Bored this summer?

Want to keep the Tall Ships vibe going?

Then join us at our illustration events across the summer.


Aardman Academy

The Festival is proud to present two of Aardman Animation’s wonderful team of designers. Over the summer there will be four public workshops. These events are free but tickets must be booked online using the links below. There will be sign language interpretation at these 4 events.


Grace Mahony, currently working as an Art Director, Grace first studied Set Design for Film and Television at USW, Cardiff, and has since spent the past ten years working in a variety of different roles within art departments, in Film, Television, Animation and Live Productions. Most Notably, Grace designed props for the award-winning series Moonvalley, drafted on Starzplay’s period drama Becoming Elizabeth and most recently worked on Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run 2.

27th July 2023 ‘Drafting to Communicate Emotively’

Technical drawing has always been one of my favourite disciplines, when working within Art Departments. Ultimately the technical drawings provide a contract between the designer and their construction team, however they can be so much more than that. Each show I have worked on has had it’s own visual/illustrative language, and those technical drawings needed to communicate that to the team – whether the world being created is polished, playful, unloved or ancient, the drawing needs to illustrate that.

This event has ended


28th July 2023 ‘Illustration as Inspiration in Film’

Whether it’s a historically accurate period drama such as Becoming Elizabeth or an adaptation of a much-loved children’s illustrated book series like Moominvalley, illustrations can form the quintessential starting points of some of the most exciting set designs. Looking at finished sets and revealing the artwork that inspired them.

Booking Link



James Parkyn; Art Department and Visual Effects. James is known for Chicken Run (2000), Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) and The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012).


HELD AT 1 Church Street, Hartlepool, TS247DR


2nd August ‘Modelmaking’

Booking Link

3rd August ‘Character Design’

Booking link


All events are in the 1 Church Street, Hartlepool, TS247DR



Talented Illustration staff from The Northern School of Art will be delivering practical workshops too!


Workshop 1: Children’s Book Illustration and Character Design – online only / Ages 16+





Workshop 2: The Print Press: Risograph Printing & Zine Binding Workshop – In person / Age 16+





Workshop 3: Shapes & Stories; Character Development Workshop – in person / Age 7+





And finally

Kim McDermottroe, Creative Director of Greener Lavelle (

will deliver a Character Development workshop with a nautical theme



These 4 event will take place at The Northern School of Art, Church Square, Hartlepool.