Martin Brown, along with his partner in crime Terry Deary, are heroes to parents and children across the world. Their combined efforts on Horrible Histories has made reading and learning more fun and accessible to many. Their work, along with their publisher’s Scholastic, have spawned over 100 titles, animated and live-action TV series, video games, theatre and roadshows, a magazine, and a plethora of merchandising. Spanning two decades, Horrible Histories is nothing short of a phenomenon.
Martin Brown was born 1959 in Melbourne, Australia. After setting his mind on teaching he went to college to become an art teacher. However, he didn’t see it through, rather after a short couple of years working in television, Brown packed his bags and set off to see the world. Like many Aussies, he made his way to London, but unlike most he decided to stay. One can only assume it was the great weather and pace of life that persuaded him. Alternatively, it could have been the fact that he started to get work in what he loved doing, drawing.
Brown worked his way up, starting from the odd editorial illustration to greeting cards.
Side note: I went through a phase of collecting greeting cards, if I ever saw an illustrator I liked. Martin Brown’s work was a perticular favourite of mine, many of which I still have stored away.
Building up a reputation, Brown soon started drawing for magazines and books. His career got the boost it needed when he landed the job of illustrating Peter Corey’s book, Coping With Parents. The book was published by Hippo Books, an imprint of Scholastic, beginning Brown’s fruitful relationship them. More recently, Martin Brown illustrated a re-issue of The Adventures of the New Cut Gang. Written by the esteemed Philip Pullman, of His Dark Materials fame.
I have waited and hoped for Martin Brown to claim a corner of the internet where he can put up some of his more personal work, amongst his commercial ones. Sadly that wait goes on. However, for now you can find his illustrations all over the Horrible Histories website. You can, of coarse, just go to your bookshelf and get down your copy of a Horrible Histories book, we all have (at least) one!