The blog of David Michael Wright - Freelance Illustrator

Hello, and welcome to my humble blog!

If you too like the drag of Graphite on Paper, can appreciate the flick of a well executed Brushstroke, and like I favour subjects of the Dark and the Monstrous, the Weird and the Wonderful, the Abominable, Diabolical, Fantastic, Dramatic, Adventurous, Ghastly, Nightmarish and Phantasmagorical!

…Or like myself, seek to devour all sources of the Technical, Practical, Methodical and Inspirational!

Then perhaps this blog is for you.

It is (I hope) to become a progressive ongoing account of my endeavours as a Freelance Illustrator specialising in mainly the Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Horror art genres. As is always the case (except perhaps on Sundays) I will do my very best and veritably strain heart and nerve and sinew to write a faithful accounting of all my latest Discoveries, Resources, Technical Explorations and Inspirations, in addition of course to featuring regular posts of my current Creative Exploits and Works in Progress.


Saturday, 3 December 2011

Sketch(es) of the week - 19

Here are a few new sketches from this week...

"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do."
Henry Ford (1863 – 1947)

Friday, 21 October 2011

P.A.L - Pretty Autumn Leaves

Been a while! Apologies for the drop off with my regular blog posts, things have been getting pretty hectic of late.

Here's an ink piece I did for a local band's T-Shirt earlier this year.

More soon... (promise!)

Sunday, 5 June 2011

New Paintin' - The Snake Queen of Sithus-Taih!

Title - The Snake Queen of Sithus-Taih
Client - Portfolio Work
Media - Acrylic Ink on Hot Press Paper
Original Artwork for Sale - Currently Unavailable

Following on from the previous post (Pandora's Box) I thought it would be great to experiment 'around' the core technique I employed on that piece, as I was quite pleased with the outcome, and so try and push things a little further. I thought a change of surface would be interesting and decided to see how this technical approach would transfer to a hot-pressed paper surface which is very smooth and much less obsorbant to that of bristol board. I also limited myself to only using my FW acrylic inks this time, I usually use these in combination with liquitex or Windsor & Newton (thicker) acrylics. My reason for this 'test' was that I recently read that the FW's were designed to pick up better for print, and wondered if they would scan any better when used alone.

I found the colour worked really well on the smooth surface but the gradiating/blending of the colour was more of a challenge and it took a lot longer to achieve with subtlety than with the slightly textured and more absorbant bristol board. Also the detail always really 'grabs' on a shiny smooth surface, which is good, but getting any kind of edge softness is much more difficult and requires constant deliberate softening throughout.
Overall I found this method/combination worked well but took longer to acheive than my previous painting. The image did scan much better for the most part (probably due to inks being made with predominantly transparent pigments, in combination with the more reflective painting surface). So I would say the overall result was 'swings and roundabouts' really, It has its benefits and disadvantages too. I think for my next piece I'll return to the bristol board surface, and try using a purely transparent ink build up of base colour and then and only then allow myself to use my heavyer acrylics for detailing over and see how that combination works out. Hopefully I should get all the scanning benefits, the blending benefits, and the versatility of using heavy to thin paint too (well thats the theory anyhow :).

More soon...

"When one has finished building one's house, one suddenly realizes that in the process one has learned something that one really needed to know in the worst way - before one began."

Friedrich Nietzsche - German Philosopher (1844 - 1900)

Friday, 29 April 2011

New Paintin' - Pandora's Box

Title - Pandora's Box
Client - Portfolio Work
Media - Acrylic on Bristol Board
Original Artwork for Sale - Currently Unavailable

I've been playing around with a slightly more watercolouresque approach to my acrylic painting of late. I love the vibrancy, delicacy, and immediacy of watercolour painting, and would really like to assimilate some of these fine qualities into my work.
I'm pretty pleased with how this endeavour is working out so far and I definitely think I will continue to begin my future pieces in a watercolour like way - Using gradated build ups of thin washes in the wet. I'm finding that this method is not something that will be limiting or will come at the cost of losing some other capacity, as it will combine with thicker opaque uses of paint too, and I can still easily opaquely paint over any element any time I feel it necessary, the watercolour style build up just lets me sort of 'feel out' and develop the image in a steady (and surprisingly rapid) but subtle way during the early stages.

I did this particular piece by initially penciling the image in first on stretched bristol board, I then went on to block in all the key shadows (in the appropriate values) and began building up washes of colour(in the wet) over this foundation. When I was happy with the colour, I proceeded to build up detail over various areas more opaquely and subsequently went on to add any necessary glazes and tints to adjust areas of shadow and light where it seemed appropriate.

