Books, Books, Books -
A look at how books are created, based on one or more of my books. I discuss the three aspects of the work, research,
writing (rewriting, rewriting, rewriting), and illustration. I like to involve everyone in the process, often asking them to think
of words they might substitute for one I have used. I also create a sketch version of an illustration, and for younger groups,
help everyone make a drawing of their own.
For older audiences and aspiring authors, a discussion of how to get published, rounds out
(How did I get published? Nothing to it! I simply sent in a lot of stories, lugged my illustrator's portfolio to countless
offices in New York, and after thirteen years of rejections.... it happened.)
Over the course of years, I have traveled to most corners of North America doing research for various books. A camera and
a sketchbook/journal are my constant companions. These trips have resulted in several travel programs, presented in
PowerPoint, that take audiences deep into the wild to share what I have seen and learned.
The Arctic has been a fascination
for me ever since spending 6th and 7th grades on Shemya, a remote Alaskan island near the end of the Aleutian Chain. That experience has
inspired me to travel to the far north several times, resulting in three books Tundra, The Big Caribou Herd, and Ookpik-the travels
of a snowy owl.
My travel shows include the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with 70,000 caribou (pictured below), and several
journeys into Arctic Canada, where I panned for gold, drove the Alaska Highway, and worked with Inuit children in Labrador.
has also beckoned to me. I visited many locations in the Southwest while working on Coyote and Badger, a true story from Chaco
Canyon, New Mexico.
Drawing Programs -
These usually involve drawing animals appropriate to the age and abilities of the participants. Everything
from mice to bears, faces to birds, might be demonstrated depending on the group and their interests. Once we have
the basics down, I give personal help to everyone. The goal is not to have their drawing look exactly like mine, but rather to
assist them in creating their own version of the subject.
These programs are often given for students, but I really enjoy working with
families too. Some wonderful things happen when parents and care-givers draw right along with the kids.
And as we draw, we learn things
about our subjects. For example- why do mice have such big ears?
Other Programs -
I have hosted all kinds of programs, from holiday gatherings with live reindeer to make-a-book residencies.
have a specific idea for a program, I would be happy to work with you. Otherwise, we can talk and figure out what might
be a good fit for your school, library, or other venue.
Studio Visit -
A field trip to see the big rock, the local woods, and spend time in my hand built studio. This usually involves
school groups. It is memorable trip for everyone and a chance to be with Bruce in nature.
Once a troop of young Brownies came
to visit. As they were leaving the studio, the leaders prompted the little girls, "What do you say to Mr. Hiscock?"
One of the them replied, "Can we live here?"
Such is the magic of woods and the places where books are created.
Programs with Bruce Hiscock
Over the years I have presented many programs in schools, libraries, conferences, and the occasional
college classroom. These programs are about all the different things that go into creating a children's book: research,
including travel, writing and illustrating, design, and publishing. The talks are informal, and I answer all kinds of questions.
My goal is to inform children and adults, stimulate their curiosity about books and the natural world, and inspire them
to write and draw. Rather than list specific programs below, I am giving general descriptions of programs that can be adapted to almost
any setting and age of participants.