Nearly a month behind me (how can it be?!) I was in beautiful Bologna at the international Children's Book Fair. It was very much like friends/fellow illustrators described it - overwhelming and completely inspiring. I had a fabulous time and plan to attend next year. I'd recommend it to any aspiring children's book illustrator - book your flight/airbnb, prepare lots of promotional pieces, give yourself some great pep talks, and get ready to engage with people for a few days! While it's draining to put yourself out there (and maybe a little scary?), I met some of the nicest people and really enjoyed chatting with publishers and a whole assortment of book people, from all around the world. Not to mention so many illustrator friends that I've met in the last few months. It was so cool to finally meet up -in person!- and have dinner in the center, share contacts and info (yay for generosity and helping each other), and encourage one another's success. I stayed with a friend I'd met through my Illustrating Children's Book course and we had such a good time - miss you Tanja! I hope we can repeat next year.
On my last day at the fair...handing out the last promotional booklets I'd made, getting into as many queues as possible for illustrator/portfolio reviews, and probably on my third espresso ;)
The halls of the Fiere are light-filled and beautifully designed. I enjoyed all the details so much. Visually inspiration everywhere!! I especially appreciated the creative stands from the publishers - like Laurence King - how sweet! Though I didn't arrive till Monday afternoon and the illustrator wall was packed with posters and promo material, I found some spots for my stuff. And by Wednesday there were more open spaces. It was encouraging to see that my cards were getting picked up :)
Me on the left, Tanja on the right. Her work is so joyful, as is her spirit. Having such a positive lovely friend at the fair was fantastic. You can peek into her world here.
Wouldn't you love to sit here for a little while with a coffee and your sketchbook?
Bologna through the hours...delicious coffee, elegant (ancient) details, wonderful people watching, tortelloni, pizza, and wine, and lots of children's book people sprinkled about - a magical experience.
Beautiful people...and talented illustrators too! I'm rooting for all of you and hope to see you again next year. May we be carrying something published in our arms by then! Ciao!