Gary Varvel is the editorial cartoonist for The Indianapolis Star.
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1957, Varvel was drawn to cartoons as a child when he saw a copy of MAD magazine. His freshman year at Danville High School in Danville, Indiana, Varvel won his first cartoon contest held by the school newspaper. Winning the award landed him a job as the staff cartoonist and he also became the sports editor. In 1974, he met Jerry Barnett, the editorial cartoonist for The Indianapolis News who mentored and encouraged him to pursue a career in cartooning.
In 1975, Varvel studied visual communication at John Herron School of Art at Indiana University, Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI). In college he drew cartoons for the Sagamore, the college newspaper.
In 1977, Varvel took a job at the County Courier, a small weekly newspaper in Brownsburg, Indiana. He drew one cartoon a week and worked as the production manager, laying out newspaper ads overseeing the composing room operation. A year later the newspaper closed and he began looking for another newspaper job in Indiana.
Varvel was hired as an newsroom artist for The Indianapolis News when Jerry Barnett recommended him for the position. He spent the next 16 years working as the chief artist managing a 3-person art department. During that time, Varvel applied to many newspapers around the country for an editorial cartooning position. But in 1994, pulitzer prize winning cartoonist Charles Werner retired from The Indianapolis Star and Varvel's dream came true when he landed the position.
2015 Inducted into Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame
2012 National Headliners Award for editorial cartooning,
2011 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Cartooning
2010 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award for Best Editorial Cartoonist Division
2010 Grambs Aronson Award for Cartooning with a Conscience for his Path to Hope series on Child poverty.
Fifteen-time first place winner of the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists' Award for Best Editorial Cartoon
Thirteen-time winner of the first place award for Best Editorial Cartoonist in the Hoosier State Press Association Contest
2006 H. Dean Evans Legacy Award for community service
Varvel is also a board member of House of Grace Films and co-writer and producer of the films, THE BOARD (2009) and THE WAR WITHIN (2014). www.thewarwithinmovie.com
Varvel lives west of Indianapolis with his wife, Carol and they have 3 children and 4 grandchildren.
Varvel also co-created the comic Off Center.