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.

Sign up for the Big Nate newsletter!

Big Nate Tour - Foothill Country Day School and Eastwood Elementary School

Hi everyone, my trip around sunny southern California continues. On Tuesday morning I visited the Foothill Country Day School in Claremont. After Bruce, one of the Big Nate bus drivers, skillfully shoehorned the bus into a tiny cul de sac in front of the school, I went inside and spoke to an auditorium full of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. All of them had been given handouts inviting them to join our attempt to set a new world record for the longest comic strip of all time. I'm asking students wherever I go to help me break the current record over the course of the next year; by the time I go on tour next February for BIG NATE IN THE ZONE, I'm hoping we will have assembled more than enough comic strip panels to reach that goal.

Then, in the afternoon, it was on to Eastwood Elementary School in Westminster. Here we had our first official "technical difficulty" of the tour when the laptop the school was using to run my PowerPoint presentation conked out. Fortunately, Michael, the unflappable Big Nate tour manager, was on hand with his own laptop. In no time he was running the show from his own machine, and the event was back on track.

The visit to Eastwood was arranged by Jeanne from the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Huntington Beach. That's where I was tonight, speaking to a crowd of about 110 kids & parents. I did my usual easel talk and Q&A session. But on this tour, I also am equipped with a few items to give away at each stop: t-shirts, "Big Nate Detention Dash" board games, card games, and jigsaw puzzles. But to get a prize, a kid has to answer some Big Nate trivia questions. Among the brain-busting questions asked and answered during my three stops today were:

What was the name of the bully from Jefferson Middle School in Big Nate Goes For Broke?

In Big Nate On A Roll, Nate's Timber Scout troop had to try to sell cheesy wall hangings. What were they called?

What is Nate's middle name?

In Big Nate Goes For Broke, Nate and his fellow P.S. 38 Doodlers show the Jefferson cartoonists how to play what fun drawing game?

(Answers: Nolan, Warm Fuzzies, he doesn't have one, Add-On)

I met a ton of great kids today, including huge BN fans like Isaac, Kyle, Jelissa, Mason, Amanda, and Arielle (who won herself a board game). Thanks for a great day, everyone. On Wednesday, I'll visit two schools in and around San Diego. Then it's on to Phoenix!

Wed, 02/13/2013

Big Nate Tour - Pressman Academy and Sts. Felicitas & Perpetua

Hi, everyone. Today marked the first "official" day of the BIG NATE FLIPS OUT bus tour, and I spent the day at a couple of schools in the Los Angeles area, followed by an evening visit to a local bookstore.It was also the first time I was able to see and ride in the bus, and the verdict is&...it's incredible! It looks great from the outside (as you saw when my editor Phoebe included a photo of it the other day when she guest blogged), and it's pretty swanky on the inside, too. It's certainly more comfortable than the plane that flew me out to California!

The two schools I visited today, Pressman Academy in the morning and Sts. Felicitas & Perpetua in the afternoon, may not have been aware of this...but both were book tour "guinea pigs." I'd never done a PowerPoint presentation in a school before, so if anything was going to go wrong, it was probably destined to happen today. But everything went off without a hitch, and the kids seemed to enjoy themselves. Thanks to all the students -- especially for the beautiful welcome banner at Pressman Academy, shown here.

This evening at the Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica, I gave an easel talk to a group of parents and kids, then answered some very smart questions and signed a bunch of books.

Thank you to everyone who came out, including Navid, Declan, Max, Owen…and especially Amelia, Bin, and Reilly.

Another day in the greater Los Angeles area tomorrow, and then it's on to San Diego!

 

Tue, 02/12/2013

Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center

Hello from Santa Rosa, California! I'm writing this blog entry on a Saturday afternoon, and you're probably reading it sometime on Monday. I had a great time today at the Charles Schulz Museum, where I was part of of two thoroughly enjoyable activities. More on that in a moment. First, I want to tell you a bit about the museum itself. 

The Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center celebrates one of the all-time great comic strips, "Peanuts,"and its far-reaching influence in the worlds of cartooning, television & movies, advertising, and licensing. On the first floor of the museum, there is currently an exhibition of original Peanuts artwork on the subject of holidays. Some of Sparky's most beloved story lines, such as Linus's ongoing obsession with the Great Pumpkin and Charlie Brown's perennial disappointment on Valentine's Day, are on display. Upstairs is a room detailing some of the early influences on Sparky (comic strips like "Krazy Kat," "Cap'n Easy," and so on), along with a reproduction of the studio where he worked. There are also countless examples of Peanuts games & toys, and, back downstairs in the auditorium, one can sit and watch some of the iconic Peanuts holiday specials like "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

At 10:30 this morning, two dozen aspiring cartoonists joined me in the art room on the second floor of the museum, where we spent 90 minutes drawing comics together. We played the scribble game, just as Nate and his friends do in Big Nate Strikes Again, and also "Add-On," which you might remember from Big Nate Goes For Broke. After a lunch break, it was time to gather in the auditorium, where I spoke about some of my early cartooning efforts that led to "Big Nate" and, eventually, to the Big Nate chapter books. The auditorium has 102 seats, but we needed more! Some extra seats were brought in, and those who couldn't fit in the auditorium were able to watch a simulcast of the talk in a separate room. After the talk, I answered some questions, then signed books for the kids and parents who were patient enough to stand in line.

I want to thank all those who attended for coming, and the staff of the museum, especially Jessica Ruskin, for helping to make the day go so smoothly. Thanks also to my agent, friend, and right-hand man, David, for helping out all day long. But the biggest thank-you of all goes to Jeannie Schulz, the widow of the great man himself, who first invited me to the museum and then was kind enough to offer me accommodations in her beautiful guesthouse in the hills above Santa Rosa during my stay.

Tomorrow I'll fly to Los Angeles, and on Monday morning I'll redezvous with the Big Nate bus! More to come!

Mon, 02/11/2013

The Big Nate Bus is Ready to Roll!

I am guest blogging for Lincoln because he's in California, ready to start the FLIPS OUT tour. First stop: the Charles Schulz museum in Santa Rosa.(Remember? Charles Schulz created the Peanuts cartoons, a huge inspiration to Lincoln.) For those of you who live in the Northeast, you know why Lincoln had to head out a day early. There's a huge storm heading our way. Remember the SNOWDOWN in GOES FOR BROKE, book 4? Imagine how many snow sculptures Nate and his P.S. 38 schoolmates could make after a 20 inch snowfall! Not just Achilles, but all the gods and goddesses of Olympus, and then some!o:p>

But I digress. know you are dying to know more about the photo pictured above, courtesy of National Media Services. Starting on Monday, February 11, the uber Big Nate bus is making stops in LA at the San Marino Book & Toy Shoppe and the Barnes & Noble stores in Santa Monica and Huntington Beach and of course schools along the way. Then Lincoln gets a ride down to San Diego (Wed, Feb 13) and then on to Phoenix, Arizona on Valentine's Day.Best of all, he'll get to meet all the student cartoonists in schools who are helping Nate break a record for the longest comic strip IN THE WORLD.(Check out the www.bignatebooks.com website for more information about our record breaking attempt!)

I know you want to know more about the Big Nate bus. Of course it starts with Book 5: BIG NATE FLIPS OUT, the newest Big Nate book. As you know, Nate is not the neatest person. If you are looking for how Nate's messy locker, a fight, the school yearbook, and hypnosis come together, FLIPS OUT is the book for YOU. (Plus, there's a new Nate code and of course tons of Big Nate hilarity).

Why is the bus purple and red, you ask? Because those are the colors on FLIPS OUT. First we selected who was going on the bus: Nate (of course), his best friends Francis and Teddy (of course), Gina (you know why, if you've read some of my guest blogs). See if you can guess which other characters got vectorized so that they would be big enough to fit on the bus while keeping to the correct drawing proportions. "Vectorized" is a new word we learned from our brilliant designer, Tom Forget, who was responsible for the bus design and colorizing the characters, following Lincoln's tips. He's the first person to colorize Dee Dee! Lucky Tom. As you can see, the color of her clothing makes her look very dramatic.

