Where did you grow up and when did you decide to become an artist? Have you always been creative?
I grew up in a small village along the west coast of Scotland, my family moved a couple years back, to a town that resides next to the sea called Helensburgh and that's where I am currently. It's great living here because nature is on my doorstep so if I ever need to disconnect I can slip into a forest. This question brings a smile to my face because art is almost hereditary on my mother's side of the family I feel like I was born into art

I've always been creative, as a kid I dreaded growing up and not being able to create or design things, I couldn't imagine working as an accountant or stuck in a dead end 9 to 5 office job, no offence to any accountants or office peeps out there! As a kid I was always more creatively driven, I'd make my own comics, characters, stories etc. I found it hard to concentrate and focus on anything that wasn't visually interesting, so everything academic was tough for me.

How did you develop your skills? Did you study art in school or are you self-taught? 
I studied art and design all throughout high school, In my last year of high school I had the chance to build a portfolio that could be used to apply to art schools, unfortunately, I wasn't accepted into any art schools so that was unfortunate... looking back it was all for the best, though!

I also applied for photography and Illustration college courses, I was accepted into an Illustration and Vis Com course then started studying Illustration at the City of Glasgow College, I was really anxious about studying here - because I'm a little socially awkward - it took me a month before I actually spoke to anyone.

I think like most artists I developed my skills by practice, from an early age I was drawing; It was something I did on a daily basis and over time I suppose It has just paid off, art is a practical skill so anyone can get better at it.

However, In college, I'd be given a brief/specification, then told to create concepts and develop my ideas and create a final piece that fitted the brief/spec. So I was creating fresh work every few weeks. I really enjoyed the experimentation with new mediums and now I don't feel so limited as to what I can create.

I would say most of this two-year course was based around teaching myself, finding what really suited my workflow, finding a process and finding my own visual language, so I'd say I studied art but I was self-taught, I honestly think all artists, whether studying or not are "self-taught" artists.

Have your family and friends always been supportive in your artistic path, or has it been challenging for them to understand your choice?
Yeah, my family and friends - not that I have many, ahh - have been supportive in my artistic path; my family has always been super supportive. I hear horror stories from friends about their unsupportive parents not 'allowing' them to follow their own career plans and it's pretty upsetting, so it makes me appreciate my setup even more!

What was your strongest influence you had growing up ( artists, cartoons, films, comics, etc.)?
Growing up I watched cartoons like Pokémon, Book of Spells, Digimon and Avatar: the last Airbender, I would sit down every Thursday night to watch Avatar: the last Airbender - I've watched the series way over 15 times, It never gets old.

I also grew up in the mid 90's - early 2000's so I was really into video games like Pokémon, Spyro, Ratchet and Clank etc. These games are probably why I make pixel art from time to time, the art style is so nostalgic for me it creates a chilled atmosphere and sweet vibes, I admire the style. I also grew up watching Studio Ghibli animated movies and they really inspired my art growing up, there will always be a place in my heart for Hayao Miyazaki's work.

These movies, games, and cartoons have been so influential to me and my work, not only growing up but as an adult too.

Do you have a routine when sitting down ready to get creative?
Well, whenever I want to get creative I just like to be comfortable, I'm at my workstation all day so it's best to be comfortable. I usually wear what I wore to bed the previous night, Jersey shorts are continuously proving to be the most comfortable. I often work into the early morning, so it is essential I have warm lighting to make me feel relaxed.

What part of the creative process is the easiest, what part is the hardest and what part is the most fun?
I never jump into a blank canvas without a plan, 99% of the time I already have a plan of what I want to draw, I have a bunch of character ideas floating around my head right now, it's just pulling them out at the right time. So I suppose the easiest part of the creative process is knowing what I'm going to draw, the hardest part of my process is probably the colouring process. It takes a little longer than I want it to and it can be frustrating sometimes when you can't pick and match the right colours.

What part is the most fun? I honestly believe the whole process from start to finish is fun, sometimes I find that the process of how some art is made is actually more interesting and funnier than the piece itself.

Have you worked on any exciting projects in the past and are you working on at the moment (if you can tell us)?
Although I get a good number of proposals for projects, they never go further.
I have worked on a few projects, one of which was Art Directing for an animated show pitch for Maker Studios, my role was to oversee the project from start through to completion and included doing concept art, storyboarding and animating. This project was great to work on and I gained a lot of experience made some friends. It was a little frustrating sometimes but overall it was great working with others and it allowed me to gain a load of experience.

I am currently working on an animated show pitch with my best buddy, Rel. I had an initial concept drawing from around a year ago, Rel started developing the story from there. We have all the necessary stuff completed like a lore, plot, scripts, concept designs, character descriptions etc. However we are both incredibly busy and live in completely different time zones so it's hard to talk about it 24/7. We actually stopped working on it for a couple of months but we're both currently re-visiting it, I have grown so much artistically in the past few months so It'll be interesting to see what I can make of it now.

