Following on from the success of its first festival in 2015, Hartlepool’s Festival of Illustration – led by Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) – is returning to the north east next month and will include the artistic works of Hollywood director Sir Ridley Scott and a talk by Andy Capp cartoonist, Lawrence Goldsmith.

With over 8,000 visitors during the inaugural Festival, this year the free event will be even bigger, and hopes to attract even more children and young people, families, students and artists from across the north east and the rest of the UK.

In collaboration with Hartlepool Borough Council, Hartlepool will become the home of world-renowned illustrators, cartoonists and comic artists from 3 June until 29 August, with exhibitions at Hartlepool Art Gallery and the Museum of Hartlepool as well as a series of talks on Saturday 3 June to launch the Festival.

Original drawings from CCAD alumni Sir Ridley Scott will be unveiled at the Festival of Illustration

Leading the celebration of all things creative will be a selection of original drawings from Alien and Gladiator director Sir Ridley Scott from his time as a student at the college, which will be unveiled to the public for the first time.

Andy Capp comic strip from Laurence Goldsmith

Lawrence Goldsmith, who currently writes and colours the Andy Capp cartoon – which is syndicated worldwide – will discuss the Hartlepool legend and his career as a cartoonist for clients such as the Daily Mail and Sunday Express.

Pat Chapman, Head of Employability and External Relations at CCAD, said: “This year the Festival is back, with even more to see in more places than our first award-winning outing.  The Festival – with its breadth of coverage, from cartoon through books and product design to body art – allows people to really engage with art and younger people to understand the many career routes Illustration and drawing offer.

“This is an important year for both Hartlepool and the College with the opening of our new teaching studios at 1 Church Street, the initial development of our film and tv studios – The Bus Sheds on Lynn Street. The Council will revitalise Church Street and create a wonderful new setting for Christ Church.  The Festival is all about bringing people to the historic heart of the town.

“We are especially pleased to celebrate one of our most illustrious alumni, Sir Ridley Scott. He has very kindly allowed us to exhibit some of his own original artworks, normally held in an archive in LA. These, together with a wonderful collection of replica props and costumes from his movies displayed in the gallery space at 1 Church Street, are a fitting tribute in the year Sir Ridley has returned to the Alien story.”

David Worthington, Head of Culture and Information at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We are honoured to yet again be working with CCAD for this year’s Festival of Illustration. The works of some of the finest artists of our generation will be on show in Hartlepool and we really hope that people young and old don’t miss the chance to see some world-class artwork.”

The Gruffalo from Axel Scheffler

Also on display as part of the exhibition at the Hartlepool Art Gallery will be a series of artworks from artists including Gruffalo-illustrator, Axel Scheffler, Gerald Scarfe, satirical cartoonist for the Sunday Times, and former Wallace and Gromit illustrator, Stuart Trotter, who now authors and illustrates Rupert Bear.

With the theme of ‘Exploration of Identity through Illustration’, the Festival also includes a number of events, which are free to attend:

  • Illustration workshops and activities for all ages in libraries across the Tees Valley, focusing on books and illustration to coincide with the Crossing the Tees Book Festival
  • Exhibition at Stockton Central Library from 7 – 29 June by CCAD alumni Alan Vest, who now illustrates for The Guardian as part of Crossing the Tees Festival

    CCAD alumni Alan Vest will be exhibiting his illustrations from The Guardian

  • CCAD alumni Callum Griffith and Melissa Scott – who work in Apostle Tattoo Studios on Church Street in Hartlepool which is owned by another CCAD alumunus, Hartlepool raised Alex ‘Tallboy’ Williamson who also owns the successful Secret Soc13ty tattoo studio in Brighton– will perform a live body illustration throughout Saturday 3 June. The newly created tattoo studio on Church Square, Hartlepool will be open during the festival.
  • Print and illustration workshops with Northern Print, which will explore contemporary illustrators who use traditional printmaking methods such as linocut and screen-print.
  • Book making workshops with Northumbrian graphic artist Daniel Weatheritt to learn how to make a zine, develop traditional drawing skills through a series of illustration challenges and experiment with mixed media materials.
  • An exhibition which celebrates the life and work of the man behind the internationally popular and long-running cartoon Andy Capp, which coincides with both the 60th anniversary of the first publication of Andy Capp in the Northern edition of the Daily Mirror as well as what would have been cartoonist Reg Smythe’s 100th birthday.

National arts body, Arts Council England, has supported the Festival for a second time, in a further expression of confidence in the creative future of the town, which will be boosted by the regeneration of Church Street as a cultural quarter. The Church Street area has already seen £2.3m investment in student accommodation for CCAD and the college will celebrate the opening of its new £11million studios and teaching facilities on the Lynn Street depot site next month with the students’ annual degree show.

The Festival is made possible through the generous financial support of Arts Council England and its Lottery Funded Grants for the Arts programme, Hartlepool Borough Council, the Sir James Knott Trust and sponsors Grand Central Trains, Northern Print and Crossing the Tees.

Vivien Stapley, Trust Secretary, The Sir James Knott Trust, said: “The Sir James Knott Trust is delighted to support the Hartlepool Festival of Illustration and its activities to engage and encourage young people and their families to take part in and enjoy the art of print.”

For more information about the Festival and its programme, please visit

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