David Brown: Sentinel Cartoonist
Artist David Brown addresses a group at the Picha exhibit in Brazil, where his work was showcased.
Â By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Staff Writer
Flip open to the Sentinel’s Opinion section and you will see political cartoon every week. That is the work of David Glenn Brown, who is an award-winning artist, educator and publisher.
Brown creates political cartoons, has a book with his drawings titled Barack, Race and the Media: Drawing my own Conclusions, he has created a three part comic book series called L.A. Phoenix, and he has created comic book style short stories that have a positive message for youths.
Brown has won numerous awards, including the 2009 NAACP Image Literacy Award, the 2004-2008 Merit award for best editorial cartoon, the 2007 Davey award and The Communicator Print Media Award of Distinction, the 1994 Distinguished Creative Professional Award, and a number of others. He is one of the few Black members of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.
Brown was born in Philadelphia, but was raised in South New Jersey. He started to draw at an early, and he would draw all the time. He went to Richard Stockton College, which is outside of Atlantic City. Brown received a BA in studio arts, and he wanted to be a fine artist, but he soon started drawing cartoons through the college newspaper.
He started his professional career in advertising as an art director and designer, but he felt like his career was not moving as quickly as he wanted it to. In 1985 he moved to Los Angeles to work in animation. He became board with animation because he was simply cloning other people’s work on the cartoons that he worked on.
“To me it was not being creative because I had to make it look like their drawings,” Brown said. “But it was good in terms of developing my skills.”
Brown moved from animation to drawing storyboards and creating posters and other art for movies. He created art for the movies New Jack City, Jungle Fever, and a variety of independent projects.
Since Brown was a child he always wanted to create a comic book, but he could never come up with a premise. After the 1992 Riots Brown applied for a mini grant from the City of Los Angeles. He wanted to do a comic book about a Black superhero that helps heal the city. Brown received a tremendous amount of media attention from the comic book. He was on the CNN and the local news.
Brown saw that there was a void in the comic book market for a Black superhero character. That is when he came up with the idea for the L.A. Phoenix trilogy.
In 2003 Brown had a friend who worked at the Sentinel, which allowed him to get his foot in the door at the paper. His first year doing political cartoons he won a NNPA award. Brown takes pride in his work, which has allowed him to be successful.
“What I try to do is have my cartoons educate, inspire, and motivate people,” Brown said. “Whether it’s bringing issues to people to talk about, or educate people about what other people are doing. The Sentinel has always been good about letting me do my thing.”
Because Brown is one of the few Black cartoonist his work has been able to stand out, and he has been able to showcase the issues and interests of Black people.
Brown has always taken an interest in helping children. He does workshops, he goes into classrooms, and he teaches drawing and story telling. He encourages children to improve their communities. Working with children encouraged him to create his Tales from the Kids series.
Brown recently showcased his work in the Picha exhibit in Brazil.
Brown’s talents will always keep him busy, whether it is working on new political cartoons for the Sentinel, creating new comic books, or working with children. He has gotten a lot out of his abilities, and they have taken him to some high places.
View more of Brown’s work at www.davidbrown.net.