Known to the Police? What I’ve Learned About Garda Vetting

In just about any profession in Ireland, if you work with children or vulnerable people, you’ve probably had to go through a background check by the Gardaí – Ireland’s police force – but for children’s writers and illustrators, it can get especially complicated and repetitive. If you’ve been doing this long enough, you’ll know exactly what I mean. I’ve…

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Going Full-Time: Life as a Self-Employed Artist

Ah, the things we do for love! I’ve seen a lot of different elements of this discussed on social media, but I thought it was time to write a proper breakdown of what you should expect if you decide to go full-time as a self-employed artist. This is aimed particularly at those of you in Ireland, and specifically writers,…

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If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get: Arts Council Funding

Every time a new round of Arts Council bursaries is announced in Ireland, we see a rake of people online talking about the difficulty of applying or, later, expressing their disappointment at not getting the funding after that tense wait. I’ve been applying for these things for years, I’ve read and listened a lot, I’ve been rejected and I’ve…

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Under the Eyes of Dragons

This is a painting I did last year, commissioned by my brother Marek and a few of his gamer mates, in honour of the longest RPG campaign they ever ran. I’ve done a few paintings for them over the years, and they’re always fun, giving me the chance to stretch myself in ways that I don’t often get on…

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Never Knowing

I want to talk about uncertainty, and how it is both a blessing and a curse for artists. It is the cause of our doubt, our frustration and insecurity, but it is also the abyss we choose to venture into, that we mine for treasures and attempt to fill with our art. Without that open space, we couldn’t do…

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The Language You Didn’t Know You’d Learned

Pictures are the language you learned without realising it. From before you were born, they have been influencing, informing and enriching your life. They were the illustrations in the books about babies your parents read with nervous anticipation as they waited for you to emerge from the womb. They were the health promotion posters on the walls of the…

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Mind Your Language

It was a typical evening in our home. Our fifteen-year-old boy had just finished chasing his two little sisters around the house to get them good and wound up before bedtime. I was in the middle of explaining to our five-year-old why she couldn’t sleep in the cat’s bed, when our six-and-a-half-year-old (that half is very important), asked me:…

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