ELCAF 2015 – Nobrow’s indie Comic Fest

Having already spent a weekend basking in the creative radiation of Alexis Deacon in his two day masterclass last weekend, this week I’ve taken another peek into the world of illustrative inspiration and general artistic goodness.

Following a series of talks and masterclasses throughout the month, the key player of the East London Comics and Arts Festival (ELCAF) is always the indie comics fair, held on the final weekend. Hosted by the beautiful and, almost sickeningly lovable publishers Nobrow, the fair is a celebration of contemporary illustration from all over the place, this year showcasing tables from Canada and France as well as our wealth of homegrown talent.

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I hate generic terms like “something for everyone” but unfortunately there are times when you really do just have to bite the bullet and succumb to the fact that there is no better way of saying it. Showcasing the numerous talents of indie publishers, comic stores and artists, the work on show was as diverse as it was eye bleedingly beautiful with artists and storytellers of all ages forming a real smorgasbord of stories.

And my how I gorged.

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I couldn't resist the chance to get my copy of Wild signed at the Nobrow table by the lady herself; Emily Hughes
I couldn’t resist the chance to get my copy of Wild signed at the Nobrow table by the lady herself; Emily Hughes
Beautiful little drawing left for me by Emily Hughes
Beautiful little drawing left for me by Emily Hughes

As well as a general display of sickeningly talented people, the day also consisted of a number of talks masterclasses and events. I was very happy to get the chance to add to my collection of books signed by people I like, with the very talented Emily Hughes signing at the Nobrow table, as well as attending a talk but the eloquent and wonderful Jillian Tamaki, in conversation with Paul Gravett.

Unfortunately (due to the fact I was sat behind someone with the biggest head I have ever seen) there are no photos to document this one, but it was a fantastic and honest talk about her life and the role of comics and illustration in it. As with the Alexis Deacon masterclass, it’s a really pleasing thing when successful and well regarded artists talk about their process and it sparks familiarity and chimes similarity with your own and once more I found myself desperate to get back to work.

I won’t go into to too much more depth, I’ll leave that to the numerous reviews and analyses that have no doubt been written and published about the whole festival online, but I’ll sign out simply with the fact that my inspiration batteries have has a good and thorough recharge. In an attempt give you something more of a taster, I’ve waded through the thousands of photos I snapped while I was there, and will leave you simply with a holiday slideshow of sorts all some of my personal highlights.

Peace out x

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Vivian Schwartz drawing a kitty!
Vivian Schwartz drawing a kitty!

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Beautiful Nobrow collection. I own too much of this selection.
Beautiful Nobrow collection. I own too much of this selection.

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My closing Haul!
My closing Haul!
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The Omission of the Commission Mission

I haven’t really talked about it too much, or  in fact at all,but I’ve been working, this summer, on a job for a man.

Yes, that’s right. A job for a man. And if that’s not an award winning feat of description there, then I just don’t know what is.

It’s been a really nice project actually, he wrote thirteen short stories for his great grand daughter to be presented to her, one a year, as she grows up. I think the idea is that as he won’t be around for all of her growing life, he wanted her to have an artefact from him that would remind her how loved she was.

Sweet isn’t it? A little gift from beyond the grave.

No, okay that made it sound creepy. Sorry, I might have ruined that.

But commission me he did for the project, to do one colour painting per story. And that’s what I’ve been up to these past few summer months.

I have since handed them over and, I’m pleased to say, he seemed really chuffed with the results, but I thought I’d shove a few up on here, to remind myself if nothing else, that I have actually done SOME work this summer and not just spent the whole think baking pies.

I did thirteen for him, but I’ll just whack up a few examples. Just so you get the gist.

An illustration for the opening poem.
A tale about the power of little girls’ tears. It’s not actually as morose as I just made that sound. I’m not doing well today.
He devised and detailed this character to me. I wan’t just being racially assuming.
A tale within a tale about a pie and an orange. Amongst other things.
The sorrowful tale of a missing, beloved family pet. (The dog, not the child HA!)
A humerous story of magical mishaps.
A light, carefree painting to go with the summery tale.

Like I said, a nice project to work on. A much more traditional style of illustration than my usual bag, hence my cracking out the watercolours , but it’s nice to have a change every now and then. And he seemed pretty happy with them so I think I made the right choice in doing so.

I enjoy writing my own work, but it’s definitely a nice change to collaborate with someone else’s words sometimes. Yes, there is less control but that’s almost part of the fun, bringing in your own creativity within the constraints of someone else’s vision.

Not the case with my current project though, speaking of which, I’d better get back to it.

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