Search icon


13th Aug 2018

Lovin Dubliners: Conor Merriman Talks Turning A Unique Passion Into A Career

Éadaoin Fitzmaurice

You come to our site for the inside scoop on the hottest events and places to eat but the best stories of all can be found in the people themselves that live here.

Each week I’m fortunate enough to sit down for a few minutes with a change-maker living in our beautiful capital and I ask them about their unique line of work. There are so many brilliant minds in our city, creating incredible things, speaking out, straying from the crowds. We want you to hear their story.

Each week you’ll find a brand new episode of Lovin Dubliners on IGTV.

This week I sat down with the wonderfully talented Dublin illustrator, Conor Merriman.

He told me about how he’s made a life for himself doing what he truly loves.

How Did You Come About Your Line Of Work?

Conor was always interested in art and illustration, so studying Visual Communications in NCAD seemed like the perfect way to kick things off. He studied there for three years where he started working professionally in his first semester.

He explained that it wasn’t an easy line of work to get into:

“It’s one of those things where you have to approach people and bang down doors hoping that will work, or you put your work online and hope that someone comes to you.”

He took the latter route and began posting his work on Facebook and Instagram, where he got a lot of traction. Conor uses these platforms as an online portfolio and along with booking some serious clients out of it, he’s also grown his audience.

What Was It Like Deciding To Take An Uncommon Career Path?

“My family have always known that I wanted to draw so they were really supportive from the get-go. Obviously there were a few voices saying ‘it’s not a career, you’ll never make any money, blah blah’…”

Taking no notice from those negatives, Conor has been able to turn a unique skill and passion into a full time career. He now works for himself and is able to broaden his skills to loads of different projects, so no day is the same.

He has worked in editorial, branded entities, website design, social media curation, conceptual design, story boarding, gif animation – the list is endless.

How Do You Stand Out In The Creative Industry?

Conor is not the kind of illustrator to sit quietly doodling in the corner. He used every opportunity he had to network and put his face and name out there, which has really paid off.

“If you really want to do it just keep going. Don’t be afraid to knock on doors but never be rude or cocky. Research, see what’s out there and see how you could slot into it.

Is It Difficult Working For Yourself?

“I’m not going to lie, it’s tough being freelance – you have no protection. There’s no boss there to tell you to get into work, you have to be really self driven and if you’re not that type of person it might not work for you. You have to remember that you’re the sole person in this whole corporation – you’re the CEO, HR, the cup of tea…”

What’s The Best Part Of Your Job?

He giggled:

“The best part is being able to lie in when you need to and take as many holidays as I want… Ah no, seriously, the best part is being able to do what I love for a job and my passion is my career, it’s quite rare to say that and I’m so fortunate that that is the case.”

“The worst thing is chasing payments, all the nitty gritty admin stuff. Bills to pay, worrying about finances but I guess that’s just being an adult.”

You can find Conor and his wonderful illustrations @conor_merriman