Improper Books is a studio focusing on creator-owned stories that have a touch of the fairy tale, the fantastical, or the otherworldly.
Originally founded in 2009 by Benjamin Read (Writer), Laura Trinder (Illustrator), and Chris Wildgoose (Illustrator). While collaborating on the set of the UK independent feature ARMISTICE (2013), the trio discovered a mutual love for comics, illustrated books, and the darker side of fairy tales, and set about making their own.
From that, the idea of Improper Books was born; a collective of like-minded writers, illustrators, and other creatives with the know-how to make comics, books, and apps, all of which would have a touch of the fairy tale, the fantastical or the otherworldly, and based on a creator-owned model that is fair to all involved.
Since its inception, the group has grown to include: Sara Dunkerton (Illustrator), Matt Gibbs (Writer/Managing Editor), and Bevis Musson (Illustrator), plus collaborators: Jim Campbell (Letterer), Nathan Ashworth (Colourist), Jordan Boyd (Colourist), Derek Dow (Colourist), Luke Foster (Editor), Zoë Horn Haywood (Designer), Rose Hewlett (Production Director), André May (Colourist), and Alexa Rosa (Colourist/Flatter).
Benjamin Read writes fairy tales – no matter what the medium. He is the writer of the acclaimed PORCELAIN series, as well as the folk tale inspired BRIAR, the silent comic BUTTERFLY GATE, and the children’s book NIGHT POST. He wrote the TRUE GRIT and SUPER 8 comic adaptations, and also wrote and produced the films ARMISTICE and 500 MILES NORTH. He is one of the founder members of the Improper Books comics collective, and is fuelled principally by tea and, increasingly, whisky.
Laura Trinder is an illustrator, bibliophile and co-founder of Improper Books. Her first ‘Improper’ title is Night Post, a wordless comic for all-ages written by Benjamin Read. The two are currently working on a novel for a major children’s publisher, among other projects. Clearly not satisfied with reading, illustrating, and co-writing books, she also creates artwork about books, and has done so for Quercus and Waterstones.
Chris Wildgoose is a comic, storyboard and concept artist based in the UK. Chris is mostly known for his work on titles for Improper Books such as the PORCELAIN series, BRIAR and BUTTERFLY GATE. Most recently he has worked on Vertigo’s CMYK YELLOW, DC’s GOTHAM ACADEMY and Titan’s ASSASSIN’S CREED. Armed with naught but a pencil, ink and brush.
Sara Dunkerton is an Illustration graduate living and working in Bristol. Her debut as a comics artist was collaborating with Matt Gibbs on a short story for the BAYOU ARCANA: SONGS OF LOSS AND REDEMPTION anthology. Since then she has illustrated comics for DARK HARVEST: RESISTANCE, SUGAR GLIDER STORIES, and INTO THE WOODS: A FAIRY TALE ANTHOLOGY, as well as working on various projects and commissions. She lives with her pet rats who have become a source of inspiration for MULP: SCEPTRE OF THE SUN.
Matt Gibbs is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked on games such as DICE’s BATTLEFIELD 1, Creative Assembly’s TOTAL WAR: ROME II, Sega’s BINARY DOMAIN, and Ubisoft Reflections’ DRIVER SAN FRANCISCO. Alongside his games work, he is also the managing editor of IMPROPER BOOKS, a comic and book publishing studio focused on creator-owned stories that have a touch of the fairy tale or otherworldly about them. He has written and collaborated on comics such as MULP: SCEPTRE OF THE SUN, with Sara Dunkerton, and KNIGHT & DRAGON, with Bevis Musson.
Bevis Musson is the writer, artist and letterer of THE DEAD QUEEN DETECTIVES. He would probably make the paper too if he knew how, but that would just be showing off. He lives in Manchester with his family and generally thinks making comics is a much better way of spending his time than anything else.
Nathan Ashworth is predominantly a colourist, working in a range of groups from DEAD ROOTS and VS COMICS to AFTERLIFE INC. and Art Heroes’ HALCYON & TENDERFOOT series. He likes tasty bright colours, punching mates and being fed more inks to play about with.
Jordan Boyd, spurred on by his nearly flunking school as a child for his exclusive use of black crayons, is now a critically-acclaimed digital colourist and programmer with a background in screenwriting and visual effects. Based out of Norman, Oklahoma, his work to date can be seen in projects from Dynamite, Archaia, Top Shelf, Dark Horse, and Monkeybrain.
Jim Campbell is an Eagle and True Believer Award-nominated letterer whose work can be seen in titles from BOOM Studios, Black Mask, Dark Horse, Image, Madefire, Renegade Arts, Titan, and Zenescope. He also contributed the lettering section to the book THE ART OF CARTOONING & ILLUSTRATION.
Derek Dow flirted with photojournalism, illustration and handheld/mobile game-art, before being so surprised to find out that you could get paid to colour comics that he promptly forgot how to draw. He’s determined that he’ll learn again eventually, but in the meantime takes great pleasure telling people he makes his living colouring-in.
Zoe Horn Haywood works for Read Books Ltd. and Improper Books as lead graphic designer. She has worked on a wide variety of imprints and projects, including cover designs and layouts for ‘Origins of Fairy Tales from Around the World’ series and the ‘Writers On…’ series. Zoe designs covers and interiors, both print and e-books, for a vast range of topics, audiences and styles. In her spare time, she enjoys designing work for her up-coming Etsy shop. Zoe’s expertise is mainly in print media, though she is also exploring the world of website design.
Rose Hewlett is the production director of Improper Books. She roams the wild woods of InDesign hunting bears. When not engaged in such vigorous activity, she can be found at home, surrounded by chickens, in a nest made of buttons, beads and fabric.
André May is a comic colourist from Brazil. His interest in sequential art made him pursue comic colouring, which has led to his participation in series such as Improper Book’s PORCELAIN: A GOTHIC FAIRY TALE, BOOM!’s SIX GUN GORILLA, and Eisner-nominated THE SPIRE.
Alexa Rosa worked for many years in the corporate world, but decided to abandon it for the calm and schedule free universe of flatting. So far her work can be seen in titles from DC, Indie productions, Image, Mecha, Medikidz, and Zenoscope.