Big Nate creator Lincoln Peirce talks about writing, the creative process, and his boyhood idol at SIBF 2022
Aspiring comic creators do not need exceptional artistic skills to become one, celebrated cartoonist tells student audience
Sharjah, November 12, 2022
Schoolchildren at the 41st Sharjah International Book Fair were delighted to meet and interact with the New York Times-bestselling author of the popular and hilarious Big Nate comic series, Lincoln Peirce, in a lively session, where the cartoonist/writer talked about his characters, the creative process, and his boyhood idol, Charles Schulz of Peanuts fame.
In an engaging session at the Ballroom at Expo Centre Sharjah, Peirce told students that ‘copying’ in the world of creativity can be a good thing, as that is how one learns, as opposed to the stigma around copying other people’s work in school and academic life. “My journey in the world of comics began in second and third grade when I started copying a bunch of Peanuts comics and created my own characters in fourth grade,” Peirce told the packed audience of students from across the UAE.
The art of creating comics is nothing but putting the right words and pictures together, the 59-year-old cartoonist said. “Is it funnier to read about someone getting hit by a pie in the face or see it in pictures?”
An aspiring comic creator also does not need exceptional artistic skills to become one, he pointed out, “I noticed that Charles Schulz drew very simple hands on the Peanuts characters. They had no knuckles, fingernails or joints, which didn’t stop the cartoonist from telling great stories. Writing is the key to storytelling, and drawing is sort of a fringe benefit. I’d rather read the story with stick figures if it’s better than the one with graphic art,” the animator said.
Peirce told the young audience that he had made a Big Nate comic every day for the past 32 years using ink and paper, never having embraced digital technology.
While he admires the work of Jeff Kinney, creator of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Schulz, whose long-running comic strip Peanuts ran for 50 years from 1950 to 2000, remains his idol. “One of the biggest thrills of my life is that I became friends with Schulz, my childhood hero,” Peirce said. “Big Nate will never be as good as Peanuts. Peanuts is just one of the greatest comic strips of all time.”