Mel Crawford was born in 1925 in Toronto, Canada, but spent his childhood in various other provinces of the country. In 1941 he illustrated 'The Three T's' by Frank Man Harris. This was a children's comic about the adventures of three Canadian boys. It was published in an issue of Joke Comics by Bell Features Publications. His drawing career was briefly interrupted by World War II as he had to serve in the Royal Canadian Navy. After being dismissed from service he studied art at the Royal Ontario College and moved permanently to the United States afterwards, settling in Connecticut.
Between 1949 and 1967, he drew comic books for Western Publishing, illustrating stories with characters from different franchises, like 'Mr. Magoo', 'Professor Harbringer', 'Rocky and Bullwinkle', 'Raggedy Ann', 'The Wizard of Oz', 'Howdy Doody' and 'Little Lulu'. His art appeared in such Dell/Western titles as Grimm's Ghost Stories, Doctor Solar, Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery and the Dell Junior Treasury. Crawford tried working as an animator at Disney in the 1950s, but felt that illustrating children's books and record covers suited him better. For Disney he published books which were adaptations of Disney feature films such as 'Alice in Wonderland' (1951) and 'Jungle Book' (1967). A versatile artist, he painted countless cartoon, comics, TV, film and other pop culture characters, from Disney's 'Uncle Scrooge', over Hanna-Barbera's 'Tom & Jerry', 'The Flintstones' and 'Magilla Gorilla', to Jim Henson's 'The Muppets'. He also designed many covers for The Golden Magazine, a magazine aimed at children.
Crawford worked as an assistant on newspaper strip slike 'Iffy' and 'Versus' throughout the 1960s, and did illustrations for First-Day Cachets in the 1970s and 1980s, illustrating (among others) children's books for 'Sesame Street'. He was the artist on newspaper strips like 'Rabbits Rafferty' (1977-81) and 'McCall of the Wild' (1988-90), both with scripts by Jerry Dumas. Crawford has also made wildlife paintings for gallery exhibitions. His art work received the Franklin Mint Gold Medal for watercolor as well as several Grumbacher Gold Medals. He passed away in 2015, at the age of 89.
Crawford's charming and nostalgic drawing style has received praise from other artists in recent years, including John Kricfalusi.