Jean-Thomas (Tomi) Ungerer was born in Strasbourg, France in 1931. Tomi's first artistic emotions started in the Rhineland. His childhood years were marked by the war. He tells about this period in 'A la guerre comme à la guerre' and in 'Die Gedanken sind Frei'. In these first sketches, Ungerer displays a keen sense of observation, especially in his caricatures of the German army.
In Strasbourg, Ungerer came in contact with American culture. He discovered the satirical drawings of the famous magazine The New Yorker. He particularly admired the work of cartoonist Saul Steinberg, and decided to go to New York to meet him. In 1956, Ungerer arrived in the US with a few manuscripts, some drawings, and only 60 dollars in pockets. His dream came true in 1957, with the publication of his first book for children, 'The Mellops Go Flying'. The book was an immediate success.
Although he has stopped doing children's books, Ungerer still publishes very diversified drawings: erotic ones in 'Totempole', 'Femme Fatale' and 'Schutzengel der Hölle', and satirical ones in 'Babylon', 'Symptomatics' and 'Schwarzbuch'. He also has explored the theme of death in 'Rigor Mortis' and 'Warteraum'.