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Meet Your Maker: Illustrator Tomas Quinones

Posted by on December 13th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Tomas Quinones at BikeCraft.
(Photo courtesy Tomas)

Every year at BikeCraft there’s one vendor that really raises my eyebrows and makes me think, “Wow, we’re seeing the launch of someone’s career! This is exciting!” This year I felt like that person was Tomas Quinones.

Out of nowhere (at least to me), Tomas launched Flying Snail Creations, a new company to publish his original illustrations. The product he brought to BikeCraft was “Bike Parade” — a kids coloring book full of animals pedaling whimsical bicycles. After buying one myself and seeing my girls devour it with crayons (which he very smartly sold too), I knew this book would be a hit. Turns out it was.

“At 35 years-old I finally admitted to myself that art is why I really want to do with myself.”

I think we’ll be hearing and seeing a lot more from Tomas in the months and years to come so I thought it’d be fun to share a bit more about him. Below is a short Q & A we did recently over email:

Who is Tomas Quinones?

“I’m originally from Madison Heights, MI but have been living in Portland for almost 7 years now. I learned to drive fast but slowed down to biking everywhere after going on a 7-day tour of Montana in 2001. It changed my life. Now I bike everywhere and help lead trips with Cycle Wild [a local non-profit]. At 35 years-old I finally admitted to myself that art is what I really want to do with my life.”

Is this the first illustration product you’ve put out? Do you draw full time (if not, what’s your day job)?

“I’ve drawn mini-comics and web-comics over 10 years ago, but never really got a good response from the public nor felt all that into it. But after getting laid-off in October — my third time in 6 years — I finally admitted to myself that I’m an artist at heart and have plunged head-first into Children’s Illustration and freelance illustration.

This is my first real product that seems to be doing well and may finally be my chance at making a living with my drawings.”

What inspired you to put animals on bikes?

“Animals seemed like a great fit since there are simply so many to choose from and pairing the different species to different bike was such a fun challenge.”

You debuted at BikeCraft; What has the response been?

“The response at BikeCraft was AMAZING. The e-mails, tweets, pictures of kids enjoying my book, and thank-you notes from parents have brought me to tears.”

What’s next for Flying Snail Creations?

“I’m currently working on trying to get the coloring book into more stores, an electronic version, then full-color and black & white calendars, more coloring books, children’s books and whatever I need to get out of my head. If I can continue getting a great response, then I can finally make this my full-time job.”

How can folks order the books?

“Right now, there are copies for sale at the Bikeasaurus store (1337 SE MLK Jr Blvd) and soon to be some other local shops. You can also order a copy from my website and soon there will be a digital version you can download and print all or just your favorite pages.”

Anything else you’d like to share?

“Thanks to all my supporters and fans, I’ll be doing my best to provide more original content. I’d love to hear all feedback – smile[at]flyingsnailcreations.com”

Meet other local, bike-inspired artisans in our Meet Your Maker archives.

See more of Tomas’s illustrations and follow his work at FlyingSnailCreations.com.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

19 Comments
  • Lillian Karabaic December 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    I’m so excited to see Tomas making a go at it with all that talent!

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  • matt picio December 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Awesome! I’ve been fortunate enough to see Tomas’ work since the early days, and it’s great to see his work receiving the attention it deserves – best of luck with this endeavor, Tomas!

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    • Carl December 14, 2011 at 10:22 am

      Oh yeah? I saw Thomas at La Luna in 1996. Back before he was big.
      Seriously though, great work Thomas. I’m so glad you’re really embracing this career. I’m also glad that you’ve created my new favorite go-to gift for young and/or creative friends. Thanks.

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    • Tomas Quinones December 14, 2011 at 6:45 pm

      Matt has seen my work evolve over the last 20 years.
      Thanks for being such a great friend!

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  • adventure! December 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Go Tomas!
    I sat next to him at Bike Craft this year. It was awesome to see all the attention he got!

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  • Mark Markovich December 13, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Been a fan of his for a while now. Glad to see he is getting some love.

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  • Jason Brune December 13, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Very cool and creative work.

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  • jim December 13, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Glad to see all those little bunnies have their helmets on. Would love to see a moose riding a tandem, or a wolf on a choper. How fun

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    • Tomas Quinones December 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      Thanks Jim, although I don’t wear a helmet 100% of the time, I do encourage kids to wear them. I’ve had my fair share of crashes.

      You’re not the only one to ask about a moose. I did have a moose on a freak bike for the book, but he just didn’t make the cut.

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  • Kristin Furian December 14, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I’ll be picking up a couple of Tomas’s coloring books for stocking stuffers! I’m happy to spend my hard earned cash for the value Tomas provides with his art.

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  • chrisgunn December 14, 2011 at 8:28 am

    yay! Ella loves her coloring book. Looking forward to the calendar!

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  • Jonathan Gordon December 14, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Go Tomas go! I picked up a coloring book at BikeCraft and will probably pick up a second for my other nephew. The illustrations are adorable!

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  • dsaxena December 14, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Yay! I bought two of his books, one for a gift to child and one for me to color myself!

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  • sorebore December 14, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Good work Tomas. This book was gifted to us for our child, and we are sure it will be a great part of Christmas morning!

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  • Sugata December 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Great Work Tomas! It is a joy to see your art. I hope it inspires kids to continue riding bicycles when they grow up.

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  • Tomas Quinones December 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Thanks for all the kind words, encouragement and support! This all means the world to me right now and I’ll do my best to keep up the work.

    Love, Luck and Lollipops!
    -Tomas

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    • Leda Daykin December 15, 2011 at 1:10 pm

      I’m so proud of you Tomas!!! I’m telling all my friends to get on your website and buy stuff! I love you and am sooo proud of you. You deserve the success! Your short, but older sister, Leda

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  • Steve B December 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Way to go, Tomas! Those illustrations are awesome.

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  • kj December 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    My coloring book is going to my niece in car-centric central coast CA… and she already likes bikes! =)

    So adorable the squirrels are my favorites!!!

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