In June, our Manifesto focus is “to keep it simple. And real.” So for this month’s interview with Patrick McDonnell, that’s exactly what we’re doing! Below are some fun, lighting-round-style Q&As to lighten the mood and enhance your mental inventory of comic strip artist trivia. Enjoy!

What are a few of your very favorite art supplies?
My desk, my chair, and my view out the window.

What are four things you absolutely must pack when you’re going out of town?

Being vegan, I always pack a healthy snack. Also something to read (usually a spiritual book, a novel, a comic strip collection, or a Nero Wolfe mystery), plus a pen and notebook.

Favorite vegan meal or snack?

Spaghetti night is always a good night.

Favorite dessert?

Fresh fruit.

Three of your favorite musical artists?

I have a wide range in my music preferences. When I write and draw MUTTS, I listen to music without lyrics — mostly jazz and classical. For example, I may be listening to Jaco Pastorius “Punk Jazz”, John Scofield “Quiet”, or something by Prokofiev or Copeland.

A song you could listen to over and over?

I’ve been playing Jaco Pastorius’ “Three Views of a Secret” and “John and Mary” a lot lately.

One of the best presents you’ve ever received?

The best present I ever received was from Charles Schulz. He surprised me at his ice skating rink restaurant (The Warm Puppy) with an original Peanuts comic strip from January 29, 1999. The strip has the Peanuts gang in an art museum looking at paintings; Rerun is looking a painting of my Earl. This art hangs near my desk and I look at it every day.

Favorite movie?

That’s hard to pin down, but it would be pretty safe to say something directed by the Coen brothers, Wes Anderson, Frank Capra, or Federico Fellini.

A few books that have influenced you?

The Power of Now, I Am That, Krazy Kat, and I Go Pogo.

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