Skip to main content
MAY 18-19, 2024
Virginia Beach Convention Center
May 18-19, 2024 • Virginia Beach Convention Center • VA Beach, VA


12PM Abstract Art Creative Contest with Chris Mariano and Harold Buchholz

No talent or art skills are required for this contest. Just come and create. All Abstract Art Contest entries can be anything and made by anyone. The artist with the most creative piece wins fantastic prizes and the paper Art Championship belt!


1PM Show & Toon: Max Meow with John Gallagher

John Gallagher, the author/artist of the heroically funny graphic novel series from Random House Graphic, Max Meow, teaches you how to draw characters from the hit series. John will discuss the creative process and the journey of Max Meow from first idea to finished book.


2PM Mash-Up Mania with Dawn Griffin

Artists of all ages are welcome to join cartoonist Dawn Griffin for this family fun drawing game of combining ideas. 


3PM Draw The Shape, Not The Thing with Nick Davis

The secret to drawing is one simple thing, draw the shape, not draw the thing. Using a series of simple shapes, Nick Davis will show you how to draw Hero Ted, the super-heroic teddy bear who protects naptime from the monsters. You can follow along with Nick with the supplied worksheet, and draw your very own superhero. Best superhero gets the Hero Ted demo art at the end of the session.


4PM Creative Character Design with Professor Bryan Tillman

Do you ever wonder where ideas for characters come from? Does something feel slightly off with your latest character creation? Professor Bryan Tillman will share his insight on how you can make your characters really stand out! 


12:30PM The Three Tier Toon with Mark Mariano

What kind of wacky character will be the result of three different artists combining their talents in these Three Tier Toons? We welcome everyone to draw and laugh! 


1PM The AaaaWoooooo Werewolf Workshop with Chris Flick

Have a howling good time as cartoonist, Chris Flick, shows you how to draw werewolves of all shapes and sizes.


2PM Draw A Little Dream with Chris Mariano and Todd Webb

Chris Mariano interviews kids and parents about their strangest dreams. Professional artists bring their dreams to life on the drawing board.

3PM Drawing Women of Wonder with Darren Soto

We all know strong women in our lives and in comics. In this session, Darren Soto will go through the fundamentals of drawing dynamic women and bringing more energy to your comic page. 



Mark Mariano is an award winning cartoonist and creative whirlwind that loves to tell stories through comics and picture books. His books include LOUD COW, PUDDLETON FARM, and FAR OUT FIREHOUSE. As proud organizer of the traveling Kids Love Comics pavilion for several comic conventions, Mark assembles the roster of super-talented artists, and creates the programming. Being an advocate of comics in the classroom, he enjoys visiting schools and sharing his love of art and storytelling.


Chris Mariano is the co-creator of the award winning children’s book, CLAIRE LOST HER BEAR AT THE WORLD’S FAIR. As a pop a culture archaeologist, Chris loves to study and research the history of old toys, movies, video games, amusement parks, and anything out of the ordinary. His love of pop culture and imagination was the foundation for his popular Web Series, THE CHRIS O>MATIC SHOW, which ran for 186 episodes. Chris’ enthusiasm for the arts is contagious when he dons the famous blue jacket and becomes the ringmaster and creative coach for family events and workshops at many comic conventions.


John Gallagher is the art director of the NWF’s “Ranger Rick” magazine, cofounder of “Kids Love Comics” (an organization that uses graphic novels to promote literacy), and leads workshops teaching kids how to create their own comics. John lives in Virginia with his wife and their three kids.


Nick Davis is an Englishman in the USA and the writer and occasional artist of the Night Guardians, the ongoing adventures of heroic kids and cuddly toys who bump back against the bumps in the night and their master, the Boogeyman.

Once upon a time in a green and pleasant land far, far away, Nick labored as a feature writer and production assistant on Games Workshops’ Monthly Hobby Magazine White Dwarf during the Paul ‘Fat Bloke’ Sawyer years with a small stint on the USA version of the magazine – it was a golden time and inspired Nick to create Alt World Studios, an independent creative voice for storytelling on the interwebs.

Post Games Workshop, Nick works as a digital web marketing architect, graphic designer, storyteller, and sometimes artist. Occasionally, he can be found plodding away on a worn out keyboard or attempting to draw or playing with Lego while he explores the tea-powered worlds of his imagination.

Adventures ahead!!!


Chris is a professional illustrator, cartoonist, caricaturist and UI/UX web and graphic designer working in the Washington, DC area.

In 2007, he created the webcomic Capes & Babes featuring Roy the Werewolf and has published five books on You can read all 1,100 strips at
Chris attends several conventions throughout the year where he primarily draws people as cartoon werewolves and other monsters, sells mash-up posters, coloring books, stickers and so much more. He also recently published a guide to tabling at conventions called “Conventional Wisdom”. You can also listen to him on the brand new Nerd Salad podcast wherever you download your podcasts from.


Dawn Griffin is a designer/illustrator/cartoonist specializing in kids and young adult material packed with witty adorable quirkiness and sprinkled with inclusive messaging. Her series of books include the all-ages sci-fi/humor comic “Zorphbert & Fred”, and the self-esteem kids book series “Abby’s Adventures” published under Eifrig Publishing. More recently she illustrated the successfully Kickstarted children’s book “Ida Finds her Voice”, which helps children and parents discuss tough topics together. She has also contributed to multiple anthologies such as “Team Cul de Sac” from Andrews McMeel Publishing, and “RISE: Comics Against Bullying” from Northwest Press. Her tagline “Creative Workhorse” may be an understatement. 


Bryan Tillman has been in higher education for 18 years and is currently an Associate Professor for Illustration at Montgomery College in Rockville Maryland. Bryan has a BFA and MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design, with a focus in sequential art and a minor in drawing.

Aside from being an educator, Bryan is the owner and CEO of the Kaiser Studio Productions LLC, a production studio for comics, toys, animation, and games that has been active in the industry for 22 years and has worked for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, Valiant Comics, UpperDeck, Cryptozoic, Rittenhouse, Lucas Films, Cartoon Network, Toys R Us, T.G.I. Fridays, Focal Press, FX, Miramax and Tandem Productions.

Bryan has published three instructional books; Creative Character Design for Focal Press, Creative Design vol. 2 for CRC Press and The 30 Day Pitch Bible for Kaiser Studio Productions and has also created and illustrated a tabletop RPG trading card game, Dark Legacy, which was acquired by UpperDeck.


Darren Soto aka The.Soto is a character designer from the DMV area. Using elements from anime and comics he has created a style all his own. Darren has worked on murals, comics, and illustrations for various companies and clients.


Todd Webb lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and their cat, where he draws the daily comic strip The Poet.

Besides cartooning, he is fond of the ocean, old monster movies, synthesizers, walking through his neighborhood at night, and the sound of a clicky pen clicking.

He also performs music as Seamonster and Oahu.

If you see him at a convention, he will draw a picture of YOU in CRAYON for ONE DOLLAR – a bargain if ever there was one.

He is always drawing.


Artist based out of Fredricksburg, VA specializing in Media Arts, Animation, Comic Books, Sequential Storytelling, and Character Design for Games and Cartoons.


Harold Buchholz is a long-time comics and entertainment veteran– a writer and executive producer of the cult sci-fi comedy TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Netflix, a podcast host of Unpacking Peanuts, exploring the masterful work of Charles M. Schulz from a cartoonist’s perspective, artist and writer of the comics series Sweetest Beasts on Instagram, a former Senior VP at the iconic Archie Comics and co-founder of the children’s literacy advocacy group Kids Love Comics.