Lakes International Comics Festival Teams With Eva Hilhorst And Judith Vanistendael For ‘What Is, What If, Floods Comic Project’

by Richard Bruton

The Lakes International Comics Art Festival announces an ambitious and innovative new comics project with two top European comic artists, Eva Hilhorst and Judith Vanistendael.

Taking place between Friday 14th and Sunday 16th October 2022, The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is a huge comics festival based in the Lake District region of the UK. Guests for the 2022 Festival announced so far include Lucie Arnoux, Jaime Hernandez, Mick McMahon, Bill Morrison, Rebecca Ollerton, Sean Phillips, Mike Perkins, Greg Rucka, Posy Simmonds, Jorg Tittel, and Twin Cartoons.

But LICAF doesn’t limit itself to just the Festival weekend itself and runs a number of important projects all year round as part of its goals:

To promote comics as a medium for all and to deliver positive social change, including climate change and supporting the careers of emerging comic creatives.

And one of these projects will be the What Is, What If, Floods Comic Project with Eva Hilhorst and Judith Vanistendael. The artists will be taking part in several workshops around Kendal, between 8th – 17th March, combining drawing comics with seeking the thoughts and memories of local people of flooding in Cumbria and how it’s impacted their lives. Kendal, of course, is prone to flooding and, back in December 2015, experienced the largest flood event ever recorded in the town, the result of the effects of Storm Desmond. Working with the Environment Agency, a Flood Risk Management Scheme is being developed to protect the town. After Kendal, the plan is to roll out the scheme to other areas.

The workshops and masterclasses will lead to the creation of a reportage comic and a comic strip documentary to highlight concerns about flooding and the impact of climate change in Cumbria, and beyond.

During the residency, both artists hope to talk to as many local residents as possible, talk to local experts, and publish a blog and logbook of their discoveries, with daily drawings, interviews and thoughts, all through the thematic lens of the flooding and climate change.

Alongside comic workshops at Kendal College, the events will include a fun ‘It’s like being at the hairdressers’ event, inviting people to have their portrait drawn in exchange for a story.

The work created during this residency will form a temporary display at Kendal’s Space 2 Create in Castle Mills at the end of the second week, and will feature in further exhibitions later in 2022.

“To make our reportage personal and appealing to our readers, we would like to incorporate the local people’s experiences, both by drawing their stories, and have them draw their stories themselves in different workshops. We would love to hear from them just how they experienced the floods in 2015 and want to hear how they see the future in connection to climate change. What do they fear, what are their hopes and dreams?

While we draw their portrait, we have a conversation with them, and people who take part can keep their portrait as a thank you.” – Eva Hilhorst and Judith Vanistendael


Dutch comic creator Eva Hilhorst is the initiator of Drawing the Times, a graphic journalism platform, and has been working as a graphic journalist for several years. Her work was published in the Dutch newspaper Trouw and on the online platforms De Correspondent and Symbolia.


Judith Vanistendael, from Belgium, creates comics, “that have to do with life as it really is.” Her semi-autobiographical work, Dance by the Light of the Moon, has been translated into nine languages and nominated twice for the prestigious Angouleme Grand Prize, and her second graphic novel, When David Lost his Voice, was nominated for an Eisner Award.

LICAF would love to hear from you if you’re in the Kendal area and would like to take part in the ‘It’s Like Being at the Hair-dressers’, or the Graphic Storytelling Workshop – contact Carole Tait via as soon as possible.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival will run from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th October 2022 – and is online at: Tickets for LICAF will go on sale in March.

(The fabulous LICAF poster by Sean Philips)



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