Matthew James Downs was born in Michigan where he spent most of his youth drawing cartoons, watching cartoons, reading comics, playing video games and swimming. Reading Jim Davis’ Garfield in the newspapers was one of the first things he could read on his own. By the third grade, Matt had already figured out what he wanted to do for a living: be a cartoonist. After seeing Disney’s Aladdin, Matt was inspired to become an animator. After seeing Pixar’s A Bug’s Life, Matt was encouraged to be a storyboard artist. After watching Spongebob Squarepants, Matt was motivated further to be a storyboard artist for animated television shows.
Matt drew cartoons throughout most of his grade school years, coming up with his own characters and story lines. In high school, he received the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association award for an editorial cartoon he drew for the school newspaper regarding the over-crowded school district.
After high school, Matt got his degree in Graphic Design and promptly got a job doing design work at a screen printing house. He didn’t want to give up on his dream to work in the animation industry and decided to go back to school to get his degree in Traditional Animation. While attending classes, Matt successfully completed his senior animated short film, Camel Country, a fish-out-of-water story about a camel trying and failing to adapt to a cold environment. The film proved to be an allegory relating to Matt’s own life decisions, struggles and obstacles.
After graduating from college (again), Matt and his then fiancé moved to California.
Matt now resides in Burbank California with his wife, Rachael. They have four bearded dragons, Otis, Llyod, and Jasper, two leopard geckos, Tony and Havanna, and a crested gecko named Clyde.