun".
8. What tips or advice would you give someone just starting out in the hobby?
"Don’t be disheartened if your initial results won’t win Golden Demons or the like, like every other skill set it requires practice and patience. Take your time to learn the basic things, today this is fairly easy as YouTube has hours upon hours of great content. Take Classes/courses or find some painters that inspire you and sign up for their Patreon (if they have one). Ask for feedback, this can be really hard as not all people like to be judged, but if you learn to take constructive criticism it can really help you refine your work and get better".
9. What was the moment you realized commission painting was something you wanted to pursue as more than a hobby?
"I rarely do commissions and when I do it’s primarily just for my close friends. I actually think I’ve only ever done one commission for a person I didn’t know in real life but only on the interwebs. Several people have asked through the years, but most of the time I just feel like I barely have enough time to paint my own stuff, but people should feel free to ask but be ready to receive a no".
10. What was the most difficult obstacle you had to overcome on your path to becoming a full-time painter?
"I wish people would pay me to be a full-time painter just painting my own things, but I don’t see it happening, so I have to go to work as a Software Developer in the danish Financial sector every day".
11. What was the most rewarding experience you’ve had as a painter?
"Probably winning best painting army in the only Horus Heresy event that I’ve attended so far. The competition was fierce so it was really fulfilling in a way to be judged best painted by a group of peers. But usually, I’m not a competition painter as that aspect of the hobby really doesn't interest me that much".
12. If you could do anything to expand your company/studio/hobby footprint, what would it be?
"I’d love to make some more tutorials in the future, maybe even some in a video format, but I’ll probably never have the time to actually do that".
13. If you could earn a sponsorship or endorsement from your dream company, who would it be and why?
"I actually don’t feel like I’d want a sponsorship from anyone as I really like calling it as I see it and not have to sugarcoat any opinion in fear of losing a paycheck or whatever".
Christoffer, thank you so much for being willing to chat with me about what drives and motivates you! Your work in general has been amazing to follow, but your Sons of Horus in particular are truly astonishing. Please, keep doing what you're doing! Oh, and get cracking on those tutorials!
Readers, do what needs to be done! I don't even know why I say stuff here. You're only after the links anyway!