Elvis "Lennie" Peterson was born in the shadow
of Mount Everest in the small Nepalese village of Lhotsa. Instantly unusual
with his alabaster skin, young Lennie was worshiped as a sign from the gods,
and the locals showered gift on his parents, his father, an incense salesman,
and his mother, a sherpa. Had
he remained in Nepal, Lennie would have been given a fortune in gold and
the choice of any bride he wished when he turned 18, but by age 6 he had
heard a different calling. One day, while playing with the burned remains
of one of his father's incense samples sticks, Lennie carelessly drew the
shape of a cat. It was crude, but Lennie knew that he wanted to draw cats
the rest of his life. At age 8, he left Nepal alone to intern under renowned
cat artist B. Kliban. By age 10, however, he grew tired of Kliban's rigorous
drawing method and sought out a new mentor - Jim Davis. At Davis', Lennie
learned the fine art of creating a cat with true merchandising potential.
However Lennie was starting to develop his own artistic style and found
the eternally cute Garfield eternally annoying. He briefly shared an apartment
with Berke Breathed where the two bonded over Lennie's "special"
brownies. Crude drawings and drunken, binging art sessions. Some say that
perhaps Lennie's early "Ginger" was the inspiration for Berke's
wildly successful "Bill The Cat". Berke has refused to comment....
is a gifted artist, musician and world-class coffee fanatic.
in North Grafton, Ma., Peterson says he has been drawing in all media since
he was "in the womb." Although the literal truth of this statement
is somewhat questionable, creativity was in his blood since birth: Peterson's
mother was a painter, and his father is a musician.
never studied art formally, Peterson credits an outstanding high school
art teacher with encouraging his artistic interests and letting him explore
art on his own terms. That exploration led Peterson to a successful illustration
career with a client list that includes Bantam Books, the Children's Television
Workshop, CCC Publications, Susan Herr Design, various national and international
record companies, and a variety of magazines, advertisements and promotions.
His fine art work has appeared in art galleries and museums throughout the
Music is an
equally strong passion in Peterson's life. After receiving a degree from
the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, he taught and
played music in the United States and abroad, returning to Berklee as an Assistant Professor. During his teaching stint at Berklee, Peterson
created "The Big Picture", a self-deprecating, autobiographical
strip that provides readers with a look in the mirror at the humor in their
own everyday lives.
urge to pursue his own style of humor, art and music full time grew increasingly
strong, however, and Peterson took a leave of abscence from Berklee.
Committed to eating mac 'n cheese for however long it took to reach The
Big Time, he spent his days at the drawing board working on "The Big
Picture" and other art projects, while devoting his evenings to playing
trombone and keyboards with the popular New England band Clutch Grabwell.
Picture" won Editorial Humor Magazine's national competition for "Best
Comic Strip" in 1995. In 1999 Andrews McMeel Publishing published the
first collection of the strip, and in January 2000 "The Big Picture
debuted in newspapers internationally.
When he's not
being pursued by crazed Clutch Grabwell fans, Peterson and his cat, Ginger,
live out their true-life comic strip adventures in Boston's South Shore