Meet the Cartoonist: Dave Carpenter

Iowan Dave Carpenter has been cartooning and making us laugh since 1976.

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“Improve Your Memory”

 “Improve Your Memory”
From Sep/Oct 2001

Self-improvement is a noble endeavor, as in this cartoon that appeared in the Post in 2001. Unfortunately, the woman still doesn’t remember leaving a pot burning on the stove. Dave Carpenter has enjoyed drawing since childhood, but he didn’t consider becoming a professional cartoonist until the 1970s while he was in college.

“This car was paid for by the last driver who tailgated me.”

Bumper Sticker: “This car was paid for by the last driver who tailgated me.”
From Mar/Apr 2004

I want this bumper sticker! Like many cartoonists we’ve met, Dave had to work a full-time job while trying out his craft. “In the early years I primarily sold cartoons to trade journals and eventually worked my way up to national publications.” His first sale was to Skin Diver magazine for $10.00. Those first victories are sweet, even if not particularly lucrative.

“This is fun, Henry. Why don’t you catch one?”

"This is fun, Henry. Why don't you catch one?"
From Oct 1987

Dave “began studying a cartoon correspondence course evenings and weekends. After graduating I went to work full time at a grocery store and started cartooning on a part-time basis. I began to sell to a few smaller publications and eventually went full time as a cartoonist in 1981.” He sold his first cartoon to The Saturday Evening Post in 1987, and has also appeared in Reader’s Digest, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. This fishing cartoon from October 1987 is one of the first Dave did for the Post.

“The pharmacy said bring back your medication and they would be happy to put on a non-childproof cap.”

 “The pharmacy said bring back your medication and they would be happy to put on a non-childproof cap.”
From Sep/Oct 2006

Dave hits the drawing board in his home studio around 10:00 a.m. “after visiting with the morning gang at the coffee shop” and works unit 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. “I also work a number of evenings (unless there is a good football game on TV).”

“Waiting Room Tic-Tac-Toe”

 “Waiting Room Tic-Tac-Toe”
From Jul/Aug 2007

Well, just how many old magazines can a person read while waiting for the doctor? “Over the years, I have seen a lot of changes in the business, especially with today’s technology,” says Dave. “I still do all my drawing and painting on the drawing board (not computer), though, I must confess, I recently found a ‘paint’ program on my computer that allows me to touch up the drawings.”

“Louise, maybe you’re overdoing the ‘forest’-scented air freshener.”

 “Louise, maybe you’re overdoing the ‘forest’-scented air freshener.”
From Mar/Apr 2006

Nothing like that fresh pine scent. Just ask the moose at the window. And the bear. “For the beginner, I would recommend studying your markets before submitting,” Dave suggests. “Seeing what type of cartoons the editors prefer increases your chance of selling.” I’ve noted before how frustrating it is for editors to wade through material that isn’t even appropriate to their publication. Thanks for the advice, Dave. And for the laughs!

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  1. Many, many years ago I sold several (ok, maybe two or three) cartoons to the Saturday Evening Post. Then I gave up. But during all that time since then, I’ve enjoyed Dave’s work. I’m thinking about getting back in the game. Does the S.E.P. accept cartoon submission online?

  2. As a colleague, I have always admired Dave’s work. He and I strted in this business about the same time and my work has also appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, Harvard Business Review, although not as often as his does. Keep up the good work, Dave.

  3. I’ve followed Dave’s work since he billed himself as “Boy Cartoonist”. Great style and gags. Dave’s a real inspiration for me!

  4. Dave carpenter is one of the best cartoonist Ive seen his cartooning and gags go together like a hand and glove I can see he studys his markets well he puts a lot of work into every cartoon and gag. Thanks dave for giving us laughs through the years


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