What we did at Bologna 2023

We were back at Bologna Children’s Book Fair this year, supporting illustrators with advice on the European Illustrators Forum stand, as well as a talk all about finding new clients.

BCBF 60th Anniversary exhibition space [Photo credit: Saskia Cameron]

The fair welcomes you in straight to the Illustrators’ Wall, and exhibition spaces. This year was the Fair’s 60th Anniversary, and the fair was decked out with this year’s visual identity that combined the work of 20 different illustrators, and exhibition spaces celebrating award winning illustration.

Our Bologna representative this year was Saskia, our Membership Advisor. After touching down in Bologna, she was straight in offering business advice on the Helpdesk at the busy EIF stand.

Day 2 kicked off with the EIF’s panel on Artificial Intelligence, and how the technology is intersecting with the illustration world and copyright. If you’re interested in learning more about current events surrounding illustration and AI, head over to our statement and updates page.

Ahead of the Fair, we offered AOI Members the opportunity to have a portfolio review with Joanna McInerney, Head of Big Picture Press at Bonnier Books UK. Joanna’s sage advice on our members’ portfolios was invaluable, as always!

Finding New Clients at the Illustrator’s Survival Corner [Photo credit: Cecilie Maurud Barstad]

On Tuesday afternoon, Saskia gave a masterclass over at the Illustrators’ Survival Corner, on the topic of finding new clients. With a full house, she covered researching clients, portfolio websites, self-promotion strategies, and what to include in that all-important email to a prospective client.

That evening we joined theIllustrators Dinner Party, organised by fellow EIF organisation, Autori di Immagini. This year, we all packed in to Ristorante È Cucina Leopardi, all the tables laid with paper so they could be illustrated after dinner!

On Wednesday morning, Saskia joined the EIF members for an informal meeting. It was great to hear all the ways the organisations are supporting illustrators in their home countries, and to get some time to discuss the ways in which the EIF can work together to address current issues such as AI.

Illustrated Ukraine [Photo credit: Saskia Cameron]

Before leaving, there was just enough time for a final look around the exhibition stands – including the powerful work in the Illustrated Ukraine space, which turned the attention from children’s illustration to Ukrainian illustrators capturing childrens’ experience of the war. Among the Ukranian illustrators’ was the amazing Tania Yakunova, with her work ‘Parasites’.

It was great to see some AOI members at the fair this year, and we hope that everyone who attended had a fruitful trip! If you’re thinking of going along next year, be sure to have a read over our Guide.

3rd April 2023

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