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!

Surpass All Others!

Hello, Big Nate Fans,
 
In my last blog, I mentioned all the places where Lincoln will tour for BIG NATE FLIPS OUT.I wanted to learn more about them and what made them extra special.
Here are some of the things I learned:
 
The California redwood is the world's tallest tree, growing up to 370 feet (113 m).
The world's largest parking lot is located at Dallas Fort Worth Airport in Texas.
The world's largest to-scale collection of miniature airplane models can be found in Arizona.
The crawfish, frog and Cajun music capital of the world is...Louisiana!
 
In February, lucky Lincoln gets to travel and meet Big Nate fans in all of these states.
 
Learning about all these cool world records made me think about all the ways Nate surpasses all others. Here are some of his highlights:
 
·         Nate is the only P.S. 38 kid whose math grade is a fraction.
 
·         He's the all-time P.S. 38 detention record-holder.
 
·          He ate (almost) 148 servings of green beans, then did wind sprints...AND LIVED TO TELL ABOUT IT!Read BIG NATE IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF)
 
·          He’s the Grand Prize winner in the Timber Scouts Warm Fuzzies Sell-athon. (Read BIG NATE ON A ROLL)
 
·         Nate's the founder/ drummer/ heart & soul of Enslave the Mollusk, world's greatest 6th grade rock band.
 
Good news for next week: Lincoln will be finished with his bookplate signing marathon and is returning to his blog post next week.
 
Phoebe the Big Nate Editor
Fri, 01/11/2013

Big Nate Flips Out!

Hello, Big Nate Fans!
 
I'm guest blogging today because Lincoln is very busy...signing book plates for 5000 lucky readers of his newest book, BIG NATE FLIPS OUT. It goes on sale, Tuesday, Feb 5 and Lincoln starts his tour later that week. First stop: the Charles Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California. (I don't know who will be more excited about being at the museum, the kids who are coming to hear Lincoln talk. (Check out this link: http://schulzmuseum.org/learn/calendar-of-events/)or Lincoln.) You may recall that Lincoln is a huge fan of Charles Schulz and the Peanuts cartoons. But I digress. Starting the week of Feb 11, Lincoln makes stops in Los Angeles; Phoenix, Arizona; 3 stops in Texas (Dallas, Austin, Houston) and ends his tour in Louisiana on Feb 19. Don't forget he'll be blogging everyday when he's on tour. And for part of his trip, he'll be riding and probably writing the next chapters of Book 6, IN THE ZONE on the BIG NATE bus (photos to come). We promise, the Big Nate bus will surpass all others!
 
To get ready for FLIPS OUT, reread GOES FOR BROKE and check out the sneak peek to FLIPS OUT at the back of the book. Here are some of my highlights for FLIPS OUT. Many of you already know that Gina is my second favorite character in the series. She plays an important role in FLIPS OUT. And I promise, Gina will be in fine form. Bossy as ever. And Dee Dee's a super spy instead of a drama queen. And for those of you who are fond of trivia, there is a TRIVIA SLAM to look forward to.
  
Remember to keep checking http://bignatebooks.com for the latest updates on BIG NATE FLIPS OUT, Lincoln's tour and our attempt to set a new world record. More on world records in my next blog, coming your way on Friday.
 
Phoebe the Big Nate Editor
Wed, 01/09/2013

Fortune Cookie Jackpot

The other night, at the request of our daughter Dana, we ordered Chinese food for dinner.  It was a congratulatory meal to celebrate her mid-term exam grades.  And as we all know, any time you order Chinese food, there is the very real possibility that you, or someone else in your group, will receive an awkward, confusing, or mysterious message inside a fortune cookie.  Jackpot!  This time, we got TWO of them.  They’re not quite as odd as some of the ones I’ve written about in the past, but they definitely merit a blog entry.

The first one says:  The issue isn’t what you’re saying; mostly, it’s the way ... And then it stops.  I think it’s pretty clear what happened here.  Somehow, the final line of this saying was omitted.  When complete, it probably goes like this:  The issue isn’t what you’re saying; mostly, it’s the way you’re saying it.  With those final three words added, it makes sense.  But with those words missing, it’s off-kilter, and kind of funny, too.

