Guests Of Honor


Lauren Panepinto

After 17 years designing and art directing book covers, Lauren Panepinto has worked in every publishing genre and collaborated with artists of all disciplines. As the Creative Director of the Orbit Books division of Hachette Books for the past ten years, she has been developing covers in Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Thrillers. She has designed bestselling covers for Iain Banks, Mira Grant, James S. A. Corey, Brent Weeks, and Margaret Atwood, among many others.

 Not content to just design covers, Lauren has written about science fiction and fantasy art for ImagineFX magazine,,, and as a columnist at Muddy Colors. Her latest essay appears as an intro to the book Women of Wonder: Celebrating Women Creators of Fantastic Art. Lauren has been very active in the role of art business education, not only at a panelist, presenter, and portfolio reviewer at SDCC, NYCC, Spectrum, and Illuxcon, but also as a founding member of the Art Business Education group Drawn & Drafted, which offers educational material at She is an adjunct professor in the graduate program at NYU. She is a frequent art competition judge, most recently for the Society of Illustrators, Infected by Art, and others. She is also the cofounder of the online art gallery

 Lauren graduated from The School of Visual Arts with a degree in Graphic Design and Advertising. She has worked in fashion (Perry Ellis), television (MTV), and for boutique design firms, but found her true calling in book publishing. She has worked at St. Martin's Press/Picador Books, at Doubleday/Random House, and was recently made a Vice President at the Hachette Book Group.

Click here to learn more about Lauren Panepinto.


Chris Oatley

Chris has contributed artistically to various animated films, television shows, video games and music videos for companies such as Disney, Universal, Hasbro, Electronic Arts, Activision and Geffen Records.

Chris is currently the Executive Director of the Oatley Academy and runs one to the worlds most successful artist’s podcasts called The Oatley Academy Artcast.

Click here to learn more about Chris Oatley.


Dave Palumbo

Dave Palumbo is a freelance illustrator and fine artist. He has provided genre themed artwork for everything from book covers and collectible card games to advertisements and concept design. His work has received multiple honors including several Spectrum medals and a Chesley award and has shown in galleries and exhibitions from New York to Paris.

David Palumbo is represented by Richard Solomon Artist's Representative

Past clients include:

Ace Books, Blizzard Entertainment, Centipede Press, Dark Horse Comics, Daw Books, Heavy Metal, Lucasfilm, Marvel Entertainment, The New Yorker, Night Shade Books, Pyr Books, Roadrunner Records, Rolling Stone Italia, Scholastic, Science Fiction Book Club, Scientific American, Simon and Schuster, Subterranean Press, Tor Books, VH1, and Wizards of the Coast.

Click here to learn more about Dave Palumbo.


Neilson Carlin

Neilson completed his undergraduate training at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, receiving a BFA in illustration. He concluded his formal studies privately under figure painter Michael Aviano, a pupil of the legendary instructor and illustrator Frank J. Reilly. Through Aviano, Neilson traces his instructional lineage directly to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of 19th century France.

Neilson specializes in commissioned sacred and devotional art. After years of working in the commercial and gallery art markets, a conversion to Catholicism prompted him to commit his talents and career to serving the Church. He was one of just four artists commissioned to adorn the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI. This 14-month long project culminated in the execution of four, 11’ x 4.5’ multi-figure paintings of Catholic Saints Gianna Molla, Peregrine Laziosi, Therese of Lisieux and Blessed Father Miguel Pro. Other clients include The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City, MO, The St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, MN, Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church in Buckingham, PA, Epiphany Roman Catholic Church in Normal, IL, and St. Rocco’s Roman Catholic Church in Avondale, PA.

In addition to his commission work, he has taught drawing, painting, and composition for more than fifteen years at Studio Rilievo School of Painting in Kennett Square, PA. Through Studio Rilievo, he is training the next generation of artists in the representational tradition.

His work has been exhibited all over the world and in major publications.

Click here to learn more about Neilson Carlin.


Crystal Sully

Crystal Sully is a monster maker who lives in the beautiful state of Colorado with a husband, some cats, miniature donkeys, and a dingo. She graduated from Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design with a bachelor’s degree in fine art specifically in illustration. She currently does creature art and illustration within the gaming, film and publishing industries when she’s not busy taming dragons.

Some of the properties Crystal has worked on include:

  • Elder Scrolls

  • Pathfinder

  • The Dragon Lords Book Series

  • Paladins

  • Heroes of Newerth

  • Dragon Age RPG

  • Open Legend RPG

  • Escape the Night Youtube Red Series

  • Orcs Must Die!

  • Aethera

  • Shattered

  • The Gods War

  • Lord of the Rings TCG

  • Call of Cthulhu

  • Fury of Dracula

  • Talisman

Click here to learn more about Crystal Sully.


