Header image
Header image
Brian Charles Brooks
(born 24 April 1972)

Brian Brooks is an Oakland based artist and author. He is best known for his early development work and art with cartoon character Emily the Strange and Morrissey Gets A Job comic.

Brian was raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1993 to attend the San Francisco Art Institute. Brian co-runs Smokey’s Tangle, which he also uses to self-publish his books. The store front gallery is located on Telegraph Avenue, in Temescal neighborhood of Oakland.


Brian's artwork if playful and humorous with contemplative themes. His illustration work is often cartoony, but rarely narrative.

Brian has authored dozens of self released titles over the past 20 years, working at times with photocopiers, websites, and print-on-demand publishing.
Brian began using the computer in 1999, photography in 2005, and started painting in 2010, after a 17 year break. He also creates slogans, poetic questions, and jokes that are often times more creative than they are funny.

Brian has created logos and tee-shirts for commercial free radio stations KALX, KUSF In Exile, Radio Free Phoenix and his alma maters San Francisco Art Institute (140th Anniversary), and Central High School (20th Reunion). His comics occasionally appear in the LA Record. Brian has also created album covers for It's OK! [Moonlight Graham Records], Paulette Nichols, and Chicken On A Raft [Antenna Farm Records].

Smokey's Tangle sign was made to mimic the neighboring Maya Motel, Telegraph Avenue, North Oakland

Smokey's Tangle

Brian co-runs Smokey’s Tangle art gallery alongside artist and Life With Alex filmmaker Emily Wick. [1] Opened in 2009 in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, the gallery also acts as the center of their publishing, design, and art sales business.

Smokey's is most known for their conceptual photo booths open during first friday evenings. Smokey's fifth year anniversary was celebrated with a month long show at neighboring gallery, Interface.
" Oft mistaken for a head shop, Smokey's Tangle occupies a storefront on Telegraph Avenue (near 48th Street). It is tucked between a Korean BBQ and the Maya Motel, whose sign it emulates - an indication of the artists' humor, and a reflection of their intention to blend in, mirror and include the neighborhood." [10] Smokey's Tangle co-created the neighborhood's semi-annual Temescal Art Hop in 2010.

Emily The Strange design by Brian Brooks for Cosmic Debris Etc., Inc., 2000.

Cosmic Debris Etc., Inc.

Brian was hired as the first artist dedicated to Emily the Strange® in 1999. Brian served as the Art Director from 2003 until his departure in 2006.
Brian created the Oopsy Daisy brand and served as the designer and creative director 2000-2005. Oopsy Daisy was known for catchphrases, including Oops, I went punk, and Oops, I said the F-Word. A 64 page book, Oopsy Daisy's Bad Bad Day, as well as a line of stationary was released by Chronicle Books. Oopsy had multiple licenencors. glitter transfers on t-shirts were available in mall stores across the United States, Canada, the U.K., And Australia, and the Netherlands 2000-2005.
Brian and Cosmic Debris president Rob Reger co-created Boyz On Da Run a cartoon pilot for the Disney Channel in 2005. Brian parted ways with the company in early 2006. [2] [4] [5]

Rock 'n' Roll Coloring Books

While studying at the San Francisco Art Institute, Brian created Paul McCartney's Right Eye, Paul McCartney Coloring Book, and Paul McCartney's Hair which helped Brian recieve a cease-and-desist from McCartney Publishing Limited. Brian went on to create many xerox booklets, including Morrissey Gets A Job in 1999, and Give Paul A Chance and Star Wars On Earth comics in 2006. [6] [3] [4]

I'm Waiting To Buy My$elf A Kitty Cat, faux 7" single cover for MP3. 2005


Brian was a founding member and drummer of Phoenix and Oakland based Breakfast With Idiots [7], He sings on a few numbers and has released 2 solo albums under the name "Sgt. Rick Sings", including "Oh Great, Here Comes My Least Favorite Customer" (2004), and "Sgt. Rick Sings, Raps, Plays and Sings" (2005)

Selective Bibliography

• One Cool Coloring Book
• What If? Volume 2 (2014)
• Radd/Badd Tattoos (2013)
• Adventures Of Everything (2013)
• Detective Dog
• Earth Messages (
• Dogs
• Give Paul A Chance
• Morrissey Gets A Job (1999)
• Paul McCartney Coloring Book (1995)

• Rock N Roll Coloring Books (2012)
• We Like Bugs & Books Like That (2012)

With Smokey's Tangle
• Smokey’s Tangle 5-Year Book (2014), Smokey’s Tangle
• Smokey’s Tangle Photo Booth #1 (2010), Smokey’s Tangle

With Cosmic Debris
• Art of Emily the Strange (2010), Darkhorse Books
• Emily the Strange The Rock Issue
(2007), Darkhorse Comics
• Emily the Strange Lost Dark and Bored
(2007), Darkhorse Comics
• Emily the Strange Seeing is Deceiving
(2006), Chronicle Books
• Emily the Strange Dark Issue (2006), Darkhorse Comics
• Boyz on Da Run (2006), Disney Channel
• The Dark Issue Emily the Strange Boring Issue (2005), Chronicle Books
• The Boring Issue Emily the Strange Lost Issue (2005), Chronicle Books
• The Lost Issue Emily the Strange Good Nightmares
(2004), Chronicle Books
• Emily the Strange Secret Book of Strange (2003), Chronicle Books
• Oopsy Daisy Trading Cards
(2003), Chronicle Books
• Oopsy Daisy's Bad Bad Day
(2002), Chronicle Books
• Emily the Strange
(2001), Chronicle Books


1. Woo, Stu “Oakland's Temescal Goes From Rundown to Reborn, How Local Merchants Found Success After Years of Work to Attract New Businesses and Reshape Their Neighborhood” December 3, 2009.

2. Virella, Kelly. ”The Strange Drawings of Brian Brooks, The artist behind Emily the Strange attempts to exorcise his creation from his art.” Eastbay Express Feature, October 31, 2007.

3. Fader magazine, 23 , 2005.

4. Smith, Brian. “Zine Buddha, Local artist Brian Brooks watches his work go from sticky barroom floors to flying off international clothing racks”. Phoenix New Times Feature, May 10 2001.

5. Searleman, Eric. The It Girl: As Emily Flourishes, Millions Turn and Face The Strange. Arizona Republic, March 29 2001.

6. Athitakis, Mark. “Riff Raff, Morrissey Gets Colored Black on the Outside, Because Black Is How He Feels on the Inside”, SF Weekly, October 13 1999.

7. Baird, Robert. New Releases From the Desert: Breakfast With Idiots S/T release, Phoenix New Times, September 1, 1993.

8. Lawton, Claire “Brian Brook's Phoenix Arm" 100 creative representations of Phoenix” Phoenix New Times Mon., Aug. 1 2011.

9. Deep Oldies “Brian Brooks Appreciation Day" "Brian Brooks Appreciation Day!!! And More!!!” DeepOldies.com Blog., Feb. 18 2011.

10.L'Heureux,Suzanne “http://www.artslant.com/sf/events/show/319331-smokeys-tangle-takeover" Feb. 2014.

External Links

Brian Brooks on Tumblr
Brian Brooks on Twitter
Brian Brooks on Facebook
Smokey's Tangle Shop  

on Square Market  

on Square Market

on Square Market

on Square Market

on Square Market

on Square Market

on Square Market
Header image