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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BIG NATE APP "COMIX BY U" CONTEST!

Hi everyone.  As the on-sale date of Big Nate Goes For Broke (March 20th!) gets closer, my friends and I have been thinking of fun ways to celebrate the occasion.  And here's one:  the BIG NATE APP "COMIX BY U" CONTEST!  You might remember what I've told you about the app already:  that it allows you to create your own Big Nate comic strips by choosing characters, poses, backgrounds, props, and sound effects from the app menus.  The app supplies the visuals; YOU supply the jokes!  I'm the first to admit I don't know much about technology, but the Big Nate app is fun, easy to use, and provides almost unlimited possibilities for U, the creator, to make whatever sort of comix you want.

Here's how to enter:  Just make your own comix creation using the Big Nate app, and then email it directly from the app to info@nightanddaystudios.  That's all there is to it -- you're automatically entered to win!  Don't have the Big Nate app yet?  Get it here!

Once we've received all the entries, we'll choose the five that we think are the funniest, most creative, or just the most Nate-like.  And those five winners will receive their very own copy of Big Nate Goes For Broke, signed by me.  

So why not give it a try?  All cartoonists have to start somewhere.  And maybe, just like Big Nate, you're DESTINED FOR GREATNESS!  Good luck!

 

Thu, 03/08/2012

Dee Dee Hollway

I must confess, I have trouble keeping track of what I’ve written about in this blog vs. what I THINK I’ve written about, but actually haven’t.  In the most recent entry, my beloved editor (and blog pinch-hitter!) included a picture of Nate dancing with a girl wearing an enormous fruit headdress.  (Kids, you all have my permission to open a new tab on your computer screen and google “Carmen Miranda” this very second.)  Anyway, when I saw that picture, I had to stop and ask myself:  have I written about that character yet in this blog?  Or haven’t I?  

I might have made a brief reference to her — and you might have seen her in “Poor Nate’s Almanack” on page 158 of Big Nate Strikes Again -- but I’m pretty sure I haven’t told you very much about her.  Well, her name is Dee Dee Holloway, and here’s a picture of her WITHOUT the crazy fruit on her head.  She’s never been a REAL character in any of the first three Big Nate books, but she’s a VERY important part of Big Nate Goes For Broke.  You can see for yourself when the book goes on sale — March 20th!

During my last book tour, I was doing an easel talk at a bookstore in St. Louis, Missouri, and a young girl asked me very directly:  “why are the girls in your books so bossy and annoying?”  It was a good point!  Certainly Nate sees Mrs. Godfrey, Gina, and his big sister Ellen as annoying, frustrating, terrifying, and so on.  And because the books are written from Nate’s point of view, we experience the other characters the same way Nate does.  Fortunately, because I’d already started writing Goes For Broke during that last book tour, I was able to tell that young lady that a NEW female character was coming, and that she might just surprise a few people — especially Nate.  That’s not to say that Dee Dee and Nate are best buddies or anything like that...BUT let’s just say that Dee Dee, who’s something of an aspiring actress, plays the role of a lifetime in this next book!

Did you google Carmen Miranda yet?

Mon, 03/05/2012

Countdown!

What do:

a bobcat,

a school dance,

supa-snow tubing,

Jefferson, the perfect middle school,

the Add-On game and…

CARTOONING have in common???

On MARCH 20TH, you will find out when you pick up a copy of BIG NATE GOES FOR BROKE, Book #4.

If you are REALLY lucky, and you live in Minneapolis, you may have a chance to meet Lincoln Peirce.  Keep checking bignatebooks.com for the other cities on Lincoln’s tour.  And, to bust your boredom while you’re waiting until March 20th, play the BIG NATE ON A ROLL ROUND-UP game.

The Editor

Fri, 03/02/2012

Mutt & Jeff

Today’s trivia question:  Do you know what a “Mutt & Jeff couple” is?

I’ll give you a hint:  it has something to do with a comic strip.  But before I give you the answer, I want to remind you that there are MANY expressions, part of people’s everyday vocabularies, that first saw the light of day in comic strips.  For example, many restaurants and delicatessens feature something called a “Dagwood sandwich.”  Well, if you know your comics, you know that Dagwood Bumstead is the husband of Blondie in the comic strip of the same name; and Dagwood is often seen eating sandwiches that are stacked absurdly high, layer upon layer.  So the term “Dagwood”, meaning a sandwich packed with a whole lot of ingredients, was coined.  

There are countless others.   “Diary of A Wimpy Kid” might have a completely different title were it not for a character named Wimpy in the comic strip “Popeye.”   Before the comic strip “Peanuts,” the term security blanket was not part of people’s everyday vocabulary.  Or what about the expression “Are we having fun yet?”, popularized in the great underground-turned-mainstream comic strip “Zippy the Pinhead”?

