When David Boyer ’78 (electrical engineering technology) turned in his penmanship homework in second grade, his teacher accused him of cheating.
“She said, ‘Your mother did your homework,’” says Boyer, who grew up in the Bronx. “She had never seen penmanship this nice.”
His mother set the teacher straight and the young Boyer began to realize that not everyone had his fine motor skills.
But drawing was just a hobby for Boyer, who came to RIT in 1975 to study electrical engineering. When he graduated in 1978, he went to work for Eastman Kodak Co., where he worked in product support.
About 10 years later, Boyer found out his job was going to be eliminated. So in 1989, he started a business where he would make model renderings of projects for companies.
But little by little he received requests to draw cartoons. Soon drawing became his business.
Today, Boyer estimates he has drawn more than 57,000 live caricatures, including veterans at Canandaigua VA Medical Center and children at Golisano Children’s Hospital.
He has attended 15 drawing conventions and has traveled to Japan 11 times to work with a caricature business there called Hoshinoko Production Ltd. He also drew a four-panel comic strip in the early ’90s featuring the character “Bippy,” which became his nickname.
Boyer credits RIT with teaching him the importance of initiative and encouraging him to take chances. He continues to visit the campus regularly, attending weekly meetings of the Empty Sky Go club. The club plays an ancient board game called Go.
He also helps his wife, Cindy Boyer, an author who helps organize the Landmark Society’s annual Ghost Walk in Rochester. And he is active in Rotary, where he met Matthew Wahl, youth exchange officer for the Pittsford Rotary.
“He has a passionate heart for caricatures,” Wahl says. “He always gives everything he does 100 percent.”
Boyer says he likes learning about people and creating a picture that lasts a lifetime. Some families have even displayed his work at memorial services.
“I like affirming people,” Boyer says. “People tell me their story and I convert it into a drawing. I stay true to my unique motto, ‘caricatures that flatter, not shatter.’”