For more than half a century Bologna 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 the Fair in Bologna and during the international tour during the months that follow , support and encouragement to develop their work and opportunities to meet with other operators in the publishing market and other sectors.
The Illustrators Exhibition: 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 Bologna 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 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 visual identity BCBF in collaboration with Chialab design, 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 BCBF 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 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 BCBF 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: in this very successful space since the 2017’s edition, illustrators can discuss and share their experiences, successes and questions about the profession. 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.
The collaboration with Pitti Immagine Bimbo: 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 BCBF to the sector of kids’ fashion. Since then 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’.