Robin Brickman is a picture book artist, specializing in natural science. She grew up in Northern Virginia, where the Smithsonian Institution and local countryside were a regular inspiration. At Bennington College, Robin majored in graphic arts and botany. She has always experimented in different art techniques, especially painting, drawing, printmaking, fiber arts, bookbinding, calligraphy, and papermaking. These explorations are a foundation for the sculpted watercolor technique Robin developed in the 1990’s. This unique method of illustrating children’s books is created by painting, cutting, and hand sculpting paper into 3-Dimensional art. Her books and paintings have won many awards, including a New York Sate Museum Purchase Prize, Outstanding Science Trade Book, National Science Teachers Association, Children’s Book Council, John Burroughs List of Nature Books, and Reading Rainbow selections. Ms. Brickman’s original art is in public and private collections.
Leaflets Three, Let It Be!: The Story of Poison Ivy
Illustrated by Robin Brickman
Contact with poison ivy causes people to itch, but is there a good side to this plant? Science provides us with fascinating information and this text offers much to learn about this unique plant. Leaflets Three, Let It Be! is an in-depth look at this rather unknown plant, starting with identifying that its “hairy vine” should be “a warning sign.” Readers will learn many interesting facts, including how many animals, like rabbits and deer, feed on poison ivy leaves while mice chew on the woody vine. The plant blooms with sweet flowers that attract bees. Many birds and bugs depend on the leaves for shelter. In late fall and winter, poison ivy’s berries provide a food source for birds. The lifelike illustrations of the leaves and surrounding nature are well done, giving the book an overall green look that truly sends the reader into the experience of going for a walk deep in the woods. The question and answer section of the book revels even more facts about this interesting plant. Having this book in science classrooms will add interest to the study of plants. A winning choice for any nature lover or anyone who has wondered about the summer itch of poison ivy. 2015, Boyds Mills Press, $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Diane Lane (Children’s Literature).
A Log’s Life
Illustrated by Robin Brickman
Nature has a natural pecking order, and nowhere is that better illustrated than in this creative treatment of the life of a log and the living things that call it their home. It begins…”Deep in a forest a great oak tree stands.” And from this mighty oak a fascinating ecosystem grows. Lifelike three-dimensional paper sculptures created from painted paper and glue take us on a splintered journey through the many years of a log’s life. It starts out as a statuesque tree limb. Over time it ultimately transforms into soil. But not before all sorts of critters have moved in including squirrels, porcupines and carpenter ants, woodpeckers and woodboring beetles, toadstools and molds, slugs and snails, ants, millipedes and spiders, termites and moss. Then an acorn falls into the rich soil, and a seedling begins the process anew. Your children will never look at a log in the same way again. 1997, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $16.00. Ages 4 to 8. Marilyn Bagel (Children’s Literature).
One Night In The Coral Sea
Sneed B. Collard III
Illustrated by Robin Brickman
Coral reefs are among the most beautiful of nature’s creations. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the largest and perhaps the most spectacular. Explaining the beauty and everyday life of a coral reef to young readers is a remarkable achievement; the book skillfully presents the dazzling, colorful marine inhabitants, their behaviors and habitats. Then writer and illustrator go beyond everyday to describe a phenomenon. Once a year– in late spring and a few days past full moon–something wondrous happens: a mass spawning event, in which 135 of the reef’s 340 species of coral all release eggs at the same time. Trillions of colorful egg packets release dozens–perhaps hundreds–of eggs. Once fertilized, they develop into larvae, then go about the business of growing into corals. The book details this event, which scientists did not even know about until the 1980s. Many books have been written about coral reefs, but this is one of the few that features the mass spawning. Brickman’s collage illustrations are lush and breathtaking; no wonder she is an award-winning illustrator. This is an invaluable book for students of art as well as marine life. If a trip to the Great Reef is not in your future, this is the next best thing. The reader can find more information about the mass spawning, plus a glossary, bibliography and an index at the back of the book. 2005, Charlesbridge, $15.95 and $23.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Judy Crowder (Children’s Literature).
Robin demonstrates and encourages students to see the connection between art and science through her hands-on workshops. Robin’s workshops are based on her books, which she refers to countless times. Robin can work with any grade level to help your students learn her technique and create a mural or small take home project of their own.
These workshops include:
- THE COMMUNITY MURAL is a project for all ages combining art and science. Each student creates one or more sculpted paper pieces for a habitat mural that stays in your school, library, or museum. Click on the link to see examples from past workshops.
- In the WEARABLE ART class students learn about Ms. Brickman’s sculpted paper technique and make paper jewelry of flowers or small creatures. This program is suitable for all ages, especially teenagers!
- I AM AN ARTIST is a workshop based on Pat Collins and Robin’s acclaimed children’s book about creativity. Younger audiences will enjoy this take-home project.
- MAKING A PICTUREBOOK teaches beginners how to write and illustrate a book based on their name.
- The BEAKS bookmark class is a take-home project. Learn about different shapes of bird beaks and create a colorful bookmark.
Robin’s fees range from $900 – $1200 per day. Depending on which program she is presenting, Robin can do up to four presentations in a day. Travel and lodging costs to be paid by sponsoring organization.
To learn more about Robin and her publications please visit www.robinbrickman.com.