The second one reads:  The book should be a ball of light in one’s hands.  Very interesting.  And confusing, too.  What book do they mean?  ANY book?  What do they mean by “ball of light”?  Are they trying to say that books are illuminating?  Maybe they’re talking about e-books, which are sort of their own balls of light.  Or perhaps they’re trying to say that books can be inspiring.  If so, I agree 100%.  A book SHOULD be a ball of light.  Unfortunately, I’ve read plenty of books that don’t provide much light at all.

COUNTDOWN TO BOOK TOUR:  The Big Nate Flips Out book tour is a little over a month away!  This promises to be the biggest and best tour yet.  It will include a stop at the Charles M. Schulz Museum, a 44 foot-long Big Nate bus, and the kick-off to a year-long campaign that we hope will put Big Nate in the Guinness Book of World Records.  More to come!  Stay tuned!

Mon, 01/07/2013

Mail-Order Mysteries!

Remember how Nate, in Big Nate On A Roll, has to sell cheesy wall hangings called "Warm Fuzzies"? In a past blog entry, I wrote about the inspiration behind Warm Fuzzies: comic book advertisements for iron-on patches and decals. These sorts of ads were very popular back in the 60's and 70&'s - they probably still are - and decals and patches were only a tiny part of the variety of products that curious young comic book readers could acquire. Sometimes a mail-order novelty cost a few cents, or even a couple of dollars. Other times, all it cost was the price of the postage. Wow! What a bargain!

Well, this past Christmas I received a VERY fun gift from my friends at Harper Collins: a book that's all about these comic book ads and the stuff they depict. It's called Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff From Old Comic Book Ads! Each page shows an advertisement from a vintage comic book, but that's only the start. The author, Kirk Demarais, then describes what the REAL mail-order object was like, if and when you actually received one in the mail. As he explains (and as I can assure you from personal experience), the stuff was never as cool as it looked in the ads. Usually, it was incredibly cheap and fell apart in no time at all.

Take this ad, for example. It was included in almost every comic book I read as a kid, and it looked pretty cool to the 8 or 9 year-old me. Who wouldn't be intrigued by this sales pitch?

FLASHING EYES. Used by many magicians! By simply blinking your eyes open and shut, they appear as streaks of lightning. Brilliant sparks seem to flash out of your eyes. The more you blink, the more sparks and flashes seem to fly out. Easy to do. No wires! No chemicals! Absolutely safe. A beautiful effect. Very astonishing!

I'll tell you what was astonishing. When I sent my hard-earned 50 cents to the company, here's what they sent me back: a piece of paper that included instructions for how to make my own "flashing eyes" at home by putting triangular shaped pieces of tin foil on my eyelids. WHAT A RIP-OFF!

Not all products were such a let-down, fortunately. I distinctly remember being very happy with the small wooden bird call I ordered from a Walt Disney comic book. And I once got a Frankenstin mask that was worth every penny of the $1.25 it cost me. But the vast majority of stuff in comic book ads was worthless. For every Frankenstein mask and bird call, there were dozens of invisible ink pens, hot air balloons, and sea monkeys that were a huge disappointment. If you want to learn more about this bygone era of gullible consumerism, get your hands on a copy of Kirk Demarais's excellent book!Thu, 01/03/2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!  If you read “Big Nate” in your local newspaper or at gocomics.com, you know that at this time of year, I sometimes focus on the traditional New Year’s Eve “Monopoly” game staged by Nate, Francis, and Teddy.  (Occasionally, there are other participants.  Artur, Jenny, Nate’s Dad, and Nate’s Uncle Ted have all joined the game in years past.)  Anyway, this storyline parallels a tradition from my own childhood.  For several years, my parents invited our friends the Rogers family to ring in the New Year at our house.  While the kids played ping-pong and watched our chintzy black-and-white TV in the basement, the adults would play “Monopoly” upstairs in the living room.  Later, when I was in high school, I was part of a New Year’s Eve “Monopoly” game with my three best friends.  Nowadays, I’m not part of any such tradition on a regular basis.  But I do enjoy playing “Monopoly” with my nephews, Cameron and Derek, during family gatherings.  Cameron’s creative (and very obvious) attempts at cheating are their own kind of tradition, and sometimes give me comic strip ideas.

