Everything Goes « MrBiggs.com

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two wheels

September 9th, 2010

it's a bike

it's a motorcycle

Some sketches for the book series I’m working on for HarperCollins called Everything Goes. Scheduled to be published sometime next year. Each of these are going to fill an entire spread and will be about 18 inches wide by 10 inches tall. I like me some big bikes and motorcycles.

some motorcycles

July 23rd, 2010

Thought I’d end the week with some sketches for pages 32-33 of the Everything Goes book I’m working on. I drew what seems like one million motorcycles yesterday and today. My hand hurts, and I’m taking the rest of the day off. Have a lovely weekend.

i made a font

July 8th, 2010

If you’ve ever looked at anything I’ve made, you likely noticed that I like to hand-letter things. I used to be a type geek back when I was a graphic designer, but at some point — mainly when I started illustrating — I quit using actual fonts with any regularity and started drawing type on everything. This is sort of within the great plan of life or whatever, as it was a calligraphy kit my mom bought when I was 14 years old that led to my interest in type and design in the first place.
Over the years I’ve considered many times designing a font. However, it never really made sense, since the type I draw is usually improvised and created for the specific place in which it sits, and I like the look of each letterform being different. That is, if I have two lower-case ‘g’ next to each other (which happens frequently. Re: “Biggs”), I usually like them to look slightly different from one another. It’s part of the illusion I struggle with to keep my work looking as least digital as possible. So I’ve never really found the right project for which to create a typeface.
However, in setting up the workflow of this huge three-book project I’m writing and illustrating for HarperCollins, I’m realizing that every page is going to have anywhere between ten and a hundred captions and labels. And the prospect of lettering each and every one of these (“convertible,” “tow-truck,” “taxi,” “subway,” etc) makes my kind of want to go on an extended vacation. And it makes my hand hurt. So last week I realized that this is it. This is the time to make a font.

After googling a bit looking for an appropriate application, I located one called TypeTool. Back in the day when I was working at Adobe and stuff, everyone used Fontographer to make typefaces, which I thought had died. Apparently, Fontographer has been rejuvenated and is also published by Fontlab, but it’s about a million bucks. Since I have no current plans to make other fonts (but never say never, right?), TypeTool will do the trick and it’s a lot less expensive.

So… I set about painting/drawing a set of letterforms, which I then scanned at really really high resolution (1200 ppi) and cleaned up in Photoshop. I used Illustrator to trace the letterforms into vector shapes, which I could then copy/paste into TypeTool.

I haven’t had time to read the manual for TypeTool yet, but I remember the basic idea from back in the Fontographer days.

Not everything is perfect yet. There are some weird pairs and a lot of the punctuation and quotation marks aren’t really perfect yet. Furthermore, I didn’t include many of the more esoteric glyphs like the signs for foreign currency and stuff like ∆Ωª. I suppose if Everything Goes is translated into other languages, or if by some weird turn I need the Greek alphabet in my captions and stuff, I’ll add them later.

While tedious, this has been really interesting. Notwithstanding what I wrote above about likely not making another font, I could really see me doing this again for other picture books, rather than trying to find typefaces that work well for my illustrations…


June 17th, 2010

Some sketches for the transportation series I’m buried under. There will be several spreads similar to the trucks (see some here) and the people are for populating the sidewalks and parks in the book.

people who populate

cars cars and cars

April 28th, 2010

Did I mention cars? To prove that I am indeed a alive and working, here are a couple of recently-completed development sketches for this huge book project I’ll be working on for some time…

highway spaghetti

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