james oconnell

Colour and Lines x YouTube E3

Colour and Lines x YouTube E3 Key Art

Everyone watches YouTube these days, whether you want to admit it or not - it's become an intrinsic part of our daily behaviour. I was lucky enough to be contacted by them to pitch for the key art for their presence at the biggest gaming event of the year E3

The original brief was quite sketchy and light on the ground - simply asking me to 'do what I do' and create the lock up for the event and then some supporting assets. I'm guessing you can hear those alarm bells as well when it comes to having such a light brief, with this in mind I did manage to wangle a bit more info from the stakeholder which gave me a good basis to apply my craft. Everything should start with a solid brief, covering all questions allowing you to be as divergent as you want to be within the confines of what's required.

Initially I began my sketching process - exploring how the YouTube logo will sit with the E3 LIVE type, playing around with the size of each element. As they are both huge brands I wanted to give them both an equal amount of clarity. After a few sheets of compositions I finally felt happy with my choice of a stacked approach. I then hit the computer to start visualising this.

YouTube E3 Stage 1

After crafting a lockup that I was happy with, I began creating a unique E3 thumbprint - something that could be completely ownable by the brand and event.

YouTube E3 Lines

The curved lines of the thumbprint also represented the flow of people through the event and their absorption of all the innovative media and hardware.

E3 Thumbprint

With the lockup and line-work in place I was then able to start looking at how this could come alive. Reading up on the history of the event - it's been renowned for being the place to be for all the innovative news about new and emerging tech and games - so I decided to bring back all those characters that have stood the test of time in the gaming world, including Mario, Ryu, Ken and Master Chief.

Characters 1
Characters 2
Characters 3

One of the major pitfalls with a project like this is how much flexibility you get with big brands, well - all brands come to think of it. Initially I used my pinkish colour for the YouTube logo - this was a bit of a no-no but I thought I'd try and push it. I knew it was a bit of a cheeky move but it'd definitely make some waves! Ultimately the decision came to change it back to the original colour-ways - not a massive killer as it actually helped with clarity of brand an complimented the other colours involved.

Colour change

The next pitfall came in the way that we couldn't get sign-off from Capcom for the use of their characters - this ultimately meant that I had to scrap the character route and begin thinking about how the identity of the event could run without my chosen route. 

I began looking at various methods of interaction when people play games and use their media, this brought to mind all the shapes on the controller buttons and the directional motions of the analogue sticks. I translated this into shapes and forms that could interact and be used as the brands essence.

Shapes 1
Shapes 2-2
Shapes 2

With every project there's always ups and downs in the creative process, it's how resilient you are when you come to these problems that will get you ahead in this game.

Unfortunately after smashing the brief I was unsuccessful in winning the gig, it's a tough hit but I stayed composed all the way through and definitely still determined to do good work for good people. Onwards and upwards.

Second Wednesday

second wednesday

I was invited by the ace guys at Second Wednesday #SecWed to pop over to Nottingham and give a talk at their Antenna venue. With the short notice I decided to go with an 'Ink & Influence' theme - talking about the trials and tribulations of becoming a creative - the highs, the lows and everything in between. From the looks of the crowd it was safe to say it was a pretty weird - but wonderful talk.

second wednesday 2

Apart from barrelling on about my experiences, work and clients I was able to get across how different everyone is an that there is no defacto method of becoming a creative, and this is what gets me excited about the industry. If everyone was the same then every bit of work we put out there would be completely identical. Don't get me wrong, silo'ing people into a role can be advantageous in the right circumstances, but when it comes to myself - I thoroughly enjoy the ability to stretch my talents across a multiple array of mediums.

second wednesday 3

Apart from being in control of an awesome laser pointer through my talk - I had the chance to meet a few people from the audience at the end and talk about their situation and current status in life. This to me was the best part of the evening, when I can answer and ask questions - talk to people about the way they do things and build relationships. Take it from me, if you get a chance to talk at an event - jump at it!

Congrats to those people who received a FREE print too, my shops going live this week!

Thanks to Chris Allwood & Lucie Delacy for looking after me on the night (-:

Image Creds:


Illustration agent

George Grace represents

Yo Yo Yo - Don't worry I'm not going to wax lyrical but more let you into some awesome news that's happened recently... I've been picked up by illustration agent George Grace.

That little paragraph break was me yelling in the air and throwing a massive fist bump to the sky - mega excited to see where this relationship is going to take my work... stay tuned for some awesome stuff coming soon!

Made North Gallery Exhibit

made north gallery

My lovely little foxes have been visiting Sheffield for the past few weeks. I was lucky enough to have been invited to exhibit at the Made North Gallery in Sheffield. Armed with a few prints I delivered a few digital prints together with some lush giclee's and when I say lush - I mean proper lush; the colour quality was out of this world!

