Artist Thomas Blackshear II, the son of an air force captain, was born in Waco, Texas, and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. 
"Drawing was all I ever liked to do," says Blackshear. "While all the other guys were playing baseball or basketball,
I was in my house, drawing." Thomas Blackshear pursued an interest in art throughout high school, securing scholarship
to the Institute of Art in Chicago. After a year there, he transferred to the nearby Academy of Art on another scholarship. 
While finishing his college education, he was recruited by Hallmark Cards. Later, Mr. Blackshear became the 
apprentice of illustrator Mark English.

After the disappointment of working on an uncompleted book project in Los Angeles, Blackshear settled in Kansas City
and became the head illustrator for the prestigious Godbold/Richter Studio. A year later, he began a prosperous freelance
career, illustrating two U.S. Postal Service stamp collections for Black Heritage and classic movies and several series
of Hamilton Group collector's plates featuring scenes from Star Wars, Star Trek, and The Wizard of Oz, in addition to
many advertisements. Although Blackshear was successful, he was unsatisfied and decided to pursue a career in fine art.
Thomas Blackshear and his wife, Ami, now live in Colorado. A much-honored painter, Blackshear has received many awards,
including the Society of Illustrators's coveted Gold Metal. His highly awarded work also appeared in the Society of Illustrators
Annuals and Outstanding American Illustrators Today, Volume Two.

Thomas Blackshear was profiled on the premier episode of The Living Canvas, an art magazine of the airwaves shown on
public television stations, and he has been featured on the Ebony/Jet Showcase, The 700 Club, and in The Saturday Evening Post.
An exhibit of nineteen of his original works for the Black Heritage stamp series premiered in 1992 at the
Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History and subsequently toured the United States.