Continuing its efforts to invest in and promote the comics form, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival has a new project in the works. For 2015, they’re working with Joe Decie, one of the artists who took part in the event’s hugely successful 24 Hour Comics Marathon.
Joe is the author of The Listening Agent and The Accidental Salad from Blank Slate Books and Pocket Full of Coffee from Retrofit Comics and this new project is titled Collecting Sticks, which he says “is shaping up to be bigger and better than anything I’ve yet”.
“A while back, Julie Tait from the LICAF festival approached me to see if the festival could help support my work,” Joe explains, “in a way that would let me experiment or develop my practice. Essentially the festival has funded me to work full time on my comics for a short while.”
As we’ve previously reported. as well as running its annual Festival in Kendal, held last month, LICAF has also supported numerous comic initiatives, including backing for Oliver East’s ambitious Homesick Truant’s Cumbrian Yarn project, some of which is being exhibited at the Beach Hut Gallery at Kents Bank Station.
Joe’s usual method of work is to draw a one page comic and immediately post that comic online, exposing it to public praise or critique instantly. “It’s a method I enjoy and flow and pace I’m used to,” he says. “However it’s a bit comfortable, and I’m eager to get better at story telling and try new things.
“Quite a while back I put out my longest story to date Pocket Full of Coffee published by Box Brown’s Retrofit, people seemed to like it and it sold out quick sharp. Then, just recently I produced a 24 page comic at the LICAF festival, and it worked, the story was good.
“So expanding upon this I’ve started to work my new book Collecting Sticks, which is shaping up to be bigger and better than anything I’ve yet done. It’s more ambitious and quite daunting, but I’m having fun with it, playing with pace and flow.”
“It’s still a comic about me and my family,” Joe explains, revealing it continues themes he’s previously addressed in his work. “It’s still full of lies, no change there. It’s a long form work, I don’t know how long, more than 60 pages.
“Whether working on this scale will work for me, we’ll have to see. So far, so good. I’m enjoying the ride.”
Once the project is complete Joe will look at getting the book published (if you’re a publisher already familiar with his work, then interested in seeing a work in progress, drop me a line via his official site: www.joedecie.com).
The funding also means Joe will be able to do other work around the project, including what he tantalisingly hints at is “something ace” for next year’s Lakes Festival – an event he thoroughly enjoyed this year.
“Usually at comics festivals I spend the majority of my time selling and signing, but at Kendal I made sure to check out some of the events,” he told downthetubes. “I mean, there was no way I was going to miss an opportunity to see Joost Swarte creating his characters.
“The programming seemed diverse and, for me, a great balance between superhero, indie, child friendly and alternative comics. The talks and live drawing shows were relaxed and informal but also incredibly well organised (Nicola Streeten interviewing Boulet, Mark Buckingham, Dave Gibbons and Emma Vieceli live drawing being a great example) I had a great time. I liked the setting too, I only got lost in the hills once, and only for two hours.”
• Find out more about the Lakes International Comic Art Festival: www.comicartfestival.com