‘I felt like a student again in Norway. I almost made my own sandwiches the whole trip ‘

Chris Haughton is an Irish illustrator and children’s author now living in London. Some of his most well-known books by him include Oh No, George! – which marked its tenth anniversary early this year with a special edition of the book, and A Bit Lost – which has won multiple awards. His latest book by him, Maybe has been shortlisted for this year’s Children’s Books Ireland Awards. The winners of these awards will be announced at an online ceremony this Tuesday. For more information on Chris, visit chrishaughton.com.

What’s the most important lesson about money which your career has taught you?

I think the ability to live on almost no money can be nearly as useful in becoming an artist as being good at art is. If you can happily live on virtually nothing, you can spend more time on your art and if you get enough practice, you are going to get good at art anyway.

What has the coronavirus crisis taught you about money?

That ordering food from apps in restaurants is really annoying.

What’s the best advice you ever got about money?

When I was in art college, I was really worried that I was spending all this time on trying to become an illustrator when in reality my chance of actually becoming an illustrator seemed to be slim to none. I asked David Lui, a visiting lecturer and successful artist from Hong Kong, how he had managed to make it as an illustrator. He said if you are really that worried about becoming an illustrator, you will probably find a way to make it work. I found that so relieving to hear.

Do you still carry cash?

Only to get my haircut. My barber Ali only accepts cash. He’s a real character who is originally from Iran. I don’t always like the haircut but I keep going back to him. He is great fun.

What’s the most you’d pay for a bottle of wine?

I have a few favorites that I like and they are all around 10 quid. If I knew it was a really good bottle, I would happily spend a bit more.

What’s your favorite Irish coin?

I remember being very excited when the pound coin with the deer on it came out. It was big and chunky. And it meant I had a full week of pocket money to spend. The Celtic designs on the 1p and 2p were also really beautiful.

If you could design your own euro note, what image would you put on it?

The Tree of Life. I think it is so beautiful that we are related to every living thing on the planet. A version of that graphic should really be iconic – I think it would make us appreciate our fellow creatures more.

What’s the most expensive country you have ever visited?

Norway. It was something like € 10 for a pint. A very standard meal was about 40 quid. I felt like a student again. I was buying baguettes and making my own sandwiches nearly the whole trip.

Are you a spender or a saver?

A saver. I don’t really spend money and I absolutely hate shopping.

The last thing you bought online?

Vegan dog food for our wild fox who lives in the back garden.

If you won the EuroMillions, what would you do with the money?

It would probably allow me to make lots of fun animated projects that I have always dreamed of making – and to bring in collaborators and do interesting projects. I like doing and making things – and traveling. I don’t really have an urge to buy things. As long as I can afford necessities here and there and can travel, I wouldn’t have use for that amount of money.

Do you ever haggle?

I lived in Nepal and India for eight months so I think I’m pretty good at haggling. You just need to develop a ‘no way’ face – but do it in a smiling way.

What three things could you not do without if tightening your belt?

A laptop, art materials and books.

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