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Meet the Cartoonist: Pat Hardin

“Many people have the mistaken notion that cartooning is about drawing,” says Post Cartoonist Pat Hardin. “The real meat of it is writing.”

“Escaped Prisoner”

From Sep/Oct 2006

Back when jailbirds wore stripes, this escapee found a good spot to blend in. I had to click on the image for a closer view. Nowadays the jumpsuits are orange—maybe they pose as traffic cones? Pat Hardin lives and works in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. Hardin is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint with degrees in Philosophy and Psychology.

“What kind of bulbs did you put in here?”

From Mar/Apr 2011

Well, light bulbs, of course! I found this cute gardening ‘toon in a recent issue of the Post. Pat left the investigative field in 1983 to pursue a career in graphic design and illustration. Shortly thereafter, he began cartooning and discovered his passion. Pat’s cartoons appear in various books and periodicals in the U.S. and abroad, but he happily reminds us that “my very first national exposure was in The Saturday Evening Post in 1987.”

“Didn’t you know I was a family practice physician?”

"Didn’t you know I was a family practice physician?"

From Jan/Feb 1998

Whoa, a new slant on the term “family practice”! I find myself wondering how a cartoonists works—does he draw with a computer device or what? “Once I have a gag worthy of carrying through to a completed cartoon, I work out the characters in pencil and then ink them on a light box. I usually use a rapidograph technical pen for this.” This is the kind of stuff I love learning from these guys.

“Has the medication had any other side effects?”

"Has the medication had any other side effects?"

From Nov/Dec 2006

Other than the urge to brain my doctor with my purse, no. Obviously, it’s coming up with the gag that’s a challenge. “Too many people have the mistaken notion that cartooning is about drawing,” Pat says. “The real meat of it is writing. Great art and a lousy gag inevitably earns rejection.” He’s right—what’s the point if it isn’t funny? But above drawing ability, Pat believes “it’s important to study humor and writing. There are a number of books on humor writing that I have found invaluable in writing gags.”

“Remember: medical insurance is like a hospital gown—you’re never covered as much as you think you are.”

"Remember: medical insurance is like a hospital gown—you’re never covered as much as you think you are."

From Sep/Oct 2003

Now here’s a doctor who knows what he’s talking about. This appeared eight years ago in the Post. “I also found it helpful to study the history of cartooning itself,” Pat writes. “Besides being fascinating (Did you know that Martin Luther commissioned and wrote the very first cartoons?) one learns the rules of the modern cartoon and how they came to be. Knowing this allows one to know when it’s appropriate to break them.”

“I need time to consider your fabulous offer—give me your number, and I’ll call you back tomorrow night at dinner.”

 "I need time to consider your fabulous offer—give me your number, and I’ll call you back tomorrow night at dinner."

From Jul/Aug 2009

Cartoonists love giving it back to telemarketers in spades. That’s because they know we want to do just that. “After many years of maintaining a separate studio I converted the upstairs of my home and now work there,” says Pat. “This has worked out very well for me, even if I sometimes have to look for reasons to leave the house.”

“That was the most spins I ever saw anyone do.”

"That was the most spins I ever saw anyone do."

From Nov/Dec 2002

Well, that’s what you get for showing off! I think this is my favorite Pat Hardin cartoon. Pat has a son, Trevor, a recent Columbia graduate, and a grandson, Noah.

Keep up-to-date with the best cartoons in the business in the pages of The Saturday Evening Post.

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  • RP

    MR. Hardin nice to see that you made it . A out of flint ( I assume ) and B getting to raise hi in the ranks, I hope getting where all your work has brought you nothing but happiness….Truly congratulations
    Ron Patterson

  • Charles Neumann

    Funny cartoons, and I can agree the success of the cartoon is due more to the writing then the art work, though the drawing helps. Good information about his work from Mr. Hardin. Keep up the good work..