LICAF 2020: Lakes Comic Art Festival unveils first details of online event

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The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has already announced that it will be shifting its not-inconsiderable presence into the virtual space – but it’s today when we have received our first glimpse of what LICAF LIVE will look like… and what will be available for fans. And by jove, it’s a LOT.

And it’s just the beginning, too, but already Julie Tait and the rest of the Festival team are putting in place a truly outstanding online comic con that will treat comics fans of every genre, every style and, most importantly, every age.

The team promise there’s more to come and, when that content gets announced, we’ll of course be sharing all the updates the best we can. Ready to go all Kevin Flynn in October?


The Lakes International Comic Art Festival leaps into a virtual setting for 9th – 11th October 2020 with LICAF LIVE

Lakes International Comic Art Festival LIVE! – Programming Plans Revealed

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has announced some of its programming plans and guest line-up for LICAF LIVE, the virtual comics event taking place 9th – 11th October 2020 that replaces the usual Lakes International Comic Art Festival this year.

A free virtual Festival bursting with ready-made content, plus a special live strand throughout the weekend, LICAF Live aims to enthral, inspire and entertain you.

Announced guests include Charlie Adlard, Yomi Ayeni, Sayra Begum, Hannah Berry, Paul Cornell, Gemma Correll, Robert Deas, Elyon’s, Hugleikur Dagsson, Dave Gibbons, Dave McKean, Ken Niimura, Paul Gravett, Marc Jackson, Nicola Jennings, Sarah McIntyre, Junko Mizuno, Sean Phillips, Tanya Roberts, Julie Rocheleau, Martin Rowson, Posy Simmonds – and many more, both announced and yet to be revealed.

LICAF LIVE will open with a live launch from a top secret location with special announcements and an all-star band on Friday evening followed by on-the-hour, every hour live events (cartoon challenges, book launches and its very own shopping channel, courtesy of VIZ comic) and a special live feed from creators’ desks.

The Festival’s web site has been revamped to promote the virtual event, with guest details and programming already live and a Virtual Comics Clock Tower designed by Joe and Luke McGarry, promoting and offering the means to buy creators’ and publishers’ work, to follow soon.

The physical Festival will return in October 2021, but the ongoing uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic necessitated LICAF’s first major foray into the digital world, following quickly on the heels of its initial web projects such as supporting artist Marc Jackson’s Marc Makes Comics YouTube Channel for aspiring young comic artists and its recently-launched Digital Colouring Project.

Programming in the works includes:

  • A live “Big Comics Pub Quiz” – with virtual Festival goers able to compete by yourself or form a team. Suitable for comics fans of all ages, with rounds ranging from Disney characters to the history of comics, to Outer Space, there will be prizes for the winners, plus the immortal accolade: Comics Cleverclogs 2020!
  • Showing Off – a range of live draws and challenges including creators from locations as far-flung as Japan, Finland and the United States
  • Drawing on Japan – Both live and pre-recorded, celebrate some of our best live draws from LICAF 2013-2019 with Junko Mizuno (USA/Japan), Ken Niimura (Spain/Japan), Emma Vieceli (UK) and Petteri Tikannen (Finland), who will draw on their inspirations from Japan to create an original piece of art for LICAF LIVE
  • Pass the Panel – 16 artists are challenged to create a 16-panel story with the loosest of storylines. Taking turns, each of them will draw a panel of a new comic story, passing from one to the next until the story is complete. The finished strip could be tragic, silly, profound or hilarious. “The only thing we can safely predict,” enthuses Festival Director Julie Tait, “is that watching it take shape will be utterly mesmerising!”
  • Live Cartoon Challenge with Luke McGarry – Live from Los Angeles and featuring special cartoonist guests, no challenge is too great for this award-winning, go-to designer and cartoonist
  • Daft as a Brush – five cartoonists from Denmark, Iceland, the UK and USA each tackle five crazy cartoon challenges live and pre-recorded for your delight and delectation!

