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Sandbox Spotlight: MATT ROWE, Comic Creator / Artist

THE CONVENTION COLLECTIVE: Thank you for joining us in the Spotlight, Matt! How did you get into art and why did you want to become an artist?

Matt Rowe: I got into art similar to anyone, I enjoyed it as a kid. At the end of high school, you have a decision, what do you want to do with the rest of your life? I had two top contenders, business or drawing comics. Now a few years into doing comics I’m finding out how similar those two paths ended up being. For as to why, I’d probably say the freedom of choice that art gives you as a career is by far the best I’ve experienced out of any other field, that and it’s just kickass to draw!

TCC: What was the first work you completed, where you stepped back and thought, “Yes, y’know what, I can do this for a living!”?

Matt: To me comics are like an addiction, It was probably my first creator-owned book THE DEVIVATION VIVID. A gritty hero thriller, Vivid is fighting bio-engineered monsters who derive from her own genetics. In a quarantined city that comes with a lot of its own mysteries. The comic took me a long time to create, which I think is why I’m so invested in her, I was working and going to school while doing comics on the side. I finished it just in time for a local comics festival where I sold some of the printed books, to be honest, my young self-expected a larger reception than what it got. The project left me pretty drained, but after a few weeks off I needed to do it again. 

TCC: Which artists inspire you? And they don’t have to be in the medium you work in, either…

Matt: Artistically inspired by guys like Greg Capullo, Lee Weeks, Mitch Gerads, Jim Lee, Clay Mann. DC Comics has a lot of talent in their books. 

TCC: Can you tell us your greatest fan moment, interacting with a personal hero of yours where you may have gone a little weak at the knees?

Matt: I met Tim Sale at Fan Expo, a really great guy, and artist. I told him how much I loved his iconic pumpkin Batman illustrations, and when he was signing my book he drew a quick Batman with a sharpie in my Batman Haunted Knight book. 

TCC: What is your favorite fandom? Who is your favorite comic book character/movie/tv character?

Matt: MCU probably, Marvel has just been able to do so much at such a high level. To me, that’s hard to beat.

TCC: Outside of the ones you create for a living, what characters/stories do you like drawing the most in your spare time?

Matt: For a long time it was the popular ones, Spider-Man, Batman, Hellboy, but lately it’s been my own stuff, mainly stuff I’m not sharing but hope to one day. Just developing my own creative universe. 

TCC: What’s your working routine? Do you work regular set hours and days, keeping certain days free for personal time, or do you find you create any time the muse takes you?

Matt: I like working at night, it’s quiet, often free from distractions. Which makes it difficult to keep regular hours. I’m normally waking up late afternoon 3pm, regular routine from there, breakfast, shower, work till dinner, work some more till it’s time to cool down for the day usually around 1 or 2 am. I try to put in a full 8hrs, if I’m finding drawings not working out that day then I fill my time with other office work, writing, website updates, story plans, etc.

TCC: When you’re creating, what do you use for background noise? Some artists use music or podcasts, some use a TV show that they just can listen to in the background. What do you use?

Matt: Just about anything that doesn’t take my attention away from the work. Music, podcasts, some TV, and movies but I have to have seen them already so that I can just listen and keep my eye on the page. 

TCC: What was the first comic con that you remember attending? And, indeed, what was the last?

Matt: Probably would’ve been one of my local conventions. I’m in London, Ontario, Canada. So that would’ve been the London Comic Con. Both my first and my last. 

TCC: What’s your favorite element of a comic convention? And which bits could you easily leave behind?

Matt: My favorite is definitely Artist Alley, so much creativity there. I’ve met a lot of peers, friends, and creators there. I always feel more inspired after walking out of that part of the convention. 

I think going into a post-covid world I think I could leave behind handshakes, maybe add a bit more distance to the convention instead of cramming so many people into the buildings. 

TCC: At a convention, when you’re not behind your table or doing the things you have to do at a con, which corner of the show would we find you in?

Matt: Food areas, I usually go long periods of time forgetting to eat due to the excitement and busyness of a con, or the dollar comic bins!

TCC: With the lack of conventions, a lot of artists are taking commissions online and mailing them out to people – is this something you’re doing? 

Matt: I am not, I’ve stepped back from most commissions and have been focused purely on making comics. 

TCC: A lot of creatives are also taking to crowdfunding – such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo – to generate income from their work. What’re your thoughts on that?

Matt: I think crowdfunding is the future of publishing, I just wrapped up a Kickstarter, Nightmare Man with writer Matthew Wilding. I plan to launch my own Kickstarter this spring. 

TCC: What projects have you recently finished? What are you working on at the moment, what projects are coming up that you can talk about? 

Matt: NIGHTMARE MAN (editor’s note, check out the review we did here) was recently published but I finished that in the Fall. It’s funny, what’s finished and what we’re able to share are commonly two different things. I’ve been working on my creator-owned comic which will be a high-octane fantasy battle story revolving around a creature from the underworld seeking the truth. 

TCC: How do you stay connected with fans? Do you use a mailing list or newsletters, are you active on social media?

Matt: You can connect with me on Instagram or Twitter @mattroweart, I also have a website where you can sign up for the Roweverse Newsletter to be updated first on my upcoming stories and see some exclusive content, at mattroweart.com . 

TCC: Where can people see an example of your art online? 

Matt: @mattroweart or mattroweart.com

Thanks Matt for your time!

We at The Convention Collective want to showcase the very best in creative talent. Are you a creator who would like to be featured in our weekly Sandbox Spotlight? Leave a comment here, or reach out to us at admin@TheConventionCollective.com

Dan Berry
Dan Berry
Dan Berry is a man of mystery, an enigma that flits from convention to convention like a spectre, like a spirit. His interests range far and wide: he cannot be determined, he cannot be defined, he cannot be contained. He's like the wind. He also is a Sagittarius and enjoys a nice Italian.

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