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Bryn Barnard Illustrator & Author
I am an artist and author interested in public health, natural
disasters and Islam. I've written and illustrated books on each of
these subjects. Called "part Jared Diamond ... part Stephen Jay Gould",
by The New York Times, I've delivered my entertaining,
thought-provoking lectures at elementary, middle and high schools, at
national and regional conventions, and at college campuses across the
United States. Illustrated with paintings from my books, my PowerPoint
talks use the lens of disease, disaster and religion to illuminate our
contemporary world and its connections with the past.
My current topics include
Outbreak: Plagues that Changed History
Dangerous Planet: Natural Disasters that Changed History
The Genius of Islam: How Muslims Made the Modern World
Choosing Art: Why Illustration Matters
These are some of the questions I discuss:
How does the world's most successful parasite affect our driving habits, highway fatalities and our personalities?
Why did the criminalization of poverty in nineteenth century England lead to the creation of the American welfare state?
How did the Blizzard of 1888 birth the subway?
What does the American morning orange juice habit have to do with the
eleventh century rivalry between two competing Muslim caliphates?
What, exactly, is the Ottoman Empire's connection to the UCLA marching band?
What past audiences have said about my presentations
students at Mariners Elementary were mesmerized as he read the story
and talked about the illustration process. He is truly a gifted artist
and we were very enriched by his presentation. It's not often we get
to hear from such a talented illustrator so this was a special treat. Susie Call Librarian Mariners Elementary School Newport Beach, California
shared more subtleties about a familiar story in his 45 minutes than I
could imagine. What an enthusiastic presenter! I wish that I could
match his passion for his topics. Bar none, I found him to be the most
thought provoking and inspiring presenter we have seen in years. Mitch Masters Graland Country Day School Denver, Colorado
Bryn's presentation was fabulous. Bryn Barnard - inspirational. He certainly made me think about the history of disease differently. The most interesting of presenters. Public Health summit comments Caring for Colorado foundation Denver, Colorado
Bryn is second only to Ray Bradbury among my top guest lecturers Rebecca Porter Librarian Orange County Public Library Laguna Beach, California in the Laguna Beach Independent
What I do
I tailor my talks to different age levels.
My lllustrated PowerPoint lectures present the information discussed in
my books Outbreak, Dangerous Planet and The Genius of Islam. These are
thought-provoking presentations about the connections between
scientific/historical phenomena and the contemporary world.
(6-12) For older students I do a slightly less intense version of my adult
illustrated PowerPoint talk that emphasizes the amazing scientific and
historical events that have shaped, and continue to shape contemporary
society. These talks make great adjuncts to science or social studies
(5-12) For younger students I do a PowerPoint talk and
demonstration using a digital document reader. I talk about how I got
started, discuss different kinds of illustration, and show some sample
images from my books. I talk about the writing process and how I get
ideas. Then I do a painting, discussing approach, materials, and
aesthetics, while taking questions from the audience. These
presentations are a good way to jump-start a student illustration or
Groups can be as large as the space
will comfortably accommodate (I've talked to groups of 300 or more) but
smaller groups are always better.
For lectures I require a
laptop with USB port and a digital projector and a microphone. A laser
pointer is useful, too. For lecture/demonstrations I require a document
reader (like an Elmo) connected to a digital projector with a USB port,
a long table, a chair and a water container to rinse my brushes.
signings are a great way for your group to offset the expense of a
visit. I will sign all books, as long as they are books by me.
am happy to do extra events or mix presentations (students during the
day, parents or professionals in the evening). It is always worthwhile
to try to get several groups in your area to coordinate visits and
What it costs
In addition to my fee, travel expenses are usually paid by the sponsoring organization, including hotel, rental car, meals, and airfare.
More than two hours of driving (from home) requires reimbursement for miles.
Over two hours of driving (one-way) requires an overnight stay.
Over three hours of driving (one-way) requires air transportation.