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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Prehistoric Dad

Hi everyone, my apologies for this entry arriving a day late.  I started it on Wednesday night as I always do, then set it aside to work on some other things...with every intention of returning to it later, of course!  But before I knew it, it was Thursday afternoon.  

At any rate, look what I came across in my office:  a very rare example of "prehistoric Dad"!  This is from a small notebook I filled back in 1989/1990.  I was trying to get the comic strip going, and I used this notebook to jot down ideas and sketch out very rough gags.  In looking at this particular example, a couple of things occur to me.  First, Nate’s dad really hasn’t changed all that much.  His nose was a bit bigger and more rounded back then, but besides that, all Dad’s physical traits are here:  bald head, skinny arms, and of course the pot belly.

Second (and it may be tough to see this clearly in the sketch) is the size of the phone Dad’s holding.  There may have been cell phones back in 1989, but I wasn’t drawing them.  And they probably weren’t even all that much smaller than this phone, anyway.  This is a real full-size phone!  Looks like I forgot to draw the cord, though.  I arrived late to the cordless phone party, artistically speaking.  I was still drawing phones with cords up until a few years ago.  Then one day I realized:  nobody has phones with cords anymore!  Same thing with televisions.  It’s only been a few years that I’ve drawn TVs as flat screens instead of the big boxy things they used to be.  Maybe that’s because the only TV in our house is the one we received as a wedding present in 1989.

That’s all for now.  Hope you don’t mind that this drawing of “early” Dad was a little late!

Thu, 02/02/2012

Kit & Kaboodle

I was doing some long-overdue cleaning in my office today, and came across a folder filled with cartoons I drew back in the late 80's and early 90's, when I was first getting Big Nate off the ground.  This particular drawing (I drew it in very faint pencil, which explains why it might be a bit difficult to see) is the final panel of a comic I drew in Nate’s style called Kit & Kaboodle.  It features a theme that I’ve revisited many times over the years:  that of the clumsy superhero.

As you can see, Kit and Kaboodle are a goofy-looking version of Batman & Robin.  I’m sure I’ve written before about the 1960’s televison show Batman and the effect it had on me.  And, when something has an effect on ME, it inevitably has an effect on Nate as well.  No wonder Nate enjoys drawing comics featuring characters like Doctor Cesspool and Moe Mentum; they’re variations on the “clumsy superhero” theme, except they happen to be a clumsy doctor and a clumsy stuntman, respectively.

In addition to tidying up my office, I had a number of other Nate-related tasks to accomplish today.  I drew the Big Nate Sunday strip for April 29 (so I’m exactly 3 months ahead of my publication dates); then I did a drawing of Nate, Francis and Teddy for the cover of a Big Nate board game which is coming soon to a store near you (along with a BN jigsaw puzzle!); then I drew an alphabet of letters in the Big Nate “style” to be used in the future whenever someone wants to write something in the font used on the cover of the Big Nate books.  And after I finish this blog entry, I still have to scan and color the comic strip for the last week in April.  Not a bad day’s work!

And speaking of the comic strip, if you’re following the current storyline involving Nate and Gina’s “detention bet,” feel free to make a comment at gocomics.com.  These particular strips tell the story of Gina betting Nate that he can’t last an entire week without getting detention, and they’ve generated more reader response than any group of strips thus far.  I’d love to hear what you think!

Mon, 01/30/2012

Big Nate Goes for Broke is finished!!!

Hi, everyone.  I'm very happy to be back in Maine after my visit to Pittsburgh.  A big thank you to all the kids I met there, in person and via video conferencing.  They had a lot of very smart questions about all the steps that go into the making of a Big Nate book...which brings me to two points.

Point #1:  Big Nate Goes For Broke Is Finished!  My part is, anyway.  I completed the final drawing last Wednesday, made one last correction to a piece of art on Thursday, and that was that.  There are still a few very small loose ends to tie up before the books are printed, though.  In a couple spots in the manuscript, the text needs to be repositioned so that it functions correctly with the drawings.  There was a typo on the “author bio” page.  And my eagle-eyed editor noticed a few places where we could move words around to avoid hyphenation.  Once those are straightened out, we’ll be good to go!

Point #2:  Now It’s Time To Start Writing Book 5!  As I think I’ve told you before, Book 5 is going to be called Big Nate Flips Out.  I’ve written a two-page sneak peek about the story (you can read it at the very end of Goes For Broke), so I have a vague idea of what the book will be about.  It’s going to deal in some way with Nate’s sloppiness.  And Francis will play a big part in the book.  That’s about all I’ve decided so far!

Also, I’ve learned at least a little bit about where I’ll be going on the Goes For Broke book tour.  On the first leg, in mid-March, I’ll be visiting the Chicago area, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis.  Then, after a weekend at home in Maine, I’ll be in Miami, somewhere in Virginia, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York.  Keep checking this blog.  I’ll be providing more specifics in the weeks to come!

Thu, 01/26/2012

Greetings from Pittsburgh!

