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Society of Illustrators Exhibits Overseas For the First Time at Bologna Children’s Book Fair

This year, the Society of Illustrators was thrilled to be part of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF), the world’s leading event in the children’s publishing industry. It was the Society’s first time overseas and hopefully not our last. We showcased a selection of artwork from The Original Art 2023 Exhibit and offered a series of enriching programs designed to inspire illustrators. All of this took place in The Illustrators Survival Corner, a space at BCBF dedicated to the illustrator’s profession, curated by Mimaster Illustrazione

The event started with a presentation of the Society of Illustrators and the highly anticipated The Original Art 2023 Exhibit. Led by members of the SI Team, attendees were informed about the history of the Society, our educational programming, The Original Art Exhibit, call for entries, and how to get involved. 

Following the exhibit presentation, our team led the first guided tour of The Original Art 2023 Exhibit, providing attendees with insights into the gold medal winner, Felicita Sala for her work on As Night Falls: Creatures That Go Wild After Dark (RHCB/PRH / Random House Studio), silver medal winners Marla Frazee for The Great Zapfino (Simon & Schuster / Beach Lane Books) and Victoria Tentler-Krylov for I’m Gonna Paint: Ralph Fasanella, Artist of the People (Holiday House), and the Dilys Evans Founder’s Award winner X. Fang for Dim Sum Palace (Tundra Book Group/ Tundra Books). The Lifetime Achievement Award winners William Joyce and Dahlov Ipcar were also highlighted. 

As the day unfolded, aspiring illustrators had the opportunity to receive personalized feedback during portfolio reviews with acclaimed illustrator Barbara McClintock

The day concluded with a masterclass titled “The Italian Factor: How To Build A Career In Comics And Illustration In The US.” Featuring illustrators Bianca Bagnarelli, Matteo Berton, Sarah Mazzetti, and Society of Illustrators executive director Arabelle Liepold. The session offered invaluable insights into the crossover between Italian and American illustration cultures, and how the Society of Illustrators has been instrumental in launching professional careers. 

Day two was filled with more excitement as we continued our guided tours of The Original Art Exhibit, giving attendees another chance to learn more about the artwork on display. It was also filled with exciting meetings to discuss upcoming exhibits at the Society of Illustrators with Scarlett Mills from The Folio Society and Italian illustrators Anna and Elena Balbusso.

The final day was packed with tours, workshops, and masterclasses. Barbara McClintock led a dynamic workshop titled “TOMFOOLERY!” where participants explored how Randolph Caldecott, for whom the Caldecott award is named, revolutionized picture books and influences them today. They were then encouraged to draw following formats established by Caldecott.

There was standing room only for the masterclass titled “What Makes an Illustrated Book an International Success”. Illustrators Felicita Sala, Cecilia Ruiz, and Victoria Tentler-Krylov and moderator Steven Guarnaccia, shared their insights on the key elements that contribute to the global appeal of illustrated books.

Additionally, our portfolio reviews continued with Victoria Tentler-Krylov providing invaluable feedback and guidance to emerging talents.

It was a privilege to be a part of the Bologna Children’s Book Art Fair. Thank you to Elena Pasoli, director of BCBF, Chiara Cereda, Benedetta Lelli, Ivan Canu, and Giacomo Benelli at Mimaster Illustration, and to everyone who joined us at The Illustrators Survival Corner! 

To view pictures of the event, click here!

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