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Stephan Pastis

Children's Author

Stephan Pastis is a lawyer-turned-cartoonist, the creator of the comic strip Pearls Before Swine, and the author of the New York Times best selling Timmy Failure chapter book series for middle school kids.

Timmy Failure follows the exploits of the young “defective” detective and his polar bear friend, Total, as they solve crimes in their neighborhood. “I have an unreliable narrator,” Pastis says of the title character. “I have to remind myself every chapter: He gets everything wrong.”


A second-generation Greek-American, Pastis was raised in the sunny Los Angeles suburb, San Marino. He began drawing cartoons as a child and never stopped. Throughout his undergraduate years at the University of California at Berkeley and his law school studies at UCLA, Pastis kept cartooning. He came up with the first Pearls Before Swine character, Rat, during a law school class where he felt “hopelessly bored.”

Pastis practiced law for nine years (1993-2002), but he was always drawing on the side. In 1996, he started submitting his comics to newspapers. After a few years of rejections, Pastis created his signature strip Pearls Before Swine and began syndication in 1999. Pearls was an immediate hit, and began appearing on the web, in newspapers, and in many best-selling books.

Pastis includes Peanuts, Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, Bloom County, Doonesbury, Dilbert and Get Fuzzy as significant influences on his work.
In 2013, Pastis published his first bok aimed a younger readers, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made.  In the comedic novel, he writes about bumbling 11-year-old kid detective Timmy Failure and his lazy business partner, a polar bear named Total. The two run a detective agency, Total Failure Inc.

Follow Pastis on his Pearls Before Swine blog.

Books by this author