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©2023 Flathead Graphix
Illustrations ©2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023
F & S Aschwanden

Website Design by:
Deborah Reade Design

Books Page

Exploded Beetle Puzzle EXPLODED BEETLE PUZZLE!!!
Pomegranate, a wonderful publisher in Portland, Oregon who publish cards, calendars. puzzles and more, has published a thousand piece puzzle of Peter's Exploded Beetle llustration.

The puzzle is fully colored which makes it a lot easier to put together. Click on the picture of the puzzle on the right to buy a copy of the puzzle from Pomegranate.

We love this puzzle so much that we are still offering $5.00 off Peter's large, original Exploded Beetle poster and $2.50 off the reprint version for anyone who has bought a puzzle. Just let us know you've purchased a Peter Aschwanden puzzle from Pomegranate when you order your Exploded Beetle poster from us. By the way, the reprint version is perfect for coloring. You can color your own Exploded Beetle just the way you want it.

And here's a true story about how Peter made the pen and ink drawing of the Exploded Beetle according to one of his long-time friends, Cal Hildebrand. (Read more about what Cal said in Interview 7, below):

"I remember going by to see Peter one early evening ... We talked for awhile, and then he put a piece of poster board on his drawing table, looked at it for a bit and lay down a line on the board. It was the outline of a VW. Then he started drawing all of the parts around it. By four AM he had most of the Exploded Bug done ... a full-page illustration of several people surrounded by, and perplexed by, a sea of VW parts, one of the humans with his nose in a copy of Muir's VW manual. It only took him about seven hours.

The original illustration was done on 8 1/2" x 11" poster paper first in pencil, and then in both white and black ink. Though drawn so small, it still looks wonderful as an "original" poster at 19" x 29"


Peter created many beautiful posters including five "original" posters where he supervised the printing himself. These include four large black and white posters, The Exploded Beetle, The Exploded Rabbit, The Cutaway City and The German City.We also produce all the black and white originals as 12" x 18" black & white reprints with the addition of The Dream, Tularemia, The Engine, The Cutaway VW Engine, Bus & Friends and The Lobster Engine Rebuild..

Bus & Friends

Peter's large (24" x 36") Map of Old Santa Fe poster is a gorgeous full color three-D view of Santa Fe surrounded by humorous vignettes of Santa Fe life. Peter is in one of them. Printed from an original painting.

Check out Peter's large, full-color poster of The Birth of Billy the Kid as well. This reproduction of another of Peter's paintings shows Billy, in the guise of Boticelli's Venus, and includes various actors in the Lincoln County War–a bit of New Mexico history–instead of the original angels. (Billy was the subject of a whole series of Peter's paintings.) The poster comes with a handy guide to all the characters.

Peter produced three full-color posters that are part of The Route 66 Series that highlights three areas in New Mexico along Route 66: Bernalillo, Los Lunas and Moriarty. These prints are available as reprints or originals.

Finally, we have only a very few original posters left that are signed by Peter himself. We sell those for the poster price plus $100. Send us an email if you are interested in finding out more about these. They are in varying conditions and we can send you pictures of them.


Alhough we only take large or wholesale orders for T-shirts through this site, you can continue to find Peter's designs on individual T-shirts through www.beetleness.com out of the UK. They are fully authorized by Flathead Graphix and we work closely with them to make sure you'll always receive the same great quality that you have in the past. Shipping out of the UK is much more reasonable than US shipping, so prices are good as well.

We feel Peter's artwork is in good hands with Beetleness.

Birth of Billy the Kid



We have Gift Orders available. Please ask us about them.


Bug Strip

After Peter passed away we had a video made of both his upstairs and his downstairs studios in Santa Fe. Mundo Bravo did a wonderful job with the studio tours and has reissued this now on Vimeo. He said of it,

Think this one should be dusted off... a little offering I shot 15 years ago of Peter Aschwanden's studio at the time of his death. Peter was the illustrator for John Muir Publications here in Santa Fe. His artwork for them helped make some of their books like "How to keep Your Volkswagen Alive" and "The People's Guide to Mexico" into counter culture classics.*

When Peter died in 2005, Deborah Reade saw his studio and realized that it needed to be preserved, at least visually, and I was lucky enough to get that task. What you see here is the working studio of one of the great countercultural artists just as he left it on the day of his death.

Peter's Studio Tour

This is an opportunity to see  a lot of Peter's art—not only his illustration art but his sculptures and paintings as well. Peter could turn anything into art. He built beautiful furniture and even theater props. You can see just a little of the two drawing tables he built in the downstairs tour, and the large head is also a prop—the Wizard of Oz—with eyes that go side-to-side and a mouth that opens and closes.

(*Note that most of the illustrations in The People's Guide to Mexico were done by Glen Strock)


Cartoon Eaters. Caution!


Sometime ago we did a series of eight interviews with Peter's friends and family. These cover a wide range of topics including Peter's early life, who he was as an artist, life at John Muir Publications in Santa Fe and much more. Lots of pictures. Combine these interviews with Peter's studio tour (at the end of this page) to get the full picture!

Interview 1 with Hildegard Nelson, Peter's mother. Peter was always an artist and even as a small child would draw on anything–the street, the walls–as well as on paper. Pictues of his early art showing how his cartoons developed.

Interview 2 with Glenn Strock, author of The People's Guide to Mexico and a good friend who worked together with Peter on several projects.

Interview 3 with Ada Browne, another good friend who worked at John Muir Publications. JMP published and distributed How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive, The People's Guide to Mexico and a lot of other wonderful books.

Interview 4 with Barbara Luboff who typed the original How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive manuscript and was there from the beginning.

Interview 5with Eve Muir, wife of John Muir who, with him, owned John Muir Publications in Santa Fe. And of course, there from the beginning!

Interview 6 with Gilberto Guzman, a good friend of Peter's and a fellow artist who would talk with Peter for hours about art and life. An international muralist with many beautiful murals in Santa Fe. This includes one on Guadalupe Street that many people are still trying to save from destruction by developers. Peter helped some with this mural in its earliest stage. Includes pictures of Gilberto working on the mural.

Interview 7 with Calvin Hildebrand, another good friend of Peter's who would also sit with Peter, drinking coffee and discussing all manner of things.

Story 8 about JMP in the 70s and 80s. Peter illustrated How to Keep your Volkswagen Rabbit Alive, How to Keep Your Honda Alive, and How to Keep Your Datsun/Nissan Alive during this time. He also redrew most of the illustrations for the original VW Book through these years and created new illustrations for updated versions. He even contributed to some of the writing updates while illustrating a host of other books and projects.




Scroll toward the bottom of this page
or click on the links to see a
video of Peter's studios
and stories and interviews about Peter
John Muir Publications