Tom Best

Shop Tom's Ornaments
Hallmark Artist Tom Best
Frosty Friends ornament sketch

Tom Best grew up on the shores of Lake Erie, just west of Cleveland. The youngest of three boys, he was surrounded by creativity. His brothers and father were all accomplished musicians, but Tom says music didn’t come naturally to him. It was his artistic abilities that, in grammar school, gave him the reputation as “that kid who can draw.”

Hometown and school: I grew up in the then small town of Avon Lake, Ohio—right on the Lake Erie shoreline, just west of Cleveland. I earned my B.F.A. from the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio. I majored in illustration with a minor in advertising.

Inspiration: It’s mainly my artist friends and coworkers and their work. The creative community here at Hallmark Cards has been probably the biggest influence and inspiration for me over my career. I’m also inspired whenever I can change my perspective and see something new. Sometimes just traveling to another part of the country or running in a different part of the city is all it takes.

Fun Fact


“I had a vision for an aurora-borealis light effect on the 2015 Frosty Friends ornament—our incredible Keepsake engineers helped bring it to life.”

Best advice: I’ve gotten lots of good advice over the years:

  • Expose yourself to great artwork.
  • Research first; you can’t create in a bubble.
  • You only get better by “doing,” so be like a musician—practice, practice, practice!
  • Within reason, never say no to any job. Every job is potential to learn something new. Stretch your comfort zone. Variety in your work will help you grow and grow new jobs. That being said, be responsible. If you take a job, you have to deliver on time with quality, no matter what.

Happy place (when I’m being creative): Coffee and music. I’m always thinking about my next project or what I’m currently working on at work. So that means an idea or solution may also come at anytime. Sometimes that can be at work, other times by seeing something over the weekend, in the shower, driving or even out on a run.

Lasso Cowboy tin ornament
Guitar and Beer Stein ornaments

Favorite work of art (so far): I really like my beer steins and
guitar ornaments.

When I’m not working: I have a charming daughter in college who is pursuing a degree in journalism. My wife works here at Hallmark with me. Though not an artist, she is quite creative. We collaborated on a huge Christmas tree skirt two years ago for our tree. I designed it and helped cut out the design elements. She did the sewing and the quilting. It’s beautiful! We are both runners and dog owners. I love art, music, history, old toys and puttering around the yard and garage on a nice day.

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