Archive for the ‘seen’ Category



Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

I’m currently writing and drawing a book about a bridge for a pretty big series of books I’ll be talking about a LOT at some point. I’ve learned more about bridges and bridge engineering in the last three weeks than I thought I’d ever want or need to know.
Last week I was in New York, leeching off a trip Sacha had to take for work, and taking advantage of it to spend a few days meeting with some editors at Abrams and Roaring Brook. When we arrived at the hotel on Delancey Street, I noticed immediately that we were right at the pedestrian entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge. So while Sacha headed out early for her client stuff, and since I didn’t have my first appointment until noon, I spent that morning meandering to Brooklyn and back.

The Williamsburg Bridge is the bridge over the East River I guess I think about the least when I think about those bridges. (Don’t you have a list, in order, as well?) For me, it’s the Queensborough Bridge, otherwise known as the 59th Street Bridge first. Woody Allen saw to that. Second would be the Brooklyn Bridge, of course. It was the first bridge I walked across when I was 17 visiting NYC in 1985. Third would be the Manhattan Bridge, mainly just because it’s next to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Several years ago, the pedestrian and bikeways were redesigned and rebuilt, and now the Williamsburg carries more bicycles on any given day than any bridge in the world. I think every single one of them was crossing at the same time I was.

So here is a collection of the photos I took on the walk. I was fascinated with the pink color of the walkway against the grey and blue of the bridge and sky. It was morning, about 10am, and the light was fantastic. Last but not least was the graffiti. It was everywhere, covering nearly every surface, to the point where it became just texture.

The pictures were taken with a Panasonic Lumix LX7 and with my iPhone.

See them on Flickr here or click the photo below.

a walk across the Williamsburg Bridge

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Hey how ya doin? It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Here are some interesting things I found today in “The Modern Home Physician, Illustrated” c.1942, which is a book I bought at a flea market years ago. I’m working on an illustration of robots and this stuff comes in handy. Sometime in the next couple of months I can post the how and why. (If you’ve been here a while, you might actually figure part of it out if you’re super-observant. If you do, drop me an email and you’ll get a prize.)

brain2

frontispiece

gasmasks-ww1

heart

sitting positions

Also, if it interests you, I jumped on the late train and started doing that Instagram thing. If you’re already there, which you probably are, follow me http://instagram.com/brianbiggs

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

A screen-grab rom the HarperCollins author search page. I hope no one gets us mixed up.

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Two really fascinating videos that tackle related ideas.
They make me a little queasy but I’m fascinated by them.

The first one is a GoPro camera attached to a hula hoop.

The second one is a bit more complex. Callum Cooper, the filmmaker, built a rig to mimic a jumprope. At least I think that’s what’s going on here. He has some more twisted pieces as well on his Vimeo page.

Friday, August 12th, 2011

I’ve really been loving the work of poster artists DKNG lately. I’ve bought a couple of their posters and I love the detail they put into their designs. Today they posted a terrific video showing, in time-lapse form, the creation of a poster for a Phish show in Hollywood. See if you can keep up and figure out exactly what’s going on. If you have a decent understanding of screenprinting and know your way around Adobe Illustrator, you’ll be fine.

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

I was staring at the DKNG blog this morning looking at screenprints and came across an entry about Kevin Cyr’s vehicle paintings. I was, of course, slack-jawed and teary-eyed. I have collections of photos of cars and trucks, obviously, and my favorites that seem to transcend their purpose as reference for Everything Goes drawings are the ones that have some personality to them. Graffiti, decaying signage, special purposes, etc. Kevin Cyr paints these vehicles and my my my are they lovely paintings at that.

My favorite of course is the Ice Cream Truck series, one of which was on 20×200 a few years ago.

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

I got an email from my friend Julie, who was at the National Building Museum in Washington DC over the weekend. She found one of the puzzles I’ve made for Mudpuppy in the museum store and had her kid Owen pose with it for me. Owen looks excited!


Yesterday I was The Mall with my daughter and a friend of hers where we found I’m a T-Rex stuck in a huge shelf of Golden Books. This was kinda cool to find it there with The Poky Little Puppy and the other classics.

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Many many years ago when I was obsessed with and serious about accordions, I met a filmmaker by the name of Robert Emmons. He was at the time planning to make a documentary about the Acme Accordion School in Westmont, NJ, where I was at the time taking lessons. About the time he started shooting this film I dropped out of Acme due to life getting in the way. Fast forward now about nine years, and I get an email from Robert.
The documentary about the accordion school didn’t get completed, but he’s been hard at work on other projects, completing two other full-length documentary films. Lately he’s been working on an interesting collection of shorter films, completing two a week for the last half year. He writes, “I set a goal to make two short documentary films a week based on randomly drawn words, they premiere every Wednesday and Sunday. At the end of six months, I’ll have 52 films. Today is my 50th, so only two to go!”

