Who are you?
I’m James Oconnell, a creative from Manchester (the true capital of the UK). I’m a Deputy Creative Director during the day and a freelance creative out of hours specialising in all things brand and illustration.
What are you working on?
I’ve just finished a few ace projects, all with immense turnaround times. One of which was a series of spot illustrations for Wired Magazine and their WiredWorld 2016 issue. Their briefs are always fun and quite open giving me the chance to really flex my conceptual skills. I love the pressure of nailing a brief with such short deadlines, can’t help but feel that the urgency really gets the mind thinking twice as fast! Apart from that I’ve been playing around with a couple of animations and also a quick icon giveaway as it’s always ace to give back to the community.
Choose a favorite shot of yours. Why is it a favorite?
I love the life of a superhero, they always stand so proud and have amazing abilities - so it’s any from my superhero collection. I like to cut to the core of each of their aesthetics, showing them with as much minimal detail as possible letting you fill in the rest with your own imagination. They each have their own special orange thumbprint that becomes a symbol of identification.
Tell us about your setup. What tools did you use to create the shot (e.g. hardware, software, pens, paper, blowtorch)?
Most of the time I’m shredding vectors on my iMac, the huge screen real estate is a definite plus - it lets me keep reference images in view whilst I’m crafting my line-work.
When it comes to working on the go I normally use my trusty MBP, it’s an i7 which means it can pack as much punch (if not more) than my main desktop go to.
When it comes down to it tough, I’d always start with a pad and pencil, ideas can get too developed when going straight to screen. The pad let’s you think things through and explore all possibilities without getting to stuck with colours and worrying about having clean bezier curves.
Choose a favorite shot from another Player. Why do you dig it?
I absolutely love the work of Radio - in particular this proper stylish guy with a baseball bat.
Their colour palettes and details are spot-on and tend to be quite minimal, but there’s enough detail in each shot to keep your eyes wanting more.
I’d also like to mention Derric Wise for having such a slick approach to portraits, using a crazy array of lines with tasty textures. He’s definitely an inspiration when it comes to throwing down awesome line-work.