Darren Hopes Illustrator and Photographer from Truro, United Kingdom.
Night has come and it’s inhabited by disquieting creatures: dark fairy tales are brought to life in these series of mixed media illustrations.

To learn more about Darren or to purchase a piece of his work, follow any of the links below:

©2015, All Rights Reserved, Darren Hopes

….and now for our exclusive interview with Darren Hopes

How would you describe your art?
In terms of media I would say it is mixed media incorporating pencil, ink, acrylic, oil, digital painting, and photography although each piece does not necessarily include all of those mediums. I only tend to use oil in my personal work and these days I do not incorporate photography into my personal pieces (apart from my purely photographic landscape work) but I do still use photographic elements in my illustration sometimes. I am enjoying experimenting with combinations of ink, oil and digital painting at the moment.

My illustration is often described as emotional, narrative with a slightly dark surreal edge which I think is about right. When illustrating I am at my happiest with literature especially short stories and poetry but I also enjoy editorial with a scientific bent.

This narrative quality does feed into my personal work as well. I tend to draw a lot of inspiration from the natural world but I am interested in our place in it and the human condition.

How long have you been an artist and how did you become an artist?

It’s a cliche but I suspect it has always been there, the urge to create is a powerful one and has found outlets through music and writing in my life as well as visual art. I guess sometime during university or shortly after my work matured enough for me to see myself as an artist. I started out in illustration about 17 years ago and during that time I have also always worked on personal projects alongside the commissioned work.

What is your favorite medium and why?
I like to combine mediums and hope to continue to do that in various ways in both my illustration and personal work.

Pick one work of art from your portfolio and tell us the story behind it. Why does this piece have meaning to you? What steps did you take to create the piece?
Perhaps ‘Burden’ would be a good one?

As with all of my personal work it started life in sketchbooks where I jot ideas and sketch thumbnails (actually it probably started life on a bit of scrap paper first) I work through ideas in my sketchbooks, often disparate thoughts come together there, they are a bit stream of conscious which injects a slightly dreamlike quality to the initial seed of an idea.

I then draw up a pencil compositional piece, I may draw this straight off or draw each element separately and compose the piece in the computer from my scanned drawings. The process from there in really part hand painting and part digital painting, this piece was finished digitally but I am working on a similar process where the art will be finished by hand.

Here I was considering the way we work animals, the way we use them for our own ends which rarely benefit the animal, also the way we use the planet in a similar shortsighted purposely blind way, we don’t want to know the truth really. These things are important to me, I decided a while back to open my eyes and not look the other way which resulted in me adopting a vegan lifestyle.

The burden is the burden both on the animals and their environment we abuse and the burden of guilt we should perhaps feel. The goat was added a little later in the process while the image was still at a rough stage, I felt the image needed something but was not sure what so it sat for a while. I happened to hear the term ‘scapegoat’ and looked a further into where that term came from, it seemed suited to man’s attempts to avoid feelings of guilt or responsibility for his actions and I liked the irony in the scape goat analogy, it was just another example of us abusing an animal for out own ends.


Tell us about one medium, technique or style that you would like to try working with (that you have not tried before) and why you would like to try this.
I would like to get to grips with model making, I have dabbled in the past but never really pushed it as a medium, the problem is I can be a bit of a kid in a sweet shop with different mediums so I am currently being more focused on combinations of ink, oil paint and digital. I have a degree in photography and have drawn throughout my education and years as an illustrator using pencil and ink, painted in acrylic and digital mediums so I utilise quite a few different mediums already.

Then again animation? oh! and I have often toyed with producing a narrative, panel based, illustrated story … see mind like a butterfly.

How do you make time for art?
I am a full time illustrator and when I am not illustrating I am working on personal projects or development in my art, the question is more how I find time for everything else!

If you could imagine the “perfect art day” for yourself, what would it be like?
I walk a lot, and over long distances I love to journey on foot. I find it feeds the mind and soul, and I am a summer person I love the sun so a full summer day walking with my camera and my sketchbook ending somewhere wild would be good for me. Pitch a tent as the day draws to a close and watch the long shadows. Simple stuff but it’s when my mind really starts to wander and that is inspirational.

If you could spend 24 hours with one artist, living or historical, who would you want to spend the day with and why? What would the two of you do?
That’s a tough one! so many but I reckon a day with Van Gogh would be very interesting, I would not say he has had any direct influence on me but I do think he would be a fascinating guy to spend time with. I would love to talk to Sue Coe about her work I have every admiration for her.  Phil hale? … just to watch him paint and I have always loved Susan Derges and the Starn twins photography I think a day with any of those people would be enlightening and inspiring.