For more than half a century the Children’s Book Fair has been the main location, on a global level, in which to learn about the latest trends in illustration and to discover new talents. Significant space and priority is given to the professional category of illustrators, who can find at Bologna Children’s Book Fair support and encouragement to develop their work and opportunities to meet with other operators in the publishing market and other sectors.


THE SM AWARD, THE ARS IN FABULA-GRANT AWARD and an opportunity to work with the Fair and Chialab.

On arrival at the Fair visitors immediately encounter a large area for the many exhibitions of illustration. First among these is the Illustrators’ Exhibition, which has been curated by the Children’s Book Fair since 1967 offering artists from all over the world a unique opportunity to showcase their talent to a public that includes the most prestigious figures from the sector. The exhibition, an important international showcase during the days of the Fair in Bologna and the international tour during the months that follow, offers young emerging talents tangible professional opportunities.

The participants aged under 35 are also entered in to the competition for the Bologna Children's Book Fair – Fundación SM International Illustration Award, which offers the winner the significant prize of 15 thousand dollars, the publication of a book and the organization of a solo exhibition at the Fair in the following year’s edition.

Furthermore, one of the emerging illustrators selected for the Illustrator’s Exhibition will be assigned the task of creating the illustrations for the communication campaign for the BCBF 2019 in collaboration with Chialab, following the first year of this initiative at this year’s edition.

Finally, again for emerging talents, since 2012 the Ars in Fabula School of Illustration with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair has been awarding the scholarship ARS IN FABULA – Grant Award, which is awarded annually to an artist aged under 30 at the Illustrators’ Exhibition.


The Illustrators' Café and Wall

The Illustrators’ Café has always been the location for meetings with the juries of the BCBF awards and the Illustrators’ Exhibition, debates on the latest developments in illustration around the world, meetings with numerous leading figures from children’s publishing. Located near the café and in the last 2017's edition created in partnership with Fedrigoni SpA, is the Illustrators’ Wall that is now well-known among artists arriving at the Fair. Tens of square metres of free wall that each day of the Children’s Book Fair fill up with drawings, business cards, works of art and contact details, becoming a genuine illustrated showcase that often enables visitors to make new connections and develop professional opportunities.


The Illustrators’ Survival Centre

For the last 54th edition of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair The Illustrators’ Survival Centre, a new space in which illustrators can discuss and share their experiences, successes and questions about the profession, has been set up. The Illustrators’ Survival Corner, with its rich programme of activities, has been created by BolognaFiere with the collaboration of Mimaster Illustration (Milan), an international provider of training for illustrators, and with the support of Fabriano.

The activities of the corner are aimed at young emerging talents and professionals and will offer a daily programme of events that includes:

Portfolio Reviews
Curated by authors, editors, agents and art directors
What works and what to change in portfolios, before and after meeting with publishers;

Tips on design and planning for illustrators; 

Masterclass “Survival Tools for the profession”
From self-promotion to managing interviews with the publisher, from the contract to social media;

Meet the jury
Cycles of meetings, workshops and portfolio reviews with the jurors of the Illustrators’ Exhibition;

Red Carpet
Meetings with international artists: masterclasses and workshops;

All of the activities will be  free and available on reservation. 

The collaboration with Pitti Immagine Bimbo

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair and Pitti Immagine Bimbo, the international reference event for the latest trends in children’s wear, came together in 2016 to bring the creativity of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair to the sector of kids’ fashion. Set up for the 53rd edition, the project “Off the Page… and in the World of Fashion” continues its work of research with the aim of selecting and proposing a team of illustrators capable of giving a new look to fabrics and fashion collections for kids’. Each year a jury of experts has the task of selecting from the artists at the Illustrators’ Exhibition those considered best-suited to develop their creativity in this sector, artists who will then be introduced to the fashion companies present at Pitti Bimbo. The initiative offers further opportunities for work and visibility for young illustrators selected each year in Bologna.


Illustrators wishing to visit the Fair, may ask online shortly for a reduced ticket (20 €)  reserved to the category on the Fair's website.


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Illustrators Café

Debates and meetings on the latest developments in illustration around the world.    

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