All-ages Family Fun ahead at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival

LICAF 2018 - Family Zone Montage-M

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has some big plans for family fun at this year’s weekend-long celebration of all things comic related, working hand in hand with the team at Westmorland Shopping Centre in Kendal to deliver some full-on creative craziness.

Drawing challenges, comics workshops, face painting and more are all part of the exciting Family Zone line up of free events at the shopping centre, taking place on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th October at this year’s Festival.

“We’ve had many calls to bring back U Draw, We Draw and we are delighted to do so,” says Festival director Julie Tait.

“U Draw, We Draw will be the centrepiece of the Family Zone at Westmorland Shopping Centre this year and will be devised and supervised by the fabulous Robert Deas, a regular artist on the brilliant Phoenix comic, with the equally fabulous Ilya. Come and challenge comic artists from across the world and let them challenge you!”

U Draw, We Draw, part of the national Big Draw Festival 2018, is suitable for all ages and all materials will be provided.

You’ll also be able to have your face painted by Bunny & Chip, make masks and headdresses, dress up and be photographed in life-sized picture frames and colour-in templates donated by some of the famous comic artists coming to the Festival.

Westmorland Shopping Centre Manager, Peter Gaynor said “We are really looking forward to this year’s Comic Art Festival and are delighted to be hosting the Family Zone in the centre.

“It’s great to see so much fun, free activity taking place for young people and we can’t wait to see the budding young artists in action.”

Create your own

Create your own “Somnic” character with Deborah Tate

Close to the Centre, Kendal Library will again open its doors to young creators, offering a number of workshops, including “Create Your Own Mythical Pet” for 7-9 year-olds with Ottilie Hainsworth, author of the fabulous Talking to Gina, offering the chance to create your own peculiar creature or daemon (animal spirit guide), using a mixture of collage, drawing and writing, then drawing a cartoon of your adventures together.

Japanese children’s picture book author and illustrator Satoshi Kitamura, the creator of over 50 children’s books, will be bringing his silver suitcase full of characters, cartoons, stories, and Japanese contraptions to share with young visitors to LICAF.

Deborah Tate, who was editor of Sonic the Comic, will also be challenging fans to invent their own, Sonic-inspired character, whatever gender, in a fun, participatory workshop, suitable for all ages.

Families are also course also entitled to free entry to the lively Comics Clock Tower and other venues in the town centre, where they can meet and greet comic creators from across the globe visiting the Lakeland town.

They’ll also be able to enjoy the sights of the annual “Windows Trail“, this year bigger than ever, where many local businesses turn their store fronts over to a wide range of local school children and children’s groups, working with a host of artists, to bring a comical take to Kendal’s streets.

A number of tickets film screenings suitable for all ages, including The Simpsons Movie, introduced by its director, David Silverman, are also part of the programme.

“It will be organised mayhem” says Suzie Hayman, one of the team behind the Westmorland Shopping Centre’s Family Zone offer. “Last year we had kids, mums and dads all drawing and colouring, gluing and sticking, cutting and pasting the most inspiring amount of art and crafts. I have no doubt this year will be even better!”

“We’re determined this year’s Family Zone offer is our biggest and best yet,” says Julie Tait. “There will be plenty for kids to see and enjoy – of all ages!”

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is the only one of its kind in the UK, taking place in one of the country’s most beautiful areas – the English Lake District, in the market town of Kendal. Modelled on European-style festivals, such as Angoulême in France, it takes over the whole town for a weekend of comic art. Its aim is to celebrate the whole spectrum of comic art, inspiring existing comic art fans and creators and, it hopes, generating new audiences and creators too. It invests in creators through a commissioning programme and has an emphasis on developing international collaborations.

• Tickets for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, running Friday 12th – Sunday 14th October 2018 in Kendal at various venues across the town, are on sale now from the event’s web site.

• Web: www.comicartfestival.com | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Podcast 

LICAF 2018 - Family Zone BannerFestival Guest Spotlight

Robert Deas - Trailblazers

Robert Deas is an award-winning UK comic artist and the creator of children’s Sci-Fi series Troy Trailblazer (recently rebooted as TRAILBLAZERS) for The Phoenix Comic.

Troy’s first graphic novel, Troy Trailblazer and the Horde Queen was the winner of the 2016 Stan Lee Excelsior Award Junior, voted for by young readers from over 200 schools across the UK.

Two more Trailblazers series, Call of the BioTeks and Edge of Existence have recently been released, as part of the Phoenix Colossal Comic Collection, in March.

As well as his creator led material, Robert has also worked extensively with Medikidz, a publisher specialising in medical comic books that explain illnesses to children using a team of young superheroes that travel inside the human body.

Robert’s early career was characterised by a string of graphic novel adaptations of literary classics such as Manga Shakespeare: Macbeth and Pride & Prejudice for SelfMadeHero.

Other clients include Disney, IDW, The Book Trust, Rubicon Canada and First Media.

Art by Satoshi Kitamura

Satoshi Kitamura was born in 1956 in Tokyo After dropping out of school to pursue art, Kitamura decided not to attempt a 10-year apprenticeship as a potter and instead worked as a graphic artist.

He was not trained as an artist, but at the age of 19 began to do commercial work as an illustrator for adverts and magazines.

He moved from Tokyo to London in 1979 where he worked mainly at designing greeting cards. More than twenty publishers declined his work until Klaus Flugge of Andersen Press asked him to illustrate Angry Arthur in 1981 after he had an exhibition of his work at the Neal Street Gallery in Covent Garden.

Since then he has published more than 20 of his own books, as well as illustrating many more.

He says that when he was young he read comics and admits that these have had a great influence on his style. He refers to Kamishibai as an early influence, as well as the story of Heinrich Schliemann told by a primary school teacher.

His work is known for quirky perspectives, brilliant watercolours, attention to detail and unique characters and for regularly including animals or animal characters, most frequently cats. Boots the cat is a recurring Satoshi Kitamura character featuring in two board books and The Comic Adventures of Boots, a picture book whose style is reminiscent of graphic novels and comics.

Regular collaborators include Hiawyn Oram, Roger McGough and John Agard. Satoshi Kitamura worked with Colin McNaughton to create Once Upon an Ordinary School Day, published in 2004, Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing was adapted into an animation series that screened on the BBC and also sold to overseas markets.

In 2009 he left London and returned to Japan to care for his parents, but continues to travel and work for publishers across the globe. Apart from writing and illustrating children’s books, Satoshi has been commissioned for various projects including Tokyo Underground posters, signage at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and designing stationery. He also translates David McKee’s Elmer the Patchwork Elephant series for the Japanese market.

Art by Ottilie Hainsworth

Ottilie Hainsworth is an artist and educator living in Brighton, where she runs a course called “Graphic Novels and Real Life Stories”.

She studied illustration at Glasgow School of Art and at the Royal College of Art. She contributed as artist and writer to Brighton: The Graphic Novel and draws a full-colour diary of her everyday life.

Her first graphic novel, Talking to Gina, was published by Myriad in September 2017.

• Tickets for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, running Friday 12th – Sunday 14th October 2018 in Kendal at various venues across the town, are on sale now from the event’s web site.

• Web: www.comicartfestival.com | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Podcast 

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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