If you happened to find yourself in East London last weekend, hopefully you were able to make it to Shoreditch’s Village Underground, a creative space located high above Great Eastern Street. ELCAF (otherwise known as East London Comics and Arts Festival) aimed to display and celebrate London’s flourishing comics and graphics scene.

Up and coming artist Kyle Platts, noted for his hyper-detailed, dazzingly grotesque and riotous illustrations was one of the many talented exhibitors that buckled down to make this the premier UK comics event. Kyle was gracious enough to offer up a full report of his experience.

On Sunday the 17th of June, far away, right on the other side of the puddle in East London, a comics festival took place. ELCAF, the first East London Comics Festival set a high standard for exhibitors wishing to obtain a table. The make up of exhibitors was a mixture of self published comics artists, small press printers, and more established publishers, offering a diverse range of comics.

As well as showcasing the best comic talent in the UK the event had many exhibitors and special guests from around Europe. The program was packed with treats including the Anorak workshop for the younger artists and Comic discussions from Jack Teagle, Richard Short, Luke Pearson, Will Morris, JAKe Nick,  Edwards Andre Diniz Rob Davis & I.N.J. Culbard Kristyna Baczynski.

Nobrow organised a drawing relay race or ‘Tac au Tac’, a drawing game in which the first artist draws a mouse, the second draws a creature chasing the mouse, the third draws something chasing that creature…and so on. I took part in this event myself and I was terrified! I dont often do live drawing, I felt like a rapper who could handle him self in the studio but was destroyed in freestyle raps. As it turns out though the event was a lot of fun, and I didn’t embarrass myself too much.

Blexbolex fans were treated to a talk from the man himself, he gave an insight into the way he writes his storys and talked of his most recent book No Mans Land, the follow up to Dogcrime. (Here is a preview for NO MAN’S LAND)

One of my favourite finds at ELCAF was Spanish comic artist Marc Torices. I Bought his comic compendium La Cultura Del Duodeno. The book features work by himself and other spanish contributors. The content has a rich mix of the puerile, macabre and observational humour, with a considerate english translation under each comic.
I always admire people who take on the one comic a day challenge, this is something I have personally tried and failed to keep up. Soju Tanaka is a rare breed of comic artist that embraces this challenge and does it well. His comics are charming and universally accessible as the narrative is entirely told through image.

At the end of the event comic fans were treated to live performances from The Vultures and The Dead Pirates. By the time ELCAF was over I was broke and I had lost my voice. The best thing about ELCAF was talking to like minded comic book artists and fans. The atmosphere was great and the building seemed like it was at maximum capacity all day, which it probably was considering 3000 people attended. I can only hope this was the first of may East London Comic Festivals.

Also, you can (and must) check out Kyle’s own work at his website.