The Lake District National Park is England’s largest covering 229,200 hectares of land with 16 large lakes and more than 200 fells.
Beatrix Potter, Alfred Heaton Cooper, Arthur Ransome, JMW Turner, and William Wordsworth were just a few of the famous names inspired by the iconic landscape, producing celebrated stories, art and poetry. Now, a group of internationally-acclaimed comic artists, most guests of this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival have provided a modern day view of the Lake District.
Bill Morrison, Sean Phillips, the first comics laureate Dave Gibbons, Bryan Talbot, Jonathan Edwards, Steven Appleby and Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre have all provided artworks for a series of work titled “Wish You Were Here – Postcards from the Edge of Reality”.
The leading illustrators have donated all the artwork to support the Festival, which is not for profit and the charity Comics Literary Awareness (CLAw).
The original artwork will be auctioned in London later this year as part of a bigger auction of comic art. The proceeds from the postcard auction will go to CLAw – whose mission is to dramatically improve the literacy of children through the medium of comics and graphic novels.
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is the only festival of its kind in the UK. Modeled on European-style festivals, it takes over the whole town of Kendal for a weekend with events, talks, cinema, live draws, exhibitions, a family zone, marketplace and the chance to see these leading comic creators at work.
The festival celebrates the whole spectrum of comic art, inspiring existing comic fans and generating new audiences and creators too. It invests in creators through a commissioning programme and has an emphasis on developing international collaborations.
Steven Appleby, an absurdist creator of comic strips for newspapers including The Guardian and The Times, said that his postcard was inspired by Arthur Ransome’s much-loved book Swallows and Amazons.
He said: “My postcard is a thank you to Arthur Ransom for the pleasure and inspiration his Swallows and Amazons books gave me when I was growing up. I got lost in the books as a child and have reread them many times since. They made me aware for the first time that it’s possible to rename and reimagine the world – and then step into it.”
Director of LICAF, Julie Tait, said: “The Festival brings together internationally renowned comic artists in a world class landscape hoping to inspire future generations of creators and readers. The postcard project, in a snapshot, aims to show the versatility and accessibility of comic art.”
Check out the other postcards in the range below, which will be distributed locally and available at the Festival itself in October.
• Tickets for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival are on sale now from the Brewery Arts Festival – Book Now
• Check out a digital version of the 2015 Lakes International Comic Art Festival Programme here
• For the latest news on the 2015 Lakes International Comic Art Festival visit: www.comicartfestival.com
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• The Lake Artists Society: a society of fine artists based in the English Lake District. It was founded in 1904 largely on the initiative of W. G. Collingwood, the well known artist, local historian and secretary to John Ruskin, to promote the work of its members.
“I was delighted to take part in a project with such a great group of artists,” says designer Jonathan Edwards, creator of the LICAF mascot, Poblin, with Lousie Evans aka Felt Mistress, “and have the opportunity to reinterpret such iconic scenery”.
LICAF patron, illustrator and Eisner Award-winning artist Sean Phillips take on the Lakes. His comics credits include The Fade Out with Ed Brubaker along with titles such as Criminal and Incognito. He has also co-ordinated Phono+Graphic, a special exhibition of comic-related pop art for this year’s Festival.
Sarah McIntyre makes picture books and comics with two other artists (Gary Northfield and Elissa Elwick) in an old police station – complete with jail cells! – in Deptford, south London. She’s currently working on her third highly illustrated chapter book with Philip Reeve.
LICAF patron Bryan Talbot – best known for his graphic novel series Grandville, Britain’s first graphic novel saga, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, Alice in Sunderland and the COSTA Award-winning story Dotter of His Father’s Eyes (with Mary Talbot), pokes fun at the Festival’s mascots in his art.
“A great set of postcards by a great group of artists,” he enthuses of the project. “An instant collectors’ item!”
“My characters Roswell and Julienne Fryes come from the postwar 1940’s,” says Simpsons and Futurama artist Bill Morrison, “an era when people sent “Wish You Were Here!” postcards to their loved ones as a matter of routine whenever they went on trips. I was delighted when the festival folk asked me to participate in this reinvigoration of that vanishing tradition!”