This is the first time my colour and lines have been exhibited in the real world and I'm hoping it won't be the last, well... there is a couple of sneaky exhibition ideas planned for London and NYC coming up but I'll leave that nugget of information there for you to make of it what you will.

I've always been a big fan of Sheffield I think mainly because of the Designers Republic and Ian Anderson. He's a lovely chap who's still motoring on.

If you are interested in booking my work for an exhibition do get in touch - I'm quite an amicable young lad who loves to meet people and share my work:

Email: wave@james-oconnell.com




Inspiration doesn't come any better than in the forms of the Abduzeedo blog, it's jammed full of insightful tutorials, interviews with designers, free wallpapers and a plethora of creative showcases - speaking of which includes my colour and lines. 

A big thanks goes out to the Abduzeedo peeps for showcasing my work to the world, massively appreciated! You can view the article here - Colour and Lines illustrations


We and The Colour


Proper nice guys, them people over at We and The Colour for selecting my work to be featured on their site. You can view the article here - Illustrative work from the series colour and lines by James Oconnell

In terms of inspiration sites - they are one of my favourites and have been for quite some time, they always have up to date content that's delicious to the eyes, not to mention their editorial is also spot on.

illustration, event


glug sweden

Sweden Bound! Well, not me - but my art - I was asked by GLUG to create a piece of work for the first Glug night in Sweden. Armed with my colour and lines I went forth and threw down some shapes - wavy lines and a heavy looking Swedish flag.

For those of you unfamiliar with Glug: 

Glug is a series of events for the design and creative community. Our showcase event is held in London but there are now 10 other events around the world.
— http://www.glugevents.com/
glug sweden

One of the best things I've found through my career is that collaborating and working with people who share the same passion as you has the ability to push your enthusiasm through the roof.

Feature, illustration



Success is sometimes short-lived, in this case it's more of a tongue in cheek look at the subject. My good friend Jenny Theolin recently got in touch to see if I'd like to take part in her recent project The Fiasco Manifesto, a showcase of collaborators from all walks of life who work with Jenny on a project by project basis. 

I was given the following sentence to turn into whatever I wanted...


Being quote an open brief I decided to snap my arm and illustrate the shit out of it - because... who doesn't like tattoos? I'm particularly fond of the memory of my father saying I'll never get a job when I came home one day with my neck tattooed which ties in quite nicely with the subject matter.

On show is a total of 10 collaborators including:

Dan Bull
Dave Brown
Rob Clarke
Lizzie Mary Cullen
Oli Frape
Dominique Byron
Tash Wilcocks
Nick Chaffe
Give Up Art


Colour and Lines x Instagram


Like me, your probably one of those people who can't stop taking pictures of their food and posting it to Instagram, the addictiveness is so immense. Being such a visual person I wanted to try a little experiment using my Colour and Lines combined with the mechanics of the liking system found on Instagram. This probably sounds a bit vague, but stay with me...

With Instagram being such a visual platform - I wanted to create a piece of communication that would allow me to give back to people who 'like' my work - thus Tap the Gap was born, view the project here - Colour and Lines x Instagram


The mechanic itself was really simple, it needed to be. The thing people always get wrong with social sharing is putting too many stumbling blocks in front of the user - remove these barriers and make sharing an effortless approach. I'm hugely thankful to all the people who have stuck with me and my work - all the ace words and emails requesting prints have spurned me on to craft more and more images.


The shelf life of the project is quite limited as when it's done, it's done - proud to say that a fair few people have been making their own TapTheGap versions - go forth and conquer!


Behance feature

Behance feature

Ever since moving to Behance from DeviantArt so many years ago I've never looked back, I mean they both have their pros and cons but for me - the UI and offering of Behance stands it leaps and bounds above it's competitors. I've had the opportunity to be part of the ongoing testing of the platform too, seeing the change of back end go from strength to strength.

Recently my Colour and Lines was picked up and showcased by Behance on their homepage, recognition like this doesn't come every day as the team involved in the curation process has super high standards. I want to say a big thanks to the curation team for choosing my work which can be seen here - Colour and Lines Part Trois


Shortlist Magazine


Whilst crafting away on my colour and lines work I was pleasantly surprised to have a ton of traffic one day hitting my social media - after a little searching I found that Shortlist Magazine had showcased my work online - so nice of the fellows over there!

It's always nice to find people interested in my work - especially when the work is so much fun to craft. Big thanks to the editor ... for featuring me - you can read the article here - Captivating Colour and Lines