Reynold Brown

William Reynold Brown (October 18, 1917 – August 24, 1991) was an American realist artist who painted many Hollywood film posters. He was also briefly active as a comics artist.

Reynold Brown
William Reynold Brown

(1917-10-18)October 18, 1917[1]
Los Angeles, California, United States
DiedAugust 24, 1991(1991-08-24) (aged 73)
Chadron, Nebraska, United States[2]
Known forIllustration, painting

He attended Alhambra High School and refined his drawing under his teacher Lester Bonar.[3] A talented artist, Brown met cartoonist Hal Forrest around 1936-37. Forrest hired Brown to ink (uncredited) Forrest's comic strip Tailspin Tommy.[4] Norman Rockwell's sister was a teacher at Alhambra High, and Brown later met Rockwell who advised him to leave cartooning if he wanted to be an illustrator.[4] Brown subsequently won a scholarship to the Otis Art Institute.

During World War II he worked as a technical artist at North American Aviation. There he met his wife, fellow artist Mary Louise Tejeda.

Following the war Brown drew numerous advertisements and illustrations for magazines such as Argosy, Popular Science, Saturday Evening Post, Boys' Life, Outdoor Life, and Popular Aviation. Brown also drew paperback book covers.[5]

Brown taught at the Art Center College of Design where he met Misha Kallis, then an art director at Universal Pictures.[6] Through Kallis, Brown began his film poster work, then did the artwork for dozens of film posters, including:[7]

Brown's original painting for the poster of The Alamo hung for many years at the actual Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.

He suffered a severe stroke in 1976 that left his left side paralyzed and ended his commercial work.[9] Brown and his family moved to Dawes County, Nebraska; with his wife's help, Brown continued to paint landscapes until his death in 1991.

In 1994, Mel Bucklin's documentary about Reynold Brown entitled The Man Who Drew Bug-Eyed Monsters was broadcast on US public television.[10] A book reproducing many of Brown's artworks, Reynold Brown: A Life in Pictures, was published in 2009.[8]


  1. Birth and death dates were obtained from the Social Security Death Index.
  2. "Reynold Brown; Movie Poster Artist, Magazine Illustrator". Los Angeles Times. August 29, 1991. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  3. For biographical information about Bonar, see "Lester M. Bonar (1896 - 1973)". Retrieved 2013-03-11.
  4. "Tailspin Tommy". CollectAir Gallery. Extensive discussion of the comic strip.
  5. "Reynold Brown". American Art Archives. Short biography and 19 medium-resolution images of Brown's poster art.
  6. "Reynold Brown Movie Poster Art and More". Archived from the original on 2001-04-22. Page from an extensive website dedicated to Brown and his legacy.
  7. Brown's artwork on film posters was unsigned. Brown's own records of the film posters on which he worked have been posted by his son, Franz Brown. See "Movie Campaigns, A Listing". Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  8. Zimmer, Daniel; Hornung, David J. (2009). Reynold Brown: A Life in Pictures. St. Louis: The Illustrated Press. ISBN 9780982004128. OCLC 437298876.
  9. Bogousslavsky, Julien; Boller, François (2005). Neurological Disorders in Famous Artists. Karger. p. 8.
  10. Bucklin, Mel (1994). The Man Who Drew Bug-Eyed Monsters. Bucklin Productions. OCLC 36633504.

Further reading

  • Horberg, William (May 9, 2009). "Masters of Illustration Art - Reynold Brown". An appreciation of Brown's work on the occasion of the publication of Reynold Brown: A Life In Pictures (2009); Horberg is a film producer.
  • Illustration magazine #7 July 2003
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