Yes, you read that right. I like visiting schools (and libraries, and school libraries). I like talking to kids about the drawings I make and the work that I do. So here is a lot of information about my talks and presentations, and how to go about setting up a visit for your school or library.
My presentations are given as digital slide show using a laptop that I provide and I projector that you’d provide. Depending on the size of the crowd and the venue, a microphone sometimes helps as well. Typically, a presentation lasts about 45 minutes to an hour, which includes the slide show and my talk, and we usually have time for questions from students and sometimes time to do a drawing or two. I normally give up to three presentations in a day, and often schools have me sign books. I can chat with a small group in a single classroom, or a huge group in an auditorium. That’s entirely up to you.
A lot of what I talk about during a presentation to students is inspiration. The idea being that stories and pictures can be inspired by the things around you — your family, your dog, your friends — and don’t have to be fantastical or magical. To this end, I show examples of work I’ve made, talk about where the ideas came from, and explain how I make it. I show sketches and development drawings, and I even have a time-lapse movie of the creation of an illustration I made. Kids seem to respond well to this, and I’ve received a lot of feedback in the past telling me that my talks have led to a bursts of creativity from students following my visits.
I can also give a presentation that revolves around a particular book that your school might be reading. For example, several schools used the Shredderman series to discuss bullying. Even though I just drew the pictures, I’ve been asked to focus on this series and talk about the characters and the themes in the books. Another example might be more art-oriented, where I show and explain how a picture is created. Again, get in touch and we can talk about what you might want and how I might work into my appearance.
For older students — junior high school, high school, and even higher education — I often talk more about being an artist, how I got into the business, and the more technical side of how I go about making my work. I’ve given demonstrations in drawing, using Photoshop, lettering and typography, and animation. These kinds of presentations can be tailored depending on the skills of the audience and the focus of the class. Let me know what you’re looking for and I’ll let you know if I can do it.
I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and while it’s easiest to visit schools and libraries in the Philadelphia region, I don’t mind trains and I don’t mind planes, so don’t let geography stop you. If you’re more than an hour’s drive from Philadelphia, we can discuss travel and any necessary expenses.
Here is a list of many of the schools, colleges, and libraries where I’ve previously visited, and some quotes from teachers and librarians. I am happy to provide references if you would like. Just email me at brian@MrBiggs.com.
Birches Elementary, Washington Township, NJ
Vanguard School, Paoli, PA
Gladwyne Elementary, Gladwyne, PA
General Wayne Elementary School, Malvern, PA
Penn Charter, Philadelphia, PA
Central Elementary School, Glen Rock, NJ
Nottingham School, Oxford, PA
Aronimink School, Upper Darby, PA
Friends School Haverford, Haverford, PA
Merion Elementary School, Merion Station, PA
Belmont Hills Elementary School, Bala Cynwyd, PA
Philadelphia Free Library, Philadelphia, PA
Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA
Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
“Brian, You were great! You engaged the students from the second you met them, and they were so inspired by your presentation that the instant they got back to their classrooms they asked their teachers if they could write and draw! Long after you had visited us, the students were still thinking about how important it was not to bully each other.”
– Barbara Gross, Elementary School Librarian
“Brian interacted well with the children and adults who came to our program. The computer presentation, his sense of humor, and his interest in the children’s questions and comments made for a delightful program.”
– Irene Wright, Head of Children’s Department, Parkway Central Library Philadelphia
“Brian’s presentations are great fun; he is on target with all grade levels in his humorous and honest approach. He demystifies the art of being an illustrator and encourages students to explore the creative possibilities in the everyday. He inspires his audience to get out there and be creative. I believe that I speak for the students and staff alike at Nottingham when I say that Brian Biggs is enthusiastic, funny, loves students, and super with everyone. Expect a lot of laughter!”
– Kristina Johns, The Nottingham School, Oxford PA
Here’s an article about my visit to Nottingham School.
“Mr. Biggs is a delight!. He has come to our school numerous times and everyone looks forward to his visits.”
– Kate Dwojeski, Aronimink School, Upper Darby PA