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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On Vacation

Here are the Top Ten Things To Do while you are ON VACATION:
 
#10: Beat Christian's record: read BIG NATE: IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF more than 57 times
 
#9:  Bust Your Boredom by playing Big Nate's Fleeceball Trainer game on bignatebooks.com
 
#8:  Get a piece of paper and find your pencil: it's time for the Scribble Game!  (Don't remember how to play: go to p. 123 in BIG NATE STRIKES AGAIN.)
 
#7:  Can't wait for your next scout troop meeting?  Check out the Timber Scouts' fund-raiser in BIG NATE ON A ROLL.
 
#6: Check out Big Nate Island on poptropica.com
 
#5:  Learn how to draw Nate (For instructions, go to BIG NATE: STRIKES AGAIN, p.217)
 
#4:  Read the Big Nate Comic strip on
 
#3:  Get ready for the 4th Big Nate book, BIG NATE GOES FOR BROKE by checking out the sneak peek in BIG NATE ON A ROLL.
 
#2: Find more funny books to read on ReadKiddoRead.com
 
#1: Make comix on the Big Nate Comix By U! app.
Thu, 12/29/2011

See you in 2012!!!

Hi, everyone, and welcome to my final blog entry of 2011.  I hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season more than Spitsy is in this drawing.  This panel is from a storyline that appeared in the comic strip back in December of 2004, in which Nate's next-door neighbor Mr. Eustis went on vacation and asked Nate to take care of Spitsy for a week.  So Spitsy lived in Nate's house over the holidays, and Nate got to see for himself what it might be like to have a full-time dog of his own.  
 
Spitsy is fun to draw, but he also presents some difficulties at times -- mostly because of his huge collar.  These collars, I've learned, go by several different names.  Some call them elizabethan collars, others call them space collars or protective collars, and others just call them cones -- because, in real life, they do look a bit like a cone placed around a dog's head.  When I first brought Spitsy into the strip, his collar looked much more like a "realistic" cone-shaped collar.  But over the years, the collar gradually grew larger and more absurd-looking.  It makes Spitsy's appearance more comical, but it also makes it almost impossible to draw Spitsy in certain positions, like lying on his stomach, because the collar is in the way.  
 
That's one example of a problem that sometimes crops up when I'm drawing.  Other issues I have to contend with at times:
 
  • The kid characters have such enormous heads that it's impossible to draw them raising their arms high above their heads like people can do in real life.  Lift your arms straight up over your head right now, and you'll find that your elbows line up an inch or two above the top of your head.  So your entire forearms, wrists, and hands are above your head.  Well, Nate's elbows don't even reach his ears.  That's something I have to work around.
  • The kids are much too short compared to the adults.  I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this before, but anyway…Nate and his pals aren't the height of normal 6th graders.  Let's say the average 11 year-old boy comes up just about to his dad's shoulder, height-wise.  Well, Nate's not close to that.  (Yes, Nate's officially below average!)  When he stands next to his dad, he's more or less looking directly into his dad's belly button.  That means that when I'm working on drawings that include both kids and adults, I sometimes run into scale problems.  But I can usually figure out ways to tweak the drawing so that the adults don't look like giants.
  • Hair.  Yes, we all know I have problems drawing certain types of hair, especially if I have to draw a character in a full frontal pose.  Nate's hair looks the same no matter what position he's in, so that's not a problem.  But other characters just don't look great when they're looking straight out at the reader -- like Mrs. Godfrey or Artur, to name a couple of examples.
 
That's all I have time for tonight.  I'll have another entry next week.  In the meantime, your friendly neighborhood guest blogger will be on the job later this week.  See you in 2012!
 
Tue, 12/27/2011

Numero Uno

For those of you who have been following along, you will remember that for this week, we're ranking Nate's Christmas wish list.  Don't be fooled by this illustration from BIG NATE ON A ROLL.  A customized skateboard is NOT Nate's #1 choice.  Read on to see if your ranking system matches Nate's!

 

  • Latest issue of Femme Fatality - #2
  • Year round supply of cheez doodles - Now, you're talking!
  • A movie date with Jenny - I, only...
  • New hockey stick - YESSSS!
  • A dog - #1, #1, #1!!!
  • Coconut Pie recipe - ARE YOU KIDDING?  This is obviously a red herring (just trying to see how well you know Nate)
  • A customized skateboard - Vying for #2
  • No more Social Studies tests for the rest of the year - Too good to be true
  • A new drum set - Another #2
  • Free rides on the Screaming Meanie - Yet another #2

Happy Holidays from The Big Nate Editor

Thu, 12/22/2011

Peanuts Jubilee

It's been a while since I've written about one of my favorite subjects -- PEANUTS! -- so today I thought I'd tell you about yet another way Charles Schulz made a huge impression on me when I was young.

In my office is a wonderful book called Peanuts Jubilee.  It was published in 1975, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of “Peanuts.”  My parents gave it to me for my 12th birthday, and it was fascinating.  It contained selected strips from the strip’s first 25 years, which I enjoyed, of course.  But what really grabbed me was the text.  The book was part compilation/part autobiography, and in each chapter Charles “Sparky” Schulz told stories about his early life, his influences, his successes and failures, and so on.  Up to that point, I knew very little about Sparky’s life, and I ate it up.  I re-read the book countless times as I grew up and referred to it repeatedly as I tried to develop my own cartooning skills.