He wrote to me because I appear in the 49th film, which is footage from the aborted Acme documentary filmed in, I believe, late 2001. You can see the post about it here, and the film itself right here below. I make a small appearance at 1:33.

Now that’s cool and all. But take an hour or two and watch as many of Robert’s films in this project as you can. It’s really a terrific project. My favorite of the group so far is KALEIDESCOPE, which happens to be film #48. Robert’s got great taste in music as soundtrack as well, and since he spends some time writing about where the music for these films comes from, I can tell it’s important. As I watch these, I’m creating a not-insignificant list of musicians and bands to search for and get a hold of.

Years ago I was following a musician called Podington Bear who had a similar project going on, posting two or three songs every week for a year. And back when I was writing and drawing comics, I used to assign myself a page of writing — something complete with a beginning middle and end, not just a sentence or paragraph — every day. These kinds of exercises force one to get out of the claustrophobic and self-defeating need to make it perfect, and loosen up a bit. The results of these exercises are often not great, and never perfect, which is precisely the idea. However, they are usually inspired and the nature of the deadline is that one is forced to make decisions and stick with them, rather than hem and haw for months, never actually going anywhere.

Thanks for getting in touch, Robert.

Monday, June 28th, 2010

As Sacha and I are packing to move this week, I came across some old boxes and envelopes in a third floor closet in what was once my studio stuffed with ephemera and maps and cards and stuff from the halcyon Paris days of 1988-89. I was quite the acquirer back then, filling up large envelopes and small boxes of various printed matter, which I would then pour over now and then. A lot of it was surprisingly influential on how I drew and what I drew back then, in the formative years, and I was very happy to find it all. Like running into an old friend.

One of my favorite pieces in the entire mess is this little collection of cards I kept from a visit to Lyon France in 1989. I was there with one of my instructors at Parsons, bill butt, as we were working on a calendar design project. We had lunch at a bistro called Le Bouchon aux Vins (which basically translates to The Wine Stopper, where a “stopper” is a cork). In the breadbaskets were these small cards, about 2.5 by 3 inches, with what I thought were some beautiful illustrations. We noticed that they were a series so I went table to table and collected all nine of them.
They are essentially humorous instructions for drinking wine called Le Buveur Civilisé, or The Civilized Drinker. Each card depicts a step in the routine, from uncorking the wine, looking at it, smelling it, tasting it, and finally appreciating the wine.


The illustrations are lovely in their clean, thin lines and simple color scheme. The expressions of the drinkers’ are exaggerated but just barely, and the compositions are spot on. I’ve always wondered who the artist is, but I cannot make sense of the signature and Google has nothing. If you happen to know, drop a comment below. Edit: The illustrations are by Charles Martin, a French illustrator who died in 1934. Jouir, et merci!

Friday, February 19th, 2010

I spent my teenager years living in Pasadena, Texas, a suburb of Houston. We moved there from Little Rock when I was eleven, and the first “fact” I remember was that the highest point in Houston was an overpass. This may have been a joke (my stepfather was full of these kinds of things) but judging from these overpasses, not too much of one. There are several places in Houston that my mom called “spaghetti bowls” where several directions and lanes from several intersecting freeways merge and connect. These are from Google Maps.

As a kid, these fascinated me. As a teenager and young adult trying to drive on them (as well as the ones in Dallas), they infuriated me, and now as an adult who drives mainly in Philadelphia and New Jersey, where they have other kids of bizarre transportation issues, they fascinate me again.

You can see a pretty strong inspiration from these highway intersections in my puzzle that was published by Mudpuppy a few weeks ago, and now I’m working on a big book about cars and trucks and other forms of transportation (yes yes, again, mais pas en Francais!) and I’ve been collecting photographs for reference. I spent a chunk of time this morning looking on Flickr for good overpass/highway pictures and I just want to share. So many amazing things.

kumiyama JCT

kumiyama JCTcredit: mozu-guzu on Flickr.

overpasscredit: k n u l p on Flickr.

Austin Highway 1credit: Billy Jack O’Toole on Flickr.

Daikoku Junctioncredit: kokix on Flickr.

credit: TKNK. on Flickr.

HighFiveLookingTowardsSouthEastcredit: paul.derry on Flickr.

Hakozaki JCT 箱崎ジャンクションcredit: sinkdd on Flickr.

Highway Junctioncredit: sqzg on Flickr.

DSC_4551.JPGcredit: U3K-Y on Flickr.

Above I-280 and Hwy 87, San Jose, Santa Clara County, Californiacredit: cocoi_m on Flickr.

credit: changezi on Flickr.

I10-610credit: scottapeshot vis Google Maps on Flickr.

downtowncredit: scottapeshot vis Google Maps on Flickr. This is the “spaghetti bowl” I write about above. Thanks Scott.

interchange 101 @ 280/680credit: cjw333 on Flickr.

And one of my own taken from a bus in New York City:

spaghetti highway