Fiona McDonnell Illustration


Fiona is a freelance illustrator providing bespoke illustration and design for a variety of industries; advertising, editorial, events, merchandise, and heritage.

She’s worked with clients such as; LUSH, Dazed, Facebook, The Dead Rabbit Whiskey, Goethe Institute, and NI Screen. Fiona’s work stands out for its representation of a diverse set of people, its vivid colour palette and its unapologetic take on societal issues.

“What people know my work for is my unique style and voice of illustration.  I often work with local arts organisations which helps my work stand out and be seen by a variety of people in Belfast.”

We asked Fiona why she decided to make Ormeau home:

“I've lived on the Ormeau Road for nearly 7 years, but I've had family and friends living in this area my whole life. I've always felt a connection to Ormeau, so after moving back to Belfast after Uni it was the natural place to live for me. It's the combination of it being a mixed area, closeness to town, and it's variety of public spaces that make me love living here.

Ormeau Park is my favourite place in the area, it feels like you're not even in a city when you get into the park. It feels like a natural outdoor space rather than a perfectly curated public park.”

Illustration involves hours and hours of tedious work, but more so in the 'thinking' rather than 'drawing'. I think some people think we're just so naturally creative that we come up with cool ideas quite quickly, and the drawing is the labour intensive bit. It's actually the opposite, I spend the majority of projects doing LOTS of messy thumbnails and sketches before settling on a final idea, it's a test of patience but always worth it when you get the lightbulb moment. But yeah being a professional creative is rarely built on 'talent', and more so dedication I think!

Fiona told us about what she hopes to see happen in Ormeau:

“Ormeau is definitely losing its working class roots, rents are going up and up and it's forcing the generations of families and people who have lived here out of the area. I was born and raised in Belfast and Ormeau Road was always seen as the place where it didn't matter where you were from or what your religion, income etc was, everyone could live on Ormeau.

But in the last few years it's obvious that's changing due to rent increases and demand for the area, so what I would love to see is rents being capped so we can still maintain that mix of people in the area.”

We end on Fiona’s recommendations of other Ormeau businesses: