Marvel, Warner Bros and Beano and Dandy illustrators to give free masterclasses in Hartlepool

International illustrators are heading to Hartlepool for a day of free masterclasses to launch the third Northern Festival of Illustration.

Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 11:50 am
Some top international illustrators will be sharing the secrets of their success in Hartlepool as part of the Northern Festival of Illustration.

On Saturday, June 1, festival organiser, The Northern School of Art, is hosting a day of free events by leading illustrators Rob Flowers, Sam Arthur, Darren Yeomans of Atomhawk, Keith Robson and Frances Moffatt.

The free event in the School’s lecture theatre at Church Square, Hartlepool, offers an insight into the work of key figures in contemporary illustration, whose work forms part of everyday life through advertising, editorial, products, games, film and TV, to books.

Darren Yeomans will be giving people an insight into people life at world-leading digital art and design studio Atomhawk, which creates concept art for Marvel, Aardman and Warner Bros, among others.

Rob Flowers kicks off the day and will be talking about his favourite stuff, his toy collection, and how that influences his work.

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Most of what he creates comes from his interests and influences - collecting toys and other miscellany, folklore, mythology, ghoulish characters and anthropomorphic food.

To the backdrop of a hoard of vintage action figures and Happy Meal toys, he creates illustrations which embody his love for humour and characters.

Next up is Sam Arthur, chief executive of international publishing company Nobrow Press, who will be delivering a session entitled ‘How to Survive in Publishing’.

The Northern School of Arts Vice Principal, Pat Chapman.

Sam, who set up Nobrow in 2008 with friend and former St Martin’s alumni Alex Spiro, says their mission is to “bring fresh, young talent to wider audiences, as well as to remind the world of the great talents that have been producing stunning work for many years".

A talk by Darren Yeomans, art manager at Atomhawk Design, offers a rare chance to hear first-hand about life at a world-leading digital art and design studio, which creates concept art for Marvel, Aardman, Warner Bros amongst others.

Former Beano and Dandy illustrator Keith Robson will be delivering a session based on his experience as a professional artist since the 1960s, during which he has tackled a huge diversity of jobs including school textbooks, pre-school television, children’s storybooks, and model-making for animated TV series.

Wrapping up the day will be a session on what to look out for in a creative contract, delivered by Frances Moffatt, a freelance illustrator and lecturer on the BA (Hons) Illustration for Commercial Application degree at The Northern School of Art.

Totem, by Rob Flowers, one of the illustrators taking part in a special symposium as part of the Northern Festival of Illustration 2019.

Frances, who has illustrated two books, The Fashion Exercise Book and Pick Up A Pen, and who was on the judging panel for this year’s Batsford Prize, an annual award scheme for students studying art and design, will be referencing her huge experience of working across editorial, greetings cards and publishing, and live drawing for events.

Ben Clowes, the programme leader for The Northern School of Art’s BA (Hons) Illustration for Commercial Application degree programme, said the symposium is a wonderful opportunity to gain insights from some leading figures in the field.

“The festival is designed to celebrate the diversity of illustration and show how it affects everybody’s lives.

"It is accessible to the public and gives a chance for people not only to enjoy the artwork, but to be able to meet people from the industry and learn of their experiences and the talks we have organised certainly do that.”

Works by the symposium speakers will also form part of The Northern Festival of Illustration itself, which runs from June 1 to September 15.

The exhibition at Hartlepool Art Gallery is showcasing work by more than 25 world-renowned and emerging illustrators, cartoonists and comic artists, including the first showing outside London of a range of Chris Foss’s black-and-white illustrations for Dr Alex Comfort’s world-renowned book, The Joy of Sex, and his acclaimed sci-fi illustrations.

Also on show at the Gallery will be work from The Observer's political cartoonist Chris Riddell, Digby Dog artist Tor Freeman, educational illustrator Derek Brazelle, as well as Jack Teagle, Nicholas Holmes and Donya Todd, among others.

The Northern School of Art’s Vice Principal, Pat Chapman, said: “We are very proud to host and organise the festival - this time with our new name - The Northern Festival of Illustration, reflecting the new name of The Northern School of Art.

“This year we have truly gone global with The Northern Illustration Prize, which offers emerging and established illustrators the opportunity to reach new audiences, as well as win significant rewards. Hundreds of entries came from six continents, and you can see the 20 shortlisted pieces in the main exhibition."

Details of The Northern Festival of Illustration symposium on Saturday, June 1, and how to book tickets are available at