One part of the book was especially interesting.  Sparky wrote about an art project he completed in high school in which his teacher told the students to fill an 11 x 14 sheet of paper with drawings in groups of three.  Sparky filled his page with all sorts of little cartoon drawings; the picture shown here is just a small section of his page.  The drawing made a huge impression on me.  I was amazed at how effortlessly he seemed able to draw an object three times — and make it look the same each time.  Even as a teenager, Sparky had a very clean, simple drawing style that I admired.  I was impressed with the sheer number of objects he included in his drawing — flashlights, dentures, telephones, trumpets, traffic lights, inkwells, parachutes, and so on.  Finally, the drawing excited me because it reminded me, in some small way, of some of the doodles I was doing at the time — filling up page after page with drawings of little cartoon characters.  It helped fuel my aspiration to become a cartoonist one day, just as Sparky had.

And speaking of cartooning, here’s the latest Big Nate Goes For Broke update.  I’m just finishing up the drawings for chapter 8.  Just before Thanksgiving, I decided that I needed to be about halfway through chapter 9 by Christmas day, so I’m on track to meet that goal.  I might even have time to do a little Christmas shopping this week!

Mon, 12/19/2011

The Big Nate app is on sale today!!!

I've been looking forward to this blog entry for several months now, so I'm not going to wait any longer to give you some very exciting news:  
 
THE BIG NATE APP GOES ON SALE TODAY!!!
 
If you're an aspiring cartoonist like Big Nate -- or even if you just like the Big Nate books or the comic strip -- then BIG NATE: COMIX BY U! (for your iPhone or iPod touch) and BIG NATE COMIX BY U! HD (for your iPad) are right up your alley.  They're interactive apps that enable you to create your own comic strips using characters from Big Nate's world.  You can put those characters in a variety of cool backgrounds, add sound effects and props, and fill up different sizes and styles of speech bubbles with dialogue you write yourself.  Then you can save your strips in your own personal comix gallery, or share them with your comix-crazed friends.  
 
There's something for users of all levels.  The FILL IN THE BLANKS mode allows you to create your own dialogue for pre-existing comic strips; the STORY STARTER mode gives you one or two completed panels and asks you to take over from there; and the START FROM SCRATCH mode lets you create comix starring Big Nate and his friends that are entirely your own.  Do you have a funny story in mind involving Spitsy and Mrs. Godfrey?  Can you come up with the perfect snappy comeback for Nate to use on Gina?  BIG NATE: COMIX BY U! is your chance to become a great cartoonist -- just like Nate!
 
Needless to say, I know absolutely nothing about creating apps.  Fortunately, HarperCollins Children's Books knew exactly who'd be perfect for the job:  the folks at Night & Day Studios, Inc.  During the last several months, they've been developing the app, making sure every step of the way that BIG NATE: COMIX BY U! would be easy to use, great to look at, and fun to play.  Even someone like me, who's not at all familiar with apps, can pick it up in no time.  It's a blast!
Thu, 12/15/2011

Deck the Halls!

The holidays are just around the corner.  And I’m sure Nate is thinking about presents, and not schoolwork.   Here is your chance to discover how well YOU know Nate!  Rank the following items from 1 to 10.  What present would Nate most want for Christmas?

  •          Latest issue of Femme Fatality
  •          Year round supply of cheez doodles
  •          A movie date with Jenny
  •          New hockey stick
  •          A dog
  •          Coconut Pie recipe
  •          A customized skateboard
  •          No more Social Studies tests for the rest of the year
  •          A new drum set
  •          Free rides on the Screaming Meanie

Perhaps this illustration from BIG NATE: IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF of Nate and his neighbor’s dog, Spitsy will give you inspiration.  Tune in for the answers next week!

The Big Nate Editor

Mon, 12/12/2011

Guest Blogger: Big Nate Editor

Who am I: Ellen or Editor?  ((Confused?  Read on!))

Last week, I guest blogged about one of my favorite Big Nate characters: G---.  Imagine my surprise at discovering that I’m actually a lot like Ellen, Nate’s (bossy) older sister!  Here’s how I figured this out.  I took the Personality Pop Quiz (p.47 in your copy of BIG NATE BOREDOM BUSTER.  I’ve included the first two questions of the quiz here for your perusal.  Although we eat a lot of cheez doodles on the job, our favorite snack is…CHOCOLATE.  And I admit, English, not Art was my favorite subject in school.  Maybe this is why I decided to become an editor. 

An editor has many jobs.  I might help the author with the story arc of his book or ask him to think about word choice or how the words and pictures fit and look on the page.  And always, my job is to help make sure the stories are as funny as possible.  Because we want Big Nate to surpass all others.  How are we doing?

Signing off until next week,

The Big Nate Editor

P.S.  Don’t forget to take the Personality Pop Quiz and find out which Big Nate character YOU most resemble.

Thu, 12/08/2011

Three Cheers for MPH!

