Bologna – Happenings

Bologna Book Fair is HUGE … it starts with the morning crush, to enter the 5 halls – including the newly established digital hall. I was so busy that I didn’t even get to see my friend Warren Buckleitner (of Dust or Magic and Children’s Technology Review fame!)

the crush

the crush

The Illustrators Wall that you come across as soon as you enter the fair is the most amazing collection of mini-works and a work-wanted promotions that I have ever seen. It goes on and on and on and every year i get amazed at what the illustrators create. I wonder each time I see it if illustrators do get work from this but publishers do scour the walls and they do extract cards or take photos of interesting contacts they see. And seeing all these promotional pieces on the wall – and those of our own SCBWI collective makes me think I am very glad that I am not an illustrator competing in that sea of creativity. There are people that try and predict what the latest / next style will be and rush off to create their look to imitate what they spied at Bologna but things change so quickly in this industry. For all creators (words or illustrations) it really is just do your own thing – create what interests you.

Each year a host nation is selected and this year Germany had a super exhibition that was walled with the fixed cardboard tubes. What a great display they had.

Special exhibitions are held – one was the Artists and Masterpieces of Illustration and it was so glorious to see Shaun Tan’s work there. The Bologna Illustrators Exhibition showcasing worldwide trends in children’s illustration is run by the folks from the fair (not our SCBWI BiG) and it has an amazing collection of new art. I wanted to spend hours just sitting and absorbing what was on display.

And there are booths from all the publishers, major and minor, from all over the world.  The money that is spent on some of these creations would be phenomenal. Of course within the walls of these booths there are amazing books being sold. It really is mind boggling to see the array of work promoted and exchanged and I think – wow – my work is one of thousands that are around this year! Some publishers (like the crew from Little Tiger) become very good friends – we rested well there with them at close of the day!

There is way too much to do at Bologna Book Fair if you are working a booth! There are the cafe’s at the fair to visit – not the drink coffee type of cafe but the author and illustrator cafe’s with talks and presentations; showcases and highlights at the various booths including regional food that is used to entice booth visitors (excellent when you happen to pass the Indonesian booth); and just so many books. And not to forget the Digital Hall as well.

Way too much!!!

More Bologna coming tomorrow.

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