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Illustration Showdown, Leeds

Outlaws Yacht Club will play host to Leeds’ very first Illustration Showdown this April, showing off the city’s creative juices in competitive fashion.

Illustration Showdown comes to Outlaws Yacht Club on Wednesday 27th April 2016 with quite a reputation. This is the first to take place in Leeds and will bring together eight of the finest artists and illustrators from across the city to battle it out against one another, with a slew of arty stalls, music, food and drink to boot.

Previous events have taken place in Southampton, Bristol and Manchester, with the original event on the South Coast raising funds for a degree show in London. The Leeds event is an offshoot inspired by our friends across the Pennines and organised by Ashleigh Wood among others. After attending the Manchester evening with her fanzine Ladyfuzz, the opportunity to bring it to Leeds was one she couldn’t pass up on.

Illustration Showdown, Leeds

She told us, “I knew as soon as I attended the event in Manchester that I had to bring it to Leeds – art, good craft beers, coffee, talented folks drawing and selling their wares, good music and good vibes. It was definitely a no brainer there. I wanted to get involved as soon as I could, and sourcing artists was so easy because there are so many talented people in Leeds.”

But why does it fit in so well with Leeds? Well, it’s something that, as a city, we’re already good at. Blending creativity and competitiveness, with a bit of live music, shopping and booze, it will come as no surprise that it feels right at home in Leeds straight away.

“I have lived in Leeds for eight years now, and every single year it has gone from strength to strength,” Wood told us, “I am really honoured to be living in this city, I love everything about it. There are so many creatives doing awesome things, and I’m really thankful that my talented group of friends are part of this creative DIY culture. And hey, maybe Leeds will win European Capital of Culture – actually, I’m pretty confident that it will. I believe in this city, and I think the creatives that live here also have that mentality.”


With that in mind, it seems only right that Leeds would get in on the action. As Ashleigh says, the city is awash with creative talents, particularly artistic ones, whether it’s through local arts organisations, the city’s teeming art galleries, or even within Leeds’ universities and colleges. It’s these areas Illustration Showdown has tapped into to get its battlers and it’s set to be an impressive line up featuring the likes of Jack Fallows, Jahoer, Simon Roche, Caitlin Lake and Jordan Rio Hill.

There’ll be eight artists in total battling it out down at Outlaws Yacht Club on Wednesday 27th April 2016, in a three round elimination style (think quarter-final, semi-final and final) competition. They each get given A2 paper on easels, and can bring any of their own materials to create their drawings, which all centre around a particular theme they get given at the start of the evening.

But don’t worry if you don’t fancy battling others, Ashleigh tells us that there’s plenty more going on for those who appreciate illustration and art, “People don’t have to battle, but we want to showcase artists’ work as well as putting on a really interactive event, where creatives can make friends, have a beer, support each others work, and sell their work too. We’ll be putting up a big roll of paper for those attending the event to have a little play – mostly for those who might not have had the confidence to battle yet, so it’d be cool if some of the artists involved in selling, battle at a future event.”

Illustration Showdown, Leeds

The stalls element is something you won’t want to miss out on as it’s all part of the aim to show off the amazing talents that are all around Leeds, and not just through battling. It means a whole host of artists and designers can display the range of creativity in Leeds, whether it’s through clothing, graffiti or drawings.

“We’ve got an eclectic mix of people, from comic artists such as Highgreen Dawn to tattoo artists such as Simon Roche. Students like Beth Amber Walker & Leah Rose will be selling some of their stuff, and graphic designers Ellie Henson & Alex Dyson will be selling pieces too. It’s also cool to have Jahoer, who you’ll probably recognise as he’s a quite well known graffiti artist in Leeds, you’ll have definitely seen his murals painted across a bleak wall in Leeds and in the suburbs.”

With all this as well as a DJ set from Slam Dunk’s JD, who’ll be mixing it up from his usual tunes with a hip-hop and r’n’b set, and the chance to delve into Outlaws’ marvellous food and drink offering, Illustration Showdown will hopefully have a little something for everyone, and it’s events like this that really make Leeds an exciting place to live.

Illustration Showdown takes place at Outlaws Yacht Club on Wednesday 27th April 2016. Tickets are available now.