La Grenouille (The Frog): The Evolution of a Collaboration

I first blogged about this bike in March 2014. Click here to read the post.

StarMichael Bowman built up a great “randonneuresque” bike, modifying the frame and retrofitting vintage bits and pieces. I rode it, made the necessary tweaks and adjustments and then tore it down for paint.

Read more about StarMichael here:

I design custom headbadges and decals for builders, so I was excited to do something for me. Frogs are cool, and since the bike resembles a traditional French randonneur, I decide to call it La Grenouille or The Frog.

So now I have a concept, and it’s time to create the graphics for a frog decal and type font. I wanted the look to be vintage, classic and French. I love woodcuts and was going for that feel and line quality.La Grenouille decalI was also pleased to collaborate on this project with a truly fine builder and painter, Keith Anderson.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so I made a line art drawing of the bike (à la Rebour) to use as a template for color choices and graphics placement.

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Sticking with the frog theme, I chose several shades of green to emphasize the lugs and tubes. Keith is able to duplicate a lovely antique gold too, reminiscent of the Rene Herse bikes, so I asked him to use that for the name decal.

Here is the color mock-up.






For the head badge, I wanted something a little different. I didn’t want a decal. I found this great sterling silver frog brooch on Ebay. I asked Keith if he could silver solder it climbing up the head tube and he said, sure, if it was sterling.



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Here are some of the first teaser shots Keith sent of the frame as the paint progressed.










He also did some fine lug striping. Nice touch.

Final shots of La Grenouille, all decked out. It is a lovely ride.

I’m grateful to StarMichael and Keith for the chance to collaborate on this project and irritate them both with my ideas.


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