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!

Nate's Favorites

You might remember these two items from my last blog entry:  First, I wrote about Super Jimmy, the very first original cartoon character I ever created.  Second, I told a couple of young cartoonists not to throw away their drawings.    There might be a time in the future when you’ll be happy you saved them.  

Like right now!

I was going through some VERY old files earlier today, and look what I came across:  a Super Jimmy story I wrote when I was in sixth grade!  Super Jimmy was a hopelessly clumsy (and not very smart) superhero who wore a baggy purple and yellow costume and tried to fight crime.  In this story, he teamed up with a couple of park rangers in a battle against an army of hypnotized kids.  To be honest, it’s not a very good story, so I’m only showing you a couple panels.  
 
Thank goodness my drawing skills have improved a little bit since then.

And now for some Big Nate info.  Today I met Mia, a 9 year-old Big Nate fan who has already read Big Nate:  In A Class by Himself several times.  She wondered, since Nate enjoys making lists, if he might make a list of all his favorite things.  I know I won’t remember ALL the things Mia asked about, but I think I can provide at least a few answers.

WHAT IS NATE’S FAVORITE...

COLOR?
 I’d have to say blue.  But he also likes the combination of blue and yellow together, which is why he always wears the same yellow and blue shirt.

TV SHOW?  Well, it’s not a REAL show.  In the comic strip, I used to write jokes about Nate watching a “how to paint” TV show called “Oil Painting With Rusty,” starring Rusty Sienna.  (Another TV personality that Nate is sort of obsessed with is the local weatherman, Wink Summers.)

ICE CREAM?  I’m almost positive it’s mint chocolate chip.  

ANIMAL?  That’s an easy one.  Nate loves dogs and (even though he can’t admit it) he’s afraid of cats.

Speaking of lists, I’m currently working on a list of possible titles for Big Nate book #3.  Once I figure it out, I’ll blog about it.

And finally...I’ve visited quite a few bookstores during the last two months, but so far I haven’t been to one in my own state of Maine!  But that will change on Saturday.  I’ll be at Nonesuch Books in South Portland for a couple of hours, and I’m really looking forward to it.  I’ll tell you all about it next time!
Thu, 06/03/2010

Some Great Big Nate Fans!

Hi, everyone!  First, I have a BIG Thank you to Bob and Mary Brown and Trish Bernabeo at Books, Bytes and Beyond for arranging such terrific school visits with 200 kids in Northern New Jersey.

On Friday morning, I met 100 third, fourth, and fifth graders at Wandall School in Saddle River.  I was so happy to learn from librarian, Roberta Kleinbard, that she and her students love the Big Nate website and find it user-friendly (I hope you do, too.)  Mary and Jake were a big help with my presentations.  They are great at following instructions.  And I was impressed that Michael knew that Xs are a cartooning symbol for being knocked out.  The kids told me that they would like their local paper, THE BERGEN RECORD to carry the Big Nate comic strip.  That would be awesome!  Also awesome, was having the chance to meet Alison Formento, a school parent AND the author of the picture book, THIS TREE COUNTS!

At High Mountain Road School, I met friendly fourth graders like Izzi, spelled with an "i," my super helper, Jake, a Yankees fan, and Luke, who knew that when you draw lines on the side of the ball, it makes it look more like a baseball.  Third grader Nolan already had a copy of BIG NATE.  Then, I got some help from Leo and John knew that stars are a cartooning symbol.  I could tell there were lots of Peanuts cartoon fans in the third grade.  Just like me.  Fifth grader Olivia helped with my last presentation before it was time for everyone to play the scribble game.  Will's mom, Deborah told us, it's the first time she's seen Will draw anything.  Everyone was thrilled that Shiro received a Big Nate T-shirt because he loves to read books.  HIs schoolmate Kyle likes to write and illustrate books.  I loved seeing Kyle's Civil War story.  Like Kyle, I read history books (Maybe I'll have more time for reading after I finish illustrating BIG NATE STRIKES AGAIN.  and writing the third BIG NATE book, not to mention Books 4,5 and 6.)

Even though the school day was now over, I had one more treat -- a visit to the BOOKS, BYTES & BEYOND, a terrific store.  I had a chance to browse around and check out all the  children's book art and cool photos (Mary with A-Rod!) before drawing Super Jimmy, a klutzy superhero.  He's the first original cartoon character I created.  My new friend Jack told me that he thought it would be better for BIG NATE to be a tv show instead of a movie.  And to my fellow cartoonists, Noah and Patrick, I was able to share this advice: Never throw anything away!

And now that I'm back in Maine, it's back to the drawing board!...Until my next blog.

Sat, 05/29/2010

A World of Nates

There are a lot of Nates out there!

I knew that already, of course, but yesterday I got proof. I’m in New York for a huge book fair called Book Expo America, and yesterday I spent an hour signing copies of BIG NATE: In a Class by Himself. It seemed as if every librarian or teacher I met wanted me to inscribe a book to a particular Nate, Nathan, or Nathaniel. So if your name’s Nate—or even if it’s not!—there may be an autographed book in your future. I also handed out samplers that include the first two chapters of BIG NATE STRIKES AGAIN; keep an eye out for it in your school library or classroom. 

