Ciara lives and works in Dublin, Ireland. She studied at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. She has experienced exciting success with her work, including having her work exhibited at the National Museum of Decorative Arts and History. Ciara is mother to one son and has written and illustrated four children’s books.
Images courtesy of Ciara Gavin.
I get ideas from everywhere - from my own experiences as a child to watching my son grow up. It’s the little things he says or the special way a child sees and interprets their world that gives me inspiration.
He is always the first person I read a new story to. I have a trick that I use, when he’s doing something else, I’ll read out a story half way to him and then stop and if he doesn’t look up and ask ‘and then what happens?’ I’ll know I need to work on it some more.
Becoming a mother is really the reason I began to make picture books. When my son was little I was always making up stories for him and drawing them out and the characters really became a part of our lives. I wanted to be able to share our stories with other children and it felt like a very natural choice to try my hand at making picture books.
My son is 9 now so is at an age where he can choose to read by himself but we have still maintained our tradition of reading together in the evenings. It is honestly my favourite part of the day. I make a point of including picture books now and then, as I firmly believe they are for all age groups and an older child will simply have a different level of appreciation.
It’s a strange feeling, I don’t think I’ve really gotten used to that. I think the most surreal part is when I hear someone talking about one of my characters or a scene from the book and I think how strange that that thought used to only exist inside my head and now it’s out there in the world being shared with children in countries I’ve never even been to. That truly staggers me and I feel really humbled and honoured by that.
Mornings are my favourite time to work, I feel energized and organized for a few hours everyday and then I slowly wilt toward bedtime. Because I am a single parent, my hours are not always consistent and I work around my son’s routine so I mainly work while my son is at school and then again late in the evenings when he goes to bed.
Spending time with friends and family is where my priorities are when I’m not working and I try to get outdoors in nature and go walking as often as possible.