Born in Florida, I grew up in Connecticut, the oldest in a Catholic family of eight siblings (four boys, four girls).
I started drawing when I was three or four years old when my grandmother would visit and do arts and crafts with me. Being good at drawing was never a huge concern as a kid, so I wasn’t shy about sharing my scribbly abominations. I got plenty of support from my parents and grandparents, and that felt good, so I kept at it until I was halfway decent.
When I was old enough to be self-conscious about my work, I realised that I wasn’t the greatest artist ever. Luckily, I also realised that I didn’t have to be the best to keep drawing. By that point, I’d grown to like drawing too much to ever quit.
At 18, I went to John Paul the Great Catholic University where I made some great friends, graduated with high honours, got the Artistic Visionary award for the class of 2014, and started Tomics not long after.
At college, I anonymously drew cartoons on whiteboards around the school. A friend found out that it was me and dubbed the mysterious cartoons “Tomics”. After graduating, another friend, Matt, asked if I’d like to contribute weekly cartoons to The Catholic Fellows, a young-Catholic-focused blog he was starting with several writers. I used the name Tomics (written as “†omics”) for the Catholic-focused cartoons, and they launched in February of 2015.
When the blog writers broke away one by one, it was down to just me and Matt. From the ashes of The Catholic Fellows rose Tomics, and it was good. In 2016 we published our first book, and in 2017, our second book that included cartoons from myself and other cartoonists.
I do have confidence in my work, but not because I think I’m good. My confidence comes from the fact that I love what I do and know that the more I do it, the better I’ll get. It’s basically the textbook definition of a win-win situation.
A few things occupy my time by necessity, but when I have free time to spend as I choose, I make Tomics my top priority. I dedicate as much time as I can to writing jokes and drawing cartoons. I try to draw for at least a few hours every day, but it varies. Some days I can’t find any time at all, but some days I spend 16 hours drawing and almost forget to eat. Once I get started, I get into a groove so I don’t want to stop.
I draw several comics at a time, so I break up my work into stages. First, I check the scheduled readings and feast days for the upcoming month that the cartoons will release in, to try and get inspiration. If nothing inspires me, I’ll make up something from scratch (like the “Young Jesus and John” comics).
Second, I pace around my work area for as long as it takes for me to work out enough jokes for the cartoons I need. Third, I write down each joke in a text document where I can easily fine-tune the wording and grammar and pacing. This all takes place before I draw anything.
It takes about four hours per comic from conception to completion, depending on how much writing is involved.
If I’m having a lot of trouble coming up with cartoons, I’ll take some time to pray in church. During the peace and quiet I almost always figure something out. I like to hope that’s God helping, but some people who are less thrilled with my sense of humour might insist other forces are at play.