Born in Los Angeles in 1956, Bryn Barnard grew up in the artist’s colony of Laguna Beach, California. His interest in art was encouraged by his aeronautical engineer father, Ernie, and actress/writer mother, Elaine. After an AFS high school year abroad in Malaysia, he studied art and Asian studies at UC Berkeley, graduating with Phi Beta Kappa honors.
After studying illustration at Art Center College of Design he returned to Malaysia on a fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs to work in and write and paint about intercultural communication in the advertising industry. Returning to the US as a consulting associate of Universities Field Staff International he toured college campuses across North America to report on this experience.
His freelance illustration career began in 1983 with covers for the Far Eastern Economic Review and Asiaweek. He then turned to paperback book covers, paintings for National Geographic and NASA, and large murals for Children’s Hospital in Seattle and the Beaverton, Oregon Library.
In 2003 he began writing and illustrating science-history books. Dangerous Planet: Plagues That Changed History, published by Crown, was lauded by the New York Times Book Review as "part Jared Diamond ... part Stephen Jay Gould.”
This was followed in 2005 by Outbreak: Plagues That Changed History, published by Knopf, called "pleasantly lurid" and “irksomely left-wing” by the Wall Street Journal, and "the stuff of nightmares" by the Denver Post.
The Genius of Islam: How Muslims Made the Modern World, published by Knopf in 2011, was the subject of a tour of World Affairs Councils across the US and was included in the United States Middle East Outreach Council’s list of non-fiction books for youth, the Children’s Book Council Master List of notable books, and the National Council for Social Studies.
The New Ocean: The Fate of Life in a Changing Sea, published by Knopf in 2017, was praised by School Library Journal as, “an impassioned call to protect Earth's oceans,” and recommended for inclusion in STEM libraries.
Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Port Angeles Fine Art Center, and other venues. He has been a teacher at international schools in Kuwait, Korea and Singapore, universities in Pennsylvania and Delaware, Semester at Sea, and a visiting artist at many schools in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Currently he is creating paintings for his upcoming book, This Changes Everything! The Promise and Problem of Inventions.
2022 Remembering Dairy Farm
2017 The New Ocean: the Fate of Life in a Changing Sea (Knopf)
2011 The Genius of Islam: How Muslims Made the Modern World (Knopf)
2005 Outbreak: Plagues That Changed History (Knopf)
2003 Dangerous Planet: Natural Disasters That Changed History (Crown)
2022 A Penang Portfolio (Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Scoety)
2000 The Well of Sacrifice ( )
2000 Anooka's Answer
2000 Dinosaurs (Intervisual)
2000 Tentacles: Tales of the Giant Squid (Random House)
1995 Gorillas: Gentle Giants of the Forest (Random House)
2011 Port Angeles Fine Art Center, Port Angeles, Washington, USA
2010 National Museum of Health and Medicine, Washington, DC, USA
2009 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
2008 Islands Museum of Art, Friday Harbor, Washington, USA
2006 Islands Museum of Art, Friday Harbor, Washington, USA
2002 Art of Illustration Gallery, Seattle, Washington, USA
2000 Alliance Francaise, George Town, Penang, Malaysia
1993 Olympia and York, New York City, USA
2022 Barbour American International School, Yehuda Israel
2021 Branksome Hall Asia, Jeju, Korea
American International School, Guangzhou, China
2020 Brooklyn Heights Montessori School, Brooklyn, New York, USA
Colorado Academy, Denver Colorado, USA
Institute of Current World Affairs, Washington DC, USA
Saigon South International School, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
2019 YK Pao International School, Shanghai China
Soong Ching Ling School, Shanghai China
Shanghai Community International School, Shanghai, China
American Overseas School of Rome, Italy
American School of Barcelona, Spain
The American School of the Hague, Netherlands
2018 Cheongna Dalton School, Cheongna, Korea
Chadwick International School, Incheon, Korea
2017 British International School, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Garden International School, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2016 International School of Beijing, China
2015 Mont'Kiara International School, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2014 Shanghai American School, Shanghai, China
2013 Copenhagen International School, Denmark
British American Academy, Muscat, Oman
British School of Muscat, Oman
The American International School of Muscat, Oman
2012 American School of Doha, Qatar
Qatar Academy, Doha, Qatar
International School of Helsinki
Stockholm International School, Sweden
2011 American School of Warswaw, Poland
American International School of Budapest, Hungary
Anglo American School, Sofia, Bulgaria
American International School, Zagreb, Croatia
2010 Colorado Academy, Denver, Colorado
Graland Day School, Denver Colorado
2016 Environmental Council of States, Nashville, Tennsssee, USA
2015 "From Art Making to Art Thinking: New Paradigms for Illustration Education,"
ICON8, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon
2014 Medical Students Association, Kuwait University, Kuwait
2014 American University, Salmiya, Kuwait
2013 Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
2013 School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
2012 International Association of School Librarians Conference, Doha, Qatar
2011 GSNI Medical Illustrators Conference, Olympia, Washington, USA
2010 Caring for Colorado, Denver, Colorado