“When I was six, I came downstairs with a big book and put it in front of my dad.
He asked: ‘Do you want me to read for you?’
I said: ‘No, but do you know any publishers?’
He said: ‘Not really… Why are you asking?’
I was like: ‘I want to draw books!’ My father always tells this story as proof that I knew I wanted to make art and tell stories through my drawings from a very young age. However, growing up I had to fight many battles to keep my dream alive. I got really badly bullied in secondary school not only because I was gay but also because I would draw a lot. I remember people would say being an artist is unrealistic and I should look for a real job. Some of my teachers would say: ‘Yes, you are talented, but you should study some academic subjects as well, just in case, as a backup’. Because everyone said what I believed wasn’t realistic, as a teenager, obviously I started questioning myself. But the fact that I was bullied so badly was the strongest thing that kept me at it. I would draw every single day and I use art as a tool to deal with everything that was happening to me. I pushed myself so hard to be the best illustrator I possibly could be just to prove everyone wrong and to show who ever doubted or bullied me, that I am still doing this and nothing can get in my way. Through it all, I felt lonely, but now, knowing that people have gone through similar things makes a difference. Today, you can just open your phone, you can join groups, get inspired and get in touch with people with similar interests from all over the world.”
This post is part of our ‘A day in the life’ series. Conor will take over and post exclusively in our “Stories” for a whole day giving you insights into his creative process and what it’s like to be an illustrator in Dublin. Follow us on Instagram! — @humansofdub — and find out more here: http://www.conormerriman.com