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Q&A with Greg Matusic

Cartoons, illustration for children & design

Hey, I’m Greg Matusic, an illustrator, cartoonist and designer living in Upstate, New York with my lovely wife and our very cool son. I’ve been concentrating on children’s books recently, signing with a great rep out in Chicago, Jodell Sadler of Sadler Children’s Literary. I also hold down a day job at Upside Collective where I’ve got my creative paws in almost everything – design, illustration, animation, web edits and project management.

What inspired you to become an illustrator?

Comics and cartoons, followed by computers. My rabid interest in comics and cartoons helped me develop a real love and a solid foundation for illustration and cartooning while computers opened up a whole other world of possibilities. Without them I’d probably be piloting a tugboat on the Hudson River, which would actually be a pretty sweet gig.

What hardware/software do you use?


I work on an iMac at home and at the Upside office. My iPad has been great for documenting ideas via writing and drawing apps. For my digital illustrations I use a Monoprice 19-inch Interactive Pen Display at home and I keep a 10x6.25 Inch Graphic Drawing Tablet at the office. Creating and using pressure sensitive brushes has really helped me to develop my current illustration style. I still use a mouse and the pen tool when the style for a particular job calls for it. While my final work is almost exclusively digital, but I still utilize paper, pencils and pens for initial sketches and for my son’s daily lunch notes. Love the Sakura brand of pens, especially the Pigma Sensei, Micron and Brush. Paper? I use what I can get my hands on, although sketchbooks are a must.


Adobe Illustrator is my go-to app for my digital drawing. I use a number of other Adobe Creative Cloud apps for my work at Upside, especially Dreamweaver and Photoshop. I go with a few different iPad apps for drawing – SketchBook Pro, Adobe Ideas and Paper by Fiftythree.

What is your ideal work environment?

Any place that’s comfortable and serves coffee. Decaf only. Snacks help too. So does control of the music.

Where does your illustration inspiration come from?

High-Fructose and Juxtapoz magazines. Dribbble. Google image searches. Pinterest. The Complete Calvin and Hobbes Box Set. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. My son’s interests, imagination and the kooky stories we collaborate on. My fun and eventful childhood.

Which creatives do you admire most?

When I really started to become serious about this whole illustration thing it was Josh Agle, Tim Biskup and Gary Baseman. Three different styles, yet they all had the same effect on me – proving that illustrations can be weird and playful and amazing. Let's include Derek Yaniger in with that group, because his talent and style is way hip Hip HIP. Everyone listed under the Illustrator Pals links on my blog. The unreal work of old school illustrators Jim Flora, Mary Blair and Edward Gorey hold my admiration and are always a great source of inspiration.

Design-wise it starts and ends with Aaron James Draplin. His work speaks volumes through the use of timeless utilitarian ideals. I’ve had the good fortune to spend some time with him on a few occasions and I can tell you that he’s an absolute force of nature with a huge helping of humorous self-deprecating folksiness. Watch him borrow that description for his next big talk. Typical Draplin.