I'm sure you'll agree that the Big Nate bus is AWESOME. AND if you live in Santa Rosa, LA, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston or Lake Charles, it's not too late to make plans to meet Lincoln, hear him talk about Big Nate and cartooning AND ask him to sign a copy of FLIPS OUT. (The website has tour details. Check it out!)

Don't forget: starting on Monday, Feb 11, Lincoln will blog EVERY DAY about his BIG NATE FLIPS OUT tour.

Meanwhile, we’ll be holding downthe fort in NYC.

Phoebe, the Big Nate editor

Fri, 02/08/2013

Cartooning Studies

Greetings from White River Junction, Vermont! Today I visited the Center for Cartoon Studies and spoke to the students there about cartooning. Since my usual audience is almost always children between the ages of 8 and 11, it was a nice change of pace to do a presentation for students who are in their early to late twenties. I had a great time and, as I said in an earlier blog entry, I wish there'd been a school like this around when I was younger!

It was about a 3-hour drive to get here from Portland, and I was met at the school's main building (a former department store) by James Sturm, the director of the school and one of its founders (not to mention an award-winning cartoonist in his own right). Later, when it was time for my talk, we moved over to the other building (the former post office). I showed my power point and spoke for awhile, and then answered questions from the group.

 

On of the things I spoke about was the fact that the format of the Big Nate chapter books allows me to be more ambitious with my artwork than I am in the strip. I used the drawing shown here as an example, even though it's not a particularly complicated piece. But it includes a lot of characters, which is always a challenge in the comic strip. There are six characters here depicted in full-body (or nearly full-body) poses, and another four shown in the foreground. That's ten characters in one drawing, which I could never do in the strip -- especially when one of those characters is Coach John, who takes up a lot of space!

 

After my talk I spent some time in the Schulz Library (endowed partly with a generous gift from Charles Schulz's widow, Jeannie), where I looked at some student work. As part of their course of study, students must create thesis projects during their second year. These mostly take the form of graphic novels, and many of them were very impressive. There are bright futures ahead for these students, and I wish them well .

Fri, 02/01/2013

Inspiration from "Peanuts"

I've written and spoken many times about practicing my drawing skills as a boy by copying "Peanuts"characters. But I'm not sure if I've shared any of those long-ago drawings with you. Until now!

 

As I mentioned recently, I'm going to be speaking at the Charles Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California, at the start of my upcoming book tour. So I spent several days earlier this month organizing my powerpoint presentation. I wanted to be able to include some images of my early drawing efforts to illustrate just how much of an inspiration to me "Peanuts" was. The only problem was, I wasn't entirely sure I could FIND any of those early drawings. So I did an all-out search and was able to turn up a few. Here's one of them.

 

What you're looking at on the left is the very last page of a Peanuts compilation book called Hey, Peanuts!This particular book, which was priced at a very affordable 50 cents, is a collection of strips from the early 1950's. (As you can see, Lucy and Linus would change quite a bit in the decades to come. In fact, Linus might have gone through almost as many changes over the life of the strip as Snoopy did. At this stage, Linus was not much more than a baby. In the early days of the strip, he couldn't even speak!) On the right is a drawing by yours truly of Charlie Brown carrying Snoopy's supper dish. Obviously I wasn't quite sure how to draw his legs! How old was I when I drew this? Well, as luck would have it, I can tell you almost EXACTLY. Back then, my mother would write our name and the date inside the book as soon as it was purchased. So, inside the front cover of this book, in my mother's very distinctive handwriting, it reads: Peirce 7/23/71. In July of 1971, I was 7 years old. So this drawing dates from very soon after that; if I didn't draw it in July, I definitely drew it in August. How's that for some detective work?Tue, 01/29/2013

Perfect Snowballs

 I'm a person who enjoys winter, and I very seldom complain about wintry weather. But it's COLD. It's about 8 degrees in Portland right now, which means it probably will dip below zero overnight. And of course, the dreaded wind chill factor makes it feel even colder. My morning walk with our dog Scout will be pretty frigid tomorrow!