Jon Sideriadis

Jon has been an active freelance illustrator, author, and adjunct professor for fifteen years.  His specialty is mythological art and storytelling.  He teaches Intro to Illustration, Illustration I, Concept Art, World Building, and Digital Painting at Lyme Academy.  His work has been published in film, television, video games, novels, comics, album art, board games, and trading cards. His work is displayed in solo and group shows throughout the country, he is represented by Haven Gallery in New York, and he is internationally acclaimed in the illustration field. He is often invited as a Guest of Honor to illustration conventions and exhibits work with the finest fantasy and science fiction illustrators in the business.

Jon is the Art Director of the Spartan Museum of Art. He is also currently writing and illustrating an original mythology series called Astromythos. He received his bachelor’s degree in illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design, and his master’s at the Hartford Art School’s Illustration MFA Program.

To learn more about Jon Sideriadis click here.


Carl Potts

For most of his 13 years at Marvel Comics, Carl Potts was an Executive Editor, overseeing 1/3 of Marvel's publications.

Carl discovered and mentored prodigious talents such as Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Scott Williams, Art Adams, Larry Stroman and Jon Bogdanov. His creative discoveries include June Brigman and Mike Mignola. When he should have been sleeping, Carl wrote and drew comics, covers, and posters for Marvel. Among Carl's projects was a celebrated run as writer/layout artist on Punisher War Journal and his writing on Venom, Prowler, and Shadow masters. He created Alien Legion and was creator/artist on the Last of the Dragons graphic novel. The Alien Legion screenplay Carl wrote was bought by Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

Carl is currently developing his Last of the Dragons graphic novel as a TV series. Carl has given his seminar on sequential visual storytelling at Pixar, The Society of Illustrators, Blizzard, Blue Sky, LucasArts, Syracuse Univ., Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), SUNY Purchase, NYU, FIT, Ogilvy & Mather and Psyop. He teaches in NYC at School of Visual Arts and online for Academy of Art University. In October 2013, Carl's book, The DC Comics Guide to Creating Comics: Inside the Art of Visual Storytelling was published by DC/Watson-Guptill (Random House).


Mark Morales

A graduate of the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in NYC, Mark’s work as a professional inker has brought him national recognition working for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Dark Horse, Image, and Chaos.  He has worked on such titles as Justice League, New Avengers, Siege, and Batman/Superman, to name a few, and his work on Thor brought him a nomination for the prestigious 2009 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards in the category of Best Penciler/Inker or Penciler/Inker Team (Marvel).   

Click here to learn more about Mark Morales.


Dani Hedlund

After the publication of her first novel at the age of eighteen, Dani Hedlund founded the international literary nonprofit Brink Literacy Project (formerly Tethered by Letters). Over the course of the last decade, Brink has grown into one of the largest independently-funded literary nonprofits in the nation, with bases across the US, UK, and Southeast Asia. She is also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of F(r)iction, an art and literary collection specializing in boundary-defying work. Since its inception in 2015, F(r)iction has risen to critical acclaim, becoming one of the fastest growing literary journals in the world. In her ever-elusive free time, Dani lectures about the ins and outs of the publishing industry, writes very weird fiction, and runs a strange little board game company called Bad Hipster Games.

Click here to learn more about Dani Hedlund and Brinklit.


Seth Polansky

SETH C. POLANSKY‘s concentrations lie in contracts, intellectual property, and start-ups. He founded the professional firm Seth Polansky LLC in 2005. Through both this firm and his corporate experience, he has enjoyed a diverse and rewarding practice.

As an adviser and counselor to business, he has repeatedly negotiated successful outcomes with domestic and international entities – including the US government, UK government and multiple state agencies.

He has counseled small businesses and artists in securing copyright, trademark and other intellectual property protection, and aided them in navigating contracts.

He has helped countless families by securing their peace of mind through wills, trusts and prenuptial agreements, and has offered assistance with disputes.


Jon Schindehette

Jon Schindehette is an industry veteran with over 30 years of experience under his belt and has worked with a wide array of gaming, toy and media companies. Currently, he is the Studio Art Director at Dire Wolf Digital gaming company in Denver, CO and is the founding member of ArtOrder llc, a publishing company that specializes in products that celebrate creatives and offer profit sharing business models. Jon has been a mentor and educator in the creative industry for many years and delights in sharing his experience and knowledge with fellow creatives so that they can grow their skills, diversify their income channels and fulfill their passions for creating amazing and impactful works.

Click here to learn more about Jon Schindehette



John Wellington was born on January 8, 1961 in Santa Monica, California. He has lived in France, Italy, and New York City where he currently resides. John received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1983 and his MFA at The New York Academy of Art in 1990.

From 1985 through 1993 John Wellington worked as a colorist primarily for Marvel Comics, painting a number of graphic novels such as the Moebius/Stan Lee Silver Surfer, and coloring numerous monthly titles.

John Wellington has taught traditional painting techniques at The New York Academy of Art and privately in his atelier for two decades. He also lectures and teaches painting workshops across the county and runs an en plein air workshop in Paris every summer. His paintings have been in numerous exhibitions and art fairs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and Paris. 


Piya Wannachaiwong

A successful Philadelphia based illustrator and instructor at the Moore College of Art and Design. Piya’s client’s include:








Click here to learn more about Piya Wannachaiwong.


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