Illustration festival draws a huge crowd to Hastings

John Molesworth exhibiting at HiFest SUS-171213-105315001
John Molesworth exhibiting at HiFest SUS-171213-105315001

HiFest (Hastings Illustration Festival) has been hailed a great success, attracting hundreds of visitors from the UK and abroad.

The event, held at The Printworks, and the surrounding America Ground area over the weekend of December 2 and 3, is in its fourth year, and Ali Graham, who organises the event with Nina Cosford says it has gone from strength to strength. “It was our most well attended event yet,” he said. “There were more than 1,500 visitors throughout the weekend, some travelling huge distances to specifically visit the festival! Visitors came from as far away as Spain, France, Sweden, Netherlands and Germany! As a result many of the surrounding shops and cafes in the America Ground vicinity, enjoyed a bumper weekend of business.”

HiFest included a spectacular array of top guests from the world of illustration and over 75 stalls selling unique illustrated goods including books, zines, prints, cards, badges and ceramics.

Ali said: “We showcased the work of local, national and international illustrators as well as university student groups from Brighton, Winchester, Camberwell and Kingston.

“We had a superb programme of talks, workshops, exhibitions, screenings and live drawing happening throughout the weekend at various venues in the America Ground area.”

Workshops based at Hi-Store, Trinity Street, had interactive, family-friendly activities, which included drawing exercises, and t-shirt screenprinting with local business Little Mashers, and were a huge hit with visitors of all ages.

A programme of talks saw eager visitors queuing the length of Trinity Street for over half an hour before the talks began.

Based at Cake Room, Robertson Street, Benjamin Phillips returned with his live portrait-drawing sessions on Saturday and illustrators Fran Meneses and Nina Cosford hosted an interactive Drawing Date on Sunday.

Award-winning reportage illustrator Tim King exhibited original pieces from his Drawn On Real Life project, after he documented every day of 2016 through drawing, and local illustrator Stewart Walton exhibited drawings he made on-stage at Glastonbury Festival over the years, offering an extraordinary viewpoint of stars performing.

Ali added: “We teamed up with Borough Wines and 1066 Bakery to create festive window murals (in aid of St Michael’s Hospice) and Brighton University students (Club Creative) returned to Cafe Des Arts to create live window murals over the HiFest weekend.

“For the first time we introduced an animation fringe festival in parallel with HiFest, offering a series of animation-based talks, screenings and activities across the weekend, featuring a mixture of work from local, national and international talent. This took place at the Palace and was a huge success.

“We are incredibly proud of the festival, and the positive impact it has had on the surrounding area in which, we live and work.

“We thank all the guests, visitors, volunteers, supporters and participating venues.

“We hope all that attended had a great time, and we’ll see everyone again on the first weekend of December 2018.”

Visit: or

Dear Hub,

No picture captions needed. Thanks.