Hi, my name is John Lechner and I'm the creator of Sticky Burr. I'm a writer, illustrator, animator, designer, musician and puppeteer. I also work for a children's media company called FableVision. I also write a blog about art and nature called The Untended Garden. You can see some of my other projects at my website.
Readers of all ages have sent me questions over the years, and below are some of the answers. If you have a question, use the form at the bottom of this page and I will try to answer it. (Some of these answers refer to the web comic and others refer to the books.)
QUESTIONS FROM READERS:
Do you plan on making a third sticky burr?
I do not have any plans for a third Sticky Burr book, but maybe someday I will decide to do it.
Hi do you have any ideas for making a sticky burr village? my little sister wants one.
I think you could make a village by drawing the houses on paper, and cutting them out. Then you can make them stand up using little tabs of paper or cardboard. You could also make trees out of paper. If anyone else has ideas, send them to this website and I will share them.
Who is the burr in the hat?
If you mean the burr who is often helping Elder Burr, his name is Basil. He is Elder Burr's assistant, and he is in charge of organizing village meetings and events.
When did you start writing books?
I have been writing stories since I was seven years old.
Is the comic on the website the same one in the book?
No, the stories are different. In the book Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burwood Forest, Sticky Burr is chased by wasps and hides inside the Maze Tree, and later he encounters the wild dogs. In the second book, Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril, Scurvy Burr visits Burweena to get her help, and she tries to take over the Burr Village with her spiders. You can read more about the books here.
I love to doodle sticky burr! I was wondering, are there any burrs in other countries??
Yes, many countries have plants with prickly burr seeds on them. Look around and you might spot them.
I am wondering, are you going to make any more books? I think you should. Can you visit my school??
Yes, I am planning to make more books someday. If you are interested in having me visit your school, ask your teacher to contact me through this website, and maybe I can come.
Is Burrwood Forest real?
Burrwood Forest is an imaginary place, but it is fun to pretend that it is real.
Does sticky burr have a bad side?
Sticky Burr is a good burr, but sometimes he gets mad and does things that are not very nice (like pushing or shouting). Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, but you should always try to do better next time.
i want to make a graphic novel how do i start?
Try to think of a story about something you like. Then get some paper and draw boxes on each page, and then draw a little bit of the story in each box. If part of the story doesn't fit in a box, erase it and make a bigger box. I usually do a lot of erasing, then copy over the final pages when they are done. There is no perfect way to make a graphic novel, so you can make up your own. Have fun!
In the first book at the end Thistle burr says that someone is trampling on her daises. When they talk about Scurvy burr in the beginning is it him that was trampling on her daisies?
You are a very observant reader! Yes, Scurvy Burr is the one who was trampling on her daisies. He often goes around trampling things, which is not very nice.
How do you think of your story ideas? I love them.
I think of story ideas by looking around and thinking about things I see. I also read books about animals and nature, and that gives me some ideas. I also keep a journal.
Do you have a show of sticky burr? if you do, what channel?
There isn't a Sticky Burr TV show, only the short animations on this website.
Do you play any sports?
When I was young, I used to play tennis and I was on the track team. I also like paddling a canoe and hiking in the woods.
How do you create the characters??
I created the characters by drawing different burrs and insects, then thinking about what their personalities could be like. You can learn more about how I made the books here.
What gave you the idea to make a comic about sticky burrs?
When I was a child, I used to play outside in the backyard, where there were many insects and burrs. We always called them sticky burrs, and that gave me the idea for writing the stories.
PLEASE write more sticky burr books and take a break from the web site!! Me and my family enjoy reading your books together. I hope you can write an 100 book series!!!!
I'm glad you like my books! I am working on some new book ideas, but I don't know when they will be finished.
I love your stories and can not wait for the next book. What is it going to be about?
I can't tell you what the next book will be about yet, or when it will come out. It will probably take place in the winter time.
Can you make a third Sticky Burr book? Can it be about Sticky Burr all alone in the forest and there are dogs coming?
I would like to make a third Sticky Burr book, but I don't know what the story will be about yet. You'll just have to wait and see!
How much time do you take to write the sticky burr comic book?
