5 minutes with Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards drawing on location at Aira Force Jonathan Edwards Aira Force watercolour 21st Century Tank Girl - Jonathan Edwards will be signing copies of this artwork at LICAF 2015 Jonathan Edwards watercolour paintings from a LICAF visit to Japan

Introducing 5 minutes with… Jonathan Edwards..

Who is… a freelance illustrator, who works with his partner Louise Evans aka the Felt Mistress – both will be making guest appearances at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF) later this month, in Kendal.

Tell us more… I’ve been an illustrator for over 20 years now and have worked on many diverse projects over the years, producing artwork for many different publications including the Guardian, the NME, MAD magazine, Mojo, Q, and The Radio Times.

I have been involved with LICAF for a few years now and last year designed the 8 mascots for the event. These were then turned into 3D fabric characters (each over a metre tall) by Felt Mistress, and featured in their own photo comic which was available to attendees of last year’s festival. They also spent time during the festival in their own dedicated window at Beales department store. I’m sure they’ll be making an appearance again somewhere this year!

For this year’s event the mascots have been incorporated into the official LICAF posters by French artist Boulet. It’s fantastic to have an artist such as Boulet reinterpreting them in his style. An honour!

LICAF is a really great festival, an inspiring celebration of comics and specifically comic art.

Why is this special to you… LICAF is a really great festival, an inspiring celebration of comics and specifically comic art. People have preconceived ideas about comic art – LICAF blows this out of the water and demonstrates the spectrum of creativity in the comic art world.

There’s a festival in France – the Angoulême International Comics Festival – that started in 1974 and has been active every year since! It’s considered to be the 3rd biggest comics festival in the world, which is amazing given that Angoulême is a pretty small town. Each year comic art takes over the town and provides a mecca for artists and comic art enthusiasts to celebrate the genre – and this is what LICAF is now achieving in Kendal, a sort of Baby Angoulême! Comic art takes over this beautiful Lake District town in international style, with artists from Cumbria, the UK and the world. This year, in partnership with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, there is going to be a Canadian Comics Lodge at The Shakespeare Centre, including Kate Beaton, Darwyn Cooke and Kathryn and Stuart Immonen, to name a few.

What can audiences expect… Lots of comic art creativity!

If you could name only 3 unmissable cultural hot spots or events in the Lakes – what would they be… LICAF would definitely be top of my list – it’s an event I’m very proud to be part of. Secondly I’d go for the Brewery Arts Centre, a really ace cultural venue with lots of gigs and a great stage. Finally I would choose Abbot Hall, a wonderful art gallery showcasing top quality exhibitions in a scenic location.

In a nutshell how would you describe the cultural offer in the Lakes… A picturesque place with an abundance of culture.

And after a cultural adventure in the Lakes, where would be your ideal place to eat or stay… We’ve had to spend time in Kendal (no chore!) while attending LICAF or on LICAF-related business. We’ve loved staying at both the Beech House and the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal.

For a bite to eat, I would certainly recommend the Baba Ganoush Canteen in Kendal. Also for any pen/pencil/paper obsessives you need to make a beeline for Iridium, a fantastic stationery shop in the New Shambles, Kendal. They sell my favourite brand of pencil and pencil sharpener! I never knew a ‘favourite pencil sharpener’ was even a possibility before I visited Iridium!

And we just have to ask.. if you could choose one view in the Lakes where would that be… It would be hard to choose between Aira Force and Castlerigg Stone Circle.

I’ve been working on a few landscape paintings recently and had the opportunity to work with the LICAF team on a time-lapse piece feature of Aira Force. I travelled over one Sunday in June – did some sketches and took some photos, and then worked back in the studio on the final piece for about 7 or 8 hours. The camera was set up to take a still every 5 seconds and the resulting time-lapse, along with some additional footage, were edited together to create the final film – a three and a half minute short – from location sketching to the finished landscape artwork of Aira Force.

I’ve also worked on an illustration of the Castlerigg Stone Circle, near Keswick in the Lake District, to create a postcard for ‘Wish You Were Here – postcards from the edge of reality’, which, along with 6 other artists, is supporting LICAF and providing original artwork that will be auctioned in London later this year, with proceeds going to the Comics Literacy Awareness (CLAw) charity.

Castlerigg is such a distinctive and dramatic location – I wanted my artwork to represent the character of these ancient stones and their individual personalities. They look like silhouettes thinking about how long they’ve been atop this Lake District spot, inspiring the line ‘Castlerigg – Come for a Day, Stay for 5000 Years!’

Castlerigg Day Out by Jonathan Edwards
Castlerigg Day Out by Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards will be making a guest appearance at LICAF 2015 and is participating in the epic 24 Hour Comic Art Marathon kicking off on Thursday 15 October at 3.00pm

Lakes International Comic Art Festival takes place in Kendal from 16 – 18 October 2015

View the LICAF Programme 2015

To enjoy this Lakes cultural event and much more, book your break in the Lake District here