Naomi VanDoren: Gen Con 2021’s Program Book Cover Artist

We caught up with Naomi VanDoren, this year’s program book cover artist, and asked about what inspired the piece, what she’s looking forward to at Gen Con, and all the awesome things she’s bringing to her booth this year!

Naomi’s artwork for this year’s Gen Con program book cover.

What inspired your work on this year’s Gen Con program book cover art?

For this year’s program cover, I wanted to create a piece that evoked a sense of wonder, and chose some of my favorite elements in fantasy — companionship, adventure, and wonder. I love painting characters in epic landscape settings and with the addition of Genevieve winging her way across the landscape, it could not be more fitting!

What’s it like to be an exhibiting artist at Gen Con?

Exhibiting as an artist at Gen Con is such a thrill. This year will be my fourth year exhibiting as an artist at Gen Con and I have to say it is one of the highlights of my year every time. Every year I feel there is such a warm reception on the exhibitor floor. I love seeing familiar faces year after year and getting to know the greater Gen Con community because of it.

What are you most looking forward to at Gen Con 2021?

Honestly, the familiar faces and meeting new ones. As an artist, I believe that my work isn’t complete until someone can enjoy it, and what better place than an exhibitor space at Gen Con! This is also my first show after over a year away from in-person events for me (I’m getting the excited butterflies just thinking about past Gen Con shows). During that time I’ve created a lot of new work that I cannot wait to show in person for the very first time.

Looking back over the past year – how has 2020 changed or influenced your aesthetic or creative working process?

For me, 2020 was a year of a lot of reflection. I spent a great deal of time outdoors whenever I could hiking around my local areas which influenced a lot of my paintings and writing. I also found myself leaning into the more experimental side of art, playing and just trying new things I might not have before. All in all, I feel like I’ve walked away with a stronger sense of what I want to continue creating — more adventure-inspired art and illustrated novels.

Are there any special upcoming appearances, releases, or prints you’re excited about?

This year I’ll be bringing with me the original watercolor painting I created for this year’s Gen Con program cover along with prints of it as well. I’m also showcasing for the very first time in-person my illustrated novel “Naiya and the Foxdragon.” It was released last year, and this is my first chance to showcase the novel in person. If you’re an adventurous sort that loves YA fantasy paired with a host of illustrations then I think you’ll definitely enjoy it.

What can attendees look forward to seeing at your booth this year?

In addition to a whole selection of prints and my new illustrated novel, I’m very excited to showcase a few new playmat designs, six yearly art books, artistic playing cards, tapestries, and a new and special Gen Con Pin Bazaar pin as well. I’m pulling out all the fun things I can think of to make this year’s show memorable and can’t wait to see everyone there!

Find out more about Naomi at

Jackie Miserany
Jackie Miserany

Senior Marketing Manager at Gen Con