A Canadian Original
Early Life and Career of Tony Meers
Tony Meers is a prolific commercial illustrator was a diverse career. He has worked in comics, book illustration, and many other artistic endeavors. In the late 1980s into the 1990s, he produced hundreds of iconic Harlequin romance covers.
Meers is a Canadian citizen and was born in Brampton, Ontario, in 1953. He grew up in Georgetown.
Later, Meers studied at York University and the University of Toronto.
During his education, Meers developed an interest in the visual arts and photography, but he didn’t pursue either as a career initially. Instead, Meers found success as a calligrapher and illustrator, providing artwork for various companies and corporate clients.
Meers, The Artist
Tony Meers worked as a full-time staff member of SGI Canada (also known as The Soka Gakkai International). He joined the SGI in 1972 during the organization’s early days in Canada.
Meers would have a career as a freelance illustrator from 1978 to 1998.
Eventually, he rose to the rank of general director in 2000.
Meers then went on to work on poster design. In addition, he worked in other commercial endeavors. In the 1990s, he illustrated comics, notably Dark Horse’s Bettie Page Comics.
Also in that decade, Meers would enter the world of romance cover illustration for Harlequin and Mills & Boon.
Romance Cover Illustrator
In 1988, Meers was approached by Harlequin to create original book covers. He was immediately successful and soon became one of the biggest contributors to the Harlequin “look.”
He was recognized for creating covers with a unique, romantic feel that helped define the brand in the 1990s.
Years later, in 2020, Meers stated the following to the Toronto Star about book cover art:
“I was excited by illustration wherever I saw it — on paperback book covers, movie posters, science fiction magazines, the many magazines that featured short stories; and advertising art, much of which was masterful. I feel privileged to have grown up in the 1950s and ’60s, surrounded by illustration.”TONY MEERS
Romance Cover Art For Sale
Tony Meers’s artwork has been offered at auction multiple times.
Meers has created some truly amazing art throughout his career. His unique take on romance and his understanding of the power of imagery combine vibrant colors, dynamic movement, and playfulness for a style that’s truly captivating.
Meers’ artwork often conveys hope and positivity in the midst of chaos.
A store in Ontario, The Beguiling Books & Art, amassed a collection of Meer’s artwork. The shop’s owner, Peter Birkemoe, said:
“Certain fandoms have more collecting associated with them, be it science fiction, horror or pulp-adventure stuff… Those all start to become really expensive. Romance is one of the more neglected [fandoms] but it is also one of the areas where there is the most material.”PETER BIRKEMOE
Tony Meers Today
Meers is retired now. He doesn’t speak publicly much about his former career as a romance cover artist.
Meers is an advocate for fishing and animal conservation. In 2013, he published the fishing art book, The Angling Artists.
In 2019, he released Redmire, a book about a famous carp pool in the United Kingdom. From the book:
“Redmire: unique, historic, enchanted… Redmire: just two short syllables, but what a stirring effect they have had in angling circles for so very long! Succinctly and appropriately coined by one of its most famous sons (‘BB’) in order to disguise its location and preserve its exclusivity, not only do they call to mind a place and time but also something even more remarkable than that. For from that simple but evocative name have come associations with an angling ‘nirvana’ where unattainable dreams came true; where magic and mystery at times merged; where history was written not once, but three times. All true, and all at one small pool, half-hidden and half-tucked away amongst the folds of rural Herefordshire. What a remarkable accolade; what a remarkable legacy…’”REDMIRE BY TONY MEERS: FROM THE INTRODUCTION
Tony Meers is married and has four adult children. He lives in Toronto.
- Beguiling Books and Art: Retroromancer Painted Lessons in Heteronormitivitiy Gallery Show Contest
- CBC: The Look of Love Invented in Toronto The unexpected Canadian HIstory of Romance Harlequin Covers
- The Star: Exhibition of the 80s and 90s Harlequin Romance Art Is A Glorious Kitschy Romp
- My Pinterest
- Purchase Tony Meers at ComicArtFans.com
- Purchase Tony Meers’ Art at Beguiling Art.com