Do you have a long-term career goal and what would your dream project be?
This is a really tough question, I am so indecisive in what I want my career to be, ranging from, being an animator, background designer, illustrator, photographer, fine artist, comic artist etc. All of these mediums are influential to me, so It's hard to choose just one and make a career of it. It's taken me a few years but I think I am finally understanding that I have no limitations and trying to decide what type of career path I should follow is actually what trips me up.

My dream project, I have so many, I want to create a clothing brand, make a cartoon, I want to make art with cool like-minded people and have a sweet memorable time. I've recently started to collaborate with art friends and they're fun little projects.

Would you prefer to work for a company or work as a freelancer? And why?
I would love to work for a company. I have looked at some local companies but all require experience/past experience which I don't really have, I would love to work for a company doing what I do so if anyone is looking to hire, you know who I am and where to find me, aha!
I would love to work as a freelancer more-so because I could work on my own terms and in my own space, it would be much easier, but it's harder to find work as a freelancer, especially just starting off in my opinion.

What advice would you give to an artist who is dealing with an art-block? What do you do to keep yourself creative and boost your imagination?
It's funny, I work in an opposite manner in comparison to most artist who are challenged by art-block. If I ever find myself stuck and unable to draw anything I naturally just stop drawing for a few days or week, I always come back better than before this has been my art-block process for a few years, I have no idea what takes place in the week of not drawing that makes my work better but I think art-block is a way of our body telling us to take a break, try something different. "Too much of a good thing can be bad for you." so try out new mediums like photography, painting, fashion illustration, making music, etc. these can open your eyes to a vaster field of influences and inspirations.

To keep myself creative I don't do very much, If I do It's just really hard to put into words. I think it's a part of how I function so I don't really know how to answer, I listen to music most of the day, watch cartoons and love drawing from nature and that's about it!

Do you have a favourite subject to draw? If so, what makes it so special?
I have more than one favourite subject to draw, but my favourite is probably nature itself. I grew up playing in creeks, looking for interesting things on the beach and making dens in the woods, I think the reason I love drawing nature because for me there's a nostalgic vibe that emanates from the work it has influenced. It's connected to my memories even if my work doesn't necessary look like it has been influenced by nature.

Who are the artists that inspire you the most today? And why?
I'm inspired by so many artists even if their work doesn't at all show in my work, their work inspires me to make art.

Willow Smith is probably my biggest influence right now, she mostly sings but overall, she's a well-rounded creative being. A couple of months ago I had a spiritual awakening and  became so much more conscious of everything, I've always been spiritual but never had time to practice. I then came across Willow's work and fell in love with everything she had to say.

My good friend Indiana Jonas' work is also pretty inspiring, the work they produce caught my eye a few years back because it was so individual to any other art style I'd come across. To me  their work is a complex mix of art styles that seems to be inspired by video games, comics, cartoons, and illustration, there's been an example of them using pixel art in a comic which Is so different to the work I surround myself with. Going back up these answers I talk about nostalgia from pixel art, maybe this is why I'm so drawn to their work - anyway the work Jonas creates is always inspiring and everyone should go check them out!

Other artists that inspire me are: Steven Sugar, Jake Wyatt, Pierre Croco, Alexandre Diboine, Naomi Franquiz, Tim Liljefors, Cristian Ortiz, Paul Reinwand, Syd Weiler and J. T. Cole.

Do you have something that you've designed that you are most proud of?
I'm probably the proudest of my Pumpkin Pete character - he was a character I created about a year ago. The initial drawing of him from back then was so horrific, I redrew him a couple of months ago in my current style and I was really proud as it was exactly how I had imagined him.

Between the creation of the character and the redraw I started to buy and watch tutorials about character design, colouring etc. although I can draw perfectly traditionally I really fall behind because I'm not as fluent drawing digitally. I never really used Photoshop up until a year ago but now I couldn't imagine my life without it. Thank you Adobe!

If you had to give 1 piece of advice to someone just getting started in the creative field, what would it be?
My advice is really towards artists who use social media: I surrounded myself with the wrong people for two years online and it never allowed me to really grow, surround yourself with good art + good artists that are going to influence and inspire you to create more. If you log in to Twitter and you see constant arguments and drama you're not going to progress too much, trust me - I know. Now that I've let it all the meaningless stuff go I have made some great friends and I'm really starting to grow as an artist.

Finally, where can we find you and your art online and get in touch with you? How can we buy your creations and support your work?
You can find me over on:
Twitter: twitter.com/mattydraws
Tumblr: mattydraws.tumblr.com
Portfolio: mattydraws.carbonmade.com

I currently don't have any online stores set up, but if/when I do, I'll be sure to let you know!