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: http://www.northercycles.com/fusce-consectetur/.

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.

https://www.facebook.com/KeithAndersonCycles/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/27880623@N05/

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.

 

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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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