Born in 1944 and completely self-taught, Lou Brooks was once employed as a dishwasher at Howard Johnson’s on the Pennsylvania Turnpike before undertaking a more lucrative career as illustrator, designer and author. Decades later, he continues to be one of the best-known contributors to the iconography of our popular culture. His art has appeared in just about every major national publication, including over a dozen commissions for covers of Time and Newsweek. His comic art appeared continuously for ten years in Playboy Magazine's "Playboy Funnies," and was recently featured in Playboy: 50 Years of Cartoons (Chronicle Books), hand-selected and edited by Hugh Hefner. His ubiquitous re-design in 1985 of “the little guy in the top hat” for the game of Monopoly is practically as famous as Mickey Mouse, and is known internationally to anyone who plays the game. His work has appeared regularly in annual shows and retrospectives, and he's won many awards, including the Silver Funny Bone from the Society of Illustrators and the Illustrator of the Year Award from Adweek Magazine.
Major advertising clients include: Coca-Cola, Pizza Hut, Budweiser, Dr. Pepper, CBS, NBC, Milton Bradley, Nikon, Sony, IBM, TWA, Clairol, Verizon, AT&T, Exxon, and others too numerous to mention. His art has been animated for television by MTV, Nickelodeon and HBO.
He has also at various times in his life worked as a disc jockey, stand-up comedian, and night club bouncer, although he remarks, "Thank God I never had to bounce anyone. But the beer was free." Along with Bill Plympton, Elwood Smith, and Mark Alan Stamaty, he was a founding member of "Ben Day & the Zipatones," an all-cartoonist rock band. But Lou’s proudest lifetime achievement: having dinner with Soupy Sales which escalated into an all-night joke-swapping marathon. "I was surprised that I sort of held my own up against The Master."
After almost twenty years in Manhattan, Lou and his wife Clare moved to the Jersey seaside, where he was "the oldest surfing geezer on the beach," and raced a modified midget weekly at Airport Speedway in Dover, Delaware. "I sort of finally ran away to join the circus for a few years." He and Clare now live in a secret hideout a few hours north of San Francisco among the ranches, vineyards and fellow desperadoes.
He's been featured in and has authored many articles for various books and publications. His book, Skate Crazy: Graphics from the Golden Age of Roller Skating (Running Press), has become the bible of vintage roller skating memorabilia. He has also hosted his Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies (over 300 artifacts and counting) on the web since 2006, and is currently building a new expanded site for it. His latest illustrated book, Twimericks: The Book of Tongue-Twisting Limericks (Workman Publishing), was nominated last year for a Reuben Award by The National Cartoonists Society for Illustrated Book of the Year, and was a Reuben nominee again this year for Best Magazine Illustration. He's currently developing several new book projects.