Born in 1952 in Charleston, West Virginia, McEldowney now lives in Maine. He attended Allegheny College, majoring in Arts. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Juilliard School of Music in 1977 and a Master of Arts in 1979, studying the viola. He also studied and performed at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. Following that he has worked as a violist, music critic, and cartoonist. He was assistant editor of Opus, a classical music magazine, and has had cartoons in that publication as well as Yankee and Pulse. His first cartoon sale was to Punch. He has also had music articles and reviews in many magazines. He designs sets, writes, and composes for the theater.