Lincoln Peirce is a cartoonist/writer and the creator of the comic strip Big Nate. It appears in more than two hundred U.S. newspapers and online daily at comics.com.

Lincoln Peirce lives with his wife and two children in Portland, Maine.

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Limericks

Years ago, long before I started writing Big Nate novels, I had what I thought was a great idea for a children's book.  It was written entirely in limericks, and it was called LIMERICKY.  It was the story of a boy named Ricky who doesn't like his name. He thinks "Ricky" is too plain.   After taking a fall and hitting his head, he develops amnesia and can't remember much of anything -- including his name.  He wanders into a nearby circus, where he sees magnificent sights and meets a clown named Hullaballoo.  The clown tries to help Ricky remember who he is, but it's not until the boy spots a refreshment stand that something clicks.  Hullaballoo asks him if he'd like a "lime ricky" -- it's a drink similar to lemonade, only it's made with limes -- and hearing his name included in the drink order is what finally jogs Ricky's memory.  In the end (after enjoying a lime ricky), Ricky decides that his name's not so bad after all.

The book didn't go anywhere, but that didn't change the way I feel about limericks.  I've always enjoyed them, starting when I was a child.  Here's one I remember learning when I was in grade school:

There once were two cats from Kilkenny.
Each thought that was one cat too many.
So they started to fight,
And to scratch, and to bite...
Now instead of two cats, there aren't any.

As I got older, I learned that one man in particular was more responsible than anyone for popularizing the limerick.  His name was Edward Lear, and I think I've written about him in this blog before -- but that was several years ago.  Here are a few biographical tidbits to refresh your memory.  Edward Lear, who lived from 1812 to 1888, was a writer, poet, artist, musician...and a cartoonist!  Although he was a very fine illustrator of flora and fauna (he was sometimes compared to John James Audubon), he is known today mostly for his volumes of literary nonsense, which for the better part of two centuries have amused children and adults alike.  These books contained songs, illustrations, recipes, alphabets, and -- as one would expect -- limericks.  I've shown one of Lear's limericks above, but it's probably too small for you to read.  Here's what it says:

There was an Old Lady whose folly
Induced her to sit in a holly;
Whereupon by a thorn
Her dress being torn,
She quickly became melancholy.

Of course, I can't end this blog entry without including a limerick from Big Nate!  In the first novel, Big Nate:  In A Class By Himself, Nate composes a limerick about his favorite snack food, Cheez Doodles:

I have feasted on all sorts of noodles,
I have tried an assortment of strudels.
Of the foods that I've eaten,
Only one can't be beaten:
An extra large bag of Cheez Doodles

Tue, 05/19/2015

Comic Autobiography

All comic strips are, to some extent, autobiographical.  This fairly obvious thought occurred to me (again) a couple of weeks ago during my trip to Memphis, where a whole bunch of cartoonists visited the patients at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  All I had to do was look around; the room was full of cartoonists who show up in their respective comic features in various ways.  For example:

• Jeff Keane writes and draws The Family Circus.  It was started by his father, Bil Keane, and there was never any doubt that the feature (which is drawn inside a circle, making it stand out on any comics page) was based on the Keane family.  The kid characters were all named after Bil's real-life children, including Jeff.  His comic counterpart is Jeffy, the third of four children. 

• Rick Stromoski is the creator of Soup To Nutz, a strip that chronicles the hectic life of the Nutz family.  Rick grew up in a very large family, and the dynamics between him and his siblings, not to mention his Catholic upbringing, form the foundation of his very funny strip.

• Stephan Pastis does Pearls Before Swine, a strip which features, among other characters, a cartoonist named Stephan Pastis.

