Browner Knowle issue 6

I’m a lucky guy, being involved in this awesome scene means I am friends with some artists whom make me think about drawing, art and comics. Sometimes they send me work,and this was how I came to receive a copy of Paul Ashley Brown’s, Browner Knowle Issue 6. You can probably already get that this will not be a critical review, thats not my style. If I wasn’t into it, why spend the time to write about it?

Anyway, here goes; from the cover Paul clearly sets the tone; a lone figure of a girl stands crying in a bleak landscape, but there are stars in the sky and to me the clouds are bright… Maybe there is hope, maybe everything will be okay! Then the inside cover screams out in scrawled thick pencil “SOMEWHERE SOME LONESOME NO-ONE! ALL TOO AWARE OF A PARTICULAR KIND OF SADNESS” The words go off the page, passing the bleed margin facing a roughly drawn figure looking forlornly at the the floor.

As the pages go on PAB strives to make you think he thinks everything is black, but there are glimmers of hope and beauty that he sees in the tumultuous darkness; a homeless man singing to himself, the stories in the faces of people in the street, a small bird in a hedgerow.
He writes about these things poetically but it isn’t all chirpy, sometimes his words grate – when he says “You fucking morons” I know that I am one at times…

As for the drawing, what struck me about this issue was that Paul uses a plethora of ways to tell his stories and say what he thinks. He sketches in dark, black, thick pencil, leaving in lines which could’ve been rubbed, as in “Autumn Leaves”, which adds a lot of character to the piece… He uses italic dip pen precisely, leaving lots of wide open space so the lines tell the stories of the faces they depict alongside the poem “Faces”. Dark and shadowy short pieces done in either pencil (“The Silence”) or pen (“In the Afterwards”) tell us something about how the characters feel and the situation they are in with only a few lines of text. And his usual super tight, re-worked longer stories in pen (“Two Years Later”) seem almost autobiographical. It’s simply brilliant!

Like I said, he can come across as harsh, Paul seems to sneer at the art world, at the young and at times, it seems the world at large. But looking a bit closer he isn’t sneering at all, his comics are a poetic plea to our sensibilities, urging us to take a look at our lives and how we live them. Begging us to take the time away from the banal to notice the beauty and wonderment of the everyday things, people, places and situations around us.
Paul probably spent hundreds of hours on this book, and why? Does he do it out of spite, or because he is a misanthrope? I don’t think so. I think he does it because he cares.

You will be able to buy Browner Knowle issue 6 at the 2nd International Alternative Press Festival.

Review by jimi gherkin

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