It takes about a year to write the story and about a year to draw the illustrations. It takes a long time because I change around the story a lot, and keep drawing it over until it is the way I want it.
How often do you update this website? Is it on Sunday 12:00 a.m. that you put in a new comic?
I try to update the website on Sunday nights, sometimes it is early and sometimes late. And sometimes I am just too busy, so I have to do it a few days later.
Why is sticky burr green and not another color?
Sticky Burr is green because that is the color of burrs when they are alive and growing.
Maybe this is not your drawing style but it would be cool if sticky burr or one of his friends got stuck to a human. And also on the first page of sticky burr adventures in burrwood forest, there is a burr who is hammering a nail into a platform. where did he get the nail from?
That's a good idea, maybe in the future I will have Sticky Burr get stuck to a person. As for the nails, the burrs make their nails and tools the way blacksmiths made them in olden days, using iron ore that they dig out of the ground. One of the burrs has a tool-making shop, where she melts the iron and shapes it into useful things. Her name is Myrtle Burr.
Can we get the books in India??? I want to read it!!!
You can order the book from online bookstores, or ask your local bookstore if they can order it.
Hello. I am Katerina's friend and I was wondering is the book like a comic? I don't know because I never read the book.
Yes, the Sticky Burr books are just like comics, with word balloons. They are very similar to the style of the web comic, but in color. You can see a sample page here.
Can you put a character named Jonah Burr?
I have a long list of burr names that I use for my books. I will add Jonah Burr to the list, in case I need an extra name. Thanks!
I love your new second Sticky Burr book, our whole family has been waiting to read it and we finished it tonight. We noticed on the Scurvy Burr's Prickly Guide to Burrwood Forest, next to the Spooky Glen entry, there is an owl with an arrow pointing to him, but no words. What should the words say about the owl?
You are very observent! That arrow should say "Screech Owl". The owls in Spooky Glen sleep during the day and look for food at night. The owl doesn't bother the burrs, since they are too small and prickly to eat.
I was wondering if you could give the wild dogs names, like the sticky burrs, so we could tell them apart.
That's a good idea. I will think of names and add them to the character page on this website.
Can you have more parties in the book? And why are the burrs green in the book?
That's a good idea, the second book also has a party in it. The burrs are green in the book because that's the color of burrs when they are alive and growing.
My mom and I are going to make a little Burr Village with tree houses. We are going to make Sticky Burr and his friends too. What do you think we should make the houses out of? Sticky Burr is even going to have an elevator.
That is a great idea! There are lots of ways to make burr houses. You could cut a piece of a cardboard tube, and make the roof out of straw or yellow construction paper. You could also make the house out of cardboard or paper, and draw the windows and door. You could make the trees out of paper towel tubes. Good luck!
How old were you when you started writing, I bet about 20 or are you already twenty?
I started writing when I was around seven years old. I wrote a story about a ship that finds a whale, and I drew all the pictures. (I am much more than twenty now!)
Can you find the first book at Hong Kong (China)? I would really like to get my friends to read it!
The book can be ordered on the internet from Amazon or you can also ask your bookstore if they can get it for you.
Will Sticky Burr have a pet? If so I drew one and was hoping you would put it in the book.
Sticky Burr might have a pet one day, we will have to wait and see. I don't think I can use your drawing in my book, but maybe I could put it on the website.
Why is Sticky Burr always being picked on by WORDS and never really hurt?
There are many ways to get picked on, and sometimes words can hurt a lot. The mean burrs try to chase Sticky Burr and jab him, but he usually gets away. It is not easy dealing with prickly bullies. But Sticky Burr tries to stick close to his friends, and always stands up for what is right.
Is Sticky Burr going to be a series? How many books are there going to be? I drew a Burr can you put it in the book?
There are only two books so far, and I hope there will be others in the future. I cannot use your drawing in my book because I need to draw all the pictures myself, but I can put your drawing on the website if you email it to email@example.com.
Where can I buy the book?
I live in Saskatchewan (Canada). Would there be any stores that sell the Sticky Burr books, or would I have to get it online?
The best way to find out is to call or visit your neighborhood bookstore and ask them. If they don't have it, they can order it for you, or you can also get it online (see above.)
