At Star Editions we are lucky to work with such talented artists, such as Richard O’Neil. Richard’s art revisits a classic era of poster design, taking many elements of popular 1950’s travel art, while remaining current and vibrant.
For the first installment of our soon to be regular ‘Artist of the Week’ blog feature, we sat down with the super talented Richard O’Neill to find out exactly what makes him tick. We’ve had the pleasure to work with Richard for over a year now and see him develop into one of the world’s most prolific Contemporary Travel Artists.
Make sure you follow him on Facebook for his most up-to-date commissions and then check-out the full range available now, exclusively from Star Editions Ltd.
You can find his work on Star Editions here
How long have you been illustrating for?
How do you work?
I hand draw my artwork on an Apple iPad using a stylus.
What’s your background?
Not artistic at all! Although some of my jobs have included elements of
design and desktop publishing. I’ve done lots of different jobs over
the years, but being an artist is definitely the most satisfying. My
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
A love of the work, lots of patience, an eye for detail and a bit of
imagination. A supportive partner also helps!
Explain what you do in 100 words
My official description states I am “a digital artist specialising in
hand drawn contemporary landscapes.” What that means is that I draw
pictures on my iPad using a stylus. However although I work digitally, I
don’t use many of the shortcuts that technology allows. I try to work
in quite a simple way – lines are drawn and coloured by hand as I think
that it gives my work a more human touch. Sometimes the pictures I draw
are specific commissions for individuals or organisations, other times
they may be subjects that I particularly want to tackle or that have
been suggested to me.
What art do you most identify with?
I like vibrant colours, strong contrast and simple compositions.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
It depends on my mood. Sometimes I enjoy extremely detailed work, other
times something that can be finished quite quickly is more satisfying. I
do like drawing coastal scenes and cities particularly.
What themes do you pursue?
Lots! Specific locations, types of building or even times of day.
What’s your favourite art work?
Too many to list!
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
I’m very lucky to live in a beautiful part of the world (North
Yorkshire) where there’s no shortage of inspiration for pictures.
Family trips out supply me with endless reference photos and
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Chef, journalist, information manager.
I’ve always drawn and painted for myself – I think it’s just
something some people need to do. I’ve been very lucky in finding a
niche in which I can produce commercial work. It’s incredibly
satisfying to know you can create something that other people not only
like, but are willing to buy and often display in their homes. It’s
also pretty cool to go into shops and see your work on the shelves!
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Some people say they love it, which is all I could ask for.
What do you dislike about the art world?
There is sometimes an assumption that digital work is an easy option and
requires less skill than using traditional materials. Having worked in a
few different mediums, I can assure you that is not the case!
What do you like about your work?
The opportunity to reach lots of people and the flexibility and freedom
it allows me.
What research to you do?
It depends on the project. Sometimes I’ll do a specific site visit,
sometimes I might already have something stored away that can help. The
internet is invaluable though.
What is your dream project?
Something that would reach more people than anything I’ve done thus
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to
I’m not sure I’m the best judge of that. Three artists I
particularly admire would be Jack Kirby, Alex Ross and Brian Cook. But I
certainly wouldn’t put myself in the same league as any of them.
Favourite or most inspirational place?
North Yorkshire. God’s own county!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I’ve never actually met anyone else who does the kind of thing I do,
so nobody’s ever really given me advice – not that I wouldn’t
welcome some! If I could offer some advice to my younger self who was
just starting down this road I’d say pick your subjects very
carefully, don’t get distracted and never ever give up!
Professionally, what’s your goal?
To hopefully improve in my work and reach a wider audience.
How did you get into creating Travel Posters?
It’s a style I’ve always liked and after a trip on a local heritage
railway having just bought a new iPad something just clicked.
Out of all of the locations you’ve illustrated, which was your
favourite and why?
There’s a picture of London I did a few years ago with London Bridge
in the foreground and the city stretching out behind. It took me months
to do at the time, although I’d probably be a bit quicker now. I do
like the level of detail in it, although I couldn’t do ones like that
all the time!
Do you have any new locations potentially coming soon?
All the time! I usually put them on my Facebook page at
Which location would you be most keen to illustrate that you haven’t
already and why?
I’d like to do some more international locations, although I have
started to tackle that a bit this year.