Acrylic paintings on canvas that have a story told within them.
Books Dave has illustrated
Digital art, created to tell an animated story.
Dave and Shelley O'Connell
Dave is married to an amazing wife. They have four children and one granddaughter.
He is very thankful for all of their support and encouragement throughout the years.
His relationship with Christ became real when he began to study the bible. Through the years, he has been inspired to render images that have come to mind while reading the bible.
Now, for the first time in thirty years, drawings of those images are made available for the
whole world to see and experience.
Whether he’s creating storyboards for a Super Bowl commercial or illustrating the pages of a spiritual coloring book, Dave O’Connell views each new project as an opportunity to tell a story. The artist has spent over three decades shaping visual narratives for such clients as Michelin, Chrysler, Ford, Mazda, General Motors, Marvel, Bush’s (beans), US Postal Service, Alltel, UPS, Coke, Minute Maid and Big Boy among others. He has also worked on children’s books, coloring books and animations.
“I felt like I was among the art gods when I was hired as an apprentice at Skidmore Studio,” said O’Connell, who worked at the Detroit-based studio for 35 years. “At the time, there were about 30 artists and designers working there. My apprenticeship lasted two years before the sales staff approached me with projects they landed from our clients. I quickly realized that though the studio had many amazing illustrators whose paintings were well-suited for finished printed artwork, my drawing skills would lend themselves more to the discipline of storyboard art. I could draw, so storyboards became my niche in a very competitive business.
“Learning to draw is a lost art. The secret to becoming good at drawing is to draw every day, all of the time. Some people tell stories with words. I love to draw my stories and use my skills to help others tell their stories through art.”
Storyboards are important in the early stages of a TV commercial; they are often used in focus groups to test ideas prior to production. O’Connell describes storyboards as a “blueprint” for how the story in an ad will play out. Each series originates from a script and consists of 12 frames for a traditional 30-second spot. Initially, O’Connell created storyboards using markers and layout paper but over time evolved with the technology and learned to express his ideas via computer using Corel Painter and a Wacom tablet.
“The highlight for me as a storyboard artist is having the opportunity to do a Super Bowl commercial,” said O’Connell. “Over the years I have done a few — Michelin, Cadillac, Ford (the one with Kermit the Frog https://youtu.be/KaCfhm-fzZ4) and Ford’s most recent Go Further ad (https://youtu.be/HhtHflDrnAU).”
While O’Connell has enjoyed using his creative skills to tell the stories of his clients, he’s looking forward to telling stories of his own. He and a group of artists and designers recently formed Petzcreative, and he’s been working on spiritual books and artwork for his Brighton-based company, Soevad Creative Media. Since transitioning into the inspirational side of the artworld, O’Connell has been featured as a speaker at hundreds of church group meetings, summer camps and church art dramas.
“Through my recent projects, I’ve been able to share drawings and paintings that point to faith and reveal messages from the Bible,” he said. “I’m most excited about leaving a legacy of my art that reflects what I'm passionate about.”
In addition to his professional career as an artist, O’Connell has taught the advanced marker course at CCS, filled in for Chuck Gillies’s life drawing classes and taught mixed media painting at Macomb Community College. To check out more of his work, visit http://www.coloringspiritualbooks.com/home.html, www.petzcreative.com or www.soevad.com.