The Lakes International Comic Art Festival (or LICAF from here on out, saving us all a lot of time) is a european style festival - the whole town gets involved - that celebrates comics in all their many forms, right here in Cumbria. Kendal, to be exact.
This year The University of Cumbria began what is planned to be an increasing amount of involvement with this amazing event. Watch this space for exciting future news.
The first 'bit' of festival news is a visit from comics firebrand and Michael Hutchence look-alike Frank Santoro, to give a lecture and workshop. Frank is both a comic book practitioner (he makes comics) and a comic book academic (he talks about and teaches comics). He's incredibly passionate and an absolutely first class speaker.
|Frank looking suitably Rock 'n Roll|
Frank was here to deliver a talk which he titled 'Comics as Music'. We didn't really know what we were in for. He turned up, jet lagged after arriving from his home turf of The U.S.A, and went straight into blowing minds.
We would never do Frank's ideas and philosophies any sort of justice by trying to explain them secondhand but you can take a look at his blog here, for more details.
Essentially Frank talked about composition, the importance of ratio and understanding the inherent visual intuition that is in us all - We all know when a musical note is out of key in the same that way we know when a visual element appears out of key (comics as music, see?)
Frank introduces various international comic format standards and the panel arrangements suited to each. Essential information if you want to create a comic but the underpinning 'maths' can be applied to any visual practice.
Frank uses a wide variety of examples to demonstrate his theories and add clarity. Here he's showing the hidden geometry behind a page from Tintin by Hergé. These images are taken from his blog where you can read more about his ideas.
|No comic based lecture would be complete without a mention of Jack 'The King' Kirby|
In the afternoon Frank gave a workshop on putting a comic page together and using alternative angles - much like the camera in a film - that built on the morning's talk. There was a magical reveal at the end of the workshop that resulted in gasps of breath - always a good sign.
|Grillust students creating a comic page in 10 minutes|
We can't repeat what Frank really said when he saw this.
And with that he was gone but his enthusiasm and passion have left a lasting effect. Frank, Grillust salutes you!