Mike Smith was born in San Francisco in 1960. After graduating from Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, Smith earned a bachelor's degree in humanities from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in 1982.
He knew that he wanted to be a professional cartoonist the moment he saw how much trouble his cartoons created when they appeared in his college newspaper, the Los Angeles Loyolan. After some advice from Paul Conrad at the Los Angeles Times, Smith began sending packages of his cartoons to newspapers in search of a job.
After graduating, Smith honed his skills by day and pumped gas by night for National Car Rental at Los Angeles International Airport. The following year, he won first place in the Tribune Company Syndicate's Campus Cartoon Contest. His determination and effort paid off in 1983 when the Las Vegas Sun offered him a position as a staff editorial cartoonist.
Smith has won several awards from the Nevada Press Association and placed second two years in a row for "Best Editorial Cartoons" at the National Headliner Awards. Casino owners, senators, celebrities, Bill Clinton and even the Pope have asked for originals of his work.
As a result of his interest in NASCAR racing, Smith started drawing StockcarToons, a weekly cartoon on NASCAR racing. StockcarToons 2, the second collection of these NASCAR-themed cartoons, was published in March 2003.