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Thomas Blackshear II
After graduating in 1977 from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Thomas Blackshear worked for a year for the Hallmark Card Company in Kansas City, Missouri. While there, he met the famous illustrator Mark English and became his apprentice for several months. By 1980, he was working as head illustrator for Godbold/Richter Studio. He became a freelance illustrator in 1982.
Blackshear has also designed and executed illustrations for four collectors’ plate series. He is known for his best-selling Christian prints produced for DaySpring’s masterpiece collection. In 1995 he created Ebony Visions, which has been the number-one-selling black figurine collectible in the United States for the past 20 years. He won Artist of the Year in 1999 for that line from the National Association of Limited Edition Dealers and the prestigious International Collectible Artist of the Year Award in 2001.