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.
His Non-Romance Covers
After illustrating children’s books and magazines for many years Hall moved on to illustrate book covers. His sweeping style was a natural fit for historical and romantic epics.
His work has graced some of the biggest bestsellers of all time, like Anne Rice’s 1976 Interview with a Vampire.
He also created covers for some Colleen McCullough works, including The First Man in Rome and The Thorn Birds.
A Romance Cover Innovator
His big blast in the romance industry came in 1977 illustrated Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’s blockbuster bodice ripper, Shanna. This portrayed one of the first full cover embraces for a romance. The book sold millions of copies, and the passionate clinch cover was a huge part of the novel’s allure.
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 (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.
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 that there was no Wikipedia page dedicated to this particular artist. Hopefully, some Wiki editor will remedy that soon.
Hall passed away in 2010. He left behind a wife of over 50 years, a loving family, and a legion of paperback book fans who loved his artwork.
More Tom Hall
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.