Chris Haughton is an Irish children’s illustrator and author who now lives in London. Some of his best-known books include Oh No, George! – which celebrated its tenth anniversary earlier this year with a special edition of the book, and A Bit Lost – which has won numerous awards. Her latest book, Maybe was shortlisted for this year’s Children’s Books Ireland Awards. The winners of these awards will be announced at an online ceremony on Tuesday. For more information on Chris, visit chrishaughton.com.
What is the most important lesson about money that your career has taught you?
I think the ability to live with almost no money can be almost as useful to becoming an artist as being good at art. If you can live happily with next to nothing, you can devote more time to your art, and if you practice enough, you’ll get good at it anyway.
What has the coronavirus crisis taught you about money?
That ordering food from apps in restaurants is really boring.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about money?
When I was in fine arts college, I was really worried about spending all that time trying to become an illustrator when in reality my chances of becoming an illustrator seemed slim. I asked David Lui, guest speaker and successful artist from Hong Kong, how he managed to succeed as an illustrator. He said if you’re really worried about becoming an illustrator, you’ll probably find a way to make it work. I found that so relieving to hear.
Do you always have cash on you?
Just to get my hair cut. My barber Ali accepts cash only. He is a real character who is from Iran. I don’t always like the haircut but I always come back to him. He is very funny.
How much would you pay at most for a bottle of wine?
I have a few favorites that I like and they are all around 10 lbs. If I knew it was a really good bottle, I’d gladly spend a little more.
What is your favorite Irish play?
I remember being very excited when the one pound coin with the deer on it came out. It was big and chunky. And that meant I had a full week’s worth of pocket money to spend. The Celtic designs on the 1p and 2p were also very nice.
If you could design your own euro banknote, what image would you put on it?
The tree of life. I think it’s so beautiful that we are connected to all living beings on the planet. A version of this graphic should really be iconic – I think it would make us appreciate our fellow human beings more.
What is the most expensive country you have ever visited?
Norway. It was something like €10 for a pint. A very standard meal was around 40 pounds. I felt like a student again. I bought baguettes and made my own sandwiches for most of the trip.
Are you a spender or a saver?
A saver. I don’t really spend money and I hate shopping.
The last thing you bought online?
Vegan dog food for our wild fox who lives in the back garden.
If you won EuroMillions, what would you do with the money?
It would probably allow me to do a lot of fun animated projects that I’ve always dreamed of doing – and bring in collaborators and do some interesting projects. I love doing and making things – and travelling. I don’t really want to buy things. As long as I can afford the necessities here and there and can travel, I wouldn’t need that amount of money.
Do you haggle sometimes?
I lived in Nepal and India for eight months, so I think I’m pretty good at haggling. You just need to develop an “impossible” face – but do it in a smiley way.
What are three things you couldn’t live without if you tightened your belt?
A laptop, art materials and books.