Greetings from Pittsburgh!  Today (Sunday) I had the great privilege of speaking to over 300 Big Nate readers who assembled at the Carnegie Library for the Black, White & Read All Over lecture series.  The auditorium where I did my presentation was a very nice room, and I was grateful to all the families from Pittsburgh who came out to watch, despite the fact that there were a couple of high-profile sporting events going on at exactly the same time:  the local hockey team, the Penguins, had an afternoon game against the Capitals; and of course there was a big playoff football game going on, featuring my New England Patriots vs. the Baltimore Ravens.  (Patriots 23, Ravens 20!)
 
Since I knew in advance I'd have a document camera at my presentation, I planned accordingly and brought a number of things to show:  examples of some of my earliest inspirations (Peanuts, Uncle Scrooge comic books, Francis W. Dahl's cartoons from the Boston Herald), pictures and comics I drew as a kid, and last but not least some very early Big Nate drawings, when I was first trying to figure out what I wanted all the characters to look like.  (For awhile, Nate was pudgy and had hair sort of like Artur's.)  After about a 40 minute presentation, I answered questions for 25 minutes, then signed books for all the kids.  All in all, it was a great afternoon.
 
But my stay in Pittsburgh isn't over yet!  Tomorrow I'll travel to Carmalt School to spend some time with the fifth graders there, and that visit will also be broadcast via video conferencing to four other schools in the area.  THEN I'll head for the airport and fly back to Maine.
 
I'd like to say a huge thank you to all the folks who helped make today's event go so smoothly:  Jayne, Emily, Karen, Nancy, and the unstoppable Amy.  Thanks also to Alan, for making sure there were no technical difficulties to contend with.  I look forward to coming back to Pittsburgh again sometime soon!
Mon, 01/23/2012

Mr. Wright, Mr. Wrong

Dear Big Nate Fan,
 
Lately I’ve been thanking about Mr. Wright, aka Nate’s dad.  I admit, he can be a cluehead at times.  He:
·         Makes the nastiest tuna casserole,
·         Thinks Ellen is perfect,
·         Believes breakfast is the most important meal of the day,
·         Wears figure skates to skating night,
·         Gives out rice cakes on Halloween,
·         Thinks Nate and Gina get along…you get the idea.
 
Even though Nate’s Dad is out of it most of the time, here is one thing he would do correctly: He would vote for BIG NATE as his favorite series.  Here’s how you can help get out the vote.  Go to ReadKiddoRead http://www.readkiddoread.com/uploads/kiddos2012.php. Check out the cool book recommendations.  Ask your parents to vote for YOUR FAVORITE SERIES, BIG NATE.  Time is ticking.  Votes can be cast until February 15th…..
 
The Big Nate Editor
Thu, 01/19/2012

Team Cul de Sac

Sometimes when I do school visits to talk to kids about cartooning, I'm asked to name some of my favorite comic strips -- not strips from the past (like Peanuts, Polly & Her Pals, Li'l Abner, etc.) that I've written about in this blog before, but current strips.  Well, there are a lot of admirable comics out there, but for my money the very best is "Cul de Sac" by Richard Thompson.  

Richard was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2009, and soon thereafter, led by the tireless Chris Sparks, Team Cul de Sac was formed.  Its goal is to raise money for Parkinson’s research.  The centerpiece of these fundraising efforts is a book featuring the work of dozens and dozens of cartoonists, all of them paying tribute to Richard and his wonderful strip.

If you or anyone you know would like to learn more about Team Cul de Sac and pre-order your own copy of the book, you can do so by clicking on this link:

 http://sparkingdesign.com/order-team-cul-de-sac-book/

Meanwhile, back in the world of Big Nate, I’m approaching the finish line.  I have just a few pages of drawings to go before Big Nate Goes For Broke is finished.  I did have a momentary setback yesterday, though.  I’ve mentioned before that there’s a character in the book named Mrs. Everett.  Several drawings of Mrs. Everett appear very late in the book, in chapter 11.  I was working on these drawings and then happened to glance back at a drawing of the same character from chapter 1...and I discovered that, without realizing it, I’d drawn her nose just a bit differently in chapter 11 than I had in chapter 1!  Her nose gradually grew just a bit rounder each time I drew her.  Something like that would never happen with a character I draw all the time, like Nate or Francis or Teddy...but it’s not unusual, when you’re drawing a character you’re not that familiar with, for that character to go through a few changes early on, until you’ve eventually settled on his or her final appearance.  Anyway, maybe readers wouldn’t have even noticed (it’s not like I changed her hair color or something really major), but I noticed...so I made a few corrections.  Hopefully, when the book is published, Mrs. Everett’s nose won’t stick out like a sore thumb!
Tue, 01/17/2012

Guest Blogger: Happy 2012!

Dear Big Nate Fans,

Perhaps you made New Year’s resolutions eleven days ago.  I’ve been thinking about Nate and whether he would make any New Year’s Resolutions.  If you’ve been reading the Big Nate comics this year, you will know the answer.  But in case you need a hint, read on.

