Tell me a bit about yourself. Where are you from? How did you decide to become an artist?

My name is Matt Loux. I’m from Eastern Connecticut originally, but I have been a New Yorker since 1997.

I wanted to become an artist at a pretty early age. In fact, there really wasn’t a decision to be made. My artistic interest and abilities have always been the most important part about me, if that makes sense. It’s the earliest thing I can remember doing and the earliest thing I remember being good at. There was really never any other option in my mind besides doing some sort of artistic career.

I think part of what formed this singular frame of mind (other than ignorance) was that I had very supportive parents in this department, particularly my dad. Both my mom and dad loved the arts (and still do) but my dad sketched and painted when he was younger, and all through my childhood, he carved wooden folk art pieces like whirligigs and bird and duck decoys.

At a very young age, I emulated this by making my own carvings in the basement workshop. When I was a bit older I started trying out Dad’s fine art materials like his old oil or acrylic paints, and began studying his many drawing instruction books. I even went to the same high school, which is famous in the area for having a comprehensive art major, and where he also took art classes as a teen.

Another seminal thing my parents always did was treat my artistic interest seriously. Even when I was young Dad would tell me that I was an artist. In retrospect I can’t tell you how important it was to be told that the thing you care about the most is valuable. Because it was the thing I cared most about myself.

How do you start your day?

I am a night owl and not really a morning person, so I begin my day late and slowly. When I get up I make coffee and sit and sip while catching up on social media and the news, and these days watching Andrew Cuomo’s daily Covid-19 updates. This can last over an hour normally.

Depending on if I’m hungry, I will either eat, then get ready, or just jump into my work day. How and when I start working also depends on which stage my art has been left from the previous night. If I am happy with how things are going, or I’m close to finishing a stage in the process (inking, painting, coloring etc.), then I am more motivated to get back to it. If I have to begin a stage, particularly inking, I’m less motivated and will take more time with my coffee.


What does your workspace/studio look like? What aspects of it are most important to you?

I am lucky to have a dedicated room in our Westchester apartment as my art studio. Not big enough to experiment with anything crazy like oil painting, woodworking or sculpting, unfortunately, but plenty big for illustration, comics and watercolors.

I have a nice big flat desk where I can spread out while staging my most frequently used materials, like ink, brushes and pens. When watercoloring, my paint sets sort of spread down onto a stool. Everything on my desk has it’s own zone, if not specific place. That’s my OCD way of managing things and it’s also why I don’t like working anywhere else.

To the left of my drawing desk is a flat file my Dad built me, housing my comic pages and paper. To the right I have a little drawer set with my extra materials and the less frequently used art stuff. On top is a papers organizer where I keep my current comic script and the thumbnails I work from, and above that I’ve been hanging recently finished pages for reference and work consistency.

Matt Loux studio space with works in progress on the wallsFurther to the right is a little shelf for all my sketchbooks, full and empty. I often need to revisit the original sketches of a project so it’s convenient to have them close by. I also have sketchbooks dedicated to future project ideas, and sometimes when taking breaks I’ll add some art to them. I also stage books here that I’m either trying to read, or am using as artistic inspiration. I don’t use them as something to work off of but it’s nice to look at someone else’s comics to get you feeling ready to make your own.

Matt Loux sketchbooks in studio space

Turn 180 degrees from my drawing desk and you have my computer station. It is a pretty old iMac where I still use a CS4 Photoshop to do all of my file prep and computer coloring, but I am set in my ways and would rather not have to reinvent my methods :). On either side are a pair of scanners. The left one is a large, basic-but-good-for-line art, oversized flat bed scanner. On the right is a normal-sized scanner, but it’s newer, faster, and much better for scanning color. This is what I use for my watercolor paintings.

Matt Loux graphic novel artist studio space computer workstation

And in the other corner of the room, taking up probably half of my studio space, is my retro game themed lounge area. For years I’ve been building a modest collection of retro video game stuff (NES, SNES, famicom, Atari etc.) and I am happy to finally have a proper, usable place to display and enjoy them. It is definitely not as impressive a space as most hardcore collectors would have, but I’m glad I’ve got it.

Vintage video games in Matt Loux's studio lounge area

The art on the wall, toys, and objects of interest I’ve collected over the years are displayed all around me. It’s a creative person’s nest and it really helps me feel comfortable and motivated to keep working. The most important aspect of my studio is that I have one.


What’s your favorite medium, and why do you love it?

Watercolor is my favorite medium that I work in. I love it because of the organic and imperfect looks you can get with it, and how different your results can be from other watercolorists. It’s a tricky medium, but it has a classic beauty to it that digital, even now, can’t really recreate.

Prunella graphic novel illustration by Matt Loux in watercolor

My favorite artistic medium in general, honestly, might be pixel art video games or 2D animation, two things that formed me as an illustrator and cartoonist far more than any other art, I’d say.

3D animation usually bums me out these days, so whenever there is a quality 2D animated movie or show I am very happy. Same with pixel art video games, which are usually only done as indie games now. Despite the technology being far, far beyond that, I’m grateful they are still being made.


What tool has improved your workflow or creative process recently?

I’m pretty set in the way I do things, which is something a cartoonist in particular has to determine early on for consistency, I think, so there isn’t much new to add. But a few years ago, I did invest in expensive wireless noise canceling headphones that I practically live in now. They are great for focusing and especially good if you have tight living arrangements or are in a noisy city apartment situation. Since I live above the City in Westchester now, it works great for blocking out lawn care noise.


