Toronto Comic Art Festival confirms Lakes Festival guests, adds Estelle Bachelard and Samuel LeBlanc

Darwyn Cooke

Darwyn Cooke. Photo courtesy the artist

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival has announced the outline of its 2015 trips to England and Japan, to exhibit at festivals in both countries and fulfil their mandate of promoting Canadian comics culture on the world stage. As we previously reported, TCAF have partnered with the Lakes International Comic Art Festival to bring a number of creators to the UK, including Darwyn Cooke and Kathryn and Stuart Immonen. Now, two new creators, Estelle Bachelard and Samuel LeBlanc, have been added to the mix thanks to backing from Soaring Penguin Press.

TCAF staff have visited the Lakes Festival in Kendal in previous years and seen the event grow and offer a more ambitious programme each year. On visiting again last year, it was agreed that TCAF and LICAF would enter a partnership where each event exhibited at the other, bringing notable cartoonists from their home country and multiple examples of that countries’ comics culture.

The first half of the exchange was recently successfully completed, with LICAF’s “It’s Nice Out” exhibition at TCAF 2015 this past May. It featured a display of artwork, a selection of comics for sale and given away, a display of sculpture related to the festival, film screenings, live drawing, and the participation of cartoonists Dan Berry, Joe Decie, Oliver East, Jonathan Edwards, Hunt Emmerson, Felt Mistress, David Gaffney in the general Festival programme, alongside LICAF Staff Aileen McEvoy, Matt Burke, and Festival Director Julie Tait.

TCAF will be officially exhibiting at LICAF 2015 on October 16th – 18th, as the “Canadian Pavillion”, located in Shakespeare House in Kendal. “TCAF’s mandate is the promotion of Canadian comics, and to that end it will set up as representatives of both its own festival and Canadian comics in general,” notes Christopher Butcher, Director of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. “It will be represented by myself, Managing Director Miles Baker, and Programming Coordinator Andrew Woodrow Butcher. A wide variety of Canadian comics and art will be on hand for display and purchase, in both official languages, including a selection of TCAF-related art and merchandise.

Estelle Bachelard - Self Portrait

Estelle Bachelard – Self Portrait

As part of its commitment to building audiences for Canadian creators internationally, TCAF will welcome creators Kate Beaton (Hark, A Vagrant), Darwyn Cooke (Parker), Michael DeForge (Lose), Kathryn Immonen (Russian Olive to Red King), Stuart Immonen (Russian Olive To Red King), and Seth (Palookaville), and additionally publisher Soaring Penguin Press will be bringing Canadian cartoonists Estelle Bachelard, aka Bach (It’s Hard To Be A Girl), and Samuel Leblanc (Perfume of Lilac).

In addition, TCAF is offering free exhibition space in its pavilion to any Canadian comics artist who has previously exhibited at TCAF. They will also be helping book flights and accommodations, and helping integrate you into festival special events.

“There’s a real value to cartoonists developing their career on the international stage, building an audience around the world.,” says Christopher of the project on the TCAF web site. “By exhibiting in England, we create opportunities around publishing, exhibition, and audience for Canadian artists and publishers. It’s within our mandate and our financial abilities to provide exhibition space for free at these events, and so we do!

Estelle Bachelard (aka Bach) is based in Quebec and works as in illustrator in the video games industry. She published her first comic in 2012 and her first graphic novel, It’s Hard to Be a Girl was first released in French in 2014 and Soaring Oenguin Press will relaase it in English in November.  Armed with a great sense of humour, superb observational skills, and good dose of self-mockery – she uses this to inspire her comics on everyday life, which can be seen on her very popular Facebook page, Bach Illustrations. She also has a great love for jujubes and tea!

Samuel LeBlanc - Self PortraitSamuel Leblanc created his first comic at the age of 13, and has since had his comics appear in university magazines like Vestibulles and Artichoke. He studied graphic desgn at the University of Quebec where his won the Lux Student Animation Prize in 2010. He has been a designer for companies such as Fidel, Sid Lee, and Nurun. He now works at Ubisoft. Perfume of Lilacs, originally published 2010, is his first graphic novel and was nominated for the Bédéis Causa – Réal-Fillion Prize in 2011. Soaring Penguin will release a new edition in November.

• Much of the programming for the Canadian guests of LICAF has already been announced, and tickets are now available. Visit for details

• If you are a Canadian comics creator interested in joining us for the Lakes Festival, please e-mail TCAF at by 30th June 30th 2015, in order for them to make the appropriate requests for accommodations bookings at the event. There’s a Q&A and information on TCAF’s plans for the Lakes visit here on their official web site

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