Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Pen and Ink Family Portrait

Morning Everyone,

Despite stating in my last post that I was gonna be back in full force on the commissions, I didn't account for being short staffed at work and several birthday plans on the horizon! So unfortunately it's taking a little while for me to get geared up to 'full force'… I will get there though!

I have however managed to get this commission done for Nicky who requested a black and white, pen and ink wash portrait of her family! 

If this has inspired you and you'd like a portrait of you and your own family, then please get in touch:

Friday, 19 June 2015

Themed Portraits - Why So Serious?

Hey Everyone!
Sorry for the silence. After Wonderlands Con I had a bunch of MULP to catch up on so commissions had to be postponed for a while.

But I'm back on it in full force and will share with you all that I am able!

This Themed Portrait is one that I completed recently, and I'm rather pleased with how it's come out!
Though half the job was done for me in the sense that the subject of the portrait is Joker obsessed and cosplays as Heath Ledger's Joker often, complete with spot on impersonation!

So Darran…. Why so serious?? 

This commission was colour using Copic Markers.
If you would like a portrait of yourself like this, or you know someone who would, then please drop me an email:

Monday, 1 June 2015

Wonderlands 2015

Improper Books and MULP spent the weekend in Wonderland!

The Wonderlands Graphic Novel Expo made it's debut in Sunderland on the 30th May and was met with much warmth and success! The event was hosted by the University of Sunderland in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

The ever fantastic Bryan and Mary Talbot were there along with a plethora of creators giving talks and workshops that ran on well into the evening! Our very own Matt Gibbs and Laura Trinder participated in the Young Adult Graphic Novel panel, There were also plenty of people celebrating the graphic novel including the Geek Show and local radio station SparkFM both of whom spoke to Matt and I about creating Improper comics and MULP!

We had a really lovely day talking with both the people of Sunderland, other exhibitors and the students who had some of their degree work there. We also had a colouring table set up with pages from Night Post, MULP and Knight and Dragon for people of all ages to chill out between workshops and talks.

Many thanks to all the organisers, including Hannah Matterson and Bryan and Mary Talbot for inviting us! We had a fantastic time at what I hope will be the first of many Wonderlands conventions!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Big Fish - Pencil and Ink portrait

So I'm now working pretty much as a full time freelance Illustrator!

I'll be working mostly on MULP, however I've a small string of commissions lined up also!

Which brings me on to talk about this one! Jon here loves his fishing so much he wanted me to do a black and white portrait of him with one of the largest fish he's ever caught. 

This portrait is A4 and done using pencil, inks and ink wash.

If you're interested in a portrait like Jon then please get in touch:

Friday, 13 February 2015

Pet Portraits - Silly Old Boober

I have another pet portrait commission for you, this time a straight up MULP-style portrait of a sweet rat named Boo.

Conny and her partner have been rat owners for a long time but this old girl captured their hearts more than any other, and I can see why!

You can view some photos of Boo the rat here.

This commission is A4 sized and coloured using ciao copic markers.

If you've had a special pet like Boo here and would like to capture them in a portrait, then please get in touch!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Pet Portraits - Tonks

Here's a look at a recent commission from fellow rat owner Rebecca, who was inspired by the portraits I did of my rats River and Kaylee as their namesakes.

Let me introduce Tonks, the blue berk dumbo!

This commission is A5 sized and coloured using ciao copic markers.

If you have a pet named after a film, TV or book character and you'd like to see them as their namesakes, then please get in touch!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Balrog Miniature - painting progress pt1

Last summer I got into playing with and painting miniatures, being a massive Lord of the Rings fan the strategy battle game instantly grabbed me.
For my birthday last year I got the Balrog Miniature which I've been slowly painting up ever since. As a force of habit I'd been taking progress photos, after showing those around a bit I've decided to blog them up for anyone else interested in miniature painting and Warhammer to see!

Apologies for the quality of some photos, they were all taken with my phone!
I have used the Citadel paints for this, however as they're acrylic based I have also occasionally worked in some of my own acrylic paint and mixed colours for better variety and tonal blending purposes. I also assembled the entire miniature apart from the arms, which I felt would be better attached at a later stage. I'll then be able to paint his body and wings without the arms being in the way!

I'll probably have every professional miniature painter out there screaming at me for not doing an undercoat right from the off, but I was just experimenting to begin with here. I knew the effect I wanted to achieve so I went for it!
Beginning with a red (Evil Sunz Scarlet) between the scales of his back, neck and lower portion of the plume of flame, I then blended in an orange (Troll Slayer Orange) working that into the cracks of his scales and further up the flame.

Next I blended in a yellow (Averland Sunset) for the head of the plume of flame and, where it'd be hottest I worked in some white (White Scar). I mixed a pale yellow here also to dry brush onto the ridges of the flame to accent their shape.

Next up I began working on his head, again painting red into his nostrils and mouth as a base.

Adding the orange, yellow and finally white in his mouth and eyes where you'd see the white hot centre of his core.
That's the kinda feel that I was going for, that the Balrog was made of molten rock. The outer layer having cooled and hardened, appearing like black scales, however the hot molten core visible where his scales part.

Anyway, the rest of his head I painted black (Abaddon Black)!

Unsure where to go from here I actually began undercoating the Balrog's torso with brown (Doombull Brown). After looking at other painted Balrog miniatures I noticed that in most of them the Balrog's body appeared to be painted in a solid black, which was a shame as you lost all the detail! I wanted to try and achieve something much more subtle where you could pick out the shapes of his muscles burning under his flesh.

I watered down the red paint and washed over the brown, allowing it to settle in the crevices of the Balrog's neck and body. This I'd hoped would again add to the effect of the creature being made of molten rock, the brown adding a subtlety to the colour of his skin and the red intensifying the heat of his core, not to mention showing off that six pack!

Now it was time to finally start painting on the black tone of his skin!

I used a combination of techniques here, dry brushing over the scales of his back and neck, and also painting with a wash to allow some transparency and the brown of the undercoat to show through giving a leathery look to his torso and neck.

I'll leave you there for now, the next step is to paint the Balrog's wings!