So now let’s get back to Mutt & Jeff.  “Mutt & Jeff” was the name of a comic strip created over a century ago by Bud Fisher.  The title characters were A. Mutt, a gambler who was always coming up with unlikely get-rich-quick schemes, and Jeff, who in the strip’s early days was presented as a recent escapee from an insane asylum.  Their personalities and circumstances changed some over the years, but during the strip’s long history, the wisecracking and one-upmanship between the two men was always the main focus.  Now here’s the answer to the trivia question:  Mutt was very tall, and Jeff was very short.  So a “Mutt & Jeff couple” is one in which two people are mismatched according to height — one tall, one short.

Now you know!

Mon, 02/27/2012

A Big Nate Poem

As you probably know, there are three things Big Nate despises (not counting Gina and Mrs. Godfrey):  egg salad, figure skating, and cats.  Here’s a poem I did as a Sunday page a few years ago.  Nate’s words in the drawing are the last line of the poem!

Dear friend, I mean not to alarm
Or do your disposition harm.
But all around us, near and far,
Lurk creatures gruesome and bizarre.

You may not even be aware
(Indeed, some folks seem not to care!)
That such foul beasts, such monsters rank
Reside in shadows dark and dank.

They lie in wait, they slink, they creep,
Prepared to pounce, to lunge, to leap,
To sink their claws into your flesh,
To feast anew on victims fresh.

And even when they hide away,
A stench their presence does betray:
A rancid stink, a bilious scent,
Foreshadowing their ill intent.

My friend, don’t think yourself immune!
Your Day of Judgment’s coming soon.
You’ll sense the creature drawing near,
And turn to run, in abject fear.

By then, though, it will be too late.
A close encounter is your fate.
Your screams of terror will not matter...
(last line!)

Thu, 02/23/2012

Washington's Birthday

Happy Presidents Day, everyone!  Actually, it's not yet offically Presidents Day as I write this...and by the time you read it, Presidents Day will probably be over.  But the very FIRST President's Day (Washington's Birthday) is yet to come:  George was born on February 22nd, 1732.

Or WAS he?  In the "you learn something new every day" department, I found out today that, at the time of George Washington's birth, the "Julian" or "Old Style" calendar was still in use in England -- which was where many of the early colonists had come from.  And according to the Julian calendar, George was born NOT on February 22nd, but February 11th!  Back in the 18th century, not all the residents of the newly-formed USA were in agreement; so some celebrated Washington's Birthday on the 11th, and others on the 22nd.

(I have no idea what George thought of all this.  Maybe he celebrated twice, and doubled up on the presents!)

Now that you're in a real presidential frame of mind, here's a strip from quite a few years ago featuring a comic strip by Nate.  (Obviously, Nate has his own somewhat warped sense of history.)

At any rate, in our family, February would be a big month even if not for Washington's Birthday (or Abe Lincoln's, which is on February 12th).  The 2nd is my nephew Derek's birthday, the 6th is my brother Jon's, the 11th is our son Elias's...and I mustn't forget our lovable dog, Scout, who was born on February 10, 2006. She's officially entering middle age.  But when she chases squirrels through the woods, you'd never know it.

Well, when I start blogging about squirrels, it's a sign I've run out of things to write about.  That's all for this time!

Mon, 02/20/2012

Bird of Fortune

Today it's the return of a favorite recurring theme:  the oddly-phrased and/or difficult-to-understand fortune.  As you might remember, in Big Nate:  In A Class By Himself, Nate writes a comic about going out for Chinese food with Dad and Ellen and receiving the utterly bizarre fortune, “an unlit candle frightens no monkeys.”  Well, this recent fortune that came my way may be slightly less strange, but it certainly isn’t very well-written.  “Birds are entangled by your feet and men by their tongue.”

What does it mean, exactly?  That you (the reader of the fortune) like to go around tripping birds?  That’s pretty weird. And what about the tongue part?  Men are entangled by their tongue?  Just one tongue?  There’s more than one man in the fortune, so shouldn’t there be more than one tongue?  Shouldn’t it say “tongues”, with an “s”?  And is “entangled” really the right word to use here?  Entangled means “twisted together or entwined into a confusing mass.”  Can feet and tongues really behave this way?

I think what the fortune is trying to say is that birds sometimes get tripped up by their OWN feet, and men by their own tongues — meaning sometimes people talk too much.  But even if that’s the point of the fortune, I STILL think it’s strange.  Since when do birds get tripped up by their own feet?  I see plenty of birds every day, and none of them are tripping on their shoelaces or slipping on banana peels.

But enough about fortunes.  I need to get into my office and get back to work on chapter 2 of Big Nate Flips Out.  Otherwise my next fortune might say something like:  “You’re falling behind schedule!”

Thu, 02/16/2012

Animation Woes

Recently, when I spoke at the Carnegie Library as part of the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures “Black, White & Read All Over” series, a question was asked that I’ve heard a number of times:  Is there ever going to be a Big Nate movie or TV show?  Well, the honest answer is that I don’t know.  There are a number of reasons nothing like that has happened yet, and reason #1 is that the inquiries that have come my way thus far have been proposals for Big Nate live-action projects.  In other words, Nate would be played by a real-life actor.  As I’m sure I’ve said in this blog before, Nate was created many years ago as a cartoon character, and I’m opposed to the idea of his being portrayed by an actual kid.  He should be a cartoon.

