Huntley Brown – RIP

Magazine and book illustrator Huntley Brown has passed away.

John Huntley Brown
May 12, 1932 – May 4, 2022

From the obituary:

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of John Huntley Brown, celebrated artist and illustrator, beloved husband and cherished father and grandfather. Huntley passed away peacefully on May 4th; eight days short of his 90th birthday.

Born and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta Huntley had a true gift and love for art that he honed over his lifetime. Nurtured by his father Dr. Thomas Erwin Brown, who painted as a hobby, Huntley knew he wanted to be an artist from the ripe age of eight when he and two of his pals created comic books.


The obit continues:

After graduating from the Ontario College of Art in 1955 with a Governor General’s Award, Huntley began his career as an illustrator drawing appliances for Simpson Sears and then joining Templeton’s studio, eventually launching a freelance career in the mid 60’s. In 1983, Huntley opened his own gallery filled with watercolours largely focusing on subject matter from day tripping over mid-Ontario. Huntley also shared his love of art through teaching Life Drawing and Illustration at OCAD for several decades, influencing and guiding hundreds of talented people including many of today’s most successful creative Canadian artists.


Huntley’s body of work is wide ranging and reflective of many historical events including the cover of MacLean’s Magazine documenting the financial fiasco of the 1976 Summer Olympics and the Moon Landing as portrayed in the Toronto Star. In addition to the editorial work his most sought-after commercial work was a poster for O’Keefe Breweries promoting the 1974 Canada Russia Hockey Summit featuring portraits of each of the players. One of his family’s favourite series was The Pleasures of, published in Starweek magazine, where he illustrated the joys of everything from gardening to driving to running; illustrations and editorial that would be relevant even today. Huntley also lent his illustrative prowess to other different forms and formats, including Canadian Postage Stamps, the Regina Centennial Coin, and dozens of books with many famed Canadian authors such as Pierre Berton, Scott Young and Farley Mowat.

Huntley Brown would get to  fulfill his childhood dream of drawing comics – of a sort.

From Leif Peng’s appreciation of Huntley Brown:

For the “Heroes” volume he created a series of four page narratives in comic book art – totalling twenty pages – recounting the stories of various famous Canadian heroes in a sort of “Classics Illustrated” format.


Brown recalled, “I did all the colour separations for that job as well and they were a mess!”

He remembered working in a comic strip format only one other time.
Brown did a full page strip about the moon landing for Star Weekly magazine, which he completed in one overnight rush deadline. Despite the speed at which he had to turn the job around, “That one turned out pretty good,” he recalled.

Former students Dan Milligan and René Milot, now two of the finest illustrators working in Canada, described Huntley Brown as a tough and intimidating task master who demanded the best from his students. Milligan said, “I had Huntley early on in my OCAD days. The guy kicked my ass [on] every assignment. In the end he took me to lunch and told me I was going to be fine.”

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