Before I give you a quick status report on Big Nate Goes For Broke, I have a very special greeting to send:
 
Congratulations to MPH on their very first MPH Carnival…and happy 105th anniversary!  Thank you very much for all you do to get Big Nate books into the hands of kids everywhere!
 
For those of you who don't live in Singapore or Malaysia, MPH is a bookstore chain in that part of the world.  MPH sells the "international" editions of the Big Nate books.  As I've said before in this blog, one of the things about writing books that really tickles me is knowing that there are kids all over the world who are reading and enjoying them.  So…three cheers for MPH!
 
STATUS REPORT:  I'm continuing to plug away on the artwork for GOES FOR BROKE.  I'm halfway through chapter 7 right now, and progress is steady, but slow.  Why slow?  Because so many of the drawings for this book have multiple characters in them.  A drawing of Nate, Francis, and Teddy takes three times as long as a drawing of Nate alone.  And it just so happens that Nate doesn't spend much time alone in this book.  At any rate, there are 12 chapters in the book.  (Actually, it's more like eleven-and-a-half.  Chapter 12, as was the case in Big Nate Strikes Again, is just a few pages long.)  I've got just under 7 weeks to finish.  Wish me luck!
 
This book is giving me the chance to draw some interesting things, some of them for the very first time.  I don't think I ever tried to draw a suit of armor -- until the other day.  There's a suit of armor in chapter 6.  What does a suit of armor have to do with Big Nate Goes For Broke?  You'll find out on March 20th, when it goes on sale!
 
Speaking of books going on sale, starting on December 6th -- that's tomorrow! -- you can buy a brand-new collection of Big Nate comic strips.  It's called Big Nate And Friends.  Look for it at your local bookstore.
 
That's all for now.  There will be another guest blogger here on Thursday.  I'll check in again a week from today!
 
 
Mon, 12/05/2011

Guest Blogger: Big Nate Editor

 
Hi, everyone.  I am subbing for Lincoln Peirce today.  If you have been following Lincoln’s blog, you know that he needs every second of the day and night to finish his art for BIG NATE GOES FOR BROKE. 
 
It’s a great privilege to serve as guest blogger.  While I can’t claim to know every last thing about Big Nate, since I edit the Big Nate books, I know a thing or two…especially about one of my absolute favorite characters in the series.  And…it’s not Nate!  (Nate is my #1favorite character, of course.)
 
This character is bossy (so am I!), smart, funny (unintentionally).
 
In this character’s honor, I made up a code.  If you need help, guessing who it is, just decipher the code.  Fill in the letter of the alphabet that precedes the 2nd alphabet letter.
 
_H
_J
_O
_B
 
If you need another clue, this character should get an A for effort while playing fleeceball.  And we know how this character feels about getting straight A’s! 
 
Give up?  Check out my favorite illustration of this character from BIG NATE STRIKES AGAIN.
 
Here’s a bonus:  Can you name the inventor who makes a guest appearance in BIG NATE STRIKES AGAIN?
 
_C
_F
_O
 
_G
_S
_B
_O
_L
_M
_J
_O
Thu, 12/01/2011

Sketches

Hi everyone, and welcome back from what I hope was a long holiday weekend for you.  My family and I drove to Rhode Island on Wednesday and spent a day and a half visiting with my brother’s family.  There were 16 of us gathered around the Thanksgiving table.  How does that compare to your crowd on Turkey Day?

On holidays, I try to avoid bringing work along with me, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.  In this case, it wouldn’t have really been practical to bring along everything I would have needed to work on the drawings for Big Nate Goes For Broke.  There are too many moving parts involved — big pads of paper, rulers, correcting tape, correcting fluid, stencils, and so on.  So instead of lugging all that stuff down to Rhode Island, I brought along my little sketchbook and tried to brainstorm some ideas for the comic strip.  As I’m sure I’ve said before, the most time-consuming and difficult part of producing a daily comic strip is thinking up the ideas.  So my goal was to set aside a little bit of time while visiting my brother to write some gags.  I wanted to have an entire week’s worth of material — six dailies and one Sunday — ready to go by the time we returned to Maine on Friday morning.  I almost did it.  I was able to come up with the dailies, which I drew on Friday and Saturday.  But even after several hours of banging my head against the wall, I wasn’t able to think of a Sunday gag I liked — until today.  Something finally clicked at about 1:30 this afternoon.  Better late than never!

This drawing is one of my sketchbook pages.  There actually isn’t very much Big Nate material included here; most of it is just idle doodling.  But that’s okay; sometimes drawings that seem random lead to new ideas later on.  This page includes some of the images I seem to return to again and again:  a bathtub, radios, thumbtacks, and a mysterious object that looks like a combination birdcage/lobster trap.  Not to mention the Pillsbury Doughboy!

The next eight weeks are going to be extremely busy, and if I’m going to finish these Goes For Broke drawings in time, I may have to blog less frequently for a while.  I’m not certain yet.  But I’ll work it out with the good folks at HarperCollins and tell you about it in one of my next entries.  There will continue to be fresh stuff here twice a week, whether it comes directly from me or not.  So keep reading!

Mon, 11/28/2011