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MAY 18-19, 2024
Virginia Beach Convention Center
May 18-19, 2024 • Virginia Beach Convention Center • VA Beach, VA

12PM Paper Bag Puppets with Chris Mariano and Harold Buchholz
We supply the paper bags and art supplies. You supply the imagination and voice when you create your own paper bag puppet! What will YOU create? We can’t wait to see!

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 How Comics are Created with Greg Burnham and Marcus Williams
Join the creative team behind the popular comic series, Tuskegee Heirs, for an inside look at how writers and artists work together to bring their ideas to life in the pages of comics.

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 Drawing Sketch Cards For Freelance Artists with Darren Soto and Chris Mariano
In this session, Darren Soto will go through the fundamentals of drawing sketch cards and show some of his design techniques utilizing well-known and beloved characters. He is the best person to offer advice on how to make your sketch cards stand out.
SUNDAY 11:30AM – 5PM

12:30PM The Great Mash-up Smash-up with Mark Mariano
What’s better than creating wacky characters by combining two ideas? Having those Mash-ups battle, and let the audience decide the winner!

1PM Art Celebration: Alien Invasion with Dawn Griffin
Watch out! The Aliens are invading! Artists of all ages are welcome to join cartoonist, Dawn Griffin for this cosmically fun workshop. Using simple shapes and inspiration from animals, artists will create their own awesome aliens.

2PM I Got Your Back Drawing Game with Chris Mariano You’re at the drawing board but your teammate has got your back! Can you draw the art that is being drawn on your back without knowing what it is? The team with the best matching art advances to the next round. You do NOT want to miss the finale of this ridiculous contest.

3PM Pokemon Go & Draw with Ben Pereira and Chris Mariano
Do you know them all? Join Art Way Alliance as Ben Pereira shows you how to draw some of your favorite Pokemon characters. From the original 151 to the new Scarlet and Violet starters. We will be exploring the shapes that make up these awesome characters. Participants may even get to create their own original creatures! Bring your Pokedex and creativity!
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.


Carolyn Belefski creates and publishes original comics and illustrations, including her comic strip Curls. She is artist of the comic books Black Magic Tales, French Fry Club, and The Legettes. Carolyn is a visual communicator, cartoonist, designer, and illustrator whose credits include work for The Obama Administration White House, Clorox, United States National Wildlife Federation, and many others. Carolyn has hosted workshops for Kids Love Comics, AIGA, United States National Archives, and more to teach others about comics and unlock creative abilities. Carolyn designs and produces wearable art such as bandanas, buttons, and enamel pins. She serves as Washington, DC chapter chair of the National Cartoonists Society. 

Joe Carabeo is an award-winning filmmaker, photographer, and writer. Throughout his career Joe has injected his style of characters, world building, and social commentary into films that have been played at many festivals. He’s also written comic books that have seen print around the country and has produced photography that has graced the pages of magazines of all formats and genres. Joe and Carolyn Belefski created “The Carolyn and Joe Show” one of the first and longest running podcasts hailing from Washington, DC area. Joe constantly aims to always be on the fringe, to zig when people zag, and to pour his guts on the table for people to see, because he believes that is true storytelling.  

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.


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

Greg Burnham is a writer based in Norcross, Georgia.  He and Marcus Williams are the duo behind the Tuskegee Heirs comic series, and two of Greg’s children’s books (Broken Glass and Grandpa’s Shoes). Greg has also written another comic series, The Search For Sadiqah, and a new Children’s book Swim, Kelly! Swim! A recent graduate of the DC Comics Milestone Initiative, Greg’s future in comics looks extremely bright!

A long time lover of video games, comic art, and all things animated, Marcus dedicated his young artistic years to fine tuning his illustration muscles by way of freelancing. Over eighteen plus years later, he’s catching his stride and still ever growing in hopes of being a well rounded illustrator.

Stationed in Atlanta Ga, he spends most of his time toiling away late nights on everything from illustrating comic art, fan art, children’s books, to random character commissions and more. A proud father of two, he somehow manages to steal enough time to create loads of artwork and check homework. He’s excited about the direction his comic properties are heading in, and looks forward to creating more forms of visual entertainment and stories to enjoy.


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.


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. 


Born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in the Washington DC Metro area, Arsia Rozegar always had a passion for heroes, mythology, and creativity.  For years, his professional work was seen on comic book pages as a Color Artist for titles such as Marvel’s Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk.  His most recent effort is as creator and author of the children’s books titled Shahnameh For Kids, an illustrated series retelling ancient Persian mythology from Ferdowsi’s 10th-century epic poem, The Shahnameh. Shahnameh For Kids brings Iran’s rich tales and legends to a brand new audience with colorful children’s books that anyone of any background can enjoy and appreciate.