Tuesday, 13 October 2015

One Curious Chip .com is LIVE!

In recent weeks, I've been developing my portfolio, both online and in print, and I decided that it was about time I bit the bullet and got my own .com! In future, www.OneCuriousChip.com will be my HQ, so I've designed it in a way that means you should be able to find anything and everything you might want to see. My portfolio, about me, my contact details, my CV, and of course, my blog all have a new home! Please do feel free to check it out and click around. And if you think something's missing, or something could be better: please let me know! I'm sure I'll be tweaking various bits and pieces while I'm settling into the new space!
PS: Big thank you to Lightning Strike Comics for supporting the new site!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Transition from the Comfort of the Art Room to the World of Third Level Art | ATAI Conference 2015

Last weekend, I was invited to the annual conference of the Art Teacher's Association of Ireland (ATAI) to share my thoughts and experiences on the topic of transitioning from second level art into third level education. I had such a wonderful day, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to take part!

Because I left secondary school relatively recently (just over 2 years ago) and because I'm still in third level education (with two more years to go!), the topic of my talk was an interesting one for me to explore. Ultimately, the main conclusion that I came to was the fact that educators - both at secondary and third level - are incredibly important, and have the power to instill a lifetime passion for creativity and give their students the confidence to pursue creative careers. I discovered my passion for art in secondary school, and with the support and encouragement of my teachers, I've grown and developed in directions I may never have reached on my own. And even now, at third level, and in the real world, I'm still building on the base that I found all those years ago.


I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to say that I always felt comfortable in the art room, and I am overwhelmingly thankful for the teachers that I had for their creative ethos and drive to support me and the other students in my classes. Despite the challenges and limitations that the state exams in Ireland present - most notably, the sheer scale of the leaving certificate art course - my teachers always did their very best, and it was their ethos and passion that gave me the confidence, motivation, and excitement that I needed in order to pursue art at third level. At third level, too, I have been fortunate in the course that I picked. My lecturers at LSAD, Clonmel have helped me to grow even further, and build on the art forms that I discovered my passion for in secondary school. I have always worked hard on personal work outside of the courses that I have followed - largely because the time limits in those courses have unfortunately been severe - but without the influence of those educators; I wouldn't have had the ability, the motivation, or the passion that has helped me to become the ambitious, optimistic, and enthusiastic creative person that I am today. 

So here's to teachers! You wonderful people deserve huge credit, and a thousand thanks. 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015



"...so little time."

Part 2!  Last week I shared Heartburn, which was an illustration inspired by my usual reaction to new experiences, ideas, and possibilities. This week, I'm sharing Brainfreeze... the aftermath of that.

Initial Sketch

Brainfreeze is essentially what happens when Heartburn burns out, and it represents my indecision. I'm thankful that I've found so many wonderful things that make me excited, but there is a cost in being passionate and enthusiastic about so many things. It's tough to make decisions. I find it difficult to decide if I want to follow this wonderful rabbit hole of an idea or that one. I stress out a lot; because I know that choosing this means saying no to that. You can do anything, but not everything, and all that jazz. Ultimately, decisiveness is something I'm trying to work on.

I designed these two illustrations together; to show my thought process. I don't know if anyone will see elements of themselves in them, but at the very least I hope you lovely people think they look cool. :)

Tuesday, 22 September 2015



"So many ideas..."

Part 1 of 2! The idea for these illustrations first hit me back in February-ish, but for one reason or another, I haven't had the chance to really bring them to life until recently. They're nearly more relevant now than they were then though, considering the incredible summer I've had, and all the decisions that I've had to make in the past few weeks in particular. I'm incredibly thankful, and overwhelmingly excited about everything that's been happening in my little corner of the world lately; and this little drawing sums up that feeling pretty well.

