See All Topics

Home / Section: Comic strips

Stephan Pastis featured on how Pearls made it big

The Napa Valley Register has a really interesting write-up on Stephan Pastis and his journey to becoming a successful cartoonist. The story also delves into Stephan’s work process, his plundering of other comic characters and his run in with Charles Schulz.

On work environment:

“I write only when I have extremely loud music playing,” said Pastis. “My theory is that the music keeps the logical side of my brain occupied so Iâ??m operating on instinct. … The invention of the iPod freed me, so Iâ??m no longer stuck at home.”

On lampooning other cartoonists or their characters:

Pastis also lampoons cartoonists whoâ??ve perhaps overstayed their welcome. In a recent “Pearls” strip, the child characters in “Family Circus” had to appear and act their real ages. Pastis had Billy and Jeffy smoking cigarettes and drinking beer.

“I donâ??t always ask, but for that I talked to Bill Keane,” said Pastis of the “Family Circus” creator. “He loved the idea.”

On leaving law and pursuing cartooning:

After law school, Pastis worked for a law firm in San Francisco. One of his duties was defending insurance companies against Northridge earthquake claims. Amid a case that he particularly hated, Pastis took a day off, the first in three years.

“I had read an article about (“Peanuts” creator) Charles Schulzcq, whose nickname was Sparky, and how his habit was to get an English muffin and eat it in the cafe at his skating arena in Santa Rosa. I had this wacky idea to go there and meet him, so I drove to Santa Rosa and waited for him. I sat by myself for a long time thinking maybe heâ??s on vacation and asking myself what was I doing, when suddenly the doors open and heâ??s there. He sat on the other side of the room reading the Chronicle.”

Technorati Tags:

Community Comments

#1 Norma Teel
April/9/2007
@ 1:20 am

I am almost 77 years old therefore have read a lot of Comics in my time. I enjoy “Pearls before Swine” more than any other.

#2 Norma Teel
April/8/2007
@ 7:20 pm

I am almost 77 years old therefore have read a lot of Comics in my time. I enjoy “Pearls before Swine” more than any other.

#3 matt
June/1/2007
@ 6:42 pm

I am a huge fan of pearls and was looking to email mr Pastis if you could help me find his email i would really appreciate it

#4 matt
June/1/2007
@ 12:42 pm

I am a huge fan of pearls and was looking to email mr Pastis if you could help me find his email i would really appreciate it

#5 patty
June/1/2007
@ 11:21 pm

go to comics.com
then click on pearls ,theres a ‘contact the artist” link..

#6 patty
June/1/2007
@ 5:21 pm

go to comics.com
then click on pearls ,theres a ‘contact the artist” link..

#7 fran karnazes
July/13/2007
@ 9:35 pm

Congratulations on your continuing success. As subscribers to both the L.A. Times and Orange County Register,we noticed your award-winning cartoons and finally put your name and face together. Your grandparents and my parents, Nick and Mary Deamos, were dear friends dating back to Cleveland. Your parents, Tom and Patt, are dear friends of ours,even though we don’t see either one very often. They must be so very proud of your accomplishments! Fran and Nick Karnazes, San Clemente,CA

#8 fran karnazes
July/13/2007
@ 3:35 pm

Congratulations on your continuing success. As subscribers to both the L.A. Times and Orange County Register,we noticed your award-winning cartoons and finally put your name and face together. Your grandparents and my parents, Nick and Mary Deamos, were dear friends dating back to Cleveland. Your parents, Tom and Patt, are dear friends of ours,even though we don’t see either one very often. They must be so very proud of your accomplishments! Fran and Nick Karnazes, San Clemente,CA

#9 Rob K
October/29/2007
@ 2:33 am

I have never once read a Pearls strip I didnt enjoy.

#10 Rob K
October/28/2007
@ 8:33 pm

I have never once read a Pearls strip I didnt enjoy.

#11 John Harper
July/10/2008
@ 11:12 pm

.”I have just started reading Pearls Before Swine in the Lincoln Journal and Star, Lincoln, NE. It may easily be the most mediocre newspaper in the USA. Somehow, someway, they decided to Pick up Pearls Before Swine. Its the only thing I read. There are many cartoons and cartoonists that overstayed their welcome, and are not creative at all. They are what we call, “wear outs, can’t use em’.”
But Stephen Pastis? One word, “STRONG.”

#12 John Harper
July/10/2008
@ 5:12 pm

.”I have just started reading Pearls Before Swine in the Lincoln Journal and Star, Lincoln, NE. It may easily be the most mediocre newspaper in the USA. Somehow, someway, they decided to Pick up Pearls Before Swine. Its the only thing I read. There are many cartoons and cartoonists that overstayed their welcome, and are not creative at all. They are what we call, “wear outs, can’t use em’.”
But Stephen Pastis? One word, “STRONG.”

#13 jim delaney
November/7/2008
@ 4:12 pm

I would like to let Steven Pastis know that Pearls Before Swine on Yahoo Comics is “stuck” on Nov. 3 – e.g., no strips after that date are available. I prefer looking at comics on Yahoo to comics.com. Patty (above) suggests that there is a ‘contct the artist link’ on comics.com but if there is, I can’t find it.

#14 jim delaney
November/7/2008
@ 10:12 am

I would like to let Steven Pastis know that Pearls Before Swine on Yahoo Comics is “stuck” on Nov. 3 – e.g., no strips after that date are available. I prefer looking at comics on Yahoo to comics.com. Patty (above) suggests that there is a ‘contct the artist link’ on comics.com but if there is, I can’t find it.

#15 Wiley Miller
November/7/2008
@ 4:47 pm

I guess you didn’t hear the news. Nov. 3rd was the final edition of PBS. Mike Lester mistook him for a baby seal, too.

#16 Wiley Miller
November/7/2008
@ 10:47 am

I guess you didn’t hear the news. Nov. 3rd was the final edition of PBS. Mike Lester mistook him for a baby seal, too.

#17 Laurie Allen
June/7/2009
@ 2:24 pm

Ok, it has been a long time since I have laughed so hard a liquid I was drinking shot out of my nose.
Today’s comic “Egg eyes” was incomparable.

I have emailed it and want to post it on my facebook page.
I always worry my humor is too subversive, but you outdo me every time and are the ultimate humorist.I can sleep easier and not worry about my mental state since you actually make a living drawing the things I think are hysterical.
Laurie

#18 Laurie Allen
June/7/2009
@ 8:24 am

Ok, it has been a long time since I have laughed so hard a liquid I was drinking shot out of my nose.
Today’s comic “Egg eyes” was incomparable.

I have emailed it and want to post it on my facebook page.
I always worry my humor is too subversive, but you outdo me every time and are the ultimate humorist.I can sleep easier and not worry about my mental state since you actually make a living drawing the things I think are hysterical.
Laurie

#19 Jina Paysen
August/17/2009
@ 6:37 pm

Just like to make a suggestion for possible use in Peals Before Swine:

You might want to illustrate the “brain chaos” induced by multitasking since that’s what is happening now and is currently expected in many areas of life in the U.S.

Also, have you noticed many animals seem to be smarter than their ancestors were known to be; yet many people seem to exhibit less intelligence than was formerly expected of a surviving species?

#20 Jina Paysen
August/17/2009
@ 12:37 pm

Just like to make a suggestion for possible use in Peals Before Swine:

You might want to illustrate the “brain chaos” induced by multitasking since that’s what is happening now and is currently expected in many areas of life in the U.S.

Also, have you noticed many animals seem to be smarter than their ancestors were known to be; yet many people seem to exhibit less intelligence than was formerly expected of a surviving species?

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.