Nate’s pretty perfect.  Why would he need to make any resolutions?  According to Nate, he’s a genius at cartooning.  He’s the drummer of the band he started, Enslave the Mollusk (Don’t ask why he’s no longer the lead singer).  He’s a star goalie.  (Does one game count?)  And also, a pro at table football.  And, a whiz at chess (as long as Artur isn’t around).

Really, Nate’s…((Refer to the drawing, please)).

And this is why, unlike the rest of us, there’s no need for Nate to make any New Year’s resolutions.

Happy Year of the Dragon,

The Big Nate Editor 

Thu, 01/12/2012

Wishing for a Winter Wonderland

In this drawing (which is part of a strip that appeared in newspapers on December 30, 2005), Francis is pretty excited about some fresh snowfall.  Here in Maine, we've had very little snow this year -- almost none, as a matter of fact -- and I think most people would welcome a few inches of snow.  I certainly would.  It would help keep me in the proper frame of mind to finish the drawings for Big Nate Goes For Broke (which, as you know if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, takes place during the winter).  I’ve got about 20 pages worth of very wintry drawings to complete in the next 10 days or so.  It’s going to be tight, but I’m pretty sure I’ll make it!

Once I finish that job, I’ll be traveling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on the weekend of January 21st and 22nd to speak to kids about books, Big Nate, cartooning and storytelling as part of the Black, White & Read All Over lecture series at the Carnegie Library.  I’m very honored to have been asked to participate in this series, which in the past has included the likes of Rick Riordan, Mo Willems, Megan MacDonald, and Jeff Kinney.  You can learn more about the series here:

http://www.pittsburghlectures.org/section.php?pageID=109

If you live close to Pittsburgh, ask your mom or dad to bring you to the talk.  It should be a lot of fun!

And now back to the weather.  Here’s another reason I wish there was some snow on the ground:  on Saturday night, I was at Fenway Park in Boston (home of my beloved Red Sox) to watch an outdoor hockey game between two college hockey teams, Maine and New Hampshire.  The rink was set up right in the middle of the baseball field, but the truth is, it looked a little odd with all that green outfield grass on display.  What the event needed was a fresh blanket of snow to make the game seem more wintry.   Instead, it was 50 degrees when the game started.  50 degrees in New England in January!!  Poor Big Nate will never be able to enjoy any days off from school if this keeps up!

Mon, 01/09/2012

Supper scribble game to the rescue!

Have you ever been bored during your lunch period at school?  Ever wish you had something fun to do with your friends on a rainy day spent inside?  That's how I felt earlier this week while taking a long train ride back to New York City after visiting my family for the holidays.  When the train took off I enjoyed looking out the windows at the passing scenery, but slowly I began to lose interest and knew I needed something fun to do...and quick!  As I thought about what I could do to pass the time I remembered the Big Nate Boredom Buster book I had tucked into my bag a few days before to share with my friends and family.  Suddenly I realized I didn't have to look any further to beat my boredom because the Supper Scribble Game came to the rescue!

The Supper Scribble Game is simple.  Take a piece of paper, draw a scribble on the paper, and then turn that scribble into a picture of something.  This is a game that Nate and his friends love to play!

I used my long train ride to turn the scribble from page 50 of Big Nate Boredom Buster into something super.  Check out my scribble here.  The next time you have some free time, try this easy game.  Challenge your friends to the scribble game and see who can come up with the best creation.

 

The Big Nate Marketing Team

 

Thu, 01/05/2012

The Great Brain

I'm almost sure that, at some point during the nearly two years that I've been writing this blog, I must have mentioned one of my favorite book series when I was a boy:  The Great Brain (and its sequels), by John D. Fitzgerald.  The title character, Tom, lived with his family in late 19th-century Utah, and the books chronicle the troubles that The Great Brain creates and gets out of (usually).

One part of the Great Brain books that always fascinated me was Tom’s claim that, if he had a problem he needed to solve, he could arrive at a solution simply by thinking about the problem as he fell asleep at night.  While he slept, his Great Brain would ponder the issue...and when he woke up in the morning, he’d have his answer.  As a kid, I thought that sounded pretty good, and I tried several times to make it work myself.  But nothing ever happened.  I’d always wake up in the morning with my mind pretty much empty, so obviously I was lacking some brain power.

Anyway, this came to mind when I was writing book 4, Big Nate Goes For Broke.  At a certain point in the book, Nate is sorely in need of a great idea.  Then he remembers the way The Great Brain solves problems in his sleep, and he tells his friends that he’s going to “give it the Great Brain Treatment!”  This drawing shown here is the very rough art from page 182; I’ll do the finished art later today.  The question is:  does it work??  Does Nate’s own “great brain” come up with the answer while he sleeps?  Well, I can’t give away that secret, of course.  But I CAN tell you that finding an opportunity to mention The Great Brain in a Big Nate book was a real pleasure for me.  If you’ve never read the series, give it a try.  The world of The Great Brain has no cars, computers, cell phones, etc...but if you like good stories, you’ll like these books!

Quick Goes For Broke progress report:  As I mentioned, I’m doing the finished artwork for page 182, which means I’ve got about 35 pages to go.  The end is in sight!

Tue, 01/03/2012