Initial Sketch

Heartburn - I'm a sucker for a pun, and visual puns are even better! - represents my excitable side. If you know me in person at all, you'll know that I'm essentially a storm in a teacup... If I like something, I tend develop an all-out obsession with it, so I throw myself at projects or ideas or stories with a passion and enthusiasm that sometimes surprises people. It's fun, it's fast, and usually it means I produce work that I'm proud of.

Full Image

That's just one half of the story though. I'll share Part 2 next week! ;)

Friday, 18 September 2015


Late post this week, I'm afraid! It's been a crazy hectic fortnight overall, between moving to my new little house and travelling to Derry for ComicCity, as well as getting back into the swing of college life and keeping on top of freelance-y work. It's been busy, but I'm learning so much, and I'm having an absolute ball!

Post-con blues have hit hard this week. I came home from ComicCity in the wee hours of Monday morning, buzzing with a renewed passion for creating things, and a huge appreciation for the people that work so hard to make things happen. This week, I've been feeling an almost overwhelming sense of gratitude, new admiration, and incredible excitement for the future in every sense! I've got lots of books to look forward to reading (check out the photo below!), lots of ideas I can't wait to get down on paper, and lots of experiences to anticipate!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Illustration | Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Back in June, I got a message to ask if I'd be interested in doing some design work with Lightning Strike Comics, for a charity comic book called The Life and Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Obviously, I was absolutely delighted to jump on board as a collaborator, alongside some really incredible artists and writers. I also provided an illustrated portrait of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and arranged the text and logo placement on the front cover of the comic. I shared a tiny glance of the design work in this post (hopefully I'll show the design work in full here soon!) but today I wanted to share the portrait! I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!

Because the whole book was based on the very popular stories of Sherlock Holmes, I wanted to keep a slightly "vintage" and slightly "worn out" tone, and because I was illustrating a writer, I decided to bring in some inky, papery textures too. Compositionally, it was suggested that I arrange the illustration to appear in an oval frame, which is how it appeared in the final printed copy of the book.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how the portrait turned out, and to have my name in a comic book for the first time... I'm still smiling about that!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Caravan Palace

I'm moving back to Clonmel for college this weekend, this is technically my last post of the "summer." and I went swing dancing for the first time last week; so it's couldn't be a better time to share a Caravan Palace! (Note: This illustration is available as a print here. :) )

Can you believe it's September? I can't. This summer was such an incredible one, and the time has absolutely flown by! I still can't believe that in less than a week I'll be back in classes and lectures. And this year is going to be different in many ways. For a start; I'm going to be living on my own this semester! I'm moving into a tiny little house on Friday, although I still legitimately think I'd have been better off buying a little caravan and living in that instead.

Buying a caravan and doing it up into something cool and quirky and weird, and touring around Ireland or Europe or somewhere (anywhere), is something that I'd love to do at some stage. It's my idea of a perfect summer really; driving around a country or continent, discovering new places and new experiences. A little caravan palace? That's the dream!

Which brings me on to swing dancing! It's something that I've been wanting to try out for a really long time, and last week I actually managed to find a class and take it! Caravan Palace - a swing band - is one of my favourites (I fully intend to see them perform live someday! Just look at the video above! Incredible stuff!) and because I'm a former gymnast, I really missed dancing. So I took the class, had some fun, and I've been listening to Caravan Palace since.

Ultimately, this post feels like I'm about to head back into the routine. Ballpoint pen in my Moleskine sketchbook; it feels good, and familiar, and welcoming. Tomorrow, I'll have my last full day at work (the photo above was taken on my lunch break this afternoon - I've gone to that bench in that park most days this summer), I'll take a day or two to take a step back and breathe, and then I'll kick off next week in full swing!Till then!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


For one reason or another, I haven't been able to think straight all week. Ever since I came back from Dublin Comic Con, I've had SO MANY ideas and thoughts, that everything in my head kinda burred together. That, and a very hectic work-life-freelance week, means I haven't been able to draw much more than a doodle. So, inspired by the fact I got my helix pierced a few weeks ago, here's a sorta-self-portrait with a bit of an Atlantis Twang. :)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Liar, Liar

Pants on Fire. Your nose is longer than a telephone wire.

