Skerries Youth Support Service | Client Testimonial | September 2016
SYSS is a charity based in Skerries North Co Dublin. Our mission statement is to be a beacon of light informing young people and their carers where to go and who to talk to if they experience challenges to their good mental health. To this end we tasked Fiona to design our information booklet Myself My Life.
The artwork Fiona produced was excellent. She really listened to our brief and made creative suggestions many of which we took on board. Fiona communicated very well with us throughout the project and prompted us for work completion on our side if she thought that the deadline would not be met. This was important to SYSS and greatly appreciated.
We will certainly use Fiona for any creative work that we may require in the future and I would highly recommend her work. We have received many praises for the design and content layout of the booklet since its launch.
" ...Fiona (sic) really listened to our brief and made creative suggestions many of which we took on board...Fiona communicated very well with us throughout the project..."
ICN | Comic Art Picks | August 2016
Illustration of The Punisher featured in August's Comic Art picks
"I loved it! A perfect image."
Doreen | Portrait Commission Testimonial | July 2016
Cork Horror Comic | Monster on the Lee | ICN Review | October 2015
I would love to know how long Fiona Boniwell spent on these beautifully detailed pages. The design of the monster was magnificent (oh I wish I had the correct words to describe how good these pages are so it is lucky there are visual aids included). Again, I’m not sure whether the writer has made this story from scratch or it is based on an existing tale but Liam Hughes has come up with a story that feels straight out of a book on Irish mythology.
Death's New Lease on Life Review | Cork Examiner | May 2015
(Many Furrowed Brows €10) Highly unusual graphic novel in both content and style. Death is demystified and personified as being rather bored and lonely with his lot. Attempts to make friends are naturally rebuffed until he stumbles on the world of penguins and begins to see life as perhaps a preferable existence to death. The illustrations by Fiona Boniwell are outstanding ,stark and atmospheric. Certainly a witty take on a much discussed subject. Suitable for many ages.
Irish Comic News | Death's new Lease on Life | Feb 2015 Review by Heather Taylor
Death’s New Lease on Life is an illustrated novel, written by Brendan O’Connell and art by Fiona Boniwell. I think before I delve a little deeper into the review of the story, I should give you all a little bit of background information on how this illustrated novel came to be.
The team of Brendan and Fiona came about through a whole series of events. There were people who introduced the pair, there was the Cork Creative Space pilot scheme and there was also an Indiegogo campaign. The result of it all was the creation and distribution of Death’s New Lease on Life.
At its very core, this story is a children’s story. On their website, Brendan and Fiona explain that the story delves into children’s fascination with all things macabre, but does so in a light, humours fashion. The artwork conveys this fact immediately. Fiona’s style is simple and clean, perfect for drawing comics aimed at children. She hit the nail on the head in my opinion. Ten out of Ten Fiona!
The story follows the Grim Reaper, or Death, throughout his daily routine in the Netherworld. It appears that Death has become unhappy with his life. Yes that sounds a bit funny, but it is true, Death has a life, and he’s getting a bit bored with it. Brendan is an excellent wordsmith, describing Death’s despondent feelings very eloquently. Sometimes a bit too eloquently in my opinion with words like “equivocation” and “ignominious,” being a bit too complicated for even the brightest of children. To make it completely age appropriate and a novel that could be read by children of all abilities, I would suggest using other synonyms for overly complicated words.
Getting back to the story. Death is feeling depressed, and he seems to be stuck in a rut. Once day something happens to change all of that. A mysterious door falls off somewhere down from his office, opening up a portal. Not remembering where the portal leads to, Death decides to climb through it and at the other end he is met with something that changed his world…forever. Penguins!
I don’t want to spoil the rest of the story for anyone, but I will say that what happens with Death and the Penguins is quirky, funny and rather heart warming. However there is a slightly serious note that comes at the end of the story. The note does surround the question of “What does happen when Death takes a holiday/retirement?” and Brendan answers this question quite nicely. As an adult reading the story, I was able to guess something along the lines, somewhere around the middle of the story, what would happen if Death did retire, but for a child reading this, the answer may come as a surprise and it is very poignant.
Overall this was a very entertaining story. It’s the right type of lightness for a story that focuses on the macabre. I found myself smiling throughout the whole story; with the humour being right on point and cuteness of the penguins making me feel all giddy. I love Fiona’s artistic style and I think Brendan has a marvellous way with words. If I were to give the story a score out of five…I would give it a four. It would have been a five, but the presence of some overly complicated words knocked a point off for me. To make it more age friendly for children of all abilities, a couple of simpler, yet equally descriptive words would have been great. I would love to see something else come from this wonderful duo, maybe a little novella type sequel to Death’s New Lease on Life, or something brand spanking new. As long as they keep this winning form, I’m happy, and so should you be. Pick up a copy now!
Cockleshell Gallery | Exhibition Review | Wexford Echo | Nov 2010
Working with pencil on paper, the photographic quality of her work has to be seen to be believed.
'Lady Madonna and Child' is one of the singularly most impressive pieces to go on display in the Cockleshell in many years. Perfectly capturing the majestic beauty of a mother and child, such is the captivating nature of the piece that the viewer almost overlooks the brilliance of the piece, from a technical point of view, because of the strength of its underlying message. The same is true of 'Matter of Time' which depicts the male form in a somewhat resigned posture.
"This is an artist of sublime talent"
Wexford Echo | Exhibition Review | July 2010