Now, what about yours truly?  I'm asked all the time if Nate is based on me, and the answer is no; there are no characters in BIG NATE, besides Spitsy and Francis, that are based on real-life individuals.  BUT!...there's no escaping the fact that Nate likes (and dislikes) many of the same things I do.  He loves dogs, ice hockey, and Cheez Doodles; he hates cats, figure skating, and egg salad.  So do I.  Nate also lives in Maine, like I do, and is a Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins fan, as I am.  And then there's the biggie:  Nate's a cartoonist, too.  So there are quite a few similarities there.  Still, there are plenty of differences -- enough of them so that I'd never claim that Nate's supposed to be the comic strip version of me.

But there IS a character I based on myself, in an entirely different comic strip.  While I was in college, I wrote and drew a weekly comic strip called THIRD FLOOR for the school newspaper, The Colby Echo.  The main character, Jerry Price, was my comic strip alter ego.  He was an art major.  He always wore a baseball cap and an unbuttoned flannel shirt.  He had very little success with girls.  And he had a couple of eccentric roommates.  He was my mirror image.  So, you might wonder, why didn't I just NAME him after myself?  Well, I've written before about my somewhat tortured relationship with my name.  Peirce is always misspelled and mispronounced.  (It's pronounced 'purse,' by the way.)  As a kid, I used to dream of having a name that couldn't be butchered, but sounded sort of similar to my actual name.  I chose the name Price.  To me, Price was the perfect last name.  Everyone knows how to spell it, and everyone knows how to pronounce it.  And I have no idea why I chose the name Jerry, except that I wanted a 'J' name so that the character would have the same initials as my brother:  JP.

Eventually, I came to accept my name.  I'm actually very fond of my first name; there aren't too many Lincolns out there.  But I'd still change my last name if I could.  How does BIG NATE by Lincoln PRICE sound?

 

Fri, 05/15/2015

School Play Season is Here!

It's spring, which means that at schools all across the country, kids are performing in plays.  Schools -- high schools in particular -- often stage three plays over the course of a school year:  fall, winter, and spring.  And the spring play is often a musical.  That seems appropriate somehow.  Especially in parts of the country that endure long, harsh winters, the arrival of spring can make you feel like singing.

The drawing shown here is from Big Nate:  On A Roll, and it shows Chad having some difficulties during one of the flying scenes in "Peter Pan."  Unintended mishaps like this one are occupational hazards in live theatre, and earlier today, I found myself thinking about some of the things that went wrong during the only school play I ever took part in.  It was called Polls Apart.  It was written by our 8th grade English teacher, Mr. Tappan, and took place during the Great Depression.  I remember only a few things about the story:  it centered on a family that argued frequently about the politics of the day.  The mother and father are conservative, their young-adult children (one son, one daughter) are New Deal Democrats.  I played a character named Acey MacAdoo, a friend of the son.  And, in one scene, I had to dance the tango with the daughter, played by a girl named Tina who was several inches taller than I was.  Yes, the play was a comedy.  An unintentional comedy at times, but a comedy nonetheless.

I more clearly remember some of the things that went wrong in the play.  Most distressing to Mr. Tappan was the habit of my best friend Bob (now a school principal in New Hampshire) of silently mouthing all the other actors' lines.  If, for example, the script called for the daughter to say, "Dad, you never listen to anything I say," Bob would be mouthing "Dad, you never listen to anything I say" while Tina spoke the words out loud.  It drove everyone crazy, but Bob seemed unable to stop himself.  I also remember a scene where the family was supposed to be gathered around the radio, listening to one of President Roosevelt's "fireside chats," and the radio didn't work.  There was another scene where a character was supposed to be searching for a set of keys before discovering them in his pocket.  The actor reached into his pocket and realized that the keys weren't there.  At that very moment, a member of the stage crew tossed the keys onstage with a loud clunk.  And finally, because this was a middle school play and the sets were very flimsy, one of the walls fell down during Act One.

I think it's a good thing that my acting career ended after only one play.  I've never been all that comfortable on stage, and whenever I have to speak in front of a crowd, I get a little bit of stage fright (like Nate in Big Nate In The Zone).  The only time I DON'T get stage fright is when I'm speaking to kids.  When I'm in front of a group of Big Nate readers, I feel totally at home!