"One who fears failure limits his activities.
Failure is only the opportunity to more
intelligently begin again."
- Henry Ford, American Industrialist (1863 – 1947)

Friday, 1 April 2011

Earthdawn - Cathay: The Five Kingdoms!

I had the privilege of illustrating some interior artwork for Redbrick's recently released Earthdawn publications - Cathay the Five Kingdoms Gamesmaster's and Player's guide books last year. It was great to be involved with the Cathay project, and creating artwork for the rich and vivid Earthdawn game world is always a real joy. The books are now both available in PDF Here, or Hardback Here, and for more information about all things Earthdawn check out the Redbrick website at Link.

Here are a few of my interior B+W pieces from the books...

Thursday, 31 March 2011

New Paintin' - Goblin Hunters

New image! All suggestions, comments, and constructive criticism most welcome.

“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing”

Aristotle - Greek Philosopher 384BC - 322BC)

Monday, 21 March 2011

Barnburgh Art Club Demonstration

I was invited back to Barnburgh Art Club last week, and gave a demonstration on how I would approach going about making a reasonably accurate drawing from a photograph, and the general practice, techniques, pitfalls and benifits of using photographs as reference to aid in realising ideas. I chose Robert Redford as my demo subject (Original photograph sourced from internet). Here's how it turned out...

Media – Charcoal Pencil, Raw charcoal, White pencil, Black pencil, White paint pen, on Toned paper (parcel paper).
Time - 2 hours.

"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt."
- William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Friday, 11 March 2011

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Tea-Break Sketches - 7 (ArtOrder, Concept Tuesday)

I decided to use my 'tea break' time to have a go at the ArtOrder Concept Tuesday project last week as it looked like fun!

Monday, 7 March 2011

New Painting!

Title - The Guardians of Nihl
Client - Portfolio work.
Media - Acrylic on Bristol Board.

New portfolio painting fresh off the board!

Media = Acrylic + Pencils, Sponge, Water, Paper, Sticky tape, Masking fluid, a dash of Airbrush hither and thither, and all sorts of random gubbins like that.

"Drawing is the cornerstone of the graphic, plastic arts. Drawing is the coordination of line, tone, and color symbols into formations that express the artist's thought."
- John Sloan (1871–1951)

Monday, 28 February 2011

Tea-Break Sketches - 6 (New Brushpen!)

I bought a brushpen this week! The loose thinking behind this purchase was that I normally do my B&W illustration work with a brush and a pot of ink (Windsor and Newton Series 7 size 2 & Daler FW black ink), and thought it would be really great if I could get a similar feel to that media in the more accessable and relaxed form of a pen for drawing and sketching.

I chose a Pentel brushpen as it looked the business in the photo, and I'm really happy with it so far, it is comfortable to use and produces nice variable lines depending on the pressure applied, and the water resistant pigment ink is a really strong opaque black. It's exactly like using a high quality synthetic brush with a good ink.

So this weeks Pen sketches were done with the brush pen in combination with a standard pigment line pen (for uniform tone areas). I'm liking this combo at the moment (It has possibilities!), though this page itself is a bit tight tentative and over worked in places (They're looking a little more like rendered drawings than sketches at the moment.. . but.. well - what the heck! :). I think the warrior mouse is my personal favourite this week.

More soon!

"Draw every day for at least half an hour. If you don't feel like it then draw until you do."

- Unknown Source

Friday, 18 February 2011

Tea-Break Sketches - 5

This weeks veritable smorgasbord of random pen sketching practice efforts!

As always - More soon!

"A drawing a day keeps the cobwebs away."

- Robert Genn, Canadian Artist (1936-)

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Tea-Break Sketches - 4

Decided to experiment trimming down on pens a little this week, all of these sketches are done with a very light lettraset promarker warm grey no 1 (to ghost out the shape/form) and then a black 'flowy' pigmented line pen to ink them in (On the previous T.B.S pages I also included use of a lettraset black marker too). I thought by removing the black chisel marker I might try out some suggestions of reflected light in the shadow areas using some condensed cross hatching as opposed to them just being blocked in with solid black marker. This method seems to work ok, but takes longer and definitely has a more overly 'worked' look to it, which perhaps comes at the cost of immediacy and freshness. I'll probably zip back and forth with equipment and technique ideas, trying this and that (working within the set boundairies of these being pen sketching practice excercises) over the weeks. I'd really like to have a go with one of those brush-pen markers in the near future too.

More soon!

"Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad."

- Salvador Dali (1904 - 1989)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Tea-Break Sketches - 3

More tea-break pen sketching practice from the latter half of last week - I think the Shark Dog is probably my favourite idea on the sheet, the Spooky 4 thumbed Pupa's not bad too. The 'Darn I just broke a nail and now I need the bathroom warrior demon' however... is pretty terrible. I might assimilate it's spikey knife'esque' tail silhouette into a future project though.

