Archive for the ‘games puzzles and toys’ Category



Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

It’s been a weird couple of months. Back in December I broke my ankle while riding my bike, and if you know me at all you know that this is a big deal. Bikes are therapy. Getting out of the house and studio and into the woods, getting a little exercise, and getting out of my head for a bit. When the doctor told me it was broken and I’d be off the bike for ten-to-twelve weeks I nearly lost it.

Well, fast forward nine weeks, and we’re at the tail end of the long national nightmare. And I’m making some lemonade here. First, the weather. It’s been pretty bad since mid-December. I haven’t really missed much. I’m not one that worries much about weather, as I will go out and happily ride bikes in the worst of it. But I stay off the trails when they’re slushy and muddy, and I think they’ve been slushy and muddy since Christmas. Second, I’ve had something of a mini-creative renaissance the last two months. Work, real work, has been slow, and I’ve had the time to dig in on this super-hero picture book I’ve been working on all year and play with technique stuff. I’ve been so busy the last decade that most of the work I’ve done has been on tight deadlines and I haven’t been able to, or had the wherewithal to experiment much. I draw, scan, digital-color, done. But with this book I’ve been wanting to get away from the computer.

To that end, I’ve been re-learning how to paint and color and make things with pencils and ink and paper, and it’s been kind of great. Scary, but that’s what makes me realize how much I’ve been using the computer and photoshop as a crutch.

As part of the same line of thinking, Sacha and a few colleagues convinced me to start a second Instagram account focused on my illustrations and creative work. My original account is more of a day-to-day visual diary: dog photos, vacation pictures, Friday-night cocktails, and a lot of pictures of bikes. People actually complained. But mostly, I think, people just didn’t follow. Say someone sees my work somewhere and goes to instagram to see if I have an account. They find it and see ten pictures of bicycles and Negronis and Sacha and the dog punctuated by one drawing from a sketchbook, and they move on.

So, fine, I started a new account. This one dedicated to drawings, illustrations, books, making things. And so far so good. Knowing I have a hole to fill makes me work. After breaking my ankle, I worked from home for four weeks, and spent an hour or so every morning drawing for fun. Just stuff that was in my head. I know, it seems like this wold be a normal activity for me. But it wasn’t. Instead, I bicycled. Or read the internet. Or… worked. Remember, I’ve been busy for the last decade. Time to just screw around and draw wasn’t at the top of my to-do list. (This might be the subject of another post one day, but for years I had no interest in drawing for fun. If I wasn’t in the studio on deadline, I wanted to be doing something else. Riding bikes, for example. Or playing guitar. Or watching tv. Anything. So I’ve been coasting, creatively, and that’s bad. But let’s move on.

One of the interesting things about the new account is that the work it feeds to me to look at is different. Rather than bikes and bike things, I was finding new illustrators and artists. Really lovely stuff. Inspirational stuff. And I started drawing. Drawing drawing drawing.

Somewhere along the line I started drawing a lot of fish.

And then somewhere else I started thinking how cool it would be to have these fish be a thing. A thing that can be held and looked at and turned around. An object. How would I go about this? Wood. I’ll make it out of wood! How hard could that be? It was right before christmas that I watched a YouTube video about carving wood and ordered a few tools. The videos I was finding were all “whittling” and most had little gnomes and country-folk as their subject matter. But nevermind, the techniques were the same. I watched. And on January 16 I started carving.

That was fun! Something clicked. I made another one.

I painted them and made little stands for them.

Next, I wanted to try a different kind of wood. Basswood is fine, but it’s like using crayons when you know there are oil paints out there. My friend Kirk found a nice block of butternut at a lumberyard and gifted it to me with the request that he get a fish. So I cut a block and went to work on my third.

Butternut is more satisfying, but more difficult as well. Here, you can get a better idea of the size. It’s a little larger. The teeth/mouth were the tough end-grain of the block (lemons/lemonade) and I painted this one with acrylic, following a coat of linseed oil to protect the wood. Kirk named this fish “Beulah.”

Without question, this is incredibly satisfying. It’s exactly what I wanted when I started down this rabbit hole two months ago. My head is full of ideas. Different fish, birds, skulls, things that move… I even picked up a collection of old doll legs and arms off eBay, cause I have some ideas

Where is this gonna take me? Who knows. Who cares. Maybe I’ll sell some. Maybe I’ll just give them away to friends. I know I plan to give each of my siblings a fish, and make some birds for our Christmas tree this year. I’m feeling ambitious…

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

If you’re thinking about being all cute and romantic this Valentine’s Day, who can think of a better way to do that than with frog cards drawn by yours truly. Go get ’em at a nice paper-goods store near you, or order them (quick!) from Peaceable Kingdom.

