Artist Bio

Ahh, my favorite part, where I get to talk about me, me, me.  But I’ll try to keep it relevant to the field of storyboarding.  Still, kind of a long story.  You see, both of my parents have worked in animation as storyboard artists.  My mom recently retired from Disney after 30+ years as a storyboard artist.  If you work in those circles, you might know Sharon Forward, and if you do, you definitely know my dad, Bob Forward.  Love you guys!  And so that makes me a Second-Generation Storyboard Artist.  Cool huh?

genius

Genius At Work…

Reared as I was by such talented individuals, and safe in the fabulous sunshine of Los Angeles, I thus grew up very artistic, drawing all my life, blah blah blah.  I read and drew lots of comics growing up, and I’d say that helped prime my mind to understand the concepts of sequential art and visual storytelling.  Also watched lots and lots of TV.  That’s very important too.

Entering adulthood, I wanted to give a stab at being a “Fine” artist, but became hopelessly disillusioned and sort of segued into more technical interests, leaving art behind for a spell. Learned about computers and technology, nothing too hardcore, but it’s enough to say that I spent a couple of years repairing Apple computers, in the 2002-2004 era, when things were just starting to get cool.

One day I was delivering a computer system to a nice gentleman, and after I installed his system he tried out his new hardware while I stood by to watch.  He had a Wacom tablet and was using a program I had never seen before, Painter, and he demonstrated the most marvelous things. That experience triggered something in my brain; that is what set me on my digital art path.

Lots of stuff happened afterward but essentially I quit my job, built a cruddy website, and advertised my newly developed digital art skills online, saying yes to pretty much anything that promised to pay.  Through a process of trial and error, I trained myself to be a professional digital artist, and established a very loyal base of small clients, most of whom needed … storyboards.  Not much later, I joined up with Frameworks, a great commercial storyboarding agency, and things really took off.

Today, I’m 37, storyboarding full time, with lots of digital art projects on the side, and I live in Studio City with my beautiful wife and two amazing children.

6 Comments

  • Reply
    Therese
    June 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Max,

    Hoping you’re available this week (June 6 thru 8). Can you let me know at your earliest convenience?

    Thanks much!
    Therese
    Resource Manager, Imaginary Forces

  • Reply
    Wendi Cooper
    January 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Hi Max:

    I enjoyed ready your story (not on a board). I first used you for story boards back in 2007 I think. Then again. And Again. Then you got to big for my budget. Or was it you wanted to work on more than 40 frames? Not sure. Anyway. I still love your work – and I will be calling you soon.

  • Reply
    ericdaredAlex
    May 29, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Thanks for letting me in Max, I found this post ( and your work ) truly inspiring. I am at the part in my life where I am training myself to become a Professional Storyboard Artist, buying books, tutorials, joining sites that teach this form of art that has been calling for me for years.

    You stated…
    “Lots of stuff happened afterward but essentially I quit my job”

    In that time one of the things that seemed to happen was that you became Awesome. I know you come from a family of Artists ( how lucky are youuuu?)

    I have hundreds of questions but I will keep to a minimum since I know you are probably a busy guy.

    1. How did you get so good? Having the ability to draw is one thing, but learning the art of Sequential storytelling is a skill not easily learned. I know you had a huge advantage with your parents and all but jees’.

    2. When did you know you were ready to take on real professional work? I mean that is a BIG and SCARY move, quitting your job and going the freelance route.

    3. Any tips on preparing my portfolio? or getting started? what do clients look for?

    You mentioned watching movies is good, I actually use a program to save the movie stills so I can study the shot selections and composition.

    Thanks again, Hope I wasn’t too brutal with my questions.

    Alex

    • Reply
      maxforward
      May 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      Great questions, Alex. If you don’t mind, I’ll respond to these in… an upcoming post! and then if you have follow-ups, we can discuss in the comments for that post. Stay tuned.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    February 11, 2019 at 3:53 am

    Hello Max. This is Chris G, we were in middle school. I remember you introduced me to antartic press and I always attempted to draw like you did, but your stuff was top notch since back then. I think the teachers name was mrs powers where we met, but that was so long ago. I was looking through old stuff and being curious decided to look you up thinking that you must be a professional these days. Happy to see you are still making such great art. Take care!

    • Reply
      maxforward
      March 19, 2020 at 1:24 pm

      I think I remember you! You used to call me “mop top” and mess up my hair, if I recall. Nice to hear from you! Yes, I’ve been pro for a long time now, been quite an adventure, sorry I haven’t replied in forever. I hope you are doing well!

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