The Belfast-based artist Benji Connell is a trained architect who has brought his unique visual approach and skills over to the world of illustration with great success. With CAD and 3D modelling taking over in architectural illustration and spatial design, Benji believes the that the pencil is the best way to explore the stories that the built environment has to tell – across editorial, advertising, publishing, architectural illustration and concept design.
Benji’s clients love the passion he has for exploring these narratives, his attention to detail and his collaborative style of working. He takes their ideas and pushes them further, and through his line work the warmth of the human hand is always present.
He has a BSc in Architecture from Queens University, Belfast, and a Diploma in Architecture from the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow. Influences include Ralph McQuarrie, Geoff Darrow and Moebius.
Viewing illustration as a means of storytelling, Benji either draws on paper and scans it in, or works directly in Procreate. He uses Photoshop to bring the piece together, crowning the visual narrative with a bit of colour.
Whether he uses a loose and expressive drawing style, or one that’s tighter and more accurate, Benji infuses his line drawings with details that convey the energy and atmosphere of the setting he’s creating.
2014 – Royal Society of Ulster Architects – Alan Barnes Award
2018 – Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture – John Kinross Scholarship
Client list Benji’s clients include the architectural firms BDP and Hawkins Brown, as well as New Champion Management, Oh Yeah Music Centre and Motive Peak.