Q: The Flipside?

A: No, the FLIP SIDE.  Ya know, the other side of things or situations that we often think of but never really engage in? Kind of an “alternate reality”, “what if in another world..” vibe.

Q: What’s this comic strip about?

A: Police Horse. Seeing Eye Dog. Lab Rat. Helper Monkey. Carrier Pigeon. These are some of the jobs in the world today that can only be done by hard working animals. I thought it would be a fun idea to have a series about civilized animals doing these actual 9 to 5 jobs. But Murphy the sea lion is still having trouble getting into the unique and specific job he is biologically meant for: a US Military Navy Marine Mammal.  It’s a comic about trying to find your place in the world and what struggles some folks have to do to get there.

Q: What inspired you to do this comic?

A: I drew all the time as a kid and I loved it. When I started looking for work, I made up storyboard portfolios for months and months and months. I would submit them to studios, call, and follow up, but to no avail would I land a full time gig. It was at this point were I really getting tired of drawing for other people, and simply decided that I wanted to draw for myself again. That’s what made me happy to begin with. I took the year off from submitting work and started this comic in 2013. I stuck with it, and here we are today! The passion to draw is back!

Q: Where does Murphy’s personality come from?

A: Like most cartoon creators, they tend to create a main character that represents themselves in a way. Murphy is no different- he speaks his mind by saying things I wish I could say to people and gets away with things that no one could never get away with. He’s gutsy, determined and never gives up.

Q: What program(s) do you use, and what is your process?

A: First, I write the joke and/or doodles on any scrap of paper I have at the time. I get inspired easily while I work my day job. When I come home, I sketch the idea out in Sketchbook Pro, or just start in Photoshop. Once I have the rough drawings down, I ink them with a custom crayon brush (my favorite part!). I color on a separate layer, look up references for drawing and rendering my backgrounds. Then I insert the dialog (with my own handwritten font) and call-outs. It makes for a nice relaxing night.

Q: When do you update your comics?

A: Fridays for sure, I try to do Tuesdays as well. They will be posted by 10 am.

Q: I like your art! Do you have a deviantArt account?

A: Nope. But I do have multiple blogs of my character designs, storyboards, animatics, and other pet projects. Please follow @MattDownsDraws on various social media apps.

Q: What artists influence you?

A: Jeff Smith. His Bone series probably has the biggest impact on my general art style and story telling. Patrick Spaziante (Sonic the Hedgehog Archie comics fame), Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo series), Sean Galloway (Spectacular Spider-Man) are also inspirations on how dynamic and detailed simple shaped character designs can be. As an animation enthusiast, I also enjoy the draftsmanship and story telling from masters like Chuck Jones, Robert McKimson, Glen Keane, Eric Goldburg, and Bancroft brothers, Tom and Tony, and what kind of comic artist ISN’T inspired by Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes?

Q: What other things are you into?

A: I grew up in the late 80’s early 90’s, so pretty much whatever’s popular now because of the “vintage retro age” craze. Nintendo, Ninja Turtles, Animaniacs, Sonic the Hedgehog, Rocko’s Modern Life, Angry Beavers, Spongebob, Fairly Odd Parents, Marvel and DC comics and animated shows, Pixar and Dreamworks animation, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Simpsons, Futurama, Looney Tunes, Woody Woodpecker, Hanna Barbera, the list goes on…

Q: What’s your ultimate goal(s)?

A: This! Making a web-comic for people to enjoy and share!  I’ve always wanted to be a work-from-home artist that created and self published their own on-going comic  strip or book saga. I’d like to move on to pitch and create my own animated series. Maybe even work at the bigger feature studios in the future.