Biggs, Brian 1968-

views updated

Biggs, Brian 1968-

PERSONAL:

Born 1968, in AR; children: one son, one daughter. Education: Graduated from Parsons School of Design. Hobbies and other interests: Music, bicycles, food.

ADDRESSES:

Office—P.O. Box 25922, Philadelphia, PA 19128. Agent—Steven Malk, Writers House, 3368 Governor Dr., Ste. 224F, San Diego, CA 92122; smalkwritershouse.com E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Designer, illustrator, cartoonist, and animator. Has designed puzzle games for Cranium and Mudpuppy, bike helmets for Bell Sports, and greeting cards for Peaceable Kingdom Press.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Nominated for Harvey and Eisner awards; Print Regional Design Annual selection, 1999, 2001, 2003; Christopher Award, 2005, for Shredderman: Secret Identity.

WRITINGS:

GRAPHIC NOVELS

Frederick and Eloise: A Love Story, Fantagraphics (Seattle, WA), 1993.

Dear Julia, Top Shelf Productions (Portland, OR), 2000.

ILLUSTRATOR:

Stephen Mooser, Follow That Flea!, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 2005.

Stephen Mooser, Smell That Clue!, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 2006.

Garth Nix, One Beastly Beast: Two Aliens, Three Inventors, Four Fantastic Tales, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2007.

Lynn Brunelle, Camp Out! The Ultimate Kids' Guide from the Backyard to the Backwoods, Workman Publishing (New York, NY), 2007.

Judy Sierra, Beastly Rhymes to Read after Dark, Knopf (New York, NY), 2008.

Cynthia Rylant, Brownie and Pearl Step Out, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2009.

Cynthia Rylant, Brownie and Pearl Get Dolled Up, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2009.

ILLUSTRATOR; "SHREDDERMAN" SERIES

Wendelin Van Draanen, Secret Identity, Knopf (New York, NY), 2004.

Wendelin Van Draanen, Attack of the Tagger, Knopf (New York, NY), 2004.

Wendelin Van Draanen, Meet the Gecko, Knopf (New York, NY), 2005.

Wendelin Van Draanen, Enemy Spy, Knopf (New York, NY), 2005.

ILLUSTRATOR; "ROSCOE RILEY RULES" SERIES

Katherine Applegate, Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2008.

Katherine Applegate, Never Swipe a Bully's Bear, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2008.

Katherine Applegate, Never Swap Your Sweater for a Dog, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2008.

Katherine Applegate, Never Swim in Applesauce, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2008.

Katherine Applegate, Never Walk in Shoes That Talk, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2009.

Contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, Nickelodeon, Wired, Philadelphia Weekly, and Village Voice.

ADAPTATIONS:

Dear Julia was adapted as a live-action film, 2002.

SIDELIGHTS:

Brian Biggs is a designer, cartoonist, and animator who has provided the illustrations for a number of highly regarded children's books. A graduate of the Parsons School of Design, Biggs lived and worked in Paris and San Francisco before settling in Philadelphia, where he now keeps a studio. He has designed bike helmets, greeting cards, and puzzles, among other projects, and his artwork has appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Village Voice, and Wired. As Biggs noted in an essay on the One Book Two Book Web log, "I like having several projects into which I can sink my teeth, and I love the fact that at any time the phone could ring and my life and career get turned upside-down. In a good way."

In 1993 Biggs made his literary debut with Frederick and Eloise: A Love Story, a haunting graphic novel set in Paris. Three years later he produced another graphic novel, Dear Julia, which centers on Boyd Solomon, a man obsessed with birds and flight. "The way Biggs delivers almost everything through Boyd's shaky state-of-mind makes for a fascinating narrative," Eric Reynolds remarked in a Comics Journal review of Dear Julia.

Biggs entered the world of children's literature when he was assigned to illustrate Wendelin Van Draanen's "Shredderman" series for middle-grade readers. Secret Identity introduces Nolan Byrd, an undersized and nerdy fifth grader who becomes an Internet sensation after he launches shredderman.com, a Web site devoted to tracking the comings and goings of school bully Bubba Bixby. "Droll, black-and-white cartoons are a perfect accompaniment to the clever text," wrote School Library Journal reviewer Edward Sullivan. In Attack of the Tagger, Nolan is determined to reveal the identity of a graffiti artist who is vandalizing buildings in Cedar Valley, but his Shredderman alter-ego inadvertently becomes the chief suspect in the case. According to School Library Journal critic Christine McGinty, Biggs's pictures "capture the humor and action of the straightforward plot."

Meet the Gecko, the third title in Van Draanen's series, centers on Nolan's relationship with Chase Morton, the star of his favorite television show. After Nolan's father, a journalist, arranges for his son to meet with his idol, Nolan learns that Chase is being harassed by an unethical photographer known as "The Mole," and he uses his Shredderman site to expose the culprit. A critic in Kirkus Reviews noted that readers "will enjoy the humor, swift pacing, and Biggs's heavy-line cartoon illustrations." In Enemy Spy, Nolan joins forces with Bubba to investigate an spy ring operating in their town. In School Library Journal, Kim Carlson praised "the black-and-white cartoons scattered throughout."

Biggs has also illustrated One Beastly Beast: Two Aliens, Three Inventors, Four Fantastic Tales, a work by celebrated Australian author Garth Nix. He "renders even the most monstrous creatures as ludicrous rather than gruesome in his lighthearted cartoons," commented a Publishers Weekly critic. Carolyn Phelan, writing in Booklist, stated that Biggs's "droll ink drawings with gray washes illustrate these fresh, childlike, and engaging stories." Beastly Rhymes to Read after Dark, a collection by Judy Sierra, contains poems about werewolves and tapeworms. "Biggs contributes loud, crowded cartoon illustrations in appropriately queasy colors," a critic in Kirkus Reviews noted.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of Attack of the Tagger, p. 125; February 1, 2005, Todd Morning, review of Meet the Gecko, p. 962; August, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of Enemy Spy, p. 2030; July 1, 2007, Carolyn Phelan, review of One Beastly Beast: Two Aliens, Three Inventors, Four Fantastic Tales, p. 62.

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2004, review of Meet the Gecko, p. 1210; June 15, 2008, review of Beastly Rhymes to Read after Dark.

Publishers Weekly, August 6, 2007, review of One Beastly Beast, p. 189.

School Library Journal, May, 2004, Edward Sullivan, review of Secret Identity, p. 158; November, 2004, Christine McGinty, review of Attack of the Tagger, p. 156; January, 2005, Jennifer Cogan, review of Meet the Gecko, p. 138; May, 2005, Jennifer Ralston, review of Secret Identity, p. 50; July, 2005, Kim Carlson, review of Enemy Spy, p. 110; September, 2007, Elaine E. Knight, review of One Beastly Beast, p. 173.

ONLINE

Brian Biggs Home Page,http://www.mrbiggs.com (August 10, 2008).

Comics Journal Online,http://www.tcj.com/ (July 11, 2006), Eric Reynolds, review of Dear Julia.

One Book Two Book Web site,http://www.onebooktwobook.com/ (October 19, 2007), "Friday Fifteen: Brian Biggs."

On My Desk Web site,http://on-my-desk.blogspot.com/ (February 18, 2007), "Brian Biggs."

Phillyist Web site,http://phillyist.com/ (June 9, 2008), "Artist: Brian Biggs."

Pop-Culture-Corn Web site,http://www.popculturecorn.com/ (June 2, 2000), Matt Springer, "Q/A with Brian Biggs."