Years ago, my first taste of independent comics came via Matt Howarth‘s Those Annoying Post Bros. And since then, I’ve always found myself attracted to Howarth’s visual style. So when my pal, AdHouse big chief Chris Pitzer, offered me a chance to email interview Howarth, regarding his new book The Downsized (set to be released in March) I was borderline giddy. This is an interview where I went in thinking I had done an adequate amount of research about Howarth’s career, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn there was a hell of a lot I did not know about. After reading the interview, be sure to check out the seven-page preview of the 80-page book (described as “A parent’s 50th wedding anniversary gives old friends a reason to reunite and take stock of their lives.“). My thanks to Howarth for tolerating some of my ignorance to make for a solid examination of his creative interests.
Tim O’Shea: My first question is not uniquely about The Downsized, per se–but rather your work as a whole. How did you come upon the way you draw people’s hairstyles? No one else (with the possible exception of Art Adams) draw hair in quite the unique way that you do (and I mean that as a compliment).
Matt Howarth: Years ago a friend remarked how weird my characters’ hair was, forcing me to analyze why. I’m afraid the reason is more a limitation on my part than any stylistic choice. I’ve never been very adept with a brush; technical pens are my preferred instrument because they afford me more control over the lines. So instead of inking hair with supple brush strokes, I resort to dotted lines. As far as the overall shape of my characters’ hairdos, I don’t perceive hair as a collection of strands but as a mass, not unlike a piece of cloth draped atop someone’s head. All rationalization aside, I’m afraid I draw hair the way I do because that’s just the way it comes out.