“Monopoly” was only one of many board or card games I enjoyed as a kid.  Here are some others that were among my favorites:

YAHTZEE – There are so many reasons to love Yahtzee.  First of all, who doesn’t love rolling five dice at once?  I also like the fact that, although there’s some strategy involved, Yahtzee is a very simple game.  I can’t stand games with too many rules.  Two other pluses:  Yahtzee can accommodate an infinite number of players, and it doesn’t take long to play.  

RACK-O -  I just played Rack-o a few days ago, believe it or not.  I was at my parents’ house on Sunday, and we were watching a football game. During halftime, I played two games of Rack-o against my brother, my nephew Derek, and my son Elias.  Elias won both times.  If you’ve never played Rack-o, it’s a card sequencing game.  Like Yahtzee:  no skill involved, just a bit of strategy.

BATTLESHIP – A great game.  And a classic commercial.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrHs8CWDzmc

I also played, at various times, games like Stratego, Risk (which always seemed to take too long to play), Operation, and Life.  And of course, if you weren’t in the mood for one of those games, there was always good old-fashioned checkers.

Enjoy whatever games you play this holiday season.  It’s almost back-to-school time!

Mon, 12/31/2012

Return of Chad!

Today I return to one of my favorite subjects: CHAD! As you can see from the picture shown here, this rather feeble-looking young man is NOTHING like the Chad we've come to know and love in recent years. So that's what I'm going to write about.

I actually blogged about this once before, way back in April of 2011. I was discussing my unexplainable fascination with the name "Chad," and how, for many years, if I needed a name for a one-off character (a character who appears only once in a strip, then disappears), Chad was a name I frequently chose. Here's what I wrote back in April of 2011:

If you're like me, there are certain names that have very specific associations. Usually that's because you've met someone, or you know someone very well, who has that particular name. Well, I've never really known anyone named Chad. But for some reason, the name has always reminded me of a certain kind of person: a pudgy, mild-mannered, but ultimately cheery and lovable sort of young man. So nine or ten years ago, whenever I needed a character like that to finish a joke in the comic strip, I started drawing a kid who more or less matched the image in my mind. I never really intended Chad to become a permanent character in the comic strip or the books, so I never drew him the same way twice. Sometimes he had freckles, sometimes he didn't. Sometimes he had straight hair, sometimes curly. Once or twice, he had glasses.

Well, earlier today I was reviewing some strips that are going to be appearing in an upcoming Big Nate compilation book, and I stumbled across the strip that included THIS panel. The Chad shown here definitely does NOT match my description from 2011! He doesn't look pudgy, cheery, OR lovable. So what did that tell me? It told me that my obsession with the name "Chad" runs even deeper than I realized. I didn't use it just for one specific kind of character; in at least one case - this one - I used it for a skinny, nebbishy little guy. Probably the only thing in common between THIS Chad and the REAL Chad is this: they both look a little smaller than their peers, and maybe they're both the kind of kid who might get picked on sometimes. (Remember how Chad got teased for his inflatable tailbone pillow in Big Nate Goes For Broke?)

Anyway, the good news is that the time of different-looking Chads is in the past. There's now only one Chad, and you can depend on his appearance remaining consistent from now on. (With the inevitable gradual changes, that is. For example, the top of Chad's head is flatter in Big Nate Flips Out than it was in Big Nate: In A Class By Himself.) Chad's role in the strip and the books continues to grow, to the point where he's almost Nate's co-star in the book I'm writing now, Big Nate In The Zone. You've come a long way, Chad!Wed, 12/26/2012

Return of Chad!

Today I return to one of my favorite subjects: CHAD! As you can see from the picture shown here, this rather feeble-looking young man is NOTHING like the Chad we've come to know and love in recent years. So that's what I'm going to write about.

