Francis Tsai

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Francis Tsai
Born(1967-04-14)April 14, 1967
DiedApril 23, 2015(2015-04-23) (aged 48)
Area(s)comic book artist, illustrator, conceptual artist, author

Francis Tsai (April 14, 1967 – April 23, 2015) was an American comic book artist, illustrator, author and conceptual artist. He was of Taiwanese and Japanese ancestry.[1][better source needed]

Early life[edit]

Tsai was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and raised in Lubbock, Texas. He initially studied chemistry, before receiving a graduate degree in architecture.[2]


In 1998, Francis Tsai joined Presto Studios as Conceptual Designer where he provided visual development and game design for the video games Myst 3,[3] and Star Trek: Hidden Evil.[4] In 2003, Tsai joined High Moon Studios where he was principal concept artist for the video games The Bourne Conspiracy and Darkwatch.[5]

Tsai had illustrated cards for the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game.

In 2009, Tsai worked on a five-issue graphic novel miniseries called Tracker for Top Cow Productions. A preview was released at that year's ComicCon.[6]

Marvel Comics[edit]

Tsai also contributed covers and interior art for Marvel Comics.[7][8]

Tsai provided interior artwork for Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology[9] as well as covers and interior artwork for the serialized graphic novel Mercy Thompson: Homecoming,[10] which reached number eight on the Comics Bestsellers list in October 2009.[11] In a generally favorable review of the novel, Martha Cornog wrote, "Francis Tsai's and Amelia Woo's painted art, especially their beautiful wolf depictions, make this all visually believable."[12] Tsai also created interiors for trade paperback Impaler.[13]

Dungeons & Dragons[edit]

Tsai provided interior artwork for a number of Dungeons & Dragons manuals for Wizards of the Coast, including Sharn: City of Towers, Monster Manual III, d20 Future, Races of Eberron, Lost Empires of Faerûn, Explorer's Handbook, Tome of Magic: Pact, Shadow, and Truename Magic, Power of Faerûn, and d20 Future Tech.[14] Tsai created the artwork for the Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition Dungeon Masters Screen.[15]

TV and film[edit]

Tsai provided visual development in the TV and film industries contributing concept artwork for Motion Theory's Gatorade "Inside Crosby" and Lenovo Thinkpad "Rollcage" commercials[16][17] as well as the film TMNT - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.[18] Tsai worked on Tracker, a miniseries from Top Cow Productions and Heroes and Villains Entertainment about an FBI agent who has contracted a virus that turns him into a werewolf.

Books and magazines[edit]

He was a regular contributor to ImagineFX magazine, where he has created a series of workshops including topics such as using 3-D in 2-D, effective character design and game concept art.[2]

Francis Tsai wrote and illustrated the book Fantasy Art Academy: 100 Ways to Paint the Coolest Fantasy Figures for F&W Publications and recently released another book Extreme Worlds in November 2009.


Tsai had won numerous professional awards for his work.[19][20][21][22]

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis[edit]

In 2010, at the age of 42, Tsai was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. The disease cost him the ability to move his arms and hands; he had not held a pencil since early 2011. He discovered he could digitally paint on his iPhone with his right big toe while holding the iPhone with his left foot.[23] Once he lost the ability to move his feet, Tsai began using the PC Eye from Tobii in conjunction with a Kiosk Tablet to communicate. By early 2012, Tsai began creating art again using the eye-gaze technology with drawing programs Sketchup and Photoshop.[24] His eye-gaze art had been featured in the media including CNN and computer art magazine ImagineFX (August 2013).[25]

Personal life[edit]

Tsai met his wife Linda when they were architecture students at the University of Texas, and they lived in Austin, Texas.[26] He died April 23, 2015.[27]




  • Machine Flesh
  • Fantasy Art Now: The Very Best in Contemporary Fantasy Art and Illustration
  • 50 Robots to Draw and Paint: Create Fantastic Robot Characters for Comic Books, Computer Games, and Graphic Novels
  • How to Draw Fantasy Females
  • Fantasy: Illustrated Fantasy and Sci-Fi Magazine
  • Erotic Fantasy Art


  1. ^ Francis Tsai Illustration and Concept Design on Facebook
  2. ^ a b Parker, Charley (2007-04-11). "Francis Tsai". Retrieved 2008-10-06.
  3. ^ Kauffman, Jeremiah; Philip Jong (October 2000). "Francis Tsai: Interview". Adventure Classic Gaming. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
  4. ^ Crawford, Rowan (1999-11-22). "Under Cover: Francis Tsai". Loony Games. 2 (3). Retrieved 2008-10-06.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "Top Cow & HVE Team to Create "Tracker"". Comic Book Resources. June 26, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  7. ^ Francis Tsai at the Grand Comics Database
  8. ^ Phegley, Kiel (2008-06-23). "Marvel Artists on the Cutting Edge". Retrieved 2008-10-06.
  9. ^ "Secret Identities Available April 15 Press Release". 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  10. ^ Schwartz, Neil (2008-09-29). "Mercy Thompson: Homecoming Preview". Dabel Brothers Publishing. Archived from the original on May 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  11. ^ Reid, Calvin (2009-10-12). "Comics Bestsellers", Publishers Weekly 256 (41): 14.
  12. ^ Cornog, Martha (2010-01-15). "Graphic Novels", Library Journal 135 (1): 80.
  13. ^ "Top Cow releases "Impaler" TPB". 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ [3]
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ "IMDB". Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  19. ^ Published & Gold Award – “The Train Station” by Francis Tsai
  20. ^ Published & Bronze Award – “Devils Alley” by Francis Tsai
  21. ^ Published & Certificate of Merit – “Sunlight” by Francis Tsai
  22. ^ Published & Certificate of Merit - "Bourne Shootout" by Francis Tsai
  23. ^ [4]
  24. ^ [5]
  25. ^ [6]
  26. ^ Gallaga, Omar (November 2, 2013). "Visions made real". Austin American-Statesman.
  27. ^ Melrose, Kevin (April 24, 2015). "Artist Francis Tsai passes away". Comic Book Resources.
  28. ^ Top Cow Releasing Tracker on November 11th

External links[edit]