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David Thomas Rees (/rs/ "reece";[1] born June 22, 1972) is a humorist and cultural critic. He first rose to prominence as a cartoonist whose best known work combined bland clip art with "trash talk". He moved on to his Artisanal Pencil Sharpening service and published a related book. He once appeared on Going Deep with David Rees.

David Rees
David Rees (American cartoonist).jpg
Rees in 2012
Born (1972-06-22) June 22, 1972 (age 47)
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
Area(s)Cartoonist, writer, artist, television host
Notable works
Get Your War On
Spouse(s)Sarah Rees (2002-2009) Emily Yoshida (2018-present)

Early lifeEdit

Rees grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina[citation needed] and was an avid reader of Rex Morgan, M.D. comics. He is a graduate of Oberlin College, and drew comics for the school's newspaper, The Oberlin Review.[2]



Rees first became known for his office-cubicle humor that was inspired by his experience working in a basement for Citicorp. He also pulled his humor from his experience as a part-time fact-checker for Maxim and Martha Stewart Weddings magazines.

There are 5 collected volumes of his work. His best known and most controversial comic is Get Your War On, which has been translated into French, Spanish and Italian.[3] When the follow-up volume, Get Your War On II was published, Rees donated all the royalties of both books (more than $100,000) to Adopt-a-Minefield[4], an organization that works to remove landmines from post-conflict areas. He is also the author of the comic strips My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable, My New Filing Technique is Unstoppable, and Adventures of Confessions of Saint Augustine Bear.

Artisanal Pencil SharpeningEdit

In July 2010, Rees announced his Artisanal Pencil Sharpening service, where - for prices starting at $500.00 - people can mail in their own pencils to be sharpened by him, or receive a sharpened pencil provided by the craftsman. According to the site, "...craftsman David Rees still practices the age-old art of manual pencil sharpening. His artisanal service is perfect for artists, writers, and standardized test takers. Shipped with their shavings and a 'certificate of sharpening', these extra-sharp pencils make wonderful gifts."[5][6][7] His book, How to Sharpen Pencils, was released on April 16, 2012.


In July 2014 the show Going Deep with David Rees launched on the National Geographic Channel. The show features Rees humorously investigating the science and process behind very basic tasks such as making ice, lighting matches and the tying of shoelaces.[8] For the second season, the show moved to the Esquire Network.[9]

Rees hosted the weekly podcast Election Profit Makers with his childhood friend Jon Kimball, in which they discussed the prediction market website[10] before the 2016 U.S. presidential election.


In late 2014 via his SoundCloud page, Rees released Aphex Swift, a collection of eight songs that combined the vocals of Taylor Swift and the electronic music of Aphex Twin. The collection received positive mentions ranging from The Verge, which called it "bizarrely good",[11] to The A.V. Club [12] and Time.[13]


Over his career Rees has written for a variety of publications. Since May 2005, Rees has been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post. In 2013, Rees began writing for Wired's first scripted web series Codefellas.[14][15][16]

Personal lifeEdit

As a young man, he and three of his friends recorded over 2,000 songs as members of a "secret band." [17]

Rees has a younger brother named Peter, who currently works in Chicago.[18]

Rees was married to a woman named Sarah from around 2002 until their divorce around 2009.[19]

On June 16, 2018, Rees married film critic Emily Yoshida at a ceremony in North Carolina. The couple live and work in NYC.[20]

In 2010, Rees worked as a civil servant for the United States Census Bureau, a position that engendered his interest in pencils. During that time, Rees lived in Beacon, New York.[21]


  • Get Your War On. Brooklyn: Soft Skull, 2002. ISBN 1-887128-76-X.
  • My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable. New York: Riverhead, 2003. ISBN 1-57322-373-5.
  • My New Filing Technique is Unstoppable. New York: Riverhead, 2004. ISBN 1-57322-382-4.
  • Get Your War On II. New York: Riverhead, 2004. ISBN 1-59448-048-6.
  • Get Your War On: The definitive account of the war on terror, 2001-2008. Brooklyn: Soft Skull, 2008. ISBN 1-59376-213-5.
  • How to Sharpen Pencils: A Practical and Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening. Melville House, 2012. ISBN 1-61219-040-5.


  1. ^ MotherboardTV: "The Finer Points of David Rees". Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  2. ^ Higgins, Chris (August 24, 2014). "Pooters, SkyMall, and Haterade - The David Rees Interview". Mental Floss. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  3. ^ "Get Your War On". Soft Skull Press. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02.
  4. ^ Jory, John. "The Rumpus Interview with David Rees". The Rumpus.
  5. ^ Artisanal Pencil Sharpening website
  6. ^ Three Questions for David Rees About His New Artisanal Pencil-Sharpening Project, Daily Details
  7. ^ For the person who has everything: artisanal pencil sharpening, The Los Angeles Times
  8. ^ Modell, Josh (July 14, 2014). "Get Your War On's David Rees wants to teach you fun but useless things on his new TV show". The A.V. Club.
  9. ^ Esquire Archived 2015-11-28 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Election Profit Makers website
  11. ^ Kastrenakes, Jacob. "Listen to the bizarrely good Aphex Twin / Taylor Swift mashup album". The Verge.
  12. ^ Hughes, William. "Here's a great Taylor Swift/Aphex Twin mash-up by David Rees". AV Club. The Onion.
  13. ^ Waxman, Olivia B. "Taylor Swift Mashed Up With Aphex Twin Is Surprisingly Catchy". Time Magazine.
  14. ^ David Rees (21 June 2013). " » Blog Archive » CODEFELLAS". WordPress. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  15. ^ Todd Spangler (21 June 2013). "Wired's 'Codefellas' Plays NSA Privacy Flap for Laughs - Variety". Variety. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  16. ^ Camilleri, Ricky (20 June 2013). "John Hodgman LIVE - HuffPost Live". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Peter Rees | LinkedIn". Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  19. ^ Jory, John. "The Rumpus Interview with David Rees," Rumpus Magazine (September 11th, 2012). Accessed November 19, 2016.
  20. ^ Facebook post of Yoshida's mother
  21. ^ Cauthon, Phil. "Q&A with David Rees: Get Your War On creator returns to Lawrence to spread the gospel of dissent," (Sept. 26, 2005). Accessed Oct. 7, 2008.


Further readingEdit

  • Harrigan, Chris (Sep 2014). "A sharp mind". Smith Journal. 12: 40–42.

External linksEdit