But creating a Big Nate animated cartoon wouldn’t be without its problems, either, a fact I was reminded of earlier tonight when I was looking for something on my computer.  I opened some folders I hadn’t opened in awhile, and came across some drawings I did years ago when I was trying to get a show on Cartoon Network.  One of them, “Spang Ho,” included a character named Whatnot, a wisecracking dog.  That’s him in the picture.  These are drawings I made for the animators to help them create a scene in which Whatnot goes through a specific set of movements.  I made a LOT of drawings like these, because I have very specific ideas of how certain characters should move.  

But sometimes there’s a problem:  you can’t always make characters move the way you want them to.  Look at Big Nate, for example.  When I first started drawing Nate years ago, animation wasn’t really on my mind.  If it had been, I might not have made Nate’s feet so enormous.  Those feet are going to be a big problem if Nate ever needs to be animated, because there’s no way for them to allow Nate to walk normally without tripping over them.  I’m not quite sure what the solution would be, or if there even IS one.  And it’s not just Nate that’s the problem, of course.  All the kid characters have enormous feet. Not to mention some of the other issues I wrote about in a recent blog entry, like the size of Nate’s ginormous head, or how stubby his arms and legs are.  

Anyway, it’s not an issue at this point, because there isn’t a movie or a TV show on the horizon.  But if someday there is, I feel sorry for those animators.  I’m just going to stick to drawing comics and writing books!

Mon, 02/13/2012

Clare Briggs

The other day I received an email from an old friend who'd come across an interesting book.  Since it was a book full of comics, he asked me if I wanted it.  Very nice of him.  At any rate, the book arrived, and I’ve been enjoying looking at the work of a very fine cartoonist who was very well known in the business 90 or 100 years ago.

His name was Clare Briggs, and this particular book, called "Memorial Edition:  The Drawings of Clare Briggs,” was published in 1930, soon after his death.  It features his panel called “When A Feller Needs A Friend,” and it’s a very different type of cartoon from the ones we see nowadays.  Many of them are wistful, melancholy, or even tragic.  This particular cartoon, for example, is called “Deserted.”  The caption reads:  The tragedy of belonging to the kind of people who will take a feller way out in some lonely spot...and lose him.  It’s a cartoon about a family abandoning a dog.  Many of Briggs’ cartoons feature characters who are isolated, or separated from a larger group.  In some cases, like a cartoon in which a little boy is forced to listen to opera on the radio when he’d rather be listening to a boxing match, the feeling is lighthearted.  But others, like this one, are very sad.  In a way, these drawings are something like the editorial cartoons of today, except they seldom deal with larger political events.  They’re more about human nature, or childhood cruelty, or society at large.

BIG NATE FLIPS OUT UPDATE:  It’s taken me a little while to get going, but I’ve finally started writing Book 5.  I just put the finishing touches on chapter 1.  As usual, I still have no idea whatsoever what’s going to happen later in the story, but I like the way it’s going so far.  I’ll keep you posted!

Thu, 02/09/2012

Hebrew Edition

One thing I often mention when I'm speaking to very young kids about cartooning is this:  remember that comics are read from left to right and top to bottom.  It's a helpful reminder for kids who are experimenting with drawing their own comics for the first time that where you place things on a page, and how you position them, largely determines whether or not people will read them in the correct order.

But not ALL comics are read from left to right, are they?

I admit that when I was writing Big Nate:  In A Class By Himself, the last thing on my mind was that it might eventually be translated to Hebrew.  But, in fact, that’s exactly what happened; and last week I received my very own copy of the Hebrew edition.  And Hebrew is read right to left instead of left to right.  This not only means that the book looks different from what we’re accustomed to (the spine of the book is on the right, and the “front” cover is really the “back” cover!), it also means that the artwork looks different, too.  All the drawings in the book have been “flipped”, which means that they look like mirror images of the originals.  It also means that they look kind of odd to me.  And here’s why.

Let’s say I’m drawing Nate in a full frontal pose.  He’s looking straight out at you.  Well, if I were able to draw him perfectly symmetrically, then the left half of Nate would look exactly like the right half of Nate.  But I don’t draw perfectly symmetrically.  I’m right-handed, and even though I try to make the left edge and the right edge of Nate’s face curve in just the same way, the fact is that one side is always more curvy, and the other more straight.  I hardly notice it when I’m working on the original drawing, because that’s the way my eyes are accustomed to seeing things.  But when the drawings are flipped, that lack of symmetry really stands out, and everything looks just a bit lopsided.  I probably notice it more than you would, though.  And it doesn’t affect the story at all.  In fact, it’s fun to look at it from a new perspective.

Try doing this.  Make a drawing, and then hold that drawing up to a mirror and look at it “backwards.”  I bet you’ll be surprised by how different it looks!

 

Sat, 02/04/2012