Tue, 05/12/2015

Is Mrs. Godfrey a Good Teacher?

If you haven't been reading Big Nate in your local newspaper or online this week, here's a brief recap:

Francis, who's a trivia buff, has just bought a new edition of "Funtastic Facts" and is excited to share some of his newfound knowledge with Nate and Teddy.  Nate resists, claiming the only kind of trivia that interests him involves the TV show Star Trek:  The Next Generation.  But Francis is relentless, and manages to share with Nate the fact that Calvin Coolidge is the only president in US history who was born on the 4th of July.  Shortly thereafter, in Social Studies class, Mrs. Godfrey asks Nate a question, and -- surprise! -- it's the very question for which Nate now has the answer:  Who is the only president born on the 4th of July?

In yesterday's strip, shown here, the fourth panel depicts the three central characters in this drama.  Having asked Nate the question, Mrs. Godfrey gives the reader a sidelong glance and thinks silently:  He won't get thisFrancis, aware that Nate actually knows the answer, also glances at the viewer and comments silently:  She won't believe this.   And Nate, looking far more comfortable and confident than he usually does in the classroom, prepares to respond.

This strip prompted a number of comments on gocomics yesterday, many of which focused on the question:  Is Mrs. Godfrey a good teacher?  Some readers said that she clearly is not, because she is asking Nate a question she's sure he can't answer.  In other words, she's attempting to embarrass him.  Other readers pointed to past story lines in which Mrs. Godfrey has behaved responsibly and appropriately as evidence that she IS a good teacher, and that Nate usually is the cause of his own difficulties in Social Studies.

I've been asked my opinion on this very subject many times, and my response is usually somewhere in the middle.  I believe that Mrs. Godfrey, like all of us, is a flawed human being.  She's capable of kindness, generosity, and tolerance.  She's just as capable of pettiness, favoritism, and outbursts of anger.  Nate is the most frequent target of these outbursts because he, too, is a flawed human being.  In fact, he might be a little more flawed than most.  Another thing to keep in mind is that part of the fun of comic strips is depicting extreme personality types.  Mrs. Godfrey wouldn't be nearly as interesting a character if she were to treat all students equally, with kindness and respect.  She's more compelling when you don't know whether or not she's about to explode.

That's why the characters with milder personalities -- like Francis, or Mr. Rosa, or Nate's Dad -- tend to play supporting roles.  It's the characters with outsized or outrageous personalities -- like Nate, or Gina, or School Picture Guy -- who tend to be more memorable.  So even if you don't like Mrs. Godfrey, you'll probably never forget her!

Fri, 05/08/2015

Our New Age

Recently, on Netflix, I've been watching episodes of a TV series called Star Trek:  Enterprise.  I wouldn't characterize myself as a Trekkie by any means, but over the years I've probably seen just about every episode of each of the various Star Trek series...except this one.  Enterprise is completely new to me.  It's a "prequel" to the original Star Trek from the late 1960's; in other words, the events of Star Trek:  Enterprise are supposed to predate the events of the original Star Trek.  The show focuses on an era in which interstellar exploration and making contact with other species -- everyday occurrences in the later shows -- are still very new experiences.  Watching this TV series has reminded me of a Sunday comic strip that used to appear in The Boston Globe when I was a young boy.  It was called Our New Age, and it celebrated -- and even predicted -- the future.

The creator of Our New Age wasn't a cartoonist; he was a scientist.  In fact, he was the dean of the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology, and his name was Athelstan Spilhaus.  Dr. Spilhaus was inspired to start his comic strip by one of the 20th century's most significant events:  the Soviet Union's launch into space of Sputnik, the world's first human-made satellite, in 1957.  Spilhaus worried that American kids were falling behind their Soviet counterparts in science and technology, and thought that creating a comic strip with educational content might inspire young readers.  Beginning in October of 1997, each week Dr. Spilhaus would compose a short essay that was a look into the future, and a rotating cast of cartoonists would illustrate his words.  In re-examining some of these strips that are now over 50 years old, it's fun to see that Dr. Spilhaus's visions of future technology were often uncannily accurate.  In the panel on the right, a man gazes at what looks like a space-age TV set.  The caption reads:  Researchers thousands of miles away may consult books in the Library of Congress or the British Museum.  If that's not a description of an internet database, I don't know what is!  He also did strips about recycling, undersea farming, genetic engineering, and climate change.