I recently got talking with someone about the best films we've ever seen; and I reckon I will always put Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels at the top of that list. It's got good, solid, characters, the use of the English language is off-the-wall, and it's one of the best-told stories I have ever come across. No matter how many times I've seen it; it still makes me laugh, makes me frustrated, and makes me excited to see what happens next. Classic British comedy at it's finest.

It's also a very, very well directed film (hats off to you, Mr Guy Ritchie!), so there were a LOT of shots that I wanted to illustrate. Alas, the week was busy, so I could only pick one. So, here's Tommy, during the boxing-ring poker game that sets the ball in motion.

I'm pretty happy with how this turned out overall. Wish I could spend more time on it, but between day-job, odd-jobs, and freelancey-design-jobs, I was lucky I was able to spend the few hours on this at all. I might return to Lock Stock for more inspiration in the not-too-distant future though; 'cause I had a lot of fun with it. And  it's a pretty good excuse to listen to the soundtrack and watch my favourite film all over again. And with scenes like this:

How could you not love it?:)

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Dublin Comic Con 2015

Super-quick, day-job-break-time doodle of a buddy who was there in Cosplay. As soon as I can get a link to Aaron's stuff online, I'll be sure to share it - he's done some pretty incredible costume work.
A massive thank you to all of the incredible writers, artists, cosplayers and friends who I was able to chat with (however briefly!) at Dublin Comic Con last weekend. Seeing my name in the credits of a comic book for the first time was a pretty incredible feeling, and I came away feeling ever more inspired and enthusiastic about comics and art and stories! Special thanks in particular to Eoin and the rest at the Lightning Strike Comics table for making me feel so welcome!

A hint at one of the pages I got to design. Almost all the textures I used were from papers from around the time the original Holmes stories were written, with a few illustrations and stains scattered throughout. SO much fun to work on!

A huge thank you too, to all those who contributed to The Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes, and to everyone who picked up a copy! We raised over €1000 to be donated to children's hospitals in Dublin, which makes a book that was great anyway, just that little bit greater! I really was delighted to be a part of it, and hopefully more projects like this will come up in the future.

My haul from the weekend! They're all SO beautiful, and the ones I've read so far have been utterly brilliant! 

Embarrassing enough as it is to admit; this was the first time I've ever been to Dublin Comic Con. I really can't recommend the trip enough; there was so much talent under that roof over the weekend that it could have gone on for a week and I'd still be learning something new at the end of it. The stalls, the cosplays, the panels, the Q & As, there was just so much brilliance to take in that it was nearly overwhelming! Can't wait for the next one! 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Chicken Song | Update 01

I am incredibly excited about this project, and really couldn't wait to share it! Recently, I was approached by Ruth Butler to animate a music video for a song she had written. I'm about two weeks into this ten week project, and I'm happy to say that things are going very well. Ruth has a brilliant sense of humour and a clever way with words, which all poured into this quirky, entertaining little tale about a chicken and a golden egg.

Because the song is such a fun story, because Ruth wanted the lyrics to appear on screen, and because I needed to animate to a high standard quickly, I thought styling it like a comic book would be the best route to take. So saying, I'm looking forward to seeing the final result, and because I've designed everything according to both US Comic Book Dimensions, and HDTV, the story will look good in print as well as on screen when it's finished.

This is just one page in this little story, but there's a lot more to come that I'm very much looking forward to showing you!

PS: If you think that you, or someone you know, would have a good voice to sing a song like this, get in touch at allie22 (at) gmail.com! :)

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Logo Design | Ortús Chamber Music Festival

Ortús Logo by OneCuriousChip
Final Logo Design
Very excited about this project! Back in June, a friend of mine - super talented cellist, Sinéad O Halloran - approached me about an idea she had. Together with Mairead Hickey, she plans to launch a brand new chamber music festival, called Ortús, which will be based in East Cork in February 2016. It was an absolute pleasure for me to get involved by designing a logo for the event!
Very loose and sketchy initial thoughts.