 When it's this cold, even the snow won't cooperate. I spent the entire day with a film crew that was shooting some short videos about Big Nate and some of his pastimes, like cartooning, eating cheez doodles, AND... engaging in epic snowball fights. As part of the video shoot, they wanted to film me outside, throwing a few snowballs at nearby trees or telephone poles. But as we all know, it takes a very specific kind of snow to make a good snowball. In weather as cold as it was today, the snow isn't nearly moist enough. It turns into icy, powdery granules, and that means the snow won't hold together. Snowballs are out of the question. And an awesome snow sculpture -- like P.S. 38's "ACHILLES GETS THE POINT," which won Big Nate and his classmates the Ultimate Snowdown against arch rival Jefferson Middle School in BIG NATE GOES FOR BROKE -- is absolutely impossible.

 So what did I do? I chopped frozen chunks from a nearby snowbank, whittled them down so that they KIND OF resembled snowballs, and threw them. They weren't heavy like a good, densely-packed snowball, and they didn't fly as well, either. (Not very aerodynamic.) But the folks watching the video probably won't be focused on that. They'll just be wondering what kind of fool would be outside throwing snowballs on such a freezing cold day.

 Fortunately for me, though, I'll be escaping the cold weather for about two weeks on my upcoming BIG NATE FLIPS OUT bus tour! All my stops will be in warm weather cities, so I'm looking forward to that. And if I find myself missing the cold weather, I won't have anything to worry about: when I get back to Maine on about February 22nd, there's still going to be PLENTY of winter left to go!

Fri, 01/25/2013

Sports and Comics

I've written before about my love of sports, and how specific sporting events sometimes became the subjects of comics I'd draw for friends and family. Well, the events of this weekend just might inspire some kind of cartoon, if I can ever find the time. It was, to say the least, a very up and down sports weekend.
 
On Saturday night, my favorite college hockey team, the UNH Wildcats, lost to Providence College. I was at the game (my first game in person this year), and it was a total bummer. Fortunately, on that very same night, my favorite PRO hockey team, the Boston Bruins, beat the New York Rangers in their season opener. So on Saturday, I came out even.
 
But on Sunday, I was rooting for the New England Patriots against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC title game...and the result was a total disaster for the Patriots. Had they won, they would have played in the Super Bowl. Instead, their season is over. It was such a lousy game that I just might have to draw comics about it.
 
The Patriots game reminded me of the most disastrous sports moment of my life -- the Boston Red Sox losing, in excruciating fashion, to the New York Mets in the 1986 World Series -- and how I immediately drew a multi-page comic about it. It wasn't a comic about the games played on the field; it was about my own experience watching the disastrous Game 6 in the middle of New York City, surrounded by Mets fans. I called the comic "Linc's Real Life Comics." The subheading read: Today's episode: Red Sox Tragedy! I sent the comic to my friend and former teacher -- and devoted Red Sox fan -- Abbott Meader. A couple weeks later, he sent me back what you see here. A 6 year-old kid named Greg, whose family had been visiting Abbott, saw the comic and decided to copy it in his own style. So the drawing above is Greg's drawing of the cover page of the comic I'd sent Abbott. I don't think Greg got beyond the cover, but that's okay. I enjoyed seeing the way he reinterpreted my drawings. I've always liked the way small kids draw, especially when they're drawing comics.
 
I might be shoveling a lot of snow tomorrow -- there's supposed to be a storm blowing in any minute now -- so I'm going to close this entry and go to bed. Good night!
Tue, 01/22/2013

Drawing Hands

I have a friend named Peter who came by my house one day. He'd told me about a book project he was trying to put together, and it sounded pretty interesting: he was photographing the hands of people he'd met all around the state of Maine. By the time he arrived at my door, he'd already shot the hands of people in a wide variety of occupations. Doctors, farmers, lobstermen, woodworkers, and so on. I'm not sure if he included any cartoonists besides me, or if I was the only one.  But I was pleased to take part. It was fun.
 
