Dringenberg came to prominence for his work on The Sandman, where he started as series' inker (over pencil art by Sam Kieth) but switched to pencilling when Kieth left after the fifth issue. He drew eleven issues, all but one inked by Malcolm Jones III, and his understated, realistic style did much to establish the tone of the series. He co-created the popular character Death, whom he based on Cinnamon, a girl he knew from the dance clubs in Salt Lake City, Utah (Gaiman had imagined her looking like Louise Brooks or Nico, but ultimately preferred Dringenberg's version). He also co-created Desire, basing his/her appearance on the work of Patrick Nagel, and had a hand in much of the character design apparent in the early series.
Dringenberg's work appears in the Sandman collections "Preludes and Nocturnes", "The Doll's House" and "Season of Mists". He is credited in every printing as being one of the series' creators, as he is responsible for the iconic representation of many of the principal characters.