Appendix III – The Art of David Browne

David Browne
David Browne

David Browne contributed 25 cover paintings to the Hardy Boys series in the early 1990s. Here, his covers are presented approximately in the order in which they were painted. In addition to the original paperback covers, from 1992 and 1993, covers from subsequent omnibus editions, final artwork, rough sketches and model photography are also shown.

More details about David can be found on the Artists page, while for specific information on the books themselves, please navigate to the Armada Format E page.

1. The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior
2. The Arctic Patrol Mystery
3. The Haunted Fort
87. Danger on the Diamond
6. The Mystery of the Desert Giant
5. The Mystery of the Disappearing Floor
30. The Secret Agent On Flight 101
17. The Shore Road Mystery
23. Footprints Under The Window
24. The Crisscross Shadow
37. The Clue of the Broken Blade
9. The Clue of the Screeching Owl
10. While The Clock Ticked
7. The Mystery of the Melted Coins
12. The Wailing Siren Mystery
20. The Clue In The Embers
18. The Great Airport Mystery
36. The Ghost At Skeleton Rock
29. The Hooded Hawk Mystery
15. The Flickering Torch Mystery
16. The Secret of The Old Mill
38. The Secret of Wildcat Swamp
33. The Viking Symbol Mystery
34. The Mystery of the Chinese Junk
19. The Sign of the Crooked Arrow

The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior

The first cover that David Browne produced for the series, in late 1990 / early 1991.

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The Arctic Patrol Mystery

The second cover that David Browne painted for the series. Based on a travel guide of Iceland; his agent thought it was too detailed.

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The Haunted Fort

The third cover that David Browne produced for the Hardy Boys series. The painting was smaller than the first two, as Armada were beginning to push the deadlines.

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Danger on the Diamond

The fourth painting that David Browne produced for the Armada Hardy Boys series and dates from 1991.

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The Mystery of the Desert Giant

In an attempt to speed up the illustrative process, this painting was one of the smallest in scale.

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The Mystery of the Disappearing Floor

David Browne plays the part of injured pilot Jack Wayne in this illustration.

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The Secret Agent On Flight 101

This illustration was painted in early 1992.

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The Shore Road Mystery

Painted in early 1992 by David Browne, this cover illustration is not one of his personal favourites.

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Footprints Under The Window

This cover illustration dates from early 1992 and David Browne plays the part of the sinister figure in the background.

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The Crisscross Shadow

The background of this cover, painted in early 1992, is based upon Death Valley. David Browne plays the bad guy trying to cut the rope.

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The Clue of the Broken Blade

In this cover, which dates from early 1992, David Browne based the shady character in the cable-car on himself.

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The Clue of the Screeching Owl

David Browne employed Kenny McKendry to play the part of the boy being carried from the lake, due to difficulties he had arranging photo sessions with the blond model.

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While The Clock Ticked

David Browne's stepfather plays the part of the man hanging from the edge of the roof. Browne used his neighbour's roof as a reference for this particular illustration.

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The Mystery of the Melted Coins

In this cover, Blackbeard is David Browne's step-father with a beard grafted on.

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The Wailing Siren Mystery

David Browne's agent wanted a change of style, resulting in this colourful, almost psychedelic cover, which was produced in early 1992.

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The Clue In The Embers

Another of Browne's 'psychedelic' efforts, the skeleton seen in this painting was actually made out of cardboard.

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The Great Airport Mystery

This is another cover illustration produced in a psychedelic style. David Browne plays the part of the shotgun-wielding bad guy in the background.

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The Ghost At Skeleton Rock

This cover was painted by David Browne in April 1992 and was one of the most difficult illustrations he had to paint for the series. The flag was photographed floating in his bath.

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The Hooded Hawk Mystery

David Browne painted this cover in mid 1992 and once again he acted out the part of the bad guy in the illustration. According to Browne, the concept of the painting represented his frustration with the models at that time, who were growing their hair and developing beer guts.

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The Flickering Torch Mystery

Browne worked on this painting in the middle of 1992 and it was one of his last efforts for the series. David admits that due to a loss of confidence and difficulties with the Hardy Boys models, the illustration had to be virtually redone with old reference material.

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The Secret of the Old Mill

Chet Morton is played by Browne in this cover illustration, although David admits that he had to broaden himself on the painting.

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The Secret of Wildcat Swamp

The boulder in this illustration was based on a rock about 4-inches in size. David posed as one of the Hardy Boys in his garden, and grafted a head from a model onto his body in the final artwork.

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The Viking Symbol Mystery

This was one of David's last cover illustrations for the series (painted near the end of 1992). The models were unavailable at this stage, so Browne took on the role of Frank, while Kenny McKendry played the part of Joe (although the blond model's head was grafted on in the final painting). The photographic references were taken in McKendry's living room.

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The Mystery of the Chinese Junk

Dating from late 1992, this illustration was one of the last that David produced for the series. The boys in the painting were based on the photographs originally taken for the Danger on the Diamond cover.

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The Sign of the Crooked Arrow

This was one of David Browne's very last cover illustrations for the series and dates from late 1992.

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