A Cumbrian university student has beaten off stiff competition to win the top award at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival.
Hazel Mason, 20, originally from Stoke-on-Trent and a third year BA (Hons) Illustration student at the University of Cumbria, entered the competition to depict renowned 1940s comic book character ‘The Spirit’ in the Lake District.
Hazel’s design entitled ‘Spirit in the Lakes’ shows the character resting against the word ‘spirit’ with the caption ‘The world’s greatest hero in the world’s greatest landscape’.
“I envisioned Will Eisner’s character actually in the Lake District, sat on the text and there is an illustration of a lake in the background”, she said. “The feedback I’ve had is that the judges really liked it and said it was different from what they’d seen before. I think everyone went into it making a comic book, because it's a comic festival, but I thought I’d put my own spin on it.”
Hazel creates her distinctive images by making thick line drawings which she scans into her computer. “I make the image in pencil and scan it in high definition and then I extract the lines and lay block colour underneath which makes for a rather interesting texture”.
She concluded, “Winning made me feel great and now I feel even more confident to enter prestigious awards and competitions in the future.”
Competition was so fierce that Hazel was announced as joint winner of the ‘Revealing the Spirit of the Lake District’ competition with another student whose piece was entitled ‘The Adventures of Kaptain Kayak’.
‘The Spirit’ was a 16-page comic section which ran for 12 years from 1940-1952. It introduced action, mystery and adventure through the crime stopping escapades of its hero ‘The Spirit’ – a dashing, masked vigilante who dispensed justice in ‘Central City’ and beyond.
2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of ‘The Spirit’s’ creator, Will Eisner, and to celebrate the centenary, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival commissioned the competition in homage to comic book legend.
No stranger to success, Hazel’s work has also been recognised in this year’s Cheltenham Illustration Awards. From over 1000 entrants, she was selected as one of sixty successful illustrators to be listed in their 2017 annual and her work may go on exhibition.