Kendal, 2nd August 2016: The Lakes International Comic Art Festival (14th -16th October 2016) is delighted to announce that top indie comic creator Frank Santoro will be at this year’s event, bringing his Comics Workbook project to Britain for the first time with fellow creators Aidan Koch and Connor Willumsen.

The Comics Workbook events are just three of many workshops aimed at fostering aspiring comic creators work at this year’s Festival – and helping to hone the skills of those already working in the field.

Pittsburgh-born Frank Santoro’s most heralded work, Storeyville, inspired the legendary Chris Ware to say, “I consider reading Storeyville for the first time one of the touchstones of my life as a cartoonist, and the book itself one of the landmarks of comics’ development.” It was self-published in tabloid newspaper form in 1995 and has since been reissued in deluxe hard cover editions by publishers in the US and France.

Since then Frank has produced a unique body of work that includes Cold Heat with Ben Jones, in a wide variety of formats and in the process pioneered an approach to comics’ production that tailors form to content. At the same time he acts as an online tutor and guru to the next generation of comic creators around the world.

Comics Workbook is a training school and residency program based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” Frank explains. “It is an online correspondence course, and an international network of cartoonists. It is a world-wide composition competition, monthly comic salons, backyard masterclasses, and a library of minicomics. It is a community, a team, a house on the corner.

“I’ve distilled the essence of my comics ninja training school and am bringing it to the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Just like in Pittsburgh, where my more advanced students teach the beginner students, I’ve got two superstars of my program with me and together we’re going to introduce everyone to the techniques and processes that I’ve been developing since 1988.”

Together, he Aidan Koch and Connor Willumsen will host a composition competition within a special workshop at the Festival. Centring around the advanced application of techniques developed by Comics Workbook, participants will compose directly with no script or prior preparation, completing a one-page comic strip within the time allowed. There will be a symbolic competition to foster a challenging atmosphere in order to bring out the best in each participant.

Beginners and experts are welcome and all participants will have the opportunity to have their work printed with the help of the Comics Workbook gang at the Comics Clocktower at their “riso depot”).

“We are honoured and excited to be creating a new collaboration with Comics Workbook and bringing Frank and team’s unique perspective on comics to this side of the Atlantic,” says Festival Director Julie Tait. “We couldn’t ask for a more inspiring and energetic partner.”

Tickets for the main events at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival are on sale now.

Guests at this year’s Festival include Charlie Adlard (artist on The Walking Dead), Jordi Bernet (Torpedo and Jonah Hex), Rufus Dayglo (2000AD‘s “Bad Company”, Last Gang in Town), Isabel Greenberg (The Encyclopedia of Early Earth), Joe Kelly (I Kill Giants, Deadpool), Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim, Seconds), Luke McGarry and Steve McGarry, Mick McMahon (2000AD), Leah Moore and John Reppion, artist and Festival art designer Ken Niimura, and Paco Roca, best known for his award-winning graphic novel Wrinkles.

Many international and British comic creators – writers, artists, publishers and retailers – are heading to Kendal, in Cumbria, for a packed weekend of comic celebration in October, crammed with panels, exhibitions, children’s events and other activities. The town will be entirely given over to comics, with business owners lining up to support the Festival’s famous “Windows Trail“, providing store front space to display comics art created by artists and local groups and school children.

While panel events and film screenings are ticketed, the Comics Clock Tower offers plenty of free access to many comic creators and their work, and there’s an exciting line up of free events lined up for children, too, in assorted venues across Kendal.