Comic fans and art lovers flock to Hartlepool festival

Artist Hunt Emerson with some of his work at the Festival of Illustration.

Artist Hunt Emerson with some of his work at the Festival of Illustration.

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More than 700 comic fans and art lovers flocked to Hartlepool to see the start of a major new international event.

The Festival of Illustration, hosted by Cleveland College of Art & Design (CCAD), is under way in the town.

Artist Drew Millward with one of his creations.

Artist Drew Millward with one of his creations.

World-renowned artists showcased their works at an exhibition, including many original pieces not viewed by the public before.

More than 150 works of art from as far back as the 1950s and 60s are now on display at the Hartlepool Art Gallery, in an exhibition which is open until July 4.

They included illustrations from Hartlepool-born artist Keith Robson, who worked for DC Comics, Marvel artist John McCrea, Ralph Steadman and Dave McKean.

Illustrator Tom J Newell, who is speaking at the Festival Symposium and displaying works at the exhibition, said: “The festival is a really positive event for the college students and the artists, as well as Hartlepool and the North East. There is such a great range of work, and having my work alongside artists that I have grown up with and been inspired by, such as the Beano and 2000AD, is great.”

There is such a great range of work and having my work alongside artists that I have grown up with and been inspired by, such as the Beano and 2000AD, is great

Tom J Newell, illustrator

Exhibition visitor David Callaghan, originally from Hartlepool and now living in Durham, said: “This is a very unusual and different style of art for me but it is really good to see the exhibition here and great for the area.”

The festival fun continued with artists from The Brothers of The Stripe (BOTS) taking part in a live ‘drawing wall’, with visitors and fans watching on and taking part.

Pat Chapman, head of employability & enterprise at CCAD, said: “The first day has been a great success, with the symposium attracting a mix of die-hard fans and those with a real interest in learning about the art of illustration. The guest speakers proved very popular and even sold out in some cases, which shows the passion people have for the industry.”

The event is hosted by Cleveland College of Art & Design, in collaboration with Hartlepool Borough Council and Seven Stories.

Joel Millerchip alongside a section of his doing display.

Joel Millerchip alongside a section of his doing display.

It is a free month-long event and also includes an illustrators’ market, master classes, a street market, storytelling and workshops.

Elliot Gough putting his mark on the public art board.

Elliot Gough putting his mark on the public art board.