(By the way, don't let the desk blotter underneath my drawing pad that says "February 2012" fool you. Peter actually came in May. I don't use those blotters to keep track of what day it is. I use them as a little extra cushioning between my pad and the desktop.)
 
Looking at this picture reminds me that I've blogged before about some of the things I have trouble drawing; and one of them is HANDS. (Fortunately, for the Big Nate comic strip and books, I don't have to be able to draw hands that look realistic.) This photograph is a good indicator of the ways in which hands can be tough to draw. Look at my left hand in the photo. It really doesn't look very much like what our IDEA of a hand is, does it? For one thing, only three fingers are visible; my thumb and my index finger are almost entirely hidden. So that looks a little funky. Then there's the fact that, from this angle, my wrist actually looks thicker and wider than the back of my hand, which isn't the case in real life. The bottom line is, if someone asked me to sit down and make a drawing from my imagination of a realistic-looking hand holding a ruler on a pad of paper, my drawing wouldn't look anything like this photo. That's one reason I like the photo -- it's sort of unexpected.
 
Speaking of unexpected: a very exciting item arrived yesterday -- a copy of the newest book, Big Nate Flips Out. It's the first time I've seen a finished, printed version, and it looks great. I hope those of you who've read the first four will enjoy this one.  In only three weeks, I'll be starting the book tour.  Maybe I'll see you in your hometown!
Fri, 01/18/2013

Comics in the Classroom

Hi, everyone. I'd like to start this entry by thanking my beloved editor, Phoebe for guest-blogging -- again! -- during this past week. The last time she filled in, it was because I needed every spare moment to complete the drawings for Big Nate Flips Out. This time, as Phoebe told you, it was because I had taken on the task of signing 5,000 bookplates, to be placed inside copies of the book being sold at Target stores. It turns out that signing one's name that many times takes quite awhile. So thanks a million, Phoebe! And now, on to the rest of the blog.
 
At the end of this month, I'll be taking a trip over to White River Junction, Vermont, where I'll spend a day as a visiting artist at the Center For Cartoon Studies. I've been organizing a powerpoint presentation -- for the first time in my life, by the way -- in which I'll talk to the students about my work and some of the books, comics, and cartoonists who have influenced me over the years. One very important book is shown here: The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics. It was published in 1977, when I was a freshman in high school, and it was a real eye-opener for me. It included examples of some of the greatest comic strips of all time, many of which I hadn't seen before. Why hadn't I seen them? Well, there was no internet back then, of course, so one couldn't simply access vast archives of classic comic strips with a few keystrokes as we can so easily do today. Plus, back then comic strips were not necessarily considered to be worthy of serious scholarship. Many of the comic strips in this wonderful book, like Terry And The Pirates, Thimble Theater, Little Nemo In Slumberland, Cap'n Easy, and Polly And Her Pals, hadn't been collected in book form in many years, if ever. And the strips themselves often no longer appeared in newspapers. So when I discovered this book in the library of Oyster River High School in Durham, New Hampshire, I felt as if I'd stumbled into a comics gold mine.
 
Fortunately (from a cartoon studies standpoint), 1977 was a long time ago. Today, there are printed collections available of virtually every significant comic strip ever published. And oftentimes, these collections include essays by comics scholars and historians -- who are often cartoonists themselves -- discussing all aspects of the featured strips. What made one strip more significant than another? What did certain cartoonists do that had never been done before? How had some strips influenced those that followed in later years? Until 1977, I'd never really thought about any of that. But thanks to this book, I started to. And now, all these years later, I'll be visiting a college with an entire curriculum devoted to the study of comics, cartoons, and graphic novels. I wish there'd been a school like this back when I was in college!
Tue, 01/15/2013