This weekend, a world of comic art will return to Kendal for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. The family-friendly festival will take over the scenic town of Kendal, on the edge of the Lake District, for a weekend of events, activities and workshops for all ages.
The world of comic art is a diverse and spectacular place, bursting with creations that transport us to other dimensions and other worlds; and so the festival promises kick-ass superheroes, future worlds, fantastical creatures, zombies, crime fighters, politics, satire, documentary, comedy and manga.
This year’s quirky festival highlights will include the Viz 150 Character World Record Challenge, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Viz. Artists from the UK and US will be attempting to draw all 150 Viz characters in 50 minutes!
My Own Private Hell will see international artists, with a connection to the underworld, draw hell-inspired artwork live in front of the festival audience on the Saturday. And on Sunday, a Zombie Concert will see zombies brought to ‘life’ in a new performance featuring live drawing with The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard and internationally-renowned composer and musician Julien Limonne.
Other highlights will include a comic inspired Windows Trail, taking over Kendal town centre, with schools, businesses and artists collaborating in an outdoor street art exhibition.
The Smurfs at 60 exhibition will be celebrating one of the world’s most enduring comic creations. And Saturday will see the launch of Barking by artist Lucy Sullivan, a tale of grief, madness and the ghosts that haunt us all. Another launch at the festival will be Bryan and Mary Talbot’s latest graphic novel, Rain, following the everyday experiences of ordinary people experiencing the impact of climate change, flooding and pollution.
The Comics Clock Tower marketplace will once again be bursting with exhibitors, creatives and comic art publishers. And it’s free all weekend (and one of our favourite parts of the festival. You don’t have to be a fan of comics, there is genuinely something for everyone and the artists are so lovely).
For the festival weekend, the Studio Theatre at the Brewery Arts Centre will be transformed into fantasy RPG room, Enter the Festival Dungeon. And the From the Depths exhibition is a celebration of Duncan Fegredo’s acclaimed Hellboy artwork, at the Wildman Street Gallery (we’ve had a sneaky peek of this already and can recommend a look).
Elsewhere, Edward Taylor (of Whalley Range Allstars street theatre fame) will be showing his artwork at the Brewery Arts Centre and presenting his LICAF-commissioned comic and Kamishibai (Japanese paper theatre) performance of Godzilla vs the Fatberg at Kendal Library. Also at the library there will be an opportunity to make your own monster.
For adults, the Let’s Go Camping with Tom of Finland exhibition is a celebration of the work and influence of gay icon Tom of Finland at Cross Lane Projects (just tucked off the high street). It’s certainly a graphic eye-opener.
For younger festival visitors there will be a free family zone in the Westmorland Shopping Centre. Enjoy mask and badge making, face painting and comic strip drawing.
Finally, in the Next Frame, eight international artists will respond to the Abbot Hall Art Gallery collection. Artists will have a few hours each to create what they think would be the next frame to the artwork they have selected. The artwork will be on display alongside the original over Saturday and Sunday.
The festival weekend pass gives visitors access to all the main events on Saturday and Sunday. Events include live draws, masterclasses, talks, presentations and a chance to get up close to the best comic creators in the world. Seats are unreserved for all events and subject to the size of the venues.
When: 11th – 13th October 2019
Where: Kendal, Cumbria
£: Gala tickets cost £5 – £8 and festival passes cost £14 – £25. Many events are free
More info: www.comicartfestival.com