Patrick McDonnell

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Patrick McDonnell
Patrick and Amelie Seaside.JPG
Patrick McDonnell and his dog Amelie
Born (1956-03-17) March 17, 1956 (age 64)
Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S.
Notable works
Awardssee full list

Patrick McDonnell (born March 17, 1956) is a cartoonist, author and playwright. He is the creator of the daily comic strip Mutts, syndicated since 1994.

McDonnell's picture book, The Gift of Nothing, was adapted as a musical for the Kennedy Center stage, as was his picture book about the childhood of Jane Goodall, Me... Jane, which won a Caldecott Honor in 2012. Prior to creating Mutts, McDonnell was a freelance illustrator, drawing the Russell Baker Observer column for The New York Times Sunday Magazine from 1978 to 1993. He also created Bad Baby, a monthly comic strip for Parents Magazine, which ran for ten years. During that time he also was a regular contributor to Sports Illustrated, Reader's Digest, Forbes, Time, and many other national magazines. His work has been animated for television commercials, most notably a PSA for the NY Philharmonic. He is co-author of Krazy Kat: The Comic Art of George Herriman, published in 1986 by Abrams.

Early life[edit]

McDonnell was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, from an Irish father and an Italian-descendent mother.[1] After graduating from Edison High School in 1974, McDonnell attended the School of Visual Arts on scholarship,[2] graduating in 1978.


McDonnell began a career as a magazine illustrator and would frequently include a dog in the background of his illustrations. [3] Moving to Hoboken, New Jersey, he met a group of underground cartoonists such as Peter Bagge and Kazimieras G. Prapuolenis (Kaz), and had some of his earliest drawings appearing in The Village Voice, and as "Jerseyana" in New Jersey Monthly magazine.[2]

Mutts became syndicated, distributed by King Features Syndicate, starting in 1994. It won the Harvey Award for Best Comic Strip in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, and 2003. Peanuts creator Charles Schulz called Mutts "one of the best comic strips of all time."[4] A book of McDonnell's life and work, Mutts: The Comic Art of Patrick McDonnell, was published in 2003 by Abrams Books.

McDonnell is involved with many animal and environmental charities. His characters have been enlisted by the United States Marines (2006 Toys for Tots holiday poster), the American Library Association (2007 "Read!" poster), and by the Humane Society of the United States (humane postage stamps). The Mutts characters appear on the New Jersey Animal Friendly license plates, which fund state pet population programs. The 2007-2008 Mazdaspeed Team featured Mutts-themed vehicles promoting pet adoption and the work of the Humane Society of the United States.

In 2009 McDonnell collaborated with author Eckhart Tolle to create Guardians of Being, a philosophical book about nature and the present moment.[5] In 2011, McDonnell's children's book Me... Jane was published. It is a story about naturalist Jane Goodall growing up and her awakening curiosity about the lives of animals around her. A sequence of Mutts strips led to Goodall's interest in working with McDonnell on the book. [6] Me... Jane won a Caldecott Honor in 2012. The Mutts comic strip is currently appearing in more than 700 newspapers across 20 countries.[7]

Personal life[edit]

McDonnell has been a vegetarian for over 20 years,[8] and vegan since 2012. McDonnell is a member of the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals, and The Charles M. Schulz Museum[9].

McDonnell and his wife Karen reside in New Jersey,[10] with their dog Amelie, and their cat, Willie Lebowsky. Their Jack Russell Terrier, Earl, who was the inspiration and constant muse for the Mutts character of the same name, died in November 2007 after living with McDonnell for over 18 years.[11]