Apparently, some of Dr. Spilhaus's colleagues in the scientific community weren't exactly thrilled that he was writing a comic strip in his spare time.  They thought it was beneath him.  But Spilhaus didn't see it that way at all.  He didn't consider science and technology to be pursuits that were beyond the average person.  He thought they should be accessible to everyone.  In addition to Our New Age, Spilhaus was also a consultant to several World's Fairs, starting with the one in Seattle in 1962.  He envisioned World's Fairs as opportunities to bring science and technology directly to the public -- not only to amaze the people, but to inspire them to embrace the future.

I'd completely forgotten about Our New Age until just the other day.  I guess I owe a big thanks to the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise for reminding me about it!

Tue, 05/05/2015

A Visit to St. Jude's

Four days ago, after broadcasting my radio show on WMPG as I do every Monday morning, I flew from Portland to Memphis, Tennessee.  There, I met up with a number of my colleagues from the National Cartoonists Society for a visit to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  The photo above shows all of us in front of the hospital's main entrance.  I've always heard what an amazing place St. Jude is, but had never been there.  Here's what I found out about this world-renowned hospital and research center.

Any story about St. Jude must begin with a man named Danny Thomas.  He was an actor and comedian whose fame was at its peak in the 1950's and early 60's, and he was still a very big name in entertainment when I was growing up.  Many years before, as a struggling young actor, Danny was having trouble getting his career started.  He and his wife were expecting their first child and had very little money.  When his wife delivered the baby, Danny was presented with a bill from the maternity hospital for $75.  He had only $7 to his name.  A devout Catholic, Danny went to a nearby church.  He put his last $7 in the collection box and prayed to St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes.  He said to St. Jude, "Help me find my way in life, and I will build you a shrine."  Within a matter of days, Danny got his first acting job, for which he received 75 dollars.  He was able to pay his wife's maternity bill, and his career took off.  Soon, he was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

Danny didn't forget his promise to St. Jude, but wasn't sure how to put that promise into action.  Now a father with children of his own, he knew he wanted to somehow help kids with serious illnesses.  He called the man who'd been his parish priest years earlier in Ohio; this priest was now a cardinal in Memphis, Tennessee.  He invited Danny to Memphis, where he met with local officials, doctors, and scientists.  Danny decided that he'd build a hospital in Memphis in honor of St. Jude.  The hospital would be the first of its kind -- one devoted specifically to treating and researching pediatric cancers.  But that's not all.  Danny knew that the cost of medical care was beyond the resources of many families, and he wanted to help.  He also knew that not all hospitals, particularly those in the South, were willing to provide care for all patients.  So Danny made an amazing pledge:  that his hospital would treat children regardless of race, religion, or ability to pay.  St. Jude would provide medical care to the children at no cost to the families.  

To build and sustain such a vision, Danny became a fundraising machine.  He called upon his friends in the entertainment industry to donate their time, talent, and money.  He also turned to his fellow Americans of Arabic-speaking heritage.  Danny was of Lebanese descent, and felt strongly that he and others like him should give back to the country that had given them so much.  He formed ALSAC (American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities), which oversaw the initial fundraising effort and continues to do so today.  After years of planning and fundraising, the St. Jude Hospital opened in 1962.

On Tuesday, our group was welcomed warmly by hospital administrators.  Then we received a tour from a gentleman named Scott, who was himself a patient at St. Jude as a teenager 25 years earlier.  As he told us, it's a huge thrill for him to come to work every day at the place that saved his life.  We saw the facilities, spoke to one of the research scientists, and listened to a mother tell the story of her daughter, who's been successfully treated for two different cancers at St. Jude.  We heard plenty of amazing testimonials throughout the day, but here's the one that stuck with me:  When St. Jude opened in 1962, the survival rate for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of pediatric cancer, was only 4%.  Today, the survival rate is 94%, due largely to medical advances and treatments developed at St. Jude.