Can you add Thistle, Bristle, and Nettle Burr to the Characters page?
That is a great idea! I will do that soon.
What is the Burr with the visor who yells "Look out the wild dogs are coming!"? Can you put him on the character page?
His name is Basil. He is Elder Burr's assistant, and he is in charge of organizing village meetings and events.
On the map, it has the Hidden Trail, but if it's on the map, is it really hidden?
That is a great observation! The Hidden Trail is only hidden when you are in the forest, because it is very hard to see.
I have read the first book in school as a class book and I love it. I was wondering about Burweena. Why does she live in Spooky Glen and is she friends with Scurvy and Spiny?
Burweena lives in Spooky Glen because she was kicked out of the burr village for being so mean and nasty. She is not really friends with Scurvy Burr and Spiny Burr, but she gets along with them because they are mean like her. You will learn more about Burweena in the second book.
What do the Burrs do in Spring?
In the Spring, the burrs like to play and splash in puddles. They also look for the first flower of spring, because whoever finds it will have good luck all summer.
Is Oralee going to be in the next book? She is my favorite and I really hope she is.
I do not know if Oralee will not be in my next book, but maybe I can put her into the web comic so she can have more adventures. She is one of my favorite characters too.
Hello i am a huuuuuuuuuge fan of you but what made you think of this book? Who helped you make it? Do you have an illustrator?
I got the idea by thinking about my own backyard, where there are lots of squirrels, grasshoppers, and burrs. I wrote the story and I drew all the pictures myself. The people at Candlewick Press helped to put it all together and design the book.
Does the bad burr have a good side?
If you mean Scurvy Burr, then yes – he does have a good side, but it is deep down inside of him. He acts very mean and prickly, but he just wants to get attention. Burweena is another bad burr, and I don't know if she has a good side or not. If she does, it is hidden so well that no one can find it.
Are you coming to diffrent schools in diffrent countries? Can you come to my school in Melbourne?
Unfortunately I can't come visit schools in different countries right now, because I am too busy writing books. But maybe someday!
How do you send pictures?
If you want to send a picture or letter, you can email it to me at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org – or you can mail it in an envelope to John Lechner, FableVision Inc., 308 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210, USA. I can't always put everything on the website, but I will put as many as I can.
Where did you get the idea for Sticky Burr?
When I was young, my brothers and sisters and I would play in our backyard. There were bushes that grew little burrs on them, and we called them sticky burrs. Our backyard also had squirrels, dragonflies and grasshoppers, so it was a bit like Burrwood Forst. Years later, I was thinking about those burrs, and wondered what it would be like if they could talk.
Is Sticky Burr a flea?
No, Sticky Burr is a little burr, which is like a prickly seed that grows in the forest. Burrs stick to clothing and hair, like Velcro. You usually find them in the autumn.
Is Mossy Burr Sticky Burr’s sister?
No, Mossy and Sticky Burr are just friends. Most of the burrs have the last name Burr, even though they are not related.
In the book, what is the name of the burr who plays the drum?
That burr is called Thistle Burr. His likes to play the drum and juggle pine cones (but not at the same time).
Can you come to my school in Memphis?
I don't have time to visit many schools, because I am always working and writing. But someday I hope to travel around the country and visit lots of schools.
I read the comic strip online and it said that it’s to be continued. But I can't find the sequel. Did you make one yet?
The online comic strip is a continuing story, and I add each new page each week. So when you get to the page that says “to be continued” then you have to come back next week to see the next part.
Is it fun making these comics?
Yes, it is fun, but it is also a lot of work. A comic takes a long time to draw. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle where every piece has to fit perfectly to tell the story. First I draw it in pencil, and do a lot of re-drawing and erasing, then I go over it in ink.
Can you give me some tips about drawing and writing?
The best way to become good at drawing and writing is to do it a lot. Write lots of stories and draw lots of pictures, and you will get better each time. Don’t get discouraged. If you need ideas, try to write about things you like, or things that are important to you. Sometimes I write about favorite places, or people, or animals. Try writing about things that happen to you. Try drawing what you see in your room, or out your window.
* * * * *
Do you have a question? Use the form below!
Selected questions will be answered on the website. No personal information will be collected or shared.