Tom McNeely

Born in Toronto in 1935, Tom McNeely’s early interest in art was aided by an aunt, who enrolled him in an art correspondence course and also arranged for lessons with artist Frederick Steiger. He studied commercial art at Danforth Technical School, graduating in 1953.

Immediately after high school, Tom worked for Rapid Grip and Batten and in 1955 moved to the art department of Bomac Engraving. In 1962, he joined Art and Design Studios, and became a freelance illustrator in 1968.

Tom McNeely has provided illustrations in many formats, including calendars, maps and brochures, to clients all over North America. His work has appeared in Chatelaine, the Globe and Mail, Star Weekly and Star Week’s TV Guide, to name a few. He created posters for Expo ’67, Canada Cup ’76, the Canadian National Exhibition and the National Geographic Society, and has illustrated books for Harper Collins, McClelland & Stewart and others. McNeely has also designed postage stamps for Canada Post as well as for other countries. Tom taught the fourth-year painting and illustration course at OCAD from 1992–98.

Tom’s work has been recognized with awards from such bodies as the Art Directors Club of New York, the Art Directors Club of Toronto, the Montreal Art Directors Club and the Society of Illustrators (New York). He is an elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour and the Society of Canadian Artists, and his commercial and fine art works hang in collections across North America. As Tom states in Tom McNeely: 50 Years of Visual Arts (2007),‘The arts are demanding. There is joy when your efforts work; pain when either concept, design, draftsmanship or painting techniques is weak.’ Tom may be modest, but the abundance of his published work suggests that there has been more joy than pain.

—Chester Gryski

The Devil's Artisan would like to acknowledge the generous financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

Tom McNeely Magnify

Tom McNeely

Credit: Don McLeod