59th edition
21-24 March 2022
Bologna - Italy

How to take part


The jewel in the crown of the BCBF, the Illustrators Exhibition is a unique international venue showcasing the latest trends in illustration for children and young adults.

The call for entries, closed on the 8 November 2020, attracted over 3,000 illustrators who submitted their artwork from 88 countries.As usual, an outstanding international jury will select 80 winners whose illustrations will be presented at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair; then the exhibition will travel across different countries in a two year tour. New this year, to strengthen the support to the international illustrators community, BCBF is opening up new opportunities of promotion and training thanks to enhanced digital features.
The registered illustrators' list will be online soon.

This year the Competition has several important new features. Discover all the opportunities with 10 simple clicks!


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Entry forms were available online from 14 October 2020 to 8 November 2020.

Please note that applications arrived after this deadline are not included in the selection process.

  • Illustrators, professionals and beginners can enter unpublished artwork, or artwork published in the previous two years.
  • Art schools can enter the most interesting innovative projects by students who have attended their Institute.
  • Publishers can enter illustrators they work with. 

The 2021 edition has an important new feature: illustrators must enter their artwork exclusively online. 

The 5 artworks must be based on the same theme, and must be numbered, as preferred, from 1 to 5 on the digital format file. The number of artworks (5) is mandatory.

The 5 illustrations – 5, no more, no less - may be unpublished artwork or artwork published after 1 January 2019. The work can be in black and white or colour and be produced using any technique.

The digital format must be: jpg or png, maximum size 5 MB, resolution 150 DPI.

There’s another new feature. As well as the illustrators selected for the exhibition, the finalists shortlisted for the last selection phase will also enjoy visibility on BCBF’s website and social media channels. 

Applications closed on November 8, 2020.

Read the Regulations carefully before you fill in your Entry Form.

If you are not already registered, you can do so by going to the BCBF Visitors Reserved Area. If you are already registered, simply login to the Visitors Reserved Area.

You will find 2 Entry Forms: one for individual applicants, the other for schools, publishers, and associations of illustrators.


Fill out the personal data fields, upload your five illustrations (mandatory number), which can be either unpublished work or work published after 1 January 2019, produced either in black and white or colour with any technique.

File format: jpg or png, max size 5 MB, resolution 150 DPI.

The 5 artworks must be based on the same theme, and must be numbered from 1 to 5 on the digital format file in the desired order. The number of artworks (5) is mandatory.

Artists who are subsequently selected will have to send the originals of their artwork for inclusion in the Exhibition. If the artwork has been produced by mixed (analog and digital), or completely digital techniques, good quality prints must be sent.

The maximum size (i.e. the size of the sheet of paper) of the original artwork, or prints in the case of mixed analog and digital technique, must be:

Fiction 32 x 42 cm (or 42 x 32 cm) – Non-Fiction 50 x 70 cm (or 70 x 50 cm)

Larger format originals will not be accepted, nor will they be returned by BolognaFiere.


Fill out the corporate data fields and indicate the illustrators you are presenting. These illustrators will receive an invitation to register for the selection procedure of the Illustrators Exhibition. You can monitor online whether the illustrators you have presented have registered.

Illustrators presented by an art school, publisher, or association must register as individual applicants (filling out an illustrator’s Entry Form). You can monitor online whether the illustrators you have presented have registered. 

Once the illustrators have registered and applied individually online, they will receive a confirmation email.

At the close of the Application Period, the list of applicants admitted to the selection process will be published on the BCBF website.

Disclosure of the name of participants admitted to the selection process shall be for information purposes only.

The illustrators admitted to the selection process will automatically receive a code number via email. This code will entitle them to a special-price entry ticket to BCBF 2021 (€ 20,00) valid for one (1) visit, or a special four-day ticket (€ 50,000) valid for the full duration of the book fair.

The list of the finalists passing the first selection phase will be published online following the close of this first selection process on 25 January 2021. 

The list of the winners chosen to be part of the 2021 Illustrators Exhibition will be published on the BCBF website at the conclusion of the final selection by 31 January 2021.

The winners will receive a code number by email, allowing them to download a free pass to the 2021 BCBF (valid for the four days of the event). 

With this addition, finalists admitted to the last selection round will also enjoy promotion by Bologna Children’s Book Fair through initiatives on BCBF’s website and social media channels.

Winners will enjoy widespread visibility on the international stage. Their works will be published in the Illustrators Annual (published in Italy, USA, Japan, China and South Korea) and will be included in the Exhibition’s two-year world tour.

In addition, the artists selected for the Exhibition will be offered other interesting opportunities:

  • participation in the Bologna Children’s Book Fair – Fundación SM International Award for Illustration (for artists under 35).
  • participation in the ARS IN FABULA grant award (for  artists under 30s).
  • participation in the selection of an artist to develop the next BCBF’s visual identity. 

A jury of international experts will assess the artworks in the competition. A first selection of short-listed finalists will be made on 25 January 2021, and their names will be published on the BCBF website on 31 January.

The final selection from the shortlisted candidates will conclude on 4-5 february 2021, after which the winning illustrations will be announced. 

Illustrators Exhibition
Bologna Children's Book Fair 
Tel. 051 282494 - Fax 051 6374011
E-mail: illustratori@bolognafiere.it


2021 Rules of entry


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