the news section

By "news" of course, we mean that which is new. Information, projects, ideas, that sort of thing. Maybe sometimes now and then you might find the "recent" and occasionally something quite "old" might find its way on to these pages. Possibly it could be in the form of an illustration, or perhaps I"m just behind the curve in some way. Enjoy.

Children's Book Week Champion am I.

April 11, 2014 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

The Children's Book Council asked me to make a video for their Children's Book Week 2014. They asked author/illustrator Amy Ignatow as well, and she and I had the bright idea to collaborate. We filmed the thing on a crummy-weather Saturday back in February, and today it's released to the anxious masses.

Surprise cameo and good music as well.

You can see more Children's Book Week Champion videos here.

CBW-champion-FINAL

Dog Days is coming!

February 27, 2014 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

Dog Days of School

Dog Days of School

In 2007, I signed on to illustrate two books for Hyperion. One was The Boy Who Cried Alien, by Marilyn Singer, and the other was called Dog Days of School, by Kelly DiPucchio. At the time, I was just getting my legs as a book illustrator and was excited to get these two projects while I start the process of learning to write my own books.

Little did I know that the seed of Everything Goes was planted a few months later, which subsequently took over my life for five years. This and other delays caused Alien and Dog Days to get pushed back a few years (!). Well, The Boy who Cried Alien came out in 2012, and Dog Days is finally coming out this June. I drew this book immediately after finishing Everything Goes and it was a dream to work on these big flat comparatively simply-composed illustrations. I only used six or seven colors for the entire book, and tried a few techniques with the art that I wasn't able to do in Everything Goes.

I received a prepublication copy of the book yesterday and my lordy it looks beautiful. I mean, okay, the drawings are alright. But Hyperion knocked the production and design out of the park on this thing. Rotem Moscovich edited and Tyler Nevins did the design and I can't think them enough. Of course, I can't think Kelly enough for writing it either, and being incredibly patient as her story sat on my shelf for nearly seven years.

Look for more on this book in the next few months, including cover sketches and how it got made. Stay tuned!

under the hood

February 1, 2014 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

A certain book being written by a certain writer that is being illustrated by me is scheduled to be published in September, and things are running behind, and it's all crazy and I'm under an incredibly tight and difficult deadline.
So here's a couple of teasers from the cover art. More on this soon, I think.

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frank_robots

researching robots

January 8, 2014 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

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

uncovering Everything Goes: By Sea

October 23, 2013 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

Everything Goes by Sea

(This post was partially written yesterday, October 22, before my old and reliable laptop took a day off while on my current book tour. 24 hours later, the cursed device suddenly began working again, so I'm currently sitting in the staff break room of Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh NC finishing this post and getting it up into the world…)

Today (yesterday) is October 22, which is the day that HarperCollins is publishing Everything Goes: By Sea, the third, last, and final picture book in the Everything Goes series. What this means is that you can go buy it now. So, that said, I'll take a little break here and let you take care of that business.

Indiebound
Amazon

Okay, thanks for that.

The publication of this third book in the series represents the culmination of about six years of pretty solid work for me on this project. I first started knocking around the idea of Everything Goes back in 2007, at which point it was just a note in a sketchbook that said "transportation project." I loved (love — I still do…) drawing vehicles of all kinds. I created a book for French publisher Éditions du Rouergue back in 2003 that I had a blast making, and my literary agent Steven Malk had been encouraging me to racket in vehicles again but with something more palatable to American publishers.

By summer of 2008 I had a folder thick with ideas. My good friend and longtime creative sorter-outer Jason and I spent a couple of days going through the piles of dozens of pages of script and hundreds of sketches, trying to find threads that held the various decent ideas together. After these marathon sessions at the Philadelphia Central Library, I could see what was going on and where it could go, and it was at that point that I started to get excited.

It was at a coffee shop with my now-wife Sacha that I realized that this was not one huge tome, but rather would be best split into three separate books, each covering a different mode of transport (land, air, sea).

