This is my first post in the Survival Corner, a little space completely dedicated on how to survive well in the illustration world. I have been a freelance artist for some years now, and I always loved when somebody could share with me some tips related to this very unique job that is being creative and make a living from it.
This post is dedicated to PROJECT PORTFOLIO, an online FREE event hosted by one of my illustration teacher, the wonderful Nina Rycroft.
Here I’ll share my experience at the BOLOGNA CHILDREN’S BOOK FAIR.
This event happens every year around end of March, beginning of April, in Bologna (Italy) and it’s totally related to the industry of Children Literature ; it’s a world wide event and all major publishers, agency and company related to the business is there, and doesn’t stop growing.
In fact, for a week or so the all city is immersed in this fantastic atmosphere of creativity. Exhibitions, talks and events are in every corner, museum, library and bookshop.You can’t get away without inspiration, it’s impossible I guarantee.
My first year, I spent my time walking around looking for inspiration, attending events, and spotting my favourite publishers, in the hope to contact them in future. You can walk miles in the fairground , so I advice to focus your visit taking a programme and read it carefully. You will find conferences, lectures, prize announcements overlapping so you’ll have to choose wisely…. remember to leave some time to go to town and see things, eat well and drink even better!
Ps: food wise, the queues at the restaurants fairground are never ending, so I suggest to be organized so to have more time for interesting things!
Here is the link to the Fair : http://www.bookfair.bolognafiere.it/en/home/878.html
2019 dates are 1-4 April.
Every year there is a Country as a guest, this year is SWITZERLAND, so there will be a special exhibition in the Fair grounds dedicated to Swiss illustration.
There are a lot of Contests held all through the Year, and during the Fair the selected works are displayed. Some of the most popular are THE INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR ILLUSTRATION, BEST CHILDREN’S PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR, DIGITAL AWARD, plus many others.
Near the time of the event, and specially on their social media, the organizers post alot of extra information, so if you are going you might want to follow them.
Tickets: around £ 40 a day. There is always an early bird offer, if you miss that, you can get a discount ( ticket around £20 daily) sending an email to : email@example.com, stating that you work in the field, and attaching a website link or something like that as a proof.
My favourite area of the Fair is the SURVIVAL CORNER. Because there is less and less opportunity, due to the exponential growth of the market, for illustrators to show their work at publishers desks during the event, in 2017 the Fair has started this space where artists can share their experience and concerns of the profession with a whole range of international experts, with a rich programme of workshops, portfolio reviews, masterclasses and meeting held by big names in the industry, like Isabelle Arsenault, Beatrice Alemagna, Katsumi Komagata, Laura Carlin, Chris Riddel and many, many more!
To book a portfolio review or a place in the workshops,the only way is to go there in person in the morning and queue , unfortunately so far they didn’t seem to have found a better way. In 2018, 48 artist held reviews, participants were around 4000, visitors around 6000 ! The programme of these events, is in the General programme and in a dedicated facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/illustratedsurvivalguide/
If you want to meet a publisher, you can approach them easily, but remember it’s a hot time of business for them, so if you want to show them your work, is good to send them an email few month before the Fair, and if they are interested take an appointment. Or write them after you meet them in person, and start from there.
If you think your portfolio is not ready yet, or you don’t have it with you, I strongly advice to take at least some BUSINESS CARDS to leave around, even just to the lovely people you’ll meet!
I discovered a nice way to have a portfolio in your pocket with the PRINTINFINITY by the company moo.com. They allow to print up to 50 designs at no extra cost, and the quality of their products is stunning, plus they give clear advices on how to prepare the images for print. Smart people !
You can also target your favourite publishers in advance , and create few smart buz cards in a notepad format ( including your images on top and insde it ! ) to leave with them…art directors and editor still need to take notes in paper during this busy events! My favourite method of binding is called perfect binding, and you can find tutorials on youtube!
SO if you have a portfolio, don’t miss the SURVIVAL CORNER, if you don’t, take your business cards , if not…take yourself and breath some good passion for illustration… !
I’ll be there so if you wish to meet drop me a line in the contact page!
Happy Bologna Fair!