Bologna Book Fair

Hello Bloggers! Last week I went to my first ever book fair. For some reason I decided to jump in at the deep end and went to the ginormous Bologna Book Fair, no really, it was genuinely huge. Prepare yourself for a monster post...

It was the 50th annual fair, I have my suspicions that it may have been even busier than usual. The fair took place over 4 days and 6 big warehouses. I felt as though I walked for miles, and I probably did. Maybe its all a ploy to keep Illustrators fit and healthy? 

This year's guest country was Sweden and there was a small exhibition of Swedish Illustrators. I ended up buying the accompanying Illustrators index - one pricey book, but definitely worth it. The fair was a real eye opener into the larger world of children's books and illustration. It was also interesting to experience the commercial side of illustration.

I went with my talented Illustrator buddies Annaliesse, Martha and Kate, and we bumped into the lovely ex-Falmouth students Laura and Matthew along the way. We were also lucky to stay with some great Authors/Illustrators in our little hostel. It was nice knowing a few people, especially for moral support.

When you enter the fair, after a short queue*, you're confronted with a wall completely plastered with Illustrator's tear sheets, posters, post cards, business cards and general contact details. I managed to squeeze in a few of my own tear sheets and business cards. I wish I'd taken more promotional material, its the prime time to whip it out.

* You'd be lucky! The queue for the fair is massive. Top tip: Make sure you pick up your tickets before hand.


After a little shameless self promotion we headed off to try and catch a few art directors. Everyone was busy talking business, but I was lucky enough to steal a bit of time and managed to talk to some Publishers and Agencies. It was the first time I had shown my portfolio, having only pulled it together a week before hand. It was super useful to get feedback, advice and opinions on my work. It really made the trip worthwhile. I will definitely be making some sneaky alterations to my portfolio before my final degree hand in.

Along with everything else there were also talks and presentations. I made it to some of the discussions on e-books, digital media and online presence. They got my little brain ticking, interesting stuff. There was also the Illustrators exhibition to explore. This was an exhibition open for all illustrators too enter. I had a wander around it on the last day of the fair, by which time I was starting to flag, but I'm glad I checked it out. Surprise surprise, there were even more nice drawings.

In the evenings we explored Bologna, ate pizza, ate pasta, drank fine wine and even finer hot chocolate. Turns out Bologna is a beautiful city and home to some scarily wonky towers. We found this amazing book shop, it was jam-packed with good books, although unfortunately I didn't have enough euros to buy any. Maybe I'll go back one day when i'm rich... I particularly liked the look of Gustavo Super-Caribu by Magali Le Huche.

 I have to admit, I did a bad-naughty, and took some secret snaps at the fair - sshhh! 
I just had to share these beautiful illustrations:

Sven is Hungry - Emma Adbage

Ten Wild Horses - Lisen Adbage (twins?)

Harold Finds A Voice - Courtney Dicmas

My Name Is Elizabeth! - Annika Dunklee / Matthew Forsythe

All in all, Bologna was an experience and a half - and by the end of it I swore I never wanted to see another children's book again in my whole entire life, but it only took a few days recovery to change my mind! I'm glad I went, and I'll definitely be going back.


  1. The (fat) horses book was awesome! <3
    I saw your design on the Wall and I recognized it. : )
    Cheers from an italian admirer.

  2. I'm definitely going to be buying that book!
    Thanks - its such an amazing wall :)


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