Yesterday also gave me the chance to listen to some very interesting talks from authors I’m sure you’re familiar with, like Kate DiCamillo and Richard Peck. And the absolute highlight of the day was sitting down for a few minutes with one of my all-time cartooning heroes, Garry Trudeau. He’s celebrating 40 years of his legendary comic strip, Doonesbury.

Tomorrow, thanks to Books, Bytes & Beyond bookstore, I’ll be visiting two schools in New Jersey: Wandell School in Saddle River and High Mountain Road School in Franklin Lakes. I’ll tell you all about it next time!

Thu, 05/27/2010

BIG NATE STRIKES AGAIN News!

Yesterday I got some very exciting news:  BIG NATE STRIKES AGAIN, the second book in the series, was originally scheduled to go on sale in November.  But as I wrote in an earlier blog, a lot of things can change when you're writing a book:  the story, the artwork...and even the on-sale date!  That means BIG NATE STRIKES AGAIN will be coming your way in OCTOBER.  That's less than 5 months away!

And speaking of BNSA...today I finished the drawings for Chapter 3, in which a not-very-nice character you’ll remember from Book 1 reappears.

Okay, I promised last time that I'd show you some more pictures of what Nate looked like way back when I was first trying to get my comic strip started.  Take a look at these!

In the first example, pudgy Nate with straight hair (it sort of looks like Mrs. Godfrey’s hair! Yikes!) has a spunky little brother named Marty.  Marty’s hair is a little bit spiky...and does the shirt he’s wearing remind you of anybody?  I went back to the drawing board, and in the second example you can see what I came up with:  Nate no longer has a little brother, and he’s starting to look more like the Nate we all know and love.  This is still a very, very early version of Nate, though.  Let’s call him Prehistoric Nate.  And Dad looks sort of like a caveman himself!

In a few days I’ll leave for New York City to attend Book Expo America, which from what I understand is the most humongous book fair in North America.  Over 500 authors will be there, so I’m sure I’ll have the chance to meet some people whose books I’ve read and admired.  It should be fun.  More next time!

Mon, 05/24/2010

Big Nate: Before and After

Remember last week, when I wrote that Nate hasn’t been able to get out of sixth grade during the 20 years I’ve been writing and drawing BIG NATE?  Well, Nate might not have grown up...but he really HAS changed!  Back when I was first trying to get my cartooning career started, I created a comic strip called NEIGHBORHOOD COMIX.  Nate was one of the characters in the strip, but he wasn’t the star.  And wow, did he ever look different!  And so did Francis, for that matter.  The picture to the left shows the two of them on their first day of middle school.  They don’t even look like the same characters!  That’s not unusual in cartooning.  Just look at what Snoopy or Charlie Brown looked like when PEANUTS first got started way back in 1950.  In my next entry, I’ll show you a few more drawings of Nate and how he changed over time.  Needless to say, he gets skinnier and his hair gets spikier!

The question of the day comes from Stephen (a Big Nate fan here in Maine), who would like to know:  WHY IS MRS. GODFREY SO MEAN TO NATE?  Good question, Stephen.  I think 99% of the teachers in the world are very nice people...but occasionally you run into one you just can’t get along with.  In the books and the comic strip, I try to make Mrs. Godfrey seem unpleasant while still making it clear that she’s a dedicated teacher.  She takes her job very seriously but, unfortunately for Nate, she has very little patience for his antics.  He just happens to be the type of kid who rubs her the wrong way.  Even on those rare occasions when Nate does something Mrs. Godfrey likes, her good mood never lasts long.

That’s all for this time!  Check in again later this week!

Mon, 05/17/2010

A Pop Quiz and Lemon Squares

Hi everybody, I just got back from a trip to Florida, which can only mean one thing:  it's time for a pop quiz!  See if you can guess whether these statements are TRUE or FALSE:

1.) Tuesday was the first time I've ever been to Florida.
2.) While I was there, I stayed in a giant pink hotel.
3.) I was invited to throw out the first pitch at a Florida Marlins baseball game.
4.) The guy who drove me from the airport to the hotel was born in Iowa and grew up in New Hampshire, just like I did.
5.) I was in Florida to appear on a TV show called "Spitsy's Pet Peeves."

ANSWERS AT THE END OF THE BLOG ENTRY!

There are a lot of things I didn't know about writing books until now.  One thing I didn't realize was how much of a story can change from the first draft of a book until the finished version.  Here's an example:  do you remember the part in "Big Nate: In A Class By Himself" where Randy Betancourt hits Mrs. Godfrey with a lemon square and blames Nate?  Well, that changed at the last minute.  In the first draft of the story, the lemon square smacked into the wall NEXT TO Mrs. Godfrey.  But while I was working on the finished artwork and it occurred to me that it would be a lot funnier if the lemon square hit Mrs. Godfrey in the butt.  So I changed it.