Then came the highlight:  we spent the afternoon with the patients of St. Jude, kids from all over the country (and the world, in some cases) who are there for treatment.    The National Cartoonists Society Foundation had provided all the kids with sketchbooks, among other goodies; so the kids went from table to table, meeting the cartoonists and receiving drawings.  Many of the kids also gave us drawings in return.  These are young people who have been through an awful lot, and still have a long road ahead.  I'm certain I speak for all my friends from the NCS when I say that meeting these kids was at least as meaningful for us as it was for them.  They are inspiring.

The NCS hopes to do more events like this in the future, and I plan to be a part of them whenever I'm able.  Thanks for reading!

Fri, 05/01/2015

A Question from Kozo

It's been awhile since I've heard from Kozo, my 80 year-old pen pal in Japan who sometimes writes with questions about comics.  He is devoted to reading comics from the US and the UK as a means of improving his English, but sometimes the humor eludes him.  The other day, Kozo sent me a very nice email, letting me know he's recently moved to the historic city of Nara, near Kyoto.  He also included the Hi & Lois strip shown here, and asked this question:

Please tell me the point of the comic below.
 
Does a catcher use something to send a sign to the pitcher?

And here was my response:

Hi Kozo, it's always good to hear from you.

Now, let's talk about this cartoon.  It's a pretty straightforward gag, and it has nothing to do with the signs that a catcher gives the pitcher. 

Two gentlemen are eating in a restaurant called Charlie's Diner (which we know because the name is painted on the glass window in the background).  One of the men sees some muffins underneath a glass case, and calls down to Charlie, the owner of the diner:  Could I get a muffin down here?  Obviously, when you order food in a diner, you expect it to be served to you -- that it will be brought to where you're sitting and placed in front of you.  But in the second panel, we see that the man is  catching a muffin up above his head.  In other words, the muffin has been thrown to him.  In the third panel, the man who caught the muffin provides the explanation:  Charlie was a minor league pitcher.  Charlie is using a skill from his former job, pitching, to do his current job, owning a diner.  To reinforce the fact that Charlie threw the muffin, the cartoonist shows Charlie placing the cover back on the glass case.

I think there are two problems with the cartoon.  First, the middle panel doesn't make it all that clear that the muffin flew through the air and was caught.  Second, even after we understand that the muffin was thrown across the room, it's not very funny.  

Hope that helps, Kozo.  Write anytime.

Best,

Lincoln


Before I sign off, I'd like to tell you where I'll be early next week.  I'm flying to Memphis, where I'll be part of Color Me Well, the first-ever National Cartoonists Society Foundation Cartooning for Kids event at St. Jude Research Hospital for Children.  My friends and fellow cartoonists Rick Stromoski, Stephan Pastis, Tom Richmond, Bill Morrison, Jeff Keane, Steve McGarry, and Greg Cravens will all be there, along with plenty of other volunteer members of the NCS Southeast Chapter.  We'll be drawing for approximately 250 kids who are patients at the hospital, and handing out NCS goody bags.  I can't wait.

Because of this event, I'll skip my usual Monday night blog entry.  I'll tell you all about Color Me Well in my next entry, one week from today!

Fri, 04/24/2015

The Babadook

There have been hundreds of children's books that have been turned into movies.  Some that come immediately to mind are WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, THE WIZARD OF OZ, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, HOLES, CORALINE, THE BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA, and so on.  But until today, I'm not sure I could name a movie in which a children's book was essentially a character in a movie -- and a frightening character at that.  I'm talking about a movie called THE BABADOOK.  A character from a mysterious children's book features prominently in the plot, but this definitely isn't a movie for kids.  It's too scary.

