Sunday, November 4, 2007

Blogging for a Cure Presents Robin Brickman

Today I am honored to feature a good friend and brilliant artist, Robin Brickman. Robin is one of the generous artists participating in the Robert's Snow project to raise money for Dana Farber cancer research. Her beautiful snowflake will be included in the online auction.

(There are many more artists participating in this event, so please check them out.)

Robin has been illustrating children's books for over 20 years. She is perhaps best known for her breathtakingly beautiful and detailed cut-paper collages of nature books for children.

Her books have been recognized with many awards, including a Reading Rainbow selection, IRA Teachers Choice, the Giverny Award for best children's science book.

Her books include A Log's Life (Simon and Schuster), Beaks, and One Night in the Coral Sea (Charlesbridge).

She has a new book coming out in February 2008 that is magnificent:

And now, an interview with Robin:

How did you get involved with the Robert's Snow project?

I am a member of PBAA, an internet children's illustration group. The snowflake project was announced by Grace Lin on that group's website, when it first started in 2005. I had already been interested in a fund-raiser involving my art, but I wanted to contribute to one that would have higher or national visibility. As the story behind Robert's Snow became known I was truly moved to be able to contribute. I'd like to mention that the snowflake I made for the 2005 auction was created in memory of Mathias Jessup Bartels, who died suddenly at the age of 17. Purchasing that snowflake became a focus for many people who knew and loved Mathias. It was given to his parents and the contribution of the purchase price went to Dana Farber for cancer research.

How did ten-year-old Robin answer the question: What do you want to be when you grow up?

I was going to be a lot of different things, like a veterinarian or interior designer, but I kept coming back to art. I considered art conservation in college, and although I have a great deal of patience for fine and careful work, I did not excell at the math and chemistry needed for that profession. All these years later, however, I bet I could do it.

What are some of your earliest memories of creating art?

I have always loved making things with my hands: sewing and other fiber arts, jewelry, paper-making, bookbinding, stained glass, callligraphy, and illumination. All of these interests came into play when I started to illustrate stories and science.

Tell us a bit about your college experience?

I did decide on a major combining botany and art, something I continue to do even now!

Your road to children's book publication in six (or ten or a hundred) easy steps?

I don't know of any sure fire road to pubishing success other than developing a solid portfolio that is truly your own style and one that will impress your professional peers. There are wonderful books and groups available for information that did not exist when I started out. However, there are so many people trying to get going in this profession, sometimes it helps to not know how hard or unlikely it is. Finding what resources work for oneself, is trial and error.

Any particular inspirations, heroes or mentors?

What helped me was joining WMIG, twenty years ago. The monthly meetings, at one another's studios, are a mixture of critique and inspiration. I created my 3-D technique in part to impress that very skilled group of illustrators.

Will you share with us the story behind your most recent published book?

My next book is WINGS! It is a sequel to BEAKS! Sneed Collard has written a wonderful set, and these two books are a part of that.

Anything in the works at the moment?

I am working on a few book ideas of my own and being both author and illustrator is my next goal.

Anything you've learned along the way that you can share with newbies?

Persistence and optimism is key! When things don't work out, find the right people in your life to help you get going again.

And now, drum roll, please.....Robin Brickman's beautiful snowflake:


Mary Lee said...

GORGEOUS! Oh my! Breathtaking!

Mary Beth said...

Since we've just had the monarchs migrating through our yard, this snowflake really hits home with me. Also, I am finding all these amazing websites of children's illustrators that I never knew about before - my library is expanding very quickly! Thanks for a wonderful blog.

jama said...

Wow! This one took me by surprise. Gorgeous, rich, beautiful colors! Thanks for the nice feature, Barb.

Helen/Spike and Drusilla OK Citizens said...

This is so beautiful, somehow I missed this one before.

Anonymous said...

Robin's snowflakes are gorgeous! Stunningly beautiful. Thank you for posting, Barbara, and congrats on the Texas Bluebonnet! That's so wonderful!


Anonymous said...

Oh wow. Definitely one of the most memorable snowflakes. Beautiful. Thanks for this feature, Barbara and Robin. Barbara, I love your questions -- always.

Looking forward to the books she'll both write and illustrate, too!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Believe me when I tell you that as beautiful as Robin's snowflake looks in the photograph...the picture doesn't do it justice. It really is a work of art. I love "A Log's Life." The illustrations in that book are truly exquisite. Both Robin and Giles Laroche create amazing things with cut paper!

Sara said...

This is astonishing and beautiful. I think my mom would like this one.

I love your question to ten-year-old Robin. All the seeds were there, weren't they?

Anonymous said...

Robin has an uncanny ability to help children make beautiful recreations of natural habitats. They are awestruck by her originals but then her calm manner and clear directions give kids confidence to create their own contributions to a community mural! JAZ

Elaine Magliaro said...

I met Robin yesterday at a reception for some of the Robert's Snow artists at the Danforth Museum in Framingham, Massachusetts. She showed me some of her original illustrations. They are so beautiful!

Barbara O'Connor said...

Elaine: That's great that you got to go and especially that you met Robin. I agree that her work is stunning.