And then it was in May of 2009 that I created a proposal that my agent took to publishing houses and led to Donna Bray at Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins offering to publish it. Donna also suggested that we include three I Can Read books and six board books in the enterprise, which made the whole thing feel huge.

The first book was begun in earnest around the beginning of 2010 and completed more than a year later, in February 2011. The second book was done in March 2012, and the third book was done April 22, 2013. The first book took longer since it set the template for the next two.
The very final piece I drew was this little boat for the endpapers of By Sea. In fact, it was the word "WOO" that completed the work.

sea-endpapers


I like process, and I always love seeing the preliminary work that goes into a book or film or almost anything. So I'm posting here a bunch of images of sketches and the work that went into the cover for Everything Goes By Sea.

BY SEA sketchbook1

BY SEA sketchbook2

These two images are from my little moleskine sketchbooks that I keep. As I began thinking about and planning the By Sea cover, I knew pretty quickly that I was going to have the "By Sea" subtitle on the sails of a sailboat, so that motif appears pretty quickly. Looking at these now, I'm a little surprised how much the partial cover-sketch at the top of the second image looks like the final cover.


EGSEA_cover_thumb

This is the first rough thumbnail of the entire cover. By the time the third book in this series comes along, a couple of things are already designed and in place. For example, the Everything Goes logo will be the same as before and will be in the same place, and the subtitle of the book (By Sea) and my name will be incorporated into the illustration in some way. Here are the previous two covers for comparison.

land-air-covers


SEA-COVER-sketch

EG by sea cover template

These two images are pretty similar and, in fact, are created from the same drawing. Or in this case possibly several drawings, since at this stage I'm sometimes drawing some of the boats separately, scanning and placing them into the sketch digitally. That's how I put the logo on the cover as well. The second image is the one I send to HarperCollins, where the shading and title logo makes the piece look a little more finished and slick.


SEA COVER scan

After I get approval on the sketch, the next thing I make is this inked line-drawing of the cover. This is my favorite part of the process. I use black ink with a brush, but my ink is watered down quite a lot (a little more than I'd like, actually) which is why the big black areas actually look grey. Again, the drawing is made without the title logo, since the logo was created for the first book and I just use that again each time I need it.

everything goes logo

There is a pretty good little video of me doing this part of the process with the second book, In the Air, here.

EG2 cover timelapse from Brian Biggs on Vimeo.

The inked line drawing is scanned into the computer and then it's opened in Photoshop where all of the coloring and final work takes place.


SEA COVER color pre

This is the same line-art drawing once it's scanned in and touched up.It now has the title added to it and I've cleaned up the lines a little. Often, cleaning up the lines means a significant amount of Photoshop surgery, but in this case it was pretty close to right the first time.


Everything Goes by Sea

And here, as at the top of the page, is the final finished color cover.

Also, here is a video of the digital coloring of the second cover so you can see how that is done.

coloring everything goes air from Brian Biggs on Vimeo.


I thought I might also include a couple of real-world uses for a book such as this. The first example was taken by a friend of mine in Calgary, Alberta who has a son named Bas. Bas is apparently enjoying Everything Goes By Sea.

The second and third photo is a display at the book store where I am currently writing this missive. Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh NC has a beautiful display of Everything Goes books, and if you have a book store or even a living room, I encourage you set up something similar.

bas

quail ridge 1

quail ridge 2

raceboats

Everything Goes except my laptop.

October 22, 2013 | bookmark | 1 Comment

So today is publication day for third and final Everything Goes book, called By Sea. I had a nice juicy blog post with lots of pictures and sketches lined up to post today but today is also the day that my trusty seven-year-old Mac decided to go belly up. Even worse, it happened on the second day of my book tour while preparing to give a presentation to 75 kids at the wonderful Washington DC book store Politics & Prose.
So I improvised, doing a bit of an analog song and dance, and am now posting this via my phone while on the way to Raleigh NC, trying to figure out what to do next. Going to the Raleigh Apple Store and getting a new laptop is a strong option.

In the meantime, today is publication day for Everything Goes By Sea and I couldn't be more thrilled! Stay tuned and I'll get that blog post up ASAP.

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