When you’re feeling “artist’s block,” what do you do to get “unblocked”?

Well, there are three ways of dealing with this for me.

The first is to force myself to work through it. I’ll try and do this no matter what, but I will usually afford myself more break times.

The second is, take a day off to play games, watch shows and have a treat dinner of some kind.

The third, and probably the most effective thing to do, is meet up with artist friends for drinks or dinner or something and talk about what we are working on. That really works the best as long as you combine it with step one and two.


What websites, social media accounts, podcasts, or books are particularly inspiring to you right now? Where do you go when you need a dose of creative inspiration?

I’ve tailored my Instagram so I mostly follow artists that I admire and it’s a good way to keep track of what projects they are working on or have released to the public.

I also watch the NHK World app very regularly. I am a lover of all things Japan and there are so many good shows to watch, with topics including traditional folk art, food, tourist locales, even trains. There is also a four-part documentary following ten years of acclaimed animation director Hayao Miyazaki as he works on his movies. I watch this one regularly for inspiration.

I think now, since travel is on hold for a while, these sort of international travel and culture shows can be very important to a creative person’s upkeep.


What’s a favorite project that you’ve worked on so far in your career? What did you love about it?

That would have to be the Yo Gabba Gabba board comic and anthology shorts I illustrated for Oni Press a few years back.

When I was still a teen in college I became a big, big fan of a band called The Aquabats. The Aquabats is a SKA band from SoCal who dress up like surfer superheroes and would often fight kaiju-style monsters on stage.

The band leader, Christian Jacobs, is the co creator of the hit Nick Jr. show Yo Gabba Gabba. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a super pop/stylish kids show with lots of music and it is so much fun to watch. When I found out Oni Press was planning on collaborating with them on comics I demanded to be a part of it (which is very unlike me), and I was so thrilled that they did decide to include me. It was a dream project which landed me on my first San Diego Comic Con panel with Christian and the rest of the Gabba team. It really was a wonderful experience!

Yo Gabba Gabba board comic cover by Matt Loux


What is your dream project in the future?

I’ve been very lucky in my career that almost every graphic novel I’ve illustrated has been my own story.

Salt Water Taffy kids graphic novel by Matt Loux

So, since that is my norm, I would say a dream project for me would be to do children’s book covers, or maybe my take on some of the classics like Treasure Island, Ivanhoe, maybe some of the Wizard of Oz series.

And though they are not kids books, I would love to try illustrating one of the P. G. Wodehouse Jeeves books. I think that would be great fun.

My other dream project would be to design my own video game. As you’re probably gathering from this interview, I love video games and have since I was a kid, and they are probably the biggest influence on my own storytelling. I would love to create a game with my art style and ideas under the guidance of talented people who actually know how to program games.


What advice do you wish you could give your younger self?

Value yourself more, realize that people take what you say and do more seriously than you think, and take business classes.


How do you balance work and art with personal life?

I don’t do this well enough, ha ha.

The first big lesson after art college that I and my serious-minded friends had to learn was to not go out and socialize as much, and to stay home and do the work. To make it in comics you simply have to make comics, and there were lots of classmates of mine who didn’t really learn that first simple, yet still challenging, lesson. The ones who did, would not see each other as often, and we lost friends because of this, but when we did get together we understood each other more and connected better for it.

I think the best relationships for artists, especially cartoonists, are those who understand this aspect of the business and are patient with it or who also experience it. Of course you obviously have to allow personal, non-work, times or else your brain will crack, but you need friends and loved ones who understand that comics and art comes first.


How do you maintain your art career? Either in terms of marketing yourself, or developing multiple income streams?

This is very much not my strong suit. I think most artists struggle with this too. We just want to be able to do our thing, be left alone and create, but the world of marketing and selling projects is a very different muscle to flex. This is something I think non-artists don’t totally understand, but it’s like asking them to paint a picture. They wouldn’t know how to even start without guidance.

It’s the same with creative people and marketing. That said, I’ve gotten better at it over the years and it’s easier to feel confident in promoting or shopping a project when you’ve successfully completed others before. Still, it’s an ongoing search for the right way to go about it. And of course it’s often advantageous for an artist to hire someone who can do these things better than them (if they can afford it of course).


What are you working on now?

I am currently doing my first fully watercolor painted graphic novel for First Second Books. It hasn’t formally been announced yet but it is a fantasy story for younger Middle Grade readers with lots of beautiful wooded nature and interesting monsters. It’s been a dream of mine ever since discovering Alex Ross’s gorgeously painted comics to make my own someday, and I can’t wait for it to be finished and ready to share with the world.

Prunella graphic novel by Matt Loux, to be published by First Second: monsters

Prunella graphic novel art by Matt Loux, to be published by First Second

And while I’m painting furiously, I am also plotting out the next volume of my Time Museum series, which will continue Delia and the Bean Team’s epic time travel adventure as they get to some pretty cool and unexpected plot points, some enticing relationship stuff and a bunch of fun new time periods to explore.


Connect with Matt Loux:

Read Matt Loux:


Salt Water Taffy Vol. 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, Volume 5

Yo Gabba Gabba board book

Time Museum Volume 1, Volume 2

See more art by Matt Loux!

Contact Me About Matt