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QRD #73 - Father's Day 2015
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Cartoonist Dad Interview with Max Dowdle
May 2015
Max Dowdle
Name: Max Dowdle
Comics: Shattered With Curve of Horn, Greasemonkey
Websites: Artagem.com & MaxDowdle.com

QRD – How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a cartoonist?

Max – Originally 10, when I first started collecting comics. Then I put that desire aside for many years until I turned 30.

QRD – What are a few highlights of your cartooning career?

Max – Completing a successful Kickstarter campaign was a big step for me. Also, Stephen Bissette, artist on the Alan Moore run of Swamp Thing, was one of my early inspirations; not just in comics, but in becoming an artist in general. Things really felt full-circle to me when he bought a copy of my book Shattered With Curve of Horn.

QRD – At what age did you decide you wanted to become a father?

Max – When I was 5 & my parents got divorced I decided I wanted to be a father. Perhaps it was a way (in my mind at the time) to right wrongs.

QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your family has had on your career?

Max – Well there is only so much time in a day, so any time spent with family necessarily eats into art-making time, but this is hardly a negative. I don’t know if I’ll look back on my life & remember a particular line of ink or stroke of paint, but I WILL remember the smile of my daughter or how my wife holds her.

QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your career has had on your family?

Max – Art-making can be tiring. & comic-making is time-consuming. I do feel a sense of success that my work brings & that feeds into my daily attitude. There’s a level of satisfaction that leads to a comfortability in one’s skin & that can only benefit a person’s daily outlook & their interactions with their family.

QRD – Has your daughter effected the comics you make &/or read?

Max – Well, she’s fairly new, so her influence is only just being felt in the creative side of things.

QRD – Have you had problems with the lack of steady money from an artistic career providing the security you feel necessary in your household?

Max – It will always be a rollercoaster, but that just means that one has to focus on discipline that much more. Save those nuts for rainy days, as it were.

QRD – Given the limitations having a family has on going on the convention circuit, would you have showed more earlier in life if you’d known?

Max – Probably, but I can only move forward as things are now. As it is I’m able to show at 4-6 conventions a year, which feels about right for where I am in my career right now.

QRD – Do you think being a father or a cartoonist has a greater impact on your community?

Max – Hmm, there’s a bit of a similarity to both of those things. With each you hope you do a good job to provide something for the future, whether it’s aesthetic beauty or a good, productive member of society. I feel like the focus I bring to my work & child rearing now will hopefully ripple into positive effects for the community of the future.

QRD – Would you rather see your daughter eventually become a cartoonist or parent?

Max – A parent. I wouldn’t wish cartooning on anyone but the most dedicated person. It can be a very lonely pursuit. At this point I have no idea what her interests are going to be. It’s wonderful that her playing field is completely open; she can go in so many directions from this point!

QRD – Both family & comics seem like things that will take up as much of your time as you’re willing to put in.  How do you end up dividing your time?

Max – Luckily my daughter is a very good sleeper, so I get between 3 - 5 hours of work time a day. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but having a child is the very best remedy for procrastination. I’ve never worked as hard or as focused as I have since she’s been born.

QRD – What do your kids think of your comics?

Max – Not applicable yet. But I hope she likes them when she’s of appropriate age, ha-ha.

QRD – Do you think you could ever do a comic project with your children?

Max – I want to encourage her creativity & imagination as much as possible & if that means collaborating with her in some way one day, then I would welcome the opportunity.

QRD – Any words of advice to young people?

Max – Throw yourself headlong into whatever you’re interested in. The world of success doesn’t have room for dilettantes. You’ll be competing with so many people out there doing what they love & if you want to be a part of that thing (whatever it is, making comics, music, etc.) then you need to love it too. Eat, drink, sleep, breathe it.