THE BABADOOK tells the story of a single mom, Amelia, and her 6 year-old son, Samuel.  Samuel has an overactive imagination and is plagued by nightmares and childhood fears.  Amelia is overwhelmed by Samuel's needs and is still heartbroken by the death of her husband, Oscar, who was killed in a car accident on the day Samuel was born.  One night, after Samuel is awakened by a nightmare, Amelia offers to read him a book to help him go back to sleep.  It's their normal routine, and there's nothing unusual about this particular night -- until Samuel goes to his bookcase and returns with a book Amelia has never seen before.  It's called MISTER BABADOOK, and it's a terrifying pop-up book that tells the tale of a monstrous, top-hatted creature who has the power to enter people's bodies and grow inside them.  As the picture shown here makes clear, this ain't exactly PAT THE BUNNY.  Amelia tries to destroy the book, and eventually succeeds.  But that doesn't mean she and Samuel have escaped the Babadook.

I won't reveal the rest of the plot, but this movie did get me thinking about children's stories.  There's no doubt that many classic children's books, like GOODNIGHT MOON or FROG AND TOAD ARE FRIENDS, are very comforting.  But kids outgrow soothing books like those.  Stories are always more interesting when there's some sort of conflict or difficulty -- or even a villain! -- and there have been plenty of stories for kids that have scary parts and scary characters.  Think of Miss Trunchbull in MATILDA, or Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker in JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH.  Or what about the wolf in LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD?  They may not be as frightening as the Babadook, but they might have given a few kids nightmares over the years.

The reason it's okay to have villains in children's books, I think, is that kids trust that, in the end, good will triumph over evil.  They seem to understand that Mom or Dad wouldn't be reading this book to them if the bad guys were going to win at the end.  MISTER BABADOOK breaks the unspoken pact that children's book authors have with their readers -- that everything is going to turn out okay.   That's why in real life, a book like MISTER BABADOOK would never be marketed as a children's book.  It would probably be in the Horror section of your local bookstore -- far away from 6 year-old eyes!
 

Tue, 04/21/2015

Nate At The Bat

Today's entry features two of my favorite things:  baseball and poetry.

Even if you're not a baseball fan, there's a good chance you're familiar with the poem "Casey At The Bat," by E.L. Thayer.  It tells the tale of Casey, a beloved slugger for a baseball team from Mudville, and his failure to get a big hit at a critical moment of an important game.  While Thayer's composition might not end up in an anthology of great poems, it's certainly one of the most popular in the history of America.  And its final line -- Mighty Casey has struck out! -- has been recited by generations of schoolchildren, bringing to mind an era when kids often recited poetry in class.

I was going through some old Big Nate strips the other day and found a Sunday page from 1995 that I'd completely forgotten about.  It's called "Nate At The Bat," and it's my tribute to Thayer's poem.  Enjoy!

The ball game wasn't going well.
In fact, the scene was awful.
The score was thirteen for the Cubs
To twelve for Joe's Falafel.

The bottom of the ninth was moving
Fast from bad to worse.
As Francis flied to center field,
And Ed was nipped at first.

The end was near, or so it seemed.
Our chances looked quite meager.
But then our shortstop, Bobby Kane,
He lined a Texas Leaguer.

Next Jim received a base on balls.
The Cubs began to sag.
And when Cal slapped an infield hit,
We'd men at every bag.

The crowd erupted when they saw
Who next strode to the plate.
The Cubs turned pale and shook with fear.
Who was it?  MIGHTY NATE!

His biceps bulged like cords of steel.
He took a practice swing.
He dug his cleats into the earth,
And watched the pitcher fling.

With hawk-like vision, Nate observed
The placement of the ball.
A little high, thought Mighty Nate.
STRIKE ONE! the ump did call.

The next one almost hit the plate
As it came roaring through.
That's not my pitch, said Mighty Nate.
The ump declared:  STRIKE TWO!

"It takes just one to hit it out,"
The crowd heard Nate proclaim.
And then they knew he'd surely be
The hero of the game.

