Sunday, 21 June 2015

ELCAF 2015

ELCAF has come around again, my favourite comic fest! 
This year it's been spread over Saturday and Sunday but unfortunately I could only make the Saturday, hopefully next year I'll be able to make it for both! 

It was a great day with so many fantastic illustrators and comic artists selling their wares, and as usual there were some awesome talks and workshops happening throughout the day. There was also a new addition of 'Springboard Meetings' this time, where you could book a 15min slot to meet people in the industry (artists, editors etc.) and get portfolios critiqued, ask questions and generally get some advice. 

I thought the layout and venue for ELCAF this year was sooo much better, the organizers had clearly taken on board the feedback from last year to make it a better experience.

Last year it was so cramped inside, and the entry queues - as well as the queues to then get back in once you'd gone out for a talk - were insane. This time there were no queues! At least from when I was there, and we did go out and in again at various points in the day, this time without having to queue to get back in. It made it much more enjoyable being able to freely come and go and not worry about getting back in after venturing out for a talk or workshop. Although it was crowded inside the 'Laundry' space, there was room to breathe and it didn't feel overly claustrophobic at any point, just a little bit stuffy with the heat! 

Although I wasn't able to make it for the second day, I think spreading the festival over a weekend was a great idea too, it allows for the talks and workshops to be spread out and more potential artists to exhibit on one or both days. Fingers crossed I can make the full weekend next year!

This was my haul of the day:

TOAD, written by Alexis Deacon, illustrated by Isabel Greenberg

As with last years ELCAF I was on the look out for Isabel Greenberg's stall. 
She has a lovely new 2 colour comic out called 'Toad' which was written by Alexis Deacon. I also bought one of her brooches which is an illustration from her comic 'Dreadful Wind and Rain' (another awesome riso comic of hers):

I've been a fan of Natalie Andrewson's work for a while, so was excited to find an awesome 40 page risograph comic by her at ELCAF:

LEMON AND KET by Natalie Andrewson

'Summer 96', a beautiful 2 colour comic by Lizzy Stewart. Love the coloured pencil style she used, it reminds me a little of Raymond Briggs' work:

SUMMER 96 by Lizzy Stewart

Obviously had to buy new stuff by Kristyna Baczynski as I always do! Her new comic 'Vessel' has a really sweet story and beautifully detailed pages. 
I also bought her new riso printed comic 'The Golden Horseshoe' which she printed and bound herself (complete with funky gold staples!)*

* Technical issues: will add pics of this when Blogger stops randomly rotating them on upload!

VESSEL by Kristyna Baczynski

I always buy at least one book from Nobrow at ELCAF and this year I had my eye on 'Vacancy' by Jen Lee. I'm already a huuuuge fan of her amazingly giffed web comic 'Thunderpaw' so was keen to get this comic of her work in print which explores similar themes:

VACANCY by Jen Lee

Spontaneous last buy of this limited edition screen print by Zanna Goldhawk at Papio Press:

I booked two springboard meetings at the 'Space' with Ben Newman (illustrator and part-time art director at Nobrow) and Sam Arthur (co-founder of Nobrow/Flying Eye Books) in the afternoon after I'd made several tours round all the stalls.

I'd been carting my portfolio round the last few ELCAF's in the hope of miraculously bumping into one of the Nobrow folk, so this was a great opportunity to finally meet them and get their feedback on my work.

 Ben Newman's critique was really useful in seeing how I can improve my comics in terms of layout and spacing (as I do tend to try and cram a lot of detail and texture in!) and he was very thorough going through each piece in my portfolio which was great. He also suggested some drawing exercises I could do to practice retaining my style whilst referencing an object. 

I was especially looking forward to meeting Sam Arthur, co-founder of Nobrow. As well as Nobrow being close to my heart (the discovery of the Nobrow shop in London -sadly no longer in existence- is what inspired me to start creating my own comics), it's also my dream to be published by Nobrow in some form one day. 
I was a little bit nervous too, as I'd brought my 2013 degree show graphic novel in my portfolio which I'd fictitiously aimed at Nobrow Publishing at the time- now one of the Nobrow co-founders would actually see it! But Sam was really positive about my work and gave some great advice on what to develop and improve on, so overall two constructive and successful springboard meets! 

I really hope these meetings will continue at future ELCAFs, as it was amazing to get such a rare opportunity to meet the people you admire in the industry for some invaluable advice and feedback.

Definitely looking forward to what ELCAF has to offer next year!

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