H. Tom Hall

H. Tom Hall

Tom Hall: A Paperback Cover Icon

Early Life & Education

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. Hall and his wife of 54 years, H. Janet Scott met at Ridley Park High School, from where they both graduated.

He went on to study at Temple University’s Tyler School of Fine Art and received his BFA from Philadelphia College of Art, now the University of the Arts.

Children’s Books & Magazine Illustrator

While in the U.S. Army, Hall wrote and illustrated a children’s book, The Golden Tomba, published by Knopf. When he returned back to the USA, he became an illustrator of children’s books as well as magazines for many years.

Hall’s magazine work includes Readers Digest, Saturday Evening Post, and National Geographic magazine. While working for National Geographic, he was part of a research team in Honduras and later Peru to gather background for his pre-Columbian illustrations.

Book Cover Phenom

He then went on in his career to do book covers. Hall’s 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.

Hall’s career was so 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, Shanna. The latter has sold millions.

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 on 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 ZebraPinnacle, or Playboy Press. He worked for the big names: AvonWarner Books, Ballantine, Bantam, Fawcett (after they were purchased by CBS Publications & Ballantine), and Reader’s Digest. Among the top-tier authors that he produced covers for were Laurie McBainKathleen E. Woodiwiss, Jennifer Wilde, and Shirlee Busbee.

Death & Legacy

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.

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