I actually blogged about this once before, way back in April of 2011. I was discussing my unexplainable fascination with the name "Chad," and how, for many years, if I needed a name for a one-off character (a character who appears only once in a strip, then disappears), Chad was a name I frequently chose. Here's what I wrote back in April of 2011:

If you're like me, there are certain names that have very specific associations. Usually that's because you've met someone, or you know someone very well, who has that particular name. Well, I've never really known anyone named Chad. But for some reason, the name has always reminded me of a certain kind of person: a pudgy, mild-mannered, but ultimately cheery and lovable sort of young man. So nine or ten years ago, whenever I needed a character like that to finish a joke in the comic strip, I started drawing a kid who more or less matched the image in my mind. I never really intended Chad to become a permanent character in the comic strip or the books, so I never drew him the same way twice. Sometimes he had freckles, sometimes he didn't. Sometimes he had straight hair, sometimes curly. Once or twice, he had glasses.

Well, earlier today I was reviewing some strips that are going to be appearing in an upcoming Big Nate compilation book, and I stumbled across the strip that included THIS panel. The Chad shown here definitely does NOT match my description from 2011! He doesn't look pudgy, cheery, OR lovable. So what did that tell me? It told me that my obsession with the name "Chad" runs even deeper than I realized. I didn't use it just for one specific kind of character; in at least one case - this one - I used it for a skinny, nebbishy little guy. Probably the only thing in common between THIS Chad and the REAL Chad is this: they both look a little smaller than their peers, and maybe they're both the kind of kid who might get picked on sometimes. (Remember how Chad got teased for his inflatable tailbone pillow in Big Nate Goes For Broke?)

Anyway, the good news is that the time of different-looking Chads is in the past. There's now only one Chad, and you can depend on his appearance remaining consistent from now on. (With the inevitable gradual changes, that is. For example, the top of Chad's head is flatter in Big Nate Flips Out than it was in Big Nate: In A Class By Himself.) Chad's role in the strip and the books continues to grow, to the point where he's almost Nate's co-star in the book I'm writing now, Big Nate In The Zone. You've come a long way, Chad!Wed, 12/26/2012

Big Nate, The Musical

Dear Big Nate Fans:
 
I did something really exciting last week: I went to a workshop near Washington, DC, where the producers, directors, and cast were beginning preparation for BIG NATE, THE MUSICAL. This is an original musical based on BIG NATE and his friends. The first performance will be May 4 at the Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo Maryland, and will appear at that theatre for the entire month.
 
It was SO EXCITING to be involved. Both Lincoln and I have been reading drafts of the show, which has a book by Jason Loewith and Lincoln, music by Chris Youstra, and song lyrics by Jason and Chris. Here is a photo of some of the cast members practicing one of the great songs.
 
It is really amazing to see a group of talented people take words and music written on paper and bring them to life in a performance. This was just the beginning of the process that will keep going even after the premier at Adventure Theatre.
 
BIG NATE, THE MUSICAL is fun and funny. The plot is a bit of a secret, but since you are BIG NATE'S biggest fans, I will tell you some stuff. Nate's school, PS 38 announces a BATTLE OF THE BANDS. Did you know that Nate, Francis, and Teddy have their own band called ENSLAVE THE MOLLUSK? Of course NATE is the STAR!
 
There are two other bands at PS 38 but I won't spoil the surprise for you. Who will win the BATTLE OF THE BANDS? Will any band get DISQUALIFIED because members have too many detentions? What else could happen?
 
BIG NATE, THE MUSICAL has 12 brand new songs. One of my favorites is EVEN YEAR-OLD CHEEZ DOODLES ARE BETTER THAN LOVE. But I am betting that after YOU see the show that you will be humming the ANOTHER DAY IN THE LIFE OF BIG NATE or maybe I LIKE BOYS, EXCEPT FOR YOU.
 
Already theatre companies in MANY cities across the USA have expressed interest in performing BIG NATE, THE MUSICAL beginning in fall 2013 and after. So STAY TUNED.
 
Have a GREAT Christmas, Chanukah, and New Year.
 
David the Big Nate Literary Agent
Mon, 12/17/2012

Words or Pictures?

I'm adding one more to the list of questions I'm frequently asked: Which do you think of first - the words or the pictures? The answer for me, 99.9% of the time, is words. Whether I'm thinking up a strip idea or writing a chapter for a Big Nate book, the words always come first. In fact, I can't even remember an instance off the top of my head in which a picture, or a drawing, gave me the idea for a joke.