More soon! : )

"Most of the yield from research efforts comes from the coal that is mined while looking for diamonds."
- Paul D. Boyer, American biochemist (1918-)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Tea-Break Sketches - 2

Behold! Yet more examples of tea ingested quick pen sketching madness. I am particularly fond of the scuttling eye, the goopy gangsta, and the venting column of evil :) - More soon.

"Do not fail, as you go on, to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is, it will be well worth while, and it will do you a world of good."
- Cennino Cennini (1370 – 1440)

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


Woke up this morning and checked out the portfolio piece I posted up yesterday. The foreground characters lack of hair was bugging me, and the lack of detail on the armour, so I've made a few amendments.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Havrok da Smasha

Portfolio piece I completed today. Been really trying to work on my shadows lately, and relax a little more when blocking the mass colour, to be bolder, and more definite. I feel like my shadows are starting to work better now - as they seem to getting more depth and interest, I think I'll try experimenting dropping the reflected light out into total darkness in a future piece (while still retaining some transparency/reflected light in areas here and there) to punch out the silhouettes and simplify elements which I think have enough interest to carry on their own, so I can see how that works out and compare the results.
Overall though reasonably pleased with progress on this piece. Right - onto the next!...

"Keep a bad drawing until by study you have found out why it is bad."
- Robert Henri (1865 – 1929)

Monday, 17 January 2011

(New) Tea-Break Sketches (A.K.A - The Good, the bad and the Ugly!)

I remember once reading a quote somewhere whilst studying at art college (I can't seem to find the source), It went something like... "Draw regularly with the pen - It will make you a master". It might have been by Durer. Anyhow - I remember being quite struck by this statement, and seeing the merit in it. My thinking prior to being exposed to this quote went… I don't like Pen - Pen is permanent - It makes indelible marks - that is scary - I will most likely screw up somewhere and I won't be able to rub out any of my mistakes - I don't like Pen.
So that quote ultimately confronted me with my own artistic cowardice. I guess sometimes you don’t see the walls you’ve put up to protect your pride/self respect until you are forced to go right up to them. This quote did that. So I have since then onward tried to fearlessly make it a point to draw with pen regularly regardless of whatever mess I happen produce and Dare to Fail!

I'm afraid I've neglected this reasoning a little of late though. And have crept back to my comfort zone drawing predominately in pencil - pencil is versatile, it can be experimental (as its erasable) and so it is very practical when it comes to my work (which is fine). However, I think when it comes to Quick Sketching pen is just Great! It forces you to think on the spot, be decisive, and commit - It's all or nothing! Who dares wins! You either nail it or you don't, and so ultimately I think it is an Extremely good way to practice. So! In the spirit of instilling the above into a regular daily habit I shall be introducing to my humble blog... Ta da-da ta-ta da darrr!

Tea-Break Sketches.

Tea break sketches are to be very quick sketches done in pen while I drink my cup of tea on a break. I'll be posting them up here per A3 Sheet as they accumulate. I'm not going to commit to a daily slot though, as with the 'Sketches of the week' (which I will continue) I've found life often has a habit of getting in the way of the best laid plans, and I don't want to put myself on a downer if I happen to miss a slot : )

Already I'm realising exciting new things like - Jeez! Do I really drink 7 cups of tea a day!

Anyhow hope you enjoy my new slot. Please feel free to comment, constructively criticise, offer up any tea break drawing suggestions, ideas etc. ‘Owt to keep me on my toes!’

P.S I think I’m going to start adding the odd inspirational quote to the bottom of my posts here and there when I happen across ones that I like in the future too...

"It's the most exciting thing in the world, if you can just absolutely let go."

- Jeffrey Jones, Artist (1944 – Present)

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Necronomicon Horror - iphone/ipod touch CCG Game

I had the privilege of producing some card artwork for Lucidsphere Media last year for their recently released great new iphone/ipod touch game app - The Necronomicon Horror. The game has an exciting CCG format and is set deep within HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. For more information check out the Lucidphere website at - link

"The Necronomicon Horror is a single-player game of arcane horror and mystery, created by Dustin Neff. Players take on the roles of investigators in an attempt to thwart the evil machinations of a sinister cult who have stolen the Necronomicon from Miskatonic Universities library, and have used it to open the gateway to another dimension--threatening the entire world."

"The Necronomicon Horror combines the quick, addictive pace of fantasy card games, combined with the strategy of table-top role-playing games. You can win achievements in the game to unlock new bonus content, and there will be support for downloadable expansions in the future."