NCS

I was born and raised on a farm near Fairmount, Indiana; better known as the hometown of James Dean. As a child, I was asthmatic and had to spend a lot of time in bed. To keep me entertained, my mom would put a pencil and paper in my hands and encourage me to draw. My drawing was so bad that I had to label everything. I got used to putting words with pictures at an early age.  I could always make my mom laugh. She was an easy mark. The more she laughed the more I wanted to draw funny pictures. So, for the record, I can’t remember not cartooning.

I spent my school years daydreaming and doodling. My grades were okay, but it was the doodling in the generous margins of the textbooks that kept me coming back.

After a stint at Ball State University, I wangled a job as assistant to a local cartoonist, Tom Ryan of Tumbleweeds fame. It was during my nine years with Tom that I picked up the discipline of hand to handle a brush and the sense of how to craft a gag in 25 words or less.

After years of trying to get syndicated, it finally occurred to me to channel the cats I grew up with and to name the lead character after my Grandpa Garfield, a gruff, but warmhearted man.

Garfield first appeared in 41 newspapers on June 19, 1978. I felt like a proud father.

Next to getting the chance to make a lot of “moms” laugh, one of the most enjoyable things about being a cartoonist is getting to meet my peers. Cartoonists have to nicest and funniest people on earth!

Stay Up To Date

Join the NCS mailing list for the latest news, events and much more!

Instagram