This page from one of my sketchbooks dates from over a year ago - it would have been late July or early August of 2011 - when I was working on a couple different storylines for the strip. One involved Nate' ongoing horror at the quality (or lack thereof) of his Dad's Halloween offerings. (That's almost an annual event at this stage; over the years, Dad's handed out rice cakes, soy nuts, dried fruit, gluten- and sugar-free candy, and so on.) The other was a story that featured Nate interviewing his grandparents for a school project.

As you can see from this example, I don't use my sketchbook to plan how I'm going to actually draw the strip; it's actually kind of rare for drawings of Big Nate characters to show up in my sketchbooks. I don't even think about the artwork until I actually start sketching the finished strip. The sketchbook is where I work on the dialogue. Sometimes I'll find the right words with my very first try; but more commonly, I'll cross something out, rewrite it, cross it out again, etc. While I'm doing this, I'll often doodle absent-mindedly. On this particular page, there's not a whole lot of doodling. There's a pair of legs, a guy standing under a tree, a couple of dogs, a pile of rocks, a bomb, and a bald guy with no shirt on. Having a relatively modest amount of artwork on a page means I was having a productive session writing dialogue. When you see a page that's covered with drawings and almost no words, you know I was having trouble brainstorming dialogue that day.

And speaking of brainstorming, I spent a lot of time today working on chapter 3 of Big Nate In The Zone. Still a few pages to add tomorrow, but so far, so good!Thu, 12/13/2012

Fan Mail!

I've received quite a few letters recently from readers who have a lot of great questions about writing, drawing, and the Big Nate series. One of the unfortunate results of becoming so busy with the comic strip, books, and other projects is that I simply do not have the time to write personal replies to every child who takes the time to send me a letter. But on occasion, I use this blog to answer some of the questions I'm asked most frequently - and others I'm almost NEVER asked.

One letter came from Natalie in Greece, who is the artist of the drawing shown here. She enjoys the way I draw Nate and the other characters in the books, and as a result her own character, "Nat," looks a lot like Nate. She's worried that the characters look TOO much alike and wonders whether she should try to change her drawing style. Well, Natalie, my answer is that, as long as you keep drawing and practicing on a regular basis, your style will gradually become your own. Every cartoonist is influenced by those who came before. I've written many times about copying "Peanuts" characters when I was a kid, and you can still see the influence of Charles Schulz in my drawings today. But there's also a little bit of "Calvin & Hobbes" in my style, and a little bit of "Doonesbury" and "Bloom County" and "Popeye" and countless other comic strips. But at the same time, it doesn't really look very much like ANY of those strips. So my advice is to stop worrying and keep drawing. Your style will look less and less like Nate and more like Nat as you go along.

Durriyah from Sunset Primary School has a question that I'm often asked when I visit schools and bookstores: what is my favorite Big Nate book? Well, of course I like all of them for various reasons, but I must admit to having a soft spot in my heart for two of them in particular: Big Nate Strikes Again and Big Nate Goes For Broke. I'm particularly fond of Strikes Again because of the part Ben Franklin plays in the story. Ben is one of history's most fascinating figures, and drawing Nate's historical comics about Ben - and Poor Nate's Almanack, of course - was some of the most fun I've had while writing these books. Goes For Broke is a favorite for two reasons: first, I thoroughly enjoyed writing and drawing a story that takes place in winter. Second, I created the character of Dee Dee specifically for this book, and I think her addition to the cast of characters was very positive. Having said that, I also really like the book that's coming your way soon: Big Nate Flips Out.

And finally, Nate from Murphy, Texas asks: what's your favorite food? That's a toughie. I could give a lot of different answers, depending on my mood. But I would probably have to say pie. Rhubarb pie has always been my favorite, but I also love blueberry, apple, and pecan pie. And key lime pie, too. A few years ago I decided to make a pie with blueberries AND rhubarb, and that has since become my son's favorite. We call that a "bluebarb" pie.

That's all for now. Thanks for all the letters!Mon, 12/10/2012