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Meet us in Bologna: some advice for illustrators!

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Are you an illustrator? Are you coming to this year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair? Would you like to meet us? If the answer to all three of these questions is “yes” , this blog post is for you!

We’re holding illustrator surgeries on Tuesday, March 25 from 3.30-4.30pm and on Wednesday, March 26 from 2.00-3.00pm at the Nosy Crow stand (25 B 106) where you’ll be able to meet our editorial and design team, show us your portfolio, and receive some feedback on your work. We have back-to-back rights-selling appointments for the rest of the fair – if you’d like to meet us, those are the times you’ll be able to do so.

I asked our Head of Design, Head of Picture Books, and Editorial Director what their advice for illustrators coming to Bologna would be, and here’s what they said:

Make sure your portfolio is as strong as it can be. Presentation is absolutely crucial, and you should pick your pieces carefully – don’t be tempted to cram absolutely everything in (Kristina’s motto is, “if in doubt, take it out”). The work that you show should demonstrate your ability, but also be relevant to children’s books (so, life drawing and religious iconography – to pick two examples named by people here as things they’d been shown at past fairs – would not be appropriate).

Plan in advance – target the publishers you particularly like the look of and check out their websites beforehand. You won’t be able to speak to everyone, so pick the companies who most interest you, and whose books look like a good fit for your work. If your art is in a completely different style to everything on a publisher’s list (very high-end vs. very commercial, for instance), it’s unlikely to be productive hunting them down.

Look at all of the international halls. It’s not not only a great opportunity to see what’s being published around the world, but will give you a lot of very valuable commercial insight. We work in an international market, and so it’s useful for you to know what other countries are doing, from Korea to Belgium. Picture book co-editions are a big part of our business, and thinking about whether your work will sell in other territories is an essential exercise.

So, if you’ll be at the fair, and you like the look of what we do, come and say hello!

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