The virtual event, bustling with extraordinary talent, will also offer several “Comics Up Close” events, leading with a huge range of international collaborations – special events featuring top creators from France, Quebec and Denmark in association with Lyon BD, Quebec BD festivals and Art-Bubble, Denmark; “Comics, Clouds and Kendal Mint Cake”, examining why the Lake District is such a great place to inspire artists, and to read comics; Desert Island Comics – asking leading comic creators to choose which five comics, one luxury item, and their favourite crisps they would take to a desert island; and “Through the Comics Keyhole”, where celebrity comics collectors take us into their homes and show us their prized possessions!

The weekend will also offer free workshops, hosted by comics creators Steven Appleby, Jason Chatfield, Ben Cullis, Joe Kelly, Joe and Luke McGarry, Tom Richmond, Lucy Sullivan, Tom Ward and Emma Vieceli.

Plus, a number of exhibitions, two in collaboration with the Italian Institute and the Czech Literature Centre feature as part of a festival online gallery experience and much, much more, to both challenge and entertain. Also planned are “Coronacartoon of the Year”, a virtual exhibition of cartoons about the pandemic, taken from newspapers and other sources worldwide, and “Weirdest Comic Image of All Time”, a collection of the most bizarre, disturbing, accidentally hilarious and just plain wrong comic panels that have ever appeared in print.

“It’s a fantastic line-up,” assures Julie Tait, “and we’ve been blown away by the support from comic creators, publishers and funders for LICAF LIVE. It’s proving an opportunity to introduce some artists and writers to the Lakes Festival experience for the very first time, and already prompting ideas for further collaborations.

“I’m particularly looking forward to our ‘Comics, Clouds and Kendal Mint Cake’ strand, where one of our top guests visits a specific spot in the Lakes, and we can watch them read or discuss a comic there, showing us why they like the place and how the comic relates to it. It could just be a beautiful place to read, or it could be a spot with special relevance. Scenery and art have always been inextricably linked. Now it’s time to find out why.”

“Plus, ‘Through the Comics Keyhole’ will be fun, too! We’ve peered behind the net curtains that conceal some of the most amazing collections of comics in the world. Watch and drool…”

For full programming plans, which also include Infinity and Beyond in association with SouthernGFX, a special section of LICAF LIVE devoted to how technology is pushing the boundaries of comics, and LITTLE LICAF LIVE, designed especially for kids (12 and under) and families – a wonderland of workshops, downloadable resources, readings and more – visit the Festival web site now.

• For the latest news about Lakes International Comic Art Festival Live 2020 visit: www.comicartfestival.com | Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheLakesInternationalComicArtFestival) | Twitter (https://twitter.com/comicartfest) | YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLV3voFo92I6peKOGUXeDhw) | Podcast (https://comicartpodcast.wordpress.com/)

• Check out the first of our virtual projects – LICAF Colouring Sheets – here on the Festival web site (https://www.comicartfestival.com/colouring) | Have fun with the LICAF online Animated Colouring Book ( https://www.comiccolouring.com/ ) | Check out the colouring entries on Instagram so far at #licafcolouringcomp2020 (https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/licafcolouringcomp2020/)

• PLEASE NOTE: Registration will be required for the free workshops – suitable for 15+Dave Gibbons is just one of the creators taking part in Desert Island Comics at LICAF LIVE

Coming Soon to the Festival web site: The Virtual Comics Clock Tower, designed by Joe and Luke McGarry, a virtual marketplace for comic creators

Coming in October 2020…

LICAF LIVE Events will include…

  • Drawing Events -Live Draws, challenges and panels – guest list to be revealed soon
  • Comic Creator Interviews – live and recorded, including “Desert Island Comics” – five comics, a favourite snack and a luxury item – what would you take to a desert island?
  • Special Announcements will include the new Comics Laureate for 2021/23 and the winner of the LICAF Space Comic Challenge
  • The launching of key books such as LICAF’s own project, Breakthrough anthology – and announcing the winner of the Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition
  • Interactivities – quizzes, personality tests, exhibitions, audience participation events
  • Infinity and Beyond: from digital comics to Virtual Reality and beyond
  • A Virtual Comics Clock Tower, promoting creators, publishers and retailers – specifically supporting independent creators. There will be no charge to those creators chosen to be included in the virtual marketplace
  • Creator Workshops to provide more support for aspiring creators and for existing creators to expand and refresh their practice (Registration required)

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