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founding fathers

October 8th, 2015

Tinyville Town, Brian Biggs, illustration

This is a statue depicting the founding fathers of Tinyville Town. The town was founded in 1830, when an English fisherman and a German goat herder each happened along the same rise along the Orange River at the same time. What this statue doesn’t depict is the simmering tension between the descendants of the German settlers and the descendants of the English settlers over who was there first. This issue has been the source of much consternation and many a dirty look for 180 years, and was the underlying cause of the Zwischenfall im Squaredance, or “The Fight at the Polka Hall” as the English refer to it, in 1945.
Tinyville Town is now a modern, diverse, and growing city. I’m writing and illustrating a series of books about Tinyville Town that will be published by Abrams Appleseed starting next year. So far they haven’t let me write the book about The Fight at the Polka Hall. Let’s cross our fingers.

stanky leg and dougie

May 10th, 2013

I’m working on the illustrations for the sixth EllRay Jakes book right now, and there’s a scene where a couple of characters perform a dance for the school talent show. I had my kids here last evening while I was looking up the dances that the writer describes in the book, and we had a really good time watching these videos and attempting the moves ourselves.
Frankly, I thought that the author had just made up dances called “The Dougie” and “Stanky Leg.” Alas, she did not.

And the sketch:

stankyleg

covering Everything Goes, pt 1

June 6th, 2011

The first book of the Everything Goes series, On Land, is scheduled to be published on September 13. It’s high time I start writing a bit more about this book. The fine folk at Balzer+Bray (an imprint of HarperCollins) have given the go ahead to show the cover. So I thought that I’d start with a bit of a tease before I pull cover off the cover, so to say.
The idea for Everything Goes is “lots.” Lots of everything, going. Lots of cars and trucks and trains and bikes and motorcycles, and then in the second and third books, lots of airplanes and helicopters and balloons and rowboats and tugboats and ocean liners and sailboats and you get the idea. I may have written this already, but mixing a little of Where’s Waldo and David Macaulay with a lot of Richard Scarry was generally the idea going into this project.
So to that end, I knew that the cover was going to be busy and jammed with a little bit of everything that is in the book. But beyond that idea, I didn’t have much.

I started out by drawing what I figured would be a decent basis for the illustration. This would be a traffic jam. Just a mass of vehicles with which I could set into a 10 inch by 12 inch frame and start working.

I used this sketch for the basis for the first sketch.

And then used it as a take-off point for a second sketch. These are the two I first sent to HarperCollins.

Generally, it was agreed that this is a good start. I was asked to try and show different kinds of vehicles that were in the book, like trains and bikes. And the type wasn’t working, since Everything was reading as Every Thing. For the second round of sketches, the background illustration was starting to fall into place but the type still wasn’t working. I’d became slightly obsessed with getting the type to work as a sign, like a billboard or on the side of the truck.

My editor believed that the treatment for “Everything Goes” should be something that would work on all three books and not necessarily be tied to the illustration itself. I squirmed at this suggestion, though of course she was correct. I knew it was 5% too clever to actually work. You can see the illustration getting a bit more refined as well.

After some prodding, I worked up some sketches for the “logo” as we started calling it.

Now, we were getting somewhere. Here’s how the sketch looked with the logo in place.

This is the sketch that got approved, though the logo still went through another round of changes. As a technicality, I made one more iteration of the cover sketch, just to nail down the details before I started inking. Below are the final illustration sketch and logo sketch that led to the artwork, which I shall reveal tomorrow. Stay tuned.

this is a book

March 2nd, 2011

It's a Book

It’s been a year since I organized and cleaned the studio. Now that I’ve finished work on the first Everything Goes book I realize how all-encompassing that project has been. As I finished things I just stuck them in a pile next to my desk rather than putting it away. The pile is large.

I’m filing book one away into the filing cabinet now. This stack of stuff pictured here contains every piece of sketch, manuscript, rough idea, note, reference print, and whatever else that made up Everything Goes: Land. It’s almost six inches thick.
Just for comparison’s sake, the folder called “Land” on my hard drive which contains the same thing but in digital form, is 7.6Gb. (The original art is in a flat file and is rather huge as well.) As I get going on book 2 and get a little further away from the last one, and as we get closer to the Sept 13 publication date I’ll post more goodies from this pile, as well as details about the book.

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.

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…

Yum Truck!

April 2nd, 2010

To answer your inevitable question pre-emptively, why yes, I do think that this might be about all you see here for the next several months!

yum truck

No not really. It’s just kind of a thing right now.
Drawn with pencil on tracing paper, colored in Photoshop.

cars cars cars

March 20th, 2010

I’m now deep deep into the initial phase of a very large book project that will take me the next 3+ years to complete. Without giving away too much, I get to draw cars and trucks and ships and airplanes and buses and tugboats and RVs and helicopters and bicycles and… you get the idea. These were drawn with ballpoint pen at a local coffee shop on Thursday last week. Stay tuned for more.

cars
more cars
big car

just a sketch

February 18th, 2010

sketches

Buried deep in a few big book projects, so here are a couple of sketches, not from anything. These are each about an inch wide and tall, drawn in ballpoint.