Tom himself served as a Lieutenant in the Finnish Army in the World War Two. He was a fire control officer in the anti-aircraft troops, and his bravery earned him Vapaudenristi (Cross of Freedom) decoration. His drawing style has been claimed to be the inspiration of Freddie Mercury's performance style.
Tom of Finland's work provides examples of:
- A Father to His Men: He was well liked amongst his men in WWII.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: Tom liked 'em big. Might be Gag Penis to some.
- Cultured Warrior: He had extremely broad general knowledge and he was also a talented musician. He organized a choir in his anti-aircraft battalion.
- Hello, Sailor!: The artist loved men in uniform and drew a lot of sailors.
- Hot Men at Work: Construction workers are a recurring theme.
- These Hands Have Killed: After WWII he became a sworn pacifist.
- Leather Man: He drew a lot of leather-clad bikers.
- Manly Gay: All the men he drew were strong, muscular men.
- Mr. Fanservice: All the men he drew are essentially gay fan service.
- Officer and a Gentleman
- Raging Stiffie: The men in his work often have rather bulbous underpants.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: He killed a Soviet paratrooper from behind with his knife during WWII. Once he saw the dead man's face, he saw he had killed "the most beautiful creation of God imaginable". He swore never to harm a human being again.
- Sibling Triangle: He and his sister were both in love with the same man. (He won.)
- Shout-Out: "Vive Le Rock" from Vive Le Rock by Adam Ant name drops him:Well, I've been where I was goingAnd it's not Tom of Finland
- Some Call Me "Tim": Or in this case, "Tom". His real name was Touko Laaksonen, but he used the pseudonym Tom of Finland, which was easier for non-Finnish artists to remember.