“I love to see nature around me, either in my backyard in the Berkshires, or when I travel.”
For nearly 30 years, Robin Brickman’s affinity for natural science and art has culminated into realistic illustrations like those found in One Night in the Coral Sea and Beaks!
Robin, who studied botany and graphic arts at Bennington College in Vermont, creates her three-dimensional sculpted illustrations the old-fashion way. No computers. Just scissors, glue, paint and paper. “I’m hands-oriented.” As a child, she learned to knit and embroider. Her love for crafts eventually led her to paper-making, book-binding and even jewelry-making. All these skills come together when Robin designs 3-D sculptures for children's picture book illustrations. “I am very much a self-starter, and that’s been the key to the art that I do. I’ve had to reinvent myself as an artist time and again.”
Her innovative illustrations entail a painstaking process of sketching, cutting, painting, gluing, and shaping. The finished 3-dimensional molds are then photographed and used as illustrations. But before she picks up her scissors, Robin must pick up a reference book. “I start with a real scientific creature and then add fantasy.” Extensive research is the secret behind her breathtaking illustrations. She supplements her extensive collections of reference books with the files of photographs she has collected from magazines and on her own observations of the real-life specimens of bugs, birds, and other animals and plants in nature. Sometimes, if she finds a well-preserved dead animal or insect, she'll take it home and keep it for future reference.
Robin lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Visit Robin online.