Tom has ben creating these amazing sketches and I've been hooked on his Instagram account for a long time. Read about his path to becoming a professional illustrator/designer and you've got to check out his recent alphabet animals series (posted at the bottom of this post)
Tom, introduce yourself!
I grew up in Altoona, PA. For as long as I can remember I have been doodling, sketching, and scratching ideas and thoughts on paper. When I was a kid, I would draw the comics that appeared in The Sunday Papers…Snoopy, Charlie Brown, The Flintstones, and more. I know this because my Mom saved them, who knew I was doing Fan Art and Mom was archiving? (Thanks Mom!)
Grade School and High School…the doodling and sketching continued. On Book Covers, inside textbooks and somewhere along the way I got my first sketchbook. A diary, A journal, a blueprint, a foot map for ideas and concepts that could turn into characters, products, and thank God a career where I had an outlet for my creative energy. Through some very supportive and amazing parents (Thanks Mom & Dad!) that saw through my doodles and helped me harness my talent and enrolled me in the Altoona Area Vo-Tech Commercial Art program. My instructor Mr. Charles Bickel was my first mentor outside my family. He was unbelievable, he could do it all…architectural renderings, Hand Lettering, Cartooning. But most of all he could draw and had a passion for drawing. (Thanks Chuck!)
Next stop the Art Institute of Pittsburgh…
This was the perfect place for me to learn the craft of Visual Communications (That is what it was called back in the day before the Digital Age…LOL.) A whole new world of opportunities and skills to learn Advertising, Airbrush, Product Design, Animation, and plenty of drawing and sketching.
Being around creative people, amazing artists, and kindred spirits…a dream come true. I took a caricature class from the famous John Johns, where he would teach you the craft to go out into the real world and be a caricature artist. Wait…I could make people laugh and get paid for sketching? I was hooked! Through that class I would meet a great friend and fellow artist Jim Mendillo. We did caricature gigs, worked on projects, and eventually worked together as interns at the Allan and Wilson Animation studio on a Showtime Special…A Star for Jeremy. Jim and I enjoyed working together and both had a passion for drawing, sketching, animation and big ideas. (Thanks to all the great instructors at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh!)
I was hired by the Smethport Specialty Company…the makers of the Famous Wooly Willy Magnetic Drawing Toy. I hit the ground running, learning so much about design, production, product development, character design, games, and deadlines. This introduced me to The Toy, Licensing and Entertainment business that I have been a part of for 39 years. I migrated to South Jersey and worked at an up-and-coming toy company Panosh Place, where I worked on some great brands such as Voltron, Cabbage Patch Kids and more. Another job where sketching and drawing were in my daily routine. I learned so much about product development and teamwork. During these jobs and adventures, I stayed in contact with Jim and we were always dreaming and scheming new ideas, and without realizing it, a future business plan. In 1986 we sold an idea to a Toy Company, quit our day jobs and founded Scrambled Eggz Productions. (Thanks Jim!)
Scrambled Eggz has been providing the Licensing, Entertainment and Toy Industries
with innovative design solutions for over 35 years, from Product Development, illustration, Packaging Design, Style Guides and beyond.
We continue to work on amazing projects and products with great companies like Mattel, Hasbro, Spin Master and Moose Toys just to name a few. We have had the good fortune to work on iconic brands such as Marvel, Batman, Thomas the Tank Engine, SpongeBob and many more.
We are working on new ideas and innovations and have been blessed to form great relationships with many fantastic partners and talented people.
As a co-owner of a business, I am constantly learning and developing new skills and thankful to have a career that has allowed me to sketch and create and grow as an artist and a person.
I also like to give back to the community when I can, for over 20 years I have been volunteering my design and illustration skills to help create merchandise for the annual Canoe Carnival held in my hometown of Medford Lakes. (The merchandise helps fund this fantastic event that has been going on for coming up on 90 years.)
In 2018 I helped create a T-Shirt Company Ziggys Tees, with my good friend Brian Samelson.
In 2020, during difficult times, Ziggys Tees created and produced Phillies Inspired Fan Merchandise That raised over $16,000. That was donated to the Phillies Charities, Inc. It was so great to be a part and learn from that experience. (Thanks Brian!) www.ziggystees.com
It is so hard to predict what the future holds…especially in these strange times. Scrambled Eggz keeps marching on with exciting clients and new opportunities. As an artist I continue to grow and learn. I am extremely thankful to continue discover so many new great things and experiences, particularly on Instagram. I have met so many talented artists that I have got to know a bit and we support each other. I have enjoyed participating in Inktober, The JimBob Drawing Show, Draw This in Your Style and other fun collaborations. So great to see and be part of these platforms of artistic expression. Discovering products like Ipad Pro, Procreate, the Apple pencil and of course the Sketch Wallets! (Thanks Ralph!)
Looking to grow my personal art into Prints and other merchandise as well as work on some Children’s Books and Comics, wherever the pen takes me…be it traditional or digital. I am so thankful for the loving support from my wife, my son and all my family and friends. So happy to be here and making Art!