Brian Biggs peaceable kingdom

Friday, May 11th, 2012

On Monday I posted a contest to name all six dinosaurs in the puzzle I made for Galison/Mudpuppy. As of noon today there were six correct entries.

Mudpuppy Dinosaur Block puzzle

The dinosaurs are thus, clockwise from top left in the above picture:

Green – T-rex, duh.
Orange – Triceretops
Purple – Ankylosaurus
Red – Stegosaurus
Yellow – Velociraptor
Blue/turquoise – Brachiosaurus, formerly known as Brontosaurus, which I accept as a correct answer.

So as I said, six people got all six, though many of you should watch your spelling. I assigned each of you a number (1 – 6) and then I used a random number generator to choose a number from one to six. One came up, (the actual order was 1, 3, 6, 5, 4, 2) which happened to be assigned to……………………..

Are you ready?

star trek dance

Sarah Perry!

This is Sarah:
Sarah Perry

She’s an author and mom of an almost-3-year-old and creator of Pajama Girl. I know this because I looked her up. She entered about forty-five seconds after I posted the contest, so she apparently knows her dinosaurs. Sarah, I’m gonna send you an email so I can get your address. In the meantime, congratulations.

Thanks for playing!

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Mudpuppy Dinosaur Block puzzle

A new dinosaur puzzle. I must like dinosaurs because I draw a lot of them.

Mudpuppy Dinosaur Block puzzle

This is a cool little thing from Galison/Mudpuppy, for whom I’ve made a lot of toys and puzzles. Six dinosaurs and one puzzle. The puzzle comes as a series of nine cubes, with each side being a piece of one of the puzzles.

Mudpuppy Dinosaur Block puzzle

Mudpuppy Dinosaur Block puzzle

Mudpuppy Dinosaur Block puzzle

Mudpuppy Dinosaur Block puzzle

You can get this here at the Mudpuppy site.

I have an extra one of these and I’d like to give it away to someone, so I thought I’d have a little contest. There are six dinosaurs here, right? Send me an email with all six dinosaurs correctly listed (and list the colors so I can tell which one you’re naming). Of all of the right answers I’ll pick one winner from random, okay?

[nggallery id=29]

So you have this week. I’ll pick the winner on Friday afternoon, around 3pm Eastern Time. Send your email to brian at mrbiggs dot com. You could leave it as a comment if you want, but then you’d be giving your answers away to everyone who reads this post. So instead of doing that, use email, and then just write a funny joke about dinosaurs in the comments. Cool?

Oh yeah, the winner has to send a picture of themselves building the puzzle when they get it. Okay? Good luck.

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Just in time for the holidays!

A while back I illustrated another fun project for Mudpuppy called Flip & Draw Sports. This is a kind of flip book where there are ten characters, split at the neck and waist, so that the legs, torsos and heads are all different and can be mixed and matched. There’s a baseball player, basketball player, soccer player, football player, golfer, hockey player, volleyball player, snowboarder, swimmer, and tennis player. Here are photos of some of the combinations.

You can get this at the Galison/Mudpuppy site here.

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011


I’ve made a kajillion designs for Mudpuppy/Galison over the last several years, starting with the Air, Land & Sea puzzle that was one of the inspirations for the Everything Goes series I’m currently writing and illustrating. They recently started a new section on their website called “Illustrator Spotlight” and they decided to make me a subject of curiosity. It was a fun little interview and I encourage you all to go and buy a kajillion Mudpuppy products to give for the happy holidays this year.

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Last month I made a couple of big complicated illustrations for a restaurant chain out in California called Rubio’s. They specialize in fish tacos and wanted a “Where’s Waldo” kinda thing that would be the basis for this game where you have to find certain items, fish tacos among them. The first game went up while I was away in Oregon last week, and the next one will be up on September 21.
Go up and see if you can beat my time of 38 seconds. Of course, I had a head start I guess.

Here’s the game.

(You apparently have to input your email address. Sorry about that.)

Monday, June 13th, 2011

mudpuppy dinosaur puzzle

A project I did for Mudpuppy was published just recently. It’s a 12-piece puzzle featuring those famous and extinct relatives of lizards (or birds if you adhere to those theories), the dinosaurs. T-rex, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Pterodactyl each make an appearance here.
Go get yours at your local favorite toy shop, or if that doesn’t work, get it on the internet.

mudpuppy dinosaur puzzle
mudpuppy dinosaur puzzle
mudpuppy dinosaur puzzle
mudpuppy dinosaur puzzle