The pitcher rocked and hurled the ball.
Nate watched it fast approach.
And looking on in silent awe
Were teammates, fans, and Coach.

He took a swing, did Mighty Nate --
A swift, heroic cut.
The ball flew high above the field.
It reached the heavens...BUT...

No happy shouts, no raucous cheers,
No clapping can be heard.
There is no joy between the lines.
Mighty Nate has popped to third.

 

Fri, 04/17/2015

Big Nate Fan Art

Today was a quiet day.  Nothing much happened that would be worth blogging about, and I didn't have any great ideas for a blog topic either.  So for inspiration, I did what I've sometimes done in the past.  I conducted a google image search for BIG NATE and, after scrolling through a few screens, I found some newly-posted Big Nate drawings by kids.  Let's take a look at them, shall we?

The first drawing is all about girl power.  (THIN girl power.  I think these ladies need a snack!)  There are five images here, and each depicts characters that are either definitely part of Big Nate's world or look like they could be.  On the far left is Jenny, immediately identifiable by her blonde hair and black hair band.  Jenny's also one of the only main characters who routinely wears a black shirt and black shoes, as you see here.  Next to Jenny is another easy-to-identify character:  Gina.  Gina's bangs, top-knot pony tail, and square oversized glasses are her trademarks.  And in this particular drawing, she's carrying a book -- also very typical of Gina.  Next to Gina is a character who I'm guessing is supposed to be Dee Dee.  She has Dee Dee's rectangular glasses, pony tail, and striped top.  But when I draw Dee Dee, I always show her wearing a top that's more of a dress than a shirt.  Plus, the hair on this character isn't bumpy/curly like Dee Dee's is.  So although I THINK this is Dee Dee, I can't be 100% sure.  Next comes a girl who looks like Maya, the girl Chad has a crush on in BIG NATE IN THE ZONE.  She has the same dark hair as Maya and is also wearing a barrette like Maya does.  So let's go ahead and declare that character #4 is Maya.  But who is character #5?  I have no idea.  Her hair is quite unique (it doesn't extend very far down the side of her head, so she appears partially bald), and she's wearing the kind of glasses that one would normally associate with an older person, not a kid.  I can't ever remember drawing a character who looked like this.  Perhaps it's a self portrait of the artist who posted this particular drawing!

In the second drawing, it's easy to tell who's who:  Dee Dee, Francis, Nate, Teddy, and Chad.  But there are a few anomalies.  First, I think Francis might object to the size of his head in this drawing; it's rather small, especially when compared to Dee Dee's and Nate's.  And speaking of Nate...I think he's dyed his hair!  The "spikes" of his hair haven't been colored in, so although it's still clearly a drawing of Nate, it looks somewhat incomplete.  Next there's Teddy, who looks like himself except that his sneakers are white instead of black.  And finally there's Chad, who's a bit taller here than he is in my drawings of him.  He also is wearing a white shirt with white sneakers instead of his usual black/black combo.  Overall, though, a very nice effort!

Which brings us to the third drawing, which has a lot of style.  It depicts the same five characters as drawing #2 did, and throws in Artur for good measure.  I like the way each character is striking a pose that seems appropriate.  Dee Dee the drama queen is doing "jazz hands."  Francis is waving an index finger as if to punctuate an important factoid.  Nate is flexing his muscles in heroic fashion.  Teddy, hands in pockets and whistling innocently, looks as though he might be up to no good.  Chad looks cheery, as usual, and flashes a peace sign.  And Artur, who always thinks the best of everyone and everything, is giving us a thumbs up.  These characters all have bigger feet with more verticality to them than mine do; and in the case of Dee Dee, Francis, and Nate, their hair is a little bigger, too.  (Dee Dee's hair is particularly fascinating; what is she hiding under there??)

It's always flattering when kids think enough of your characters to try drawing them, so I'd like to thank the young artists behind these images.  Keep drawing, and keep reading!

 

Tue, 04/14/2015