“Brownie,” as his artist friends called him, epitomizes the rule of “90% of life is just showing up.” A Canadian school dropout, he worked on a steamer, sketching in his spare time (he sold these to newspapers).
Saving his earnings, he enrolled at the Art Student’s League and studied under Walter Appleton Clark, F.W. DuMond, and F.R. Gruger. When a friend got a job from The Saturday Evening Post to cover a circus, Brownie went along. The Post liked the article AND Brown’s circus drawings, which bought them, a relationship between publisher and artist that lasted 40 years.
Brown’s pencils appeared in most Post issues from the teens on. He concentrated on story art (no covers) for Collier’s, College Humor, Redbook, and Cosmopolitan.
He also contributed posters for the WWI effort and art for books (The Magnificent Ambersons, Alice Adams, The Fortune Hunter, The Upper Crust, Messer Marco Polo, and The Midlanders, The Lady Evelyn).
The vast majority of Brown’s work was in pencil, though ink and color wash began appearing in his kit from the early 30s.
“Arthur William Brown/A.W. Brown,” American Art Archives