Born in Muskegan, Michigan, the ninth child of poor Finnish parents, Haddon Sundblom left school at thirteen when his mother died, as the youth he did construction jobs by day and art classes at night. Later, he studied at the American Academy of Arts and the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1920, Sundblom was hired as an art apprentice for a studio and by watching McClelland Barclay and other illustrators he assimilated enough knowledge to begin getting work for himself with his first major assignment being for Quaker Oats. The artist formed his own studio in 1925, Stevens Sundblom & Camp; Henry which proved a valuable training ground for many young artists who later became successful illustrators. Sundblom's remarkable brush work and idealized sunny images made him a favorite with both advertisers and the public as he dominated the illustration field in Chicago. One of the first accounts he landed for his budding studio was for Coca-Cola as he designed his iconic scenes of Santa Clause for that company the next thirty years. Originally starting out with a jolly model for Saint Nick, Sundblom eventually aged himself into the perfect Santa role for his paintings. Producing extraordinary paintings for a number of major accounts, the artist also did editorial work, as well as nearly forty years in demand for magazines and ad agencies.