After discussing the project with Sinéad, I learned that the name of this festival - Ortús, pronounced "ore-toose" rhyming with moose - originates from two words; the latin word, ortus, meaning rising, beginnings, origin; and the Irish word tús which means beginning, start. The overall idea of the festival is to encourage young Irish musicians who have studied and performed abroad to come home and share what they've learned from their experiences with our local communities. Three concerts are planned, as well as open rehearsals, and outreach in schools. With all of this, Ortús really wants to make chamber music more accessible to the public, and hopefully inspire the next generation of musicians to broaden their horizons too. 

Colour studies.
With all this in mind, I began drawing up sketches in various styles and colours. I considered a wide range of symbols; inspired by everything from the passion that these musicians had for their craft and the cultural significance of returning home to share their experiences, to the dawning of their careers and the idea of crossing oceans and moving mountains with their talents. I also considered more physical elements of the project; including elements of string instruments and music notes, as well as waves of the ocean and the colours of the sea and land. 
Ortús Logo Design by OneCuriousChip
Final design.

After various experiments and revisions, the final design that we came up with was this. Encompassing the idea of crossing oceans, and returning to the island of Ireland, I included waves and 'bubbles' in a deep blue design. I also used four "strings" to represent both the instruments that will be played during the festival, as well as the sheet music the musicians will play according to.  The curving shapes were inspired by the scroll at the top of those instruments, as well as the treble clef used in sheet music, and the fluid motion of music as its played- both in the sound, and in the musician themselves, as they pull the bow across the strings.

Ortús Musician photography by OneCuriousChip
A few photos I took of the musicians involved.
Sinéad was also kind enough to let me tag along during a photoshoot at the end of June, which gave me the opportunity to meet with the musicians involved, take a few photos, and listen to them play. They're impressive, to say the least! I can't wait to see them perform again next February, and I'll share details as the event approaches on my social feeds, because I think you might like to see them perform too!

Taken while I was waiting around on the day of the photoshoot.

I was also fortunate enough to meet with Richard from Creative Productions, as he recorded a promotional video on the day, and with Bríd O Donovan, who handled photography.  Go and like the Ortús Festival Facebook Page to keep up to date on all of the Ortús Festival details. It's gonna be good! 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Illustration | Harley Quinn

A pretty vibrant character with a healthy dose of attitude; it's gotta be Harley Quinn. The trailer looks promising, no?

Digital painting is something I've admired from a distance for a long time, but never really felt hugely confident with myself. Nevertheless, it's one of my favourite ways to colour, and it's a skill I really want to develop, so I've decided to embrace the challenge. I've just partnered up on a really fun comic/animation/music video project too (can't wait to share the details here, but you'll have to wait a while!) so I figured I could do with a colour study anyway.

Harley is a character I wish I'd come up with. She's a lot of fun to draw, so I keep coming back to her when I'm trying out different styles and whatnot. I shared a few of those sketches below.

Sketched during down-time at work (I only had a refill pad).

Quick pin-up style, inspired by one of the photos doing the rounds online.

Inspired by Geneviveft on Instagram.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Illustration | Mad Max : Fury Road | The Nux Car

Mad Max : Fury Road. Have you seen it? Did you love it? Can you guess my favourite character? As always click to enlarge the images; both images below are desktop wallpapers. ;)

This was a fun learning curve. It started life in pen on paper, then I painted it digitally. I made a few custom photoshop brushes for the mud splatters and whatnot, and used rust textures where I thought they'd work. Other than that, this was all layers, masks, adjustment layers, persistence, and time. Learning.

