Tom Peters is an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer. His early career included serving as a Technical Illustrator at Interstel, subcontracting to NASA, supporting several projects related to the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and the Mars Observer mission.
The growing game industry gave Tom a gateway to a career in visual story telling. He has done illustrations, game design and art direction for paper role playing games such as Traveller through to the immersive interactive experiences of Virutal World’s groundbreaking BattleTech network multiplayer games, Crimson Skies, and Microsoft’s MechAssault for the xBox.
As a freelance Illustrator, he undertook two cover paintings for acclaimed authors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden Universe Companion 1 and 2, as well as two of their chap books. He has worked with science fiction author Allen Steele on the visual and functional design of the spacecraft in Steele’s novel Spindrift. In 2013, he won second place in the FarMaker Interstellar Speed Sketch Contest, juried by aerospace and SF art luminaries. The contest was part of the first Starship Congress. Also in 2013, he was asked to contribute artwork to Gregory Benford’s Starship Century: Toward the Grandest Horizon, a collection of fact, fiction and art concerning the practical challenges of interstellar flight.
When asked what most influences his work, Tom has this to say:
I am a child of the Space Age, born three months before Sputnik One orbited the Earth. From the time I was a young child I had a great love of reading, and an early preoccupation with drawing. Perhaps because of the zeitgeist of the times, I’ve always had a passion for astronautics and astronomy. My father was a pilot in the Air Force, which encouraged my fascination with aviation and technology. These ingredients shaped my life.
It seems like I’ve always been interested in spaceflight and space itself. I can’t remember a time when the exploration of new worlds, the discovery of new things about our solar system, and amazing facts continuously sent down in my youth by space probes and manned missions didn’t completely consume my imagination. I knew other children who were likewise taken with space when I was a kid, but, one by one, they dropped away, becoming interested in more “normal” fields. I never did. I avidly followed every flight of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. In 1968, I stood in stunned rapture before my family’s television, watching Apollo 8’s grainy black and white video of the moon, as they orbited it, on Christmas Eve. I remember, too, just three years later, sitting at our new TV late into the night, to watch the last Apollo lunar module blast silently away from the moon. By that time, I was madly sketching what I saw and would, a few days later, paint the scene in acrylics on canvas board. I wanted to try to capture some of the awe and wonder of the scene, and the sadness of ceasing our explorations just as they were beginning to bare fruit. I had already set out on the intoxicating path of visual storytelling.
Tom currently lives in Illinois, just west of Chicago, with his wife, Diane, and 4 rescued cats, one of whom claims to be the prince of all cats. Tom teaches Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and other digital graphic tools, and continues his career as a graphic artist and illustrator. You can find him at www.tpeters.com.