Archive for the ‘new work’ Category



Friday, August 12th, 2016

Tinyville Town, by Brian Biggs

Super-blogger and librarian Betsy Bird wanted to talk to me about Tinyville Town recently, and put together some really good questions about the series and around some more general children’s book topics, like gender roles and the idea of “timelessness.” The spark that became Tinyville Town came from my literary agent, Steve Malk, but the ingredients had been cooking in my head for some time, and I was happy to mix it up a bit. I don’t often think of myself as one of those children’s book authors with an axe to grind or anything, but as I raise and send these kids of mine into this sometimes backward world, I realize that words have formed in my head. Please enjoy, and feel free to comment.

Here’s the interview.

Friday, July 29th, 2016

Frank Einstein and the EvoBlaster Belt

The fourth book in the Frank Einstein series is hitting bookstore shelves on September 6, and I got a box of the lovely things in the mail this week. This time, the focus is on biology and evolution. Frank, Watson, and the robots are camping while doing their science thing and saving the world from T. Edison and his simian sidekick. Four down, two to go.

Frank Einstein and the EvoBlaster Belt

Frank Einstein and the EvoBlaster Belt

Frank Einstein and the EvoBlaster Belt

Frank Einstein and the EvoBlaster Belt

Frank Einstein and the EvoBlaster Belt

Frank Einstein and the EvoBlaster Belt

Frank Einstein and the EvoBlaster Belt

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Tinyville Town Gets to Work

The first three Tinyville Town books will be in stores on September. This includes two board books, I’m a Firefighter and I’m a Veterinarian, and a picture book, Tinyville Town Gets to Work. Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly have reviewed Gets to Work, and they use all the right words.

From Kirkus:
“The diverse people of Tinyville Town fill jobs with a healthy disregard for strict adherence to gender roles in this big, bright, and friendly construction tale.”
(see full Kirkus review here)

From Publisher’s Weekly:
“Biggs kicks off the Tinyville Town series, focusing on hard-working, civic-minded folks, from the police officer to the trash collectors, who share their expertise to make a city work. The visuals are more stylized than in Biggs’s Everything Goes series—while Tinyville Town is diverse, everyone has the same toylike body shape—but the mood is similarly exuberant and attentive to detail. And the can-do spirit is off the charts.”
(see full PW review here)

Tinyville Town picture book

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, January 22nd, 2016

160116_kustomcaps in the wild_002

Now and then a project comes along that turns out to me much more interesting and fun than it properly should be. This is one of those projects.
I ride bikes. A lot. One of the groups of dudes I ride with, we’ve started calling ourselves the Skirtpilots. The idea being if we ever enter a race, god forbid, or a club ride we might get hats or jerseys with “Skirtpilots” across the front.
Last year I entered a ride up near Wilkes-Barre PA called the Lu Lacka Wyco Hundo. This is a bear of a ride, with 103 miles of cycling and more than 10,000 feet of climbing. One of my Skirtpilots buddies entered the ride along with me, and the others signed up as volunteers. In appreciation for the support, I decided to get something nice done for them, so I found this company called Kustomcaps who makes cool little stem caps. What’s a stem cap? If you have a somewhat modern bike, it’s the round aluminum disc that caps the tube from your fork on the front. It probably has the brand of your bike or something like that on it, with a hex-bolt in the center.
So I designed a Skirtpilots cap, and had a dozen or so made in silver, orange and black.

skirtpilots caps

Not too long afterward, I got an email from Dan, the owner of Kustomcaps, asking me if I’d like to collaborate on a series of special caps. The idea being that I design 10-12 caps, and he manufactures and sells them. That’s an easy one. Yeah! I sent Dan fifteen designs, he chose twelve, and voila they’re for sale on the Kustomcaps website. Even if you don’t ride a bike, you know someone who does. And they’d love you for such a nice, unique gift, right?

Check ’em out here.

kustomcaps artist series

kustomcaps backside

my favorite three

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Tinyville Town, Brian Biggs, city block, bakery, hotel

I start working on final inked art for the Tinyville Town series I’ve been sketching and writing all year. Three books due mid December. Before I headed out of the studio last night, I did a little practice drawing to get into the feel of the books. This series and the Everything Goes series overlap in places (cities, vehicles, people doing things and going places) but the aim for Tinytown is less Richard Scarry and more Sesame Street. Or Fisher Price. There will be a lot more of this coming up.

Thursday, 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.

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, July 29th, 2015

The Eastern PA SCBWI chapter asked me to speak and give a presentation talk at their Illustrator Day event on September 12. I’ll be talking about how I took an odd little manuscript by Mac Barnett and turned it into a picture book that will be published next year by Macmillan. I’ll also be signing books and standing around looking awkward.
If you are an illustrator within driving distance to Yardley, PA, I hope to see you there.

More info on the SCBWI website here.

children's book illustration by Brian Biggs

From “Noisy Night,” by Mac Barnett

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Muertos

(Click the images to see them bigger. In some cases, much bigger.)
I was recently asked by Steven Malk, my literary agent at Writers House, to create a promotional card for the upcoming holiday. No, not Halloween. Rather, the Day of the Dead, or Díos de los Muertos. I actually volunteered for this — he is putting together a series of these promotional images for the lesser-known holidays. Arbor Day, Grandparent’s Day, and so on. When I saw Muertos on the list I jumped at the chance. I’ve long admired the work of J.G. Posada, whose wood-cut skeletons and other imagery I associate with the holiday.

8097112_orig

cyclists---Posada

diadetrans

Originally I thought I might even play with some printmaking techniques to pay a little homage to Posada as I make this image, but I quickly realized that with the looming deadline for the second Frank Einstein book, this would not be possible. I had to do what I do the way I know how to do it, and go from there.

I pretty much knew what I wanted to do from the start. The festive atmosphere of a Day of the Dead celebration is one that everyone should at some point experience. I don’t love the goofy goth-horror side that Americans have sort of adapted over the years, and I wanted the story told here to be less about the costumes and more about the idea of this old guy moving from this life to the next. I went through a few phases with the sketches but it came together pretty quickly.
Below I post various steps in the process, in order that I made them, and some details from the final art.

The first sketch -- just two guys.

The first sketch — just two guys.

I thought a background would be involved at first.

I thought a background would be involved at first.

Working out color stuff.

Working out color stuff.

The big tight sketch that becomes the basis for the inked art.

The big tight sketch that becomes the basis for the inked art.

Inked and scanned, ready for color in Photoshop.

Inked and scanned, ready for color in Photoshop.

trio_detail1

trio_detail3

trio_detail2

The printed card.

The printed card.

The reverse side with the necessary information.

The reverse side with the necessary information.

The printed card is only 4.25″ x 6″, so I’m sad that a lot of the detail of the line-work is difficult to make out. I’d love to print this thing bigger at some point. Maybe when I get the mythical screen-printing gear in my closet here set up and running…