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.

Kustomcaps, for your bike!

January 22, 2016 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

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

Tinyville Town Timelapse

November 6, 2015 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

I drew the cover for the first Tinyville Town book today, called “Gets to Work!” It’ll be published in about a year by Abrams/Appleseed. More info here as we go through time together.

Tinyville Town Timelapse from Brian Biggs on Vimeo.

Soundtrack by Dance Robot Dance

a small part of Tinyville Town

October 21, 2015 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

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.

founding fathers

October 8, 2015 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

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.

Earphone Award!

October 7, 2015 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

audiofile, frank einstein, brian biggs, audiobook

I don’t enter many illustration awards competitions. So, consequently, I don’t win many illustration awards. And as an illustrator, I sure never thought I’d win an award from an audio magazine. So it was pretty neat the other day to get a package in the mail from AudioFile Magazine, which is a magazine about audio books.
There have been three books published in the Frank Einstein series, and each of them has a corresponding audio book. For each of these, I’ve trekked up to New York to a recording studio and recorded the robot parts from the books (Jon Scieszka reads the rest of the voices and the narration). I record these in character, with different inflections and personalities for the two robots, Klink and Klank, and then I take the resulting audio files and dress them up with some fun audio gear until they sound like robots. Or, like how I think robots should sound.
Fast forward a bit of time, and AudioFile magazine published a wonderful review of the first audiobook, Frank Einstein and the Anti-Matter Motor, and awarded us an “Earphone Award,” which even though it looks a lot like a certificate of participation that my kids get when their teams come in last place in sports, I’m very excited that the work got this recognition.

And lastly, if you read this far, you deserve to see this. Yes, I don’t just provide the voice of robots. I wear a giant robot head for video as well.

Williamsburg

September 1, 2015 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

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

Illustrator Day

July 29, 2015 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

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

5-year-old Klank

July 19, 2015 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

Abrams/Chronicle, who distributes the Frank Einstein books in the UK, just turned five years old. They asked a few of their illustrators to draw birthday cards to that effect. Here’s mine.

5 years KLANK

Greek to me

June 1, 2015 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

It’s fun getting the foreign editions of a book in the mail.

150302_greek frank_001

150302_greek frank_003

Ape, not monkey.

May 11, 2015 | bookmark | Leave a Comment

Angry Monkey
I drew a fun promo for Frank Einstein a couple of weeks ago for The Guardian, a newspaper in the UK. I always enjoyed those books by Ed Emberley when I was a kid, and this draws some inspiration from that.

How to Draw an Angry Monkey.

Enjoy!