WORLD famous comic creators and performers flocked to south Cumbria for a massive celebration of all things art, cartoon and film.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, one of the biggest events of its kind in the UK, returned to Kendal on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, taking over the town and showcasing the very best artists in the genre.

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Hundreds of fans from across the area travelled to see the masters in action, watch live comic drawing and take part in fun workshops.

The festival attracted some big names this year, with guests making their way to the Auld Grey Town from Japan, the United States, Australia, Spain and Finland.

My Sad Chewie by Luke McGarry. Some of the big stars to meet art lovers at the event included James Chapman , an illustrator for Buzzfeed, Luke McGarry , the creator of the Star Wars-inspired 'Sad Chewie' cartoons which became a social media phenomenon, and Silvia Carrus , an Italian cartoonist well known for producing The Feminist Superheroes series, as well as Gilbert Shelton, creator of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers , Fat Freddy's Cat , Wonder Wart-Hog , Philbert Desanex , and Not Quite Dead .

Julie Tait, director of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, said the whole concept of the event was to recognise and reward the enthusiasm and passion of the artists and their followers.

She said: "The impact comic art has on people's lives and the world is not yet fully appreciated by those who decide what art is valid and, therefore, what is worthy of time and support.

"Our mission is to change this so the festival acts as a showcase and celebration of the very best comic art has to offer."

Comic art and so called 'geek culture' has experienced a huge surge in popularity recently thanks to social media sites like Instagram and Facebook and US sitcom The Big Bang Theory, with many artists now attracting a big following for their commentary of modern life and political affairs.

Luke McGarry, who boats an impressive 23,500 followers on Instagram, is based in Los Angeles and his caricatures and animations have been featured in The New York Observer and used by Universal Music Group.

He also illustrates with his twin brother Joe and together they form the musical indie-electronic duo Pop Noir, who performed in Kendal at Ruskins on Saturday night.

Luke said: "My Sad Chewie cartoons really took off. I hoped they would be popular, but it blew up a lot bigger than I expected on social media.

"The really fun thing about the cartoonist community is that everyone is a fan of someone else. It's so thrilling to meet some of your idols.

"The festival is more about art and friendships and relationships than other comic cons, so it's great. It's brilliant that everyone gets involved."

One of the most popular exhibits at the weekend's gala was Beatrix Potter Reimagined at Kendal Library which saw lovable characters like Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck and Squirrel Nutkin given a graphic art style makeover.

There was also plenty for youngsters to enjoy across the three days, including a finger puppet show, digital comic making and pirate drawing workshops.