Paul Combs is a classically trained artist, award-winning illustrator, and firefighter/EMT. This unlikely combination has made Paul one of the most compelling and distinctive illustrators in America today.

Paul burst onto the scene with a refreshing new style that married classical realism, manic energy, and a zany imagination for caricatures.

His editorial cartoons are nationally syndicated by Tribune Media Services, he illustrates for numerous magazines, and contributes fire service cartoons to Fire Engineering Magazines.

Paul is an eighteen year fire service veteran in N.W. Ohio where he lives with his wife, daughter, and their very narcissistic cat.


Jason Opat graduated from high school in Bennington, KS then enrolled in Bethany College. He had no idea he'd someday own his own media company, let alone work in Hollywood on many feature films. He received a degree in Sociology with a minor in Criminal Justice. While taking film appreciation courses Jason developed his interest in filmmaking.

In 1996 he moved to Wichita and began working for a computer company selling Apple computer components. As it turned out many Hollywood studios use Apple computer systems and being an "Apple Developer" provided him with an introduction to Hollywood studio executives.

Jason went on to form his own Wichita based video and media company. Rule Productions began producing local projects and motion graphics for select Hollywood films. He changed the name to Integrated Media Group, and became a managing partner. The Integrated Media Group has developed animated graphics for such movies as "Iron Man," "Spiderman 3," "Transformers," "RV," and the list goes on even to the thriller "Eagle Eye."


Tom Bancroft has almost 25 years of experience in the animation industry, most of which was for Walt Disney Feature animation where he was an animator for 11 years. He has been nominated for Annie and Rueben awards, spoken at the Kennedy Center and awarded an entry into the Chicago Children's Film Festival.

While at Disney, he had the opportunity to contribute animation on 10 animated feature films, 5 animated shorts, and numerous special projects and commercials. Some of the classic films include, "Beauty and the Beast," "The Lion King," "Aladdin," "Mulan," and "Brother Bear." He was also a character designer and director for Big Idea Entertainment, makers of the family-friendly "Veggietales" video series.

In 2005, he had his popular art instruction book, "Creating Characters with Personality" published by Watson-Guptill Publishers. With "guest" contributors like Glen Keane, Jack Davis, Peter de'Seve, and Butch Hartman, it has already become the most recognized book on designing characters for animation, video games, comic books, and cartooning. It has become a required textbook at many art schools around the United States. His second book, "Character Mentor" came out April 2012 from Focal Press.

Bancroft co-founded Funnypages Productions, LLC and ran it for eight years. Throughout that time and now, he has provided direction, art direction, illustration, character design and animation development for clients like Disney Feature films, Disney Licensing, DC comic, Marvel Licensing, Big Idea Entertainment, Warner Brothers, CBN, Scholastic, NavPress, Thomas Nelson, and Zondervan. He has also illustrated over 50 children's books. Recently, he provided character art and art direction to help launch the popular kid's educational website Bancroft and his family reside in Franklin, Tennessee.


Rick Stromoski is a liberal American cartoonist whose work includes the comic strips The Mullets and Soup to Nutz. He became the first cartoonist to win twice the National Cartoonist Society Greeting Card Award in 1995 and 1998. He's also won the Gag Cartoon Award in 1999, and was nominated for their Book and Illustration Award for 1999.

updated 6/17/2015

Toonfest Alumni

Bill Brewer
Paul Fell
Leslies Iwerks (film maker)
Alex Maher (Disney Sr. Artist)
Mike Peters

Mort Walker
Glenn McCoy
Gary McCoy
Bill Amend

Brad Anderson
Michael Broggie (Disney Author)
Pete Docter
Greg Evans
Tom Wilson Jr.

Tony Baxter (VP Disney Imagineering)
Jim Borgman
Tom Richmond
Charles Solomon (Film Historian)

Chris Browne
Lynn Johnston
Dan Piraro
Mike Peters

Jay Jackson
Scott Pope
Ann Telnaes

Dave Coverly
Jan Elliot
Michael Jantze

Mark Fiore
Dave Mowder
Sam Viviano
Wiley Miller

Dr. Robin Allen (Disney Historian & Author)
Guy Gilchrist
Stan Goldburg
John Hambrock
Marcus Hamilton

Glenn McCoy
Lee Judge
Jeff Keane
Bill Whitehead

Paul Coker
C.F. Payne
Kelly McNutt
Bucky Jones

Sandra Bell-Lundy
Steve Kelley
Jeff Parker
Stephen Silver

Steve Artley
Eddie Pittman
Hilary Price
Bill Hinds
Guy Gilchrist