Visit to Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2016

Since I’ve started my Fwendly Fwuit comic project, I’ve been taking a much more active interest in children’s books and what better way to learn about them than this event in Bologna? I thought I’d write up a little round up of what it was like…

BCBF2016 Entrance

At the entrance of the Book Fair. It was huge! There were many stands and I’m glad it ran for a few days. There was a lot to take in with both exhibitions and publisher tables.

BCBF2016 Illustrators Wall

Walking around I saw the Illustrators Wall where many artists pin up their own work for exposure, the talent level was competitive even here!

BCBF2016 3 inspiring exhibits

Interesting pieces of work on show at BCBF2016, by (L-L): Page Tsou, Iratxe Lopez De Munain, Mariachiara Do Giorgio, Laura Carlin, Joohee Yoon, Joan Fernandez Vicente. I really like the choice of composition, the textures used, colour schemes and the abstract styles.

BCBF2016 4 Inspiring books

On the last couple days, some stands had books for sale. I picked up some amazing books, one of which, I got a sketch by the author Gek Tassaro (bottom right), which was extremely lucky. He started at one end of the sketch and pretty much without lifting his pen off the page, drew the whole thing in one go.

BCBF2016 with illustrators

The other great thing apart from being exposed to great art and books is meeting like-minded people and in my case, it’s always great to get to know other illustrators! (L: Sara Carciofocontento, R: Katy Betz,

Overall, if you’re interested in working in the children’s book industry I definitely recommend going. Free talks and workshops inform you as to current trends and the behind the scenes process of how books are produced.  I went to about 10 different portfolio reviews and showed my work and received some very useful feedback with regards to my work.

Most reviewers / art directors agreed that my work was too cartoony and commercial for their brand. Most wanted a more painterly and traditional style look over digital. However, it just means, I have to approach companies whose current aesthetic matches my own more closely. I haven’t any pictures, but there’s a whole hall dedicated to digital media, in particular apps, which is going to make books far more interactive. Showing my work to a few of these software companies, I received a lot of positive feedback especially in the areas of concept design and story writing.

For me, the best thing about going was being exposed to so many different styles of art, which will definitely influence whatever I draw next!

Overall, for networking both in terms of industry contacts and fellow illustrators, being exposed to new ideas and going to useful free talks made this a very enjoyable experience!


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