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Tom duBois is an illustrator known for being the creator of several cover artworks for games from Konami's golden era in the 1980s and 1990s.

Career[]

After three years of intense study at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and a year of apprenticeship at a large advertising production house in the heart of downtown Chicago, Tom began his career as a professional illustrator in 1979.

Trained in the essentials of life drawing, illustration, design and painting, he refined his craft creating illustrations for various clients. Companies such as Quaker Oats, General Mills, Smuckers, Celestial Seasonings, Betty Crocker, Gatorade, Gillette, McDonald's, Sega, Nintendo, Enesco, Bradford Exchange Collectibles and Disney Studios all gave Tom an opportunity to explore and develop a very wide range of illustration styles and techniques.

Tom is mostly known for being the creator of now legendary cover artworks for Western distribution of many golden era Konami games, mainly during their 8-bit and 16-bit years in the late 1980s and early 1990s (NES, Super NES and Sega Genesis). He is also known for providing most cover artworks for Konami of America's NES subsidiary, Ultra Games.

His illustration work at Konami started in 1988 with Blades of Steel and ended up in 1994 with Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters. During that period, he created many iconic cover artworks for Konami games such as Axelay, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Contra III: The Alien Wars, Cybernator, Double Dribble, Lethal Enforcers, Operation C, Rocket Knight Adventures, Sunset Riders, Super C, Super Castlevania IV, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist, The Adventures of Bayou Billy, The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, and many others. In time, Tom's artworks would also be used for European releases of Konami games.

Most commissions had to be completed in one week. In fact, his first work for Konami was for a magazine advertisement that he had only one weekend for turning in. Interestingly, Tom would never, or very rarely, play the games he provided artworks for. In most cases, Konami would just present him with either the basic or very specific ideas of what they wanted, as well as details of the game to serve as reference; and on rare occasions, they would provide him with gameplay footage on VHS for a limited period of time to get ideas.

When Tom was working on the Blades of Steel NES cover, he used a Sports Illustrated photograph of hockey players, Wayne Gretzky and Bill Smith, as reference for creating the cover artwork of the game. Despite the changes he made to his work, including changing the faces and uniforms of the characters, in 1993, the magazine noticed the similarities and sued Tom for $15,000; amount that was eventually lowered to $10,000 and which he had to pay, Tom went on doing additional magazine illustration projects to make up for the money loss.

Besides working for Konami, Tom also provided artworks for other classic gaming companies, such as Jaleco and Data East. He was also hired by Disney to do the illustrations of some of their classic movies.

In 2007, Tom got ill with cancer, presumably for the years he worked with airbrushes without protection for painting cars and motorcycles during his college years, as well as the various solvents he used during his early days of oil painting; but after going through intense surgical, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, he was able to overcome the illness.

After his recovery, and through Editorial Illustration, Tom found work for a Christian journal. During this time, to avoid having to use solvents and oils again, Tom learned to draw using a computer, process he employs to this day. He began Triune Art as a means to produce and sell fine art products that contribute profits to churches, schools and missions.

In 2019, he provided the artwork for the pre-order version of Contra: Rogue Corps. He also provided artworks for the limited edition of Contra Anniversary Collection released by Limited Run Games, as well as other Limited Run games.

More recently, Tom was approached by graphic novels writer, Matt Fowler, and got partnered with Retro Graphic Books LLC (RGB), which is where he works to this day.

Gallery[]

Personal photos[]

Cover artworks[]

Solo artworks[]

Concept and preliminary artworks[]

Videos[]

References[]

  1. Restored by Jefferson Taylor. @JTaylorPro at X (April 19, 2023).
  2. Restored by Jefferson Taylor. @JTaylorPro at X (April 19, 2023).
  3. Restored by Jefferson Taylor. @JTaylorPro at X (April 17, 2023).
  4. Restored by Jefferson Taylor. @JTaylorPro at X (December 1, 2022).

External links[]

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