PS: I draw vehicles a lot. If you're interested; here's a smattering of links (some of which are to external sites, where you can buy prints and mugs and pillows and other fun stuff of particular designs):
Go look if you haven't seen 'em! 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Battle

Weeks ago, before I headed off to Catalunya, I drew two of my favourite MotoGP riders - Marquez and Rossi - battling for a win. Originally intended to be a doodle/a test/me playing around, I never felt the need to share it. After the events of the Dutch GP at Assen, though, I couldn't help but revisit! That last lap battle between these two guys? Amazing.

I didn't really know what I was going for at any stage, but I had the style I used here in mind.. Here's a breakdown of me playing around escalating into something more.* 

Original drawing with pen on paper. Finished off on the plane.
Messed up the lineart in Photoshop. Added lights and darks with line and tone.
Added colour.
Adjustment layers to add a little oomph. Et voila!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Little Black Book - Character Sketches

Click to enlarge it! 

A few weeks ago, I bought a little black sketchbook. I don't know what I intended to do with it originally, but it quickly became a little book of characters. They're generally quick sketches; usually around five or ten minutes, depending, and they're a lot of fun! Here's a collection of twenty-five of them. Some of them are completely original, some of them are characters I created for other projects, and some of them are inspired by or adapted from books or films or TV shows or art that I've come across.

Some of these characters have backstories, and a lot of them are calling out for colour, so you might see a few of them crop up again soon. I've got a lot of other fun projects in the works too, which I can't wait to share!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Adventures in Catalunya

Clockwise: 1) That'd be me. Hello. I shall be your guide today. 2) The funicular, which will take you from the base of Montjuic to the top. If you ask it nicely. 3) The gardens at the Castell de Montjuic. 4) The cityscape

In Spain, where I spent two wonderful weeks this June; I spent every day soaking up the warmth of the sun, I encountered a woman who told us that her eight year old "needs to learn to ride his motorbike this summer," and between all the quirky architecture, all the wacky sculptures, and all the unusual (to me) wildlife, I spotted subtle signs of MotoGP fans like me everywhere I looked. Needless to say, Barcelona city, and the mountainous countryside surrounding it, was a pretty amazing place to spend a fortnight.

Click through to see more photos of muh face. And click to enlarge the photos!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

It Never Rains but it Pours

Do you ever have those days or weeks or months that you have solid plans in place, and then, for whatever reason, the plans take on entirely new directions? New responsibilities crop up, one thing takes longer than you expect it to, opportunities appear when you didn't expect any. That's what May was like for me, in good ways and bad. I thought I had it all worked out. Then suddenly, I found myself with a fairly intense job, my car had to take a month-long holiday in the garage, and a million other things just sort of filled in the gaps between responsibilities I didn't know I'd have. It never rains, but it pours.

That was the main inspiration for this piece, but there's another reason I felt like rain this week; because it's finally June! And June, in Ireland, is the real beginning of the "I need some sun and all we get here is rain, so I'm getting on a plane as soon as possible and taking a holiday" season. And I am in exactly that mindset. So saying, the grand plans I've been excited to start will have to wait another few weeks, because this Sunday, I will be happily dragging my sleepy self (there's a six o'clock in the morning!?) off to the airport, and from there, I'll be jetting off to the wonderful city of Barcelona. I'll be saying goodbye to sleepy days spent watching rain running down the window, and I'll be saying hello to sunshine and warmth and motorbike racing; A few of my favourite things! It's going to be wonderful to get away for a little while, I'm sure, and when I come back, hopefully I'll be refreshed and ready to tear into those personal projects that I can't wait to get started on!

The first thing I'll do when I come home though, is start pulling together a sketchdump here, to share all the little sketches and tidbits I gather on my trip. Although I won't have internet accessibility worth talking about, I'll still be sketching and drawing while I'm away! I'll also share some character design doodles I've been playing around with (some of which a few of ye might have seen on my Instagram and Twitter feeds). For now, though, I shall did you all adieu! I'll be back here before too long, probably staring out my window at rain again.

PS: Check out my friend's new lifstyle blog: A Little Amy! In her first post, she models one of my tshirts from Society6