Cover Artists

A Closer Look at Cover Artist: H. Tom Hall

H. Tom Hall

H. Tom Hall, An Artist Who Inspired

H. Tom Hall’s artwork on romance book covers is legendary. His style is instantly recognizable, refined, yet sensual.

Hall was born in 1932 and grew up in Prospect Park, Pennsylvania. He studied at the Tyler School of Fine Art and received his BFA from Philadelphia College of Art.

While in the U.S. Army, Hall wrote and illustrated a children’s book published by Knopf. After illustrating children’s books and magazines for many years Hall moved on to create book covers. His work has graced some of the biggest bestsellers of all time, like Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire and some Colleen McCullough works, including The First Man in Rome and The Thorn Birds.

The First Man in Rome, Colleen McCullough, Avon, 1991, Tom Hall cover art

A Romance Cover Innovator

His career was so widely varied and successful that he was commissioned to do the reprint of John Steinbeck’s Cup of Gold and illustrated the cover of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’s blockbuster bodice ripper, Shanna. The latter book sold millions of copies, and the passionate clinch cover was a huge part of the romance novel’s allure.

Shanna, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Avon, 1977, Tom Hall cover art

Hall was among the most innovative cover artists of the 1970s. He was called the “leading paperback artist in the country” and “a giant in the industry” by New York art directors. It was surprising to me was that there was no Wikipedia page dedicated to this particular artist. Hopefully, some Wiki editor will remedy that soon.

A Tom Hall cover was a symbol of elite status as he only worked with the top publishing houses. No Tom Hall would be gracing a schlocky Zebra, Pinnacle, or Playboy Press. He worked for the big names: Avon, Warner Books, Ballantine, Bantam, Fawcett (only after they’d been bought out by CBS Publications & Ballantine), or Reader’s Digest. Among the top-tier authors that he produced covers for were Laurie McBain, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers, Jennifer Wilde, and Shirlee Busbee.

Legacy and Covers

Hall passed away in 2010, leaving behind a wife of over 50 years, a loving family, and a legion of paperback book fans who loved his artwork.

To read more about H. Tom Hall and his artwork you can access this page:

Are you a fan of H. Tom Hall’s work? If so, what are your favorite covers or pieces of art painted by him? Please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.

3 replies »

  1. Found you on Pinterest and I was surprised to see you have a blog *immediately subscribes*! Anyways, I’m very happy you made a blog post about H. Tom Hall’s covers. His covers are my absolute favorite! His art style is just so beautiful and unique. I especially love the way he draws his male characters.

    • Hello Anna! Glad you you found us! Tom Hall’s covers are gorgeous and he was so instrumental in the success of many books. Considering his achievements, he should be more acclaimed than he is.

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