D.B. Dowd is the author and artist behind the illustrated journal Spartan Holiday, a semi-annual offering launched in 2012. He is a practitioner of visual journalism, using writing and drawing to capture places, events and people. Born in 1960, Dowd teaches communication design and American culture studies courses at Washington University in St. Louis, where he has worked since 1992.
He earned an undergraduate degree in history and close to a second in drama at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, graduating in 1983. He earned his MFA in Printmaking at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1989. He began his career as a printmaker, producing finely printed suites of prints for the museum market. His prints are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and others.
Dowd began to pursue his interest in more democratic art forms in the late 1990s. He produced a weekly illustrated serial for the St. Louis Post Dispatch called Sam the Dog from 1997 to 1999. He created an internet animation venture in 2000 based on the characters created in the Post work. The company produced animated shorts which live on and samthedog.com today. Dowd produced the experimental animated films The Doughboy (2004) and Scenes from Starkdale, Ohio (2006).
His work as an editorial illustrator has appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker magazine, the Wall Street Journal and other publications.
Since 2007, Dowd has been working on reportage-based illustration projects and writing essays on graphic culture at his blog, Graphic Tales. He firmly believes that the evolving dynamics of 21st century journalism will include a new role for illustrators and image-based reporting. He is willing to talk about drawing almost anything on assignment.
He has been instrumental in the creation and growth of the Modern Graphic History Library at Washington University in St. Louis. The MGHL collects works from illustration and cartooning history, including original works, tearsheets, business records and other materials. He serves on the advisory board of the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He co-edited Strips Toons and Bluesies with Todd Hignite for Princeton Architectural Press in 2006.