That's what I'm doing now for book 2, "Big Nate Strikes Again."  The story is written, but there are still many changes to be made before you see the book in November.  And hopefully, all those changes will make the book better and more fun!

QUIZ ANSWERS: 
1.) true
2.) true
3.) false
4.) true
5.) false

Thanks to Kristy Villa for inviting me to appear on her TV show, "The Balancing Act."  The episode will air sometime in June.  Kristy's daughters, Samantha and Daniella, now have a signed copy of the book!

Thu, 05/13/2010

Nate and Mrs. Godfrey: Together Forever?

Right up front, I have to admit that I almost never play video games... but this morning I did!  I tried the Comics Mashup over in the “games” section of this website, and I immediately discovered that creating a strip from a collection of panels and dialogue balloons — even a big collection like this one --is more challenging than writing and drawing whatever you like.  Take a look at what I came up with and decide for yourself if it makes any sense.  It’s in the gallery under the name “Crayfish.”   (That was one of my nicknames as a kid.)  And, if you haven’t created your own strip in the Comics Mashup yet, try it!  It’s fun!

Here’s the question of the day from Olivia, age 10:

WILL NATE EVER MAKE IT OUT OF SIXTH GRADE?

Well, Olivia, there are two kinds of comics:  the ones where the characters grow older, and the ones where the characters stay the same age forever.  Big Nate has been a comic strip for almost twenty years, and Nate’s been in sixth grade the whole time!  There are still plenty of adventures he’s yet to experience in sixth grade, so I have no plans to let him graduate anytime soon.  Poor kid.  No matter what he does, he can’t escape from Mrs. Godfrey!

I’m flying to Florida tomorrow to be interviewed for a TV show called The Balancing Act.  More on that next time!
 



 

Mon, 05/10/2010

Who is the Real Nate Wright?

I had only one problem during my book tour last month:  there just wasn't enough time to answer all the questions kids wanted to ask about Big Nate!

That's where this blog comes in handy.  Keep checking in regularly; in future entries, I'll be answering some of the questions kids ask the most -- like this one:

IS NATE BASED ON A REAL PERSON?

The short answer is:  no, he's not.  The LONG answer is that Big Nate is named after my brother Jonathan.  When he and I were kids, were realized that the name Nathan is part of the name Jonathan.  So I started calling my brother Nathan, and very soon after that I began calling him Nate.  Nobody calls him that but me.

BUT!...Just because Big Nate is NAMED after my brother doesn't mean he's anything LIKE my brother.  The cartoon Nate is sort of loud, gets into trouble a lot, and is four and a half feet tall.  The REAL Nate is very quiet, never gets into trouble, and is almost SIX and a half feet tall.

Before I sign off, here's an update on the NEXT book, "Big Nate Strikes Again."  I'm working on the illustrations for chapter 2.  I just finished a drawing of Mrs. Godfrey with very, very sharp teeth.

All for now.  See you next time! 

 

Thu, 05/06/2010

Comics from You!

Can you guess what I'm doing right now?  Okay, you're right:  I'm typing my blog.  But I'm ALSO reading comics -- not newspaper comics, Big Nate comics, or comic books, but "thank you" comics from some of the kids I met at Ocean View Elementary School in California during my book tour.  Some of them made fantastic drawings of Big Nate, others drew cartoon self-portraits.  But my very favorites are the original characters kids invent on their own.

Marissa created Krazy Kid Komiks, which told the story of a school dance. Lucas made drawings of Spiky and Sleepy -- Sleepy can sleep and say thank you at the same time!  And Nikla drew what she thinks Nate's mom might look like. 

 

One of the best things about my book tour was seeing how many girls love comics and cartooning.  When I was a kid, it didn't seem as if girls were encouraged to read or draw comics -- but, happily, that's really changed! So here's a special Girl Power shout-out to some of the very talented girls who sent me their drawings:  Sophia, Eva, Jenny (who asks, "is the girl Nate likes really named Jenny?"), Shaudia, and many more!

 

Thanks, Room 36 at Ocean View School!  Hope to see you all again soon!

Tue, 05/04/2010

Thank You Notes from the Tour

I’m still getting caught up on things now that I’m back home in Maine.  One of the things I enjoyed most about my tour was getting thank you letters and homemade cartoons from kids in the schools I visited.  Just today I took the time to re-read the notes from the students in Mrs. Schuller’s class at Dilworth Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Here are some highlights:

From Jayden:  I really really loved your book.  I couldn’t get my eyes out of it and soon my pupils started to get a little big.

From Gianna:  Where can I get one of those cool Big Nate t-shirts?

From Tasia:  I hope you can write more than 6 Big Nate books!

From Ava:  Your speech inspired me, so I am going to start my own series called “Bug Eyed Boy.”

Thanks, everyone.  There was a lot of cartooning talent among the students at Dilworth and ALL the schools I visited.  Maybe some of those kids will be inspired to draw comics for their yearbook, teach the “scribble game” to a friend or family member, or even start an afterschool cartooning club at their school.

That’s all for now.  Keep an eye out for my next entry!

Fri, 04/30/2010