McDonnel, Patrick 1956-

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McDonnel, Patrick 1956-


Born March 17, 1956, in Elizabeth, NJ; married Karen O'Connell. Education: School of Visual Arts, B.F.A., 1978.


Home—Edison, NJ.


Cartoonist, animator, and illustrator. Creator of "Mutts" daily syndicated comic strip, 1994—. Creator of animated television commercial for New York Philharmonic, 1993. Guest curator for Charles M. Schulz Museum.


National Cartoonists Society, Charles M. Schulz Museum, Humane Society of the United States (member of board of directors), Fund for Animals (member of board), HSUS Hollywood Office, Art for Animals, Neighborhood Cats, North Shore Animal League.


Adamson Statuette, Swedish Academy of Comic Art, 1997; Ark Trust Genesis Award, 1997, 1999; Harvey Award for best comic strip, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005; Reuben Award, National Cartoonist Society, 1997, for comic strip of the year, and 1999, for cartoonist of the year; Max and Moritz Award for best international comic strip, 1998; People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Humanitarian Award, 2001; HSUS Hollywood Genesis Award, 2002, 2005.



Mutts, foreword by Charles M. Schulz, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1996.

Cats and Dogs: Mutts II, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1997.

More Shtuff, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1998.

Yesh!, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1999.

Mutts Sundays, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1999.

Our Mutts, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2000.

A Little Look-See, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2001.

Sunday Mornings, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2001.

What Now?, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2002.

I Want to Be the Kitty!, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2003.

Sunday Afternoons, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2003.

Dog-eared, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2004.

Who Let the Cat Out?, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2005.

Sunday Evenings, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2005.

Everyday Mutts, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2006.

Animal Friendly, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2007.


The Gift of Nothing, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2005.

Just like Heaven, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2006.

Art, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2006.

Hug Time, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2007.


(With wife Karen O'Connell and Georgia Riley de Havenon) Krazy Kat: The Comic Art of George Herriman, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 1986.

Bad Baby (comic-strip collection), Fawcett Columbine (New York, NY), 1988.

(Illustrator) They Said It!: 200 of the Funniest Sports Quips and Quotes, Oxmoor House (New York, NY), 2000.

Mutts: The Comic Art of Patrick McDonnell, essay by John Carlin, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2003.

Illustrator for Russell Baker's "Observer" column, New York Times Magazine, 1978-93; creator of Jerseyana cartoon for New Jersey Monthly, 1980s; creator of "Bad Baby" monthly strip for Parents magazine; illustrator for "Scorecard" column in Sports Illustrated, "Bright Ideas" in Parade, and "Laughter" in Reader's Digest.


Patrick McDonnell is the creator of the popular comic strip "Mutts," which appears in more than 700 newspapers worldwide and has garnered a host of awards. The humorous, understated cartoon revolves around the adventures of Earl the dog, Mooch the cat, and a cast of eccentric supporting characters. According to George Gene Gustines, writing in the New York Times, "‘Mutts’ is a throwback. Its daily tales … ooze an archaic innocence (and sometimes an anarchic knowingness) that would not have been out of place in a Sunday comics supplement from the 1920's. It's easy to imagine Earl and Mooch rubbing panels with classic strips like George Herriman's ‘Krazy Kat’ or E.C. Segar's ‘Popeye.’"

Born in 1956, McDonnell attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and after graduation he began a career as a freelance illustrator. From 1978 to 1993 he drew Russell Baker's "Observer" column in the New York Times Magazine, and he also created "Bad Baby," a monthly comic strip that ran in Parents magazine for ten years. During this time, McDonnell was also a regular contributor to Sports Illustrated, Reader's Digest, Parade, and other national magazines.

Despite his tremendous success, McDonnell decided to pursue his dream of writing and illustrating his own comic strip, and in 1994 he created "Mutts." At its heart is the friendship between Earl, the amiable canine who loves belly rubs, and Mooch, the curious feline who obsesses over little pink socks. According to David Astor, writing in Editor & Publisher, "McDonnell is not your typical modern-day cartoonist. While many of his peers produce comics with a hip, cynical edge, McDonnell prefers a kinder, gentler, ‘stop-and-smell-the-roses’ approach." As Astor continued, "McDonnell also bucks the trend of more topicality in comics by trying to keep the ‘real world’ from entering" his comic-strip fantasy. The animal cast of "Mutts" "think about food, sleep, the weather and other basics of life as they get in and out of all kinds of humorous situations." As McDonnell told New Jersey Monthly contributor Annemarie Conte, "a lot of cartoon animals are people in disguise. I want to keep my animals as animal-like as possible."

In addition to seeing his "Mutts" strip appear in daily syndication, McDonnell has produced a number of "Mutts" anthologies, among them Mutts Sundays and Who Let the Cat Out? He has also produced several children's books featuring the "Mutts" characters. In The Gift of Nothing, for example, McDonnell creates "a perfect meditation on gift giving and friendship," according to a critic in Kirkus Reviews, In the book, Mooch tries to find the perfect present for Earl on his special day. When readers reunite with Mooch in the pages of Just like Heaven, he awakens from a nap just as a fog rolls in and mistakenly believes he has arrived in Heaven. "The small, sketchy illustrations hold a great deal of charm," observed School Library Journal reviewer Julie Roach. McDonnell is also the author of Art, a self-illustrated work about a young boy's penchant for creating fanciful doodles, scribbles, and splotches. "The primary color illustrations are exuberant and joyful and seamlessly match the text," wrote a contributor in Kirkus Reviews.

A strong advocate for animal welfare, McDonnell serves on the board of directors for the Humane Society of the United States. "People really identify with that special bond we all have with our animal companions," the cartoonist and author remarked on the King Features Web site. "Animals have unique personalities all their own. In ‘Mutts,’ I try to express the world from their point of view."



McDonnell, Patrick, Mutts: The Comic Art of Patrick McDonnell, essay by John Carlin, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2003.


Booklist, April 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of Art, p. 48.

Childhood Education, fall, 2006, May Anne Hannibal, review of Art, p. 51.

Editor & Publisher, November 16, 1996, David Astor, "It's Reigning a Cat and Dog in Hit Strip," p. 40; February 1, 2004, Dave Astor, "Syndicates: Art Book Showcases Artistic Mutts Strip."

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2005, review of The Gift of Nothing, p. 1030; March 15, 2006, review of Art, p. 296; September 15, 2006, review of Just like Heaven, p. 961.

New Jersey Monthly, April, 2006, Annemarie Conte, "His Name Is Earl."

New York Times, September 25, 2005, George Gene Gustines, "Where the Mild Things Are."

Publishers Weekly, November 21, 2005, review of The Gift of Nothing, p. 46; August 28, 2006, review of Just like Heaven, p. 52.

School Library Journal, January, 2006, Marianne Saccardi, review of The Gift of Nothing, p. 108; April, 2006, Marianne Saccardi, review of Art, p. 129; November, 2006, Julie Roach review of Just like Heaven, p. 105.


King Features Web site, (May 10, 2007), "Patrick McDonnell."

Patrick McDonnell Home Page, (May 10, 2007).

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McDonnel, Patrick 1956-

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