Lakes International Comic Art Festival partnership with Creative Scotland brings more top talent to annual event

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is delighted to announce that it will bring a number of Scottish comic creators to its annual Festival in September in Bowness-on-Windermere, thanks to the support of The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Thanks to the support of the Creative Scotland, the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland, joining the international lineup at this year’s event will be Cat Laird and Ashley Larkin from CHIP Collective, a Scottish-based comics art collective; MontyNero, creator of Death Sentence and the crowdfunded cyberpunk series Chrome Roses; Matt Smith, creator of the “Smith vs Smith” series about marriage, travel and cats; Stref, the creator of the new Tara Togs graphic novel; Conor Tierney, creator of “Kid Eastwood”; and Edinburgh-based Sloth Comics, a publisher dedicated to publishing comedy, adventure, and fantasy.

All the Creative Scotland-supported creators will have table space at the Festival, and be part of the the event’s multi-faceted programme of creator panels and workshops, and have access to its first International Comics Rights Market, bringing European and British comic publishers together to negotiate publishing rights to their comics with international counterparts across Europe.  

In addition to its direct support of comic creators, Creative Scotland has published a number of useful toolkit and guide resources, available from its website, including In the Frame, a resource for Scotland-based comics creators at all stages of their careers, designed to help them navigate some of the barriers around comics creation and offer valuable information on some of the technical and professional aspects of the industry; The Illustrated Freelancer’s Guide, a practical resource for the increasing number of artists, makers, writers and other creatives working freelance in Scotland today; and The Illustrated Fair Work Employer Guide, which provides key information about putting Fair Work into practice for employers in the creative and cultural sectors in Scotland. 

Alice Tarbuck, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, said: “Scotland’s comics sector has a wealth of talent and The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is the ideal stage to launch this work out into the world. Their International Comics Rights Market is a hugely valuable innovation that will not only facilitate rights sales, but will upskill artists in this process. Selling rights will connect their work with international readerships, alongside helping to build more sustainable careers in the sector.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with Creative Scotland to bring more creators to our Festival” says LICAF Festival Director Julie Tait. “The Scottish comic scene is bursting with talent at all levels, and we’re delighted to be able to give  just some of its many creators a presence at our annual Festival”. 

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival returns to Bowness-on-Windermere Friday 27 to Sunday 29 September 2024

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The Creative Scotland Creatives at the 2024 Lakes International Comic Art Festival 

CHIP Collective

CHIP Collective is a Scottish-based comics art collective that makes informative comic anthologies on a wide range of topics to help improve accessibility for the public and make positive social impact. CHIP, which stands for Comics Help Inform People, is run by Cat Laird and Ashling Larkin, two comics creators currently working in Dundee. 

Working with comics artists across the UK, CHIP has undertaken two anthology projects so far: Living With Cancer: Our Stories and Working In: The Arts, with hope for Working In: STEM in the near future.


MontyNero created the hit creator-owned series Death Sentence with artist Mike Dowling, published internationally by Titan in English and Delcourt in French. He’s written The Hulk and X-men for Marvel, and stories for 2000AD and Vertigo Comics. He’s currently writing and painting Book Two of his new original hand-drawn cyberpunk series Chrome Roses, after the first book raised $35,000 on Kickstarter.  He lives in Dundee, Scotland and his agent for written work is James Wills at Watson Little Ltd.

Matt Smith

Matt Smith is a Canadian/British cartoonist and comics-educator. He is best known for his autobiographical “Smith vs Smith” series about marriage, travel and cats. His “Gruesome Comics” horror stories have been published in the US by Alterna Comics, in the UK by Frisson Comics and in Canada by Hangman Comics.

As a comics-educator, he has run comics-making workshops at over 60 schools all over the world. He is currently working on his next graphic novel, “Earth Shattering,” based on his experiences living in Japan during and after the massive 2011 earthquake.

Sloth Comics

Sloth Comics, based in Edinburgh, is dedicated to publishing comedy, adventure, and fantasy. They translate comics from French, like titles from Trondheim and Yatuu, as well as create their own. They aim to publish comics with strong female protagonists, like Erika and the Princes in Distress, Hopeless, Maine and Penny Blackfeather, as well as goofy comedy like Goblins and Bludzee.

2024 marks their tenth anniversary of creating comics in the UK. They have come a long way and have so much more exciting titles to release and work to do!


Stephen White aka Stref is an Edinburgh-based comic book artist and writer. His past credits include The Dandy, BEANO, Oor Wullie, The Broons, Commando comics, and VIZ. 

He has also had five independent graphic novels published, including an adaptation of J M Barrie’s Peter Pan, in 2015. His latest book, Tara Togs: The Silence of Unicorns, was released via Kickstarter in 2024.

Stref photo by Jim Dallas. Other images courtesy of the artists.