Cartoonist  Brian Crane, 60, of Reno, creator of the “Pickles” comic strip, has made stars of his two wily, white-haired, main characters, Earl and Opal.

The strip now appears in 600 newspapers, and four book collections have been published so far.

He’s coming to Santa Rosa this week, and took time to talk about his work in a phone interview last week. Here are a few samples of what he had to say:

Q: How much of the strip is about age, and how much is really about a long marriage?

A: I don’t really think of it as strip about old people. I think of it as a strip about two unique individuals. This couple happens to be old. I don’t think of myself as portraying old people in general.

Q: Do you have any role models that you were inspired by?

A: I’ve got lots of cartoonists I’ve admired and tried to emulate. When I was younger I tried to draw like Walt Kelly, who did the “Pogo” strip, but I was never able to. I loved Al Capp from “Lil’ Abner” and later on, Charles Schulz, of course. But I developed my own style.

Q: Is there anything that will never, ever appear in your strip?

A: The characters will never do things that I have an aversion to — smoking cigarettes or swearing. Other than that, it’s hard to tell.

Crane will make two appearances Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Charles M. Schulz Museum, 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa:

1.  Cartooning master class for adults, 10-11:30 a.m., $40, 284-1263 for reservations.

2. Talk and book signing, 1-3 p.m., free with museum admission:
$5-$8; children 3 free.

Information: 579-4452,