Dong Tianye (1910-1968) was born in Cixi, Zhejiang Province. He was trained in Chinese painting at a young age by Fang Tao, and once designed a stage set for the Great World Entertainment Center in Shanghai. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Dong made anti-Japanese cartoons, but in later years his work was also published in collaborationist periodicals. After Liberation, he became art editor at Xinmin Evening News (新民晚报) and painted illustrations for serial novels. He was a member of the Shanghai Branch of the Chinese Artists Association.
During the 1950s and early 1960s Dong was very well-known, especially for his comic strips (漫画, manhua), but also for Chinese paintings with historical subjects. He was especially good at rendering ancient costumes with much detail. During the Cultural Revolution, Dong was attacked and humiliated at mass meetings. He committed suicide by drowning himself in a river.