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About The Artist

Rick Tuma pencil portrait

— "I love to draw! Give me a pencil, or a brush and a bottle of ink, a kit of watercolors, and I'm good to go."


Rick remembers drawing things – mostly war battle scenes – as early as second grade. By seventh grade his talent was recognized by his art teacher, Mr. Moore, and the journey turned serious. In high school, three years later, another mentor, the late, Mr. George Adams, pushed Rick toward considering art college and ultimately a career. He earned a BFA in Illustration from the Philadelphia College of Art.

Rick is a multi-talented artist who moves easily between illustrations, cartooning, multimedia visuals and design. During his career as an informational graphics artist/illustrator for the Chicago Tribune, Rick collected more than eleven awards from the Society of Newspaper Design (SND) in a variety of categories. He began his Chicago Tribune career as the featured cartoonist and occasional writer of the Chicago Tribune’s self-generated daily political strip, Clout St. (1983-86). As a cartoonist he was the first place winner of a Lisagor Award in the editorial cartoonist category of the SNJ Chicago Headliners Association, 2002, overcoming stiff competition from a former Pulitzer Prize recipient, and an earlier runner up in the caricature category in the 2000 AAEC cartoonist competition.

His most rewarding long term project for the Chicago Tribune were weekly watercolor portraits of Chicago-area business entrepreneurs and executives. These were published on the cover of the Business section every Monday. The series ran for two and a half years. The Chicago Tribune won 13 Peter Lisagor Awards for outstanding journalism in a 2012 competition sponsored by the Chicago Headline Club and Rick won the Illustration award for ”Chicago Tribune Monday Business Profile."

During 2014 and, again in 2015, Rick fullfilled a long held dream of illustrating graphic narratives. The first narrative garnered Rick a share in the 2014 'William Jones Award for Investigative Reporting' for his work in illustrating the abuses suffered by young wards of residential treatment centers across Illinois.

His second narrative told the story of the 1915 Eastland Disaster. Many months of research, writing, sketching and illustrating culminated in an extensive online telling of the ill-fated steamship and it's more than 2,000 passengers and crew. The essay was published a few days before the disaster's centennial.

In books, Rick's illustrations brought Dash Danger and his various foes to life in the series; 'Spies Inc.: The Adventures of Dash Danger' and 'Spies Inc.: The Curse of the Kumquat Treaty.' He illustrated Matt and Mark Jacob's book: ‘What the Great Ate,’ portraying 25 historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Bette Davis, Wade Boggs, Elvis Presley and others in humorous eating moments.

Rick lives in West Chicago, Illinois, with his wife, Jan, and far too many dogs and cats his wife rescues and places with new forever families.