  • MUTTS (1996)
  • Cats & Dogs (1997)
  • More Shtuff (1998)
  • Mutts Little Big Book (1998)
  • MUTTS Sundays (1999) — large format, in color
  • Yesh! (1999)
  • Our MUTTS (2000)
  • A Little Look-See (2001)
  • Sunday Mornings: A MUTTS Treasury (2001) — large format, in color
  • What Now (2002)
  • I Want To Be The Kitty! (2003)
  • Mutts: The Comic Art of Patrick McDonnell (2003) — retrospective
  • Dog-Eared (2004)
  • Sunday Afternoons: A MUTTS Treasury (2004) — large format, in color
  • Sunday Evenings: A MUTTS Treasury (2005) — large format, in color
  • Who Let The Cat Out? (2005)
  • Everyday MUTTS: A Comic Strip Treasury (2006) (Sundays in color)
  • Animal Friendly: A MUTTS Treasury (2007) (Sundays in color)
  • The Best of Mutts (2007) — retrospective
  • Call of The Wild: A MUTTS Treasury (2008) (Sundays in color)
  • Mutts: Shelter Stories: Love. Guaranteed. (2008) — collection of over 100 Shelter Stories strips accompanied by photos and vignettes of adopted pets
  • Stop and Smell the Roses: A MUTTS Treasury (2009) (Sundays in color)
  • Earl & Mooch: A MUTTS Treasury (2010) (Sundays in color)
  • Our Little Kat King: A MUTTS Treasury (2011) (Sundays in color)
  • Bonk!: A MUTTS Treasury (2012) (Sundays in color)
  • Cat Crazy: A MUTTS Treasury (2013) (Sundays in color)
  • Living the Dream: A MUTTS Treasury (2014) (Sundays in color)
  • Playtime: A MUTTS Treasury (2015) (Sundays in color)
  • Year of Yesh: A MUTTS Treasury (2016) (Sundays in color)
  • #LoveMutts Treasury (2017) (Sundays in color)
  • You Have Those Wild Eyes Again, Mooch: A New Mutts Treasury (2018) (Sundays in color)
  • The Art of Nothing: 25 Years of MUTTS and the Art of Patrick McDonnell (Harry N. Abrams, 2019)
  • Hot Dogs, Hot Cats: A Mutts Treasury (2020) (Sundays in color)

Children's books[edit]

  • The Gift of Nothing (2005) — New York Times bestseller
  • Just Like Heaven (2006)
  • Hug Time (2007) — New York Times bestseller
  • Wag! (2009)

Other children's books[edit]

  • Art (2006)
  • South (2008)
  • Me... Jane (2011)
  • The Monsters' Monster (2012)
  • A Perfectly Messed-Up Story (2014)
  • (written by Mac Barnett) The Skunk (Roaring Brook Press, 2015)
  • Thank You and Good Night (2015)
  • Tek: The Modern Cave Boy (2016)
  • The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned his ABC's the Hard Way (2017)


  • Bad Baby (1988) (collection of Bad Baby strips from Parent Magazine)
  • Guardians of Being (2009) (Words by Eckhart Tolle)
  • (with poet Daniel Ladinsky) Darling I Love You: Poems from the Hearts of Our Glorious Mutts and All Our Animal Friends (2017)


  1. ^ Fiamma, Andrea (September 5, 2014). "20 anni di Mutts. Intervista a Patrick McDonnell" (in Italian). Fumettologica. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Conte, Annemarie. "His Name is Earl". New Jersey Monthly. February 6, 2008. Accessed June 21, 2011. "After graduating from New York's School of Visual Arts in the early 1980s, McDonnell moved to Hoboken, where there was a community of underground cartoonists."
  3. ^ Hurley-Schubert. "Middlesex County cartoonist's pets inspire comic strip". Home News Tribune. July 21, 2003. Accessed June 21, 2011. "McDonnell, a 1974 Edison High School, graduate started his career as a magazine illustrator. He always drew a little dog somewhere in the background..."
  4. ^ "Strip History". 13 August 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  5. ^ MacQueen, Ken (October 22, 2009). "Eckhart Tolle vs. God". Maclean's.
  6. ^ Reigning Cat and Dog, Hogan's Alley #20
  7. ^ Lodge, Sally (2010-06-05). "PW Talks with Patrick McDonnell". Retrieved 2019-09-30.
  8. ^ Ritchie, Ryan (July–August 2010). "One on One with Patrick McDonnell". Vegetarian Times. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  9. ^ "Board of Directors - Charles M. Schulz Museum". Charles M. Schulz Museum. Archived from the original on 2018-05-11. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  10. ^ "Where the Mild Things Are". The New York Times. 2005-09-25.
  11. ^ Smith, Joan Lowell. "Parting is sweet sorrow for 'Mutts' creator". The Star-Ledger. April 2, 2008. Accessed June 21, 2011. "Earl, the Jack Russell terrier who was both companion and inspiration for "Mutts" creator Patrick McDonnell, died in November at age 19."
  12. ^ "Division Awards Newspaper Strip". National Cartoonists Society. 2013. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013.

External links[edit]

Media related to Patrick McDonnell at Wikimedia Commons