A Newspaper Article and An Award

On my way from hall 25 to hall 26 at the Bologna Book Fair my phone rang. I was so occupied with all the impressions at the fair that I didn't even answer the phone correctly expecting my children at the other end of the line anyway. But it wasn't them. I heard a woman's voice who introduced herself as a journalist from a local newspaper in my area, the Stuttgarter Zeitung. She asked me whether I was interested in doing an interview for a short coverage on how an illustrator works. I said yes I would certainly be interested, the only problem at hand being I wasn't in Germany but in Italy at that very moment. She said she would see whether they could postpone the article to a later date and we said goodbye for the moment.
When I already thought I had missed out on a great opportunity to promote my work locally she called me again the week after Bologna and we arranged a date for her to come and visit my home studio. I was quite nervous about it and hoped I would actually have something to tell her worth of a report. The interview was really great and the reporter Johanna Trommer made me feel at ease. In the course of our interview I found out she is actually a published author herself, so we had something to connect and talk about. Time flew and well, here it is (of course in German ;-)) my very first newspaper interview for the Stuttgarter Wochenende (it is on page 5).
Thanks so much Johanna Trommer for this great article. She really has a way with words, I tell you!

And I have some other very exciting news to share. Exciting for me also because it is the very first time a book I illustrated has won an award. (If you follow me on FB this might not be entirely new to you).
Yesterday the publisher Magination Press send me an email to let me know "Ben's Flying Flowers" has been awarded the Nautilus Silver Award! I am thrilled beyond words as you can imagine and very grateful to the people at Magination Press to have given me the opportunity to contribute to this fine story written by Inger Maier. The winners will be officially announced in May, so I might have to think up something to celebrate this in a proper manner ;-). What a week!

Bologna Book Fair 2013 recap

Wow, Bologna Book Fair came and went so quickly. It was a great fair and I have a lot of info, impressions and inspiration to share with you.

Lets get started with the overall impression. This was my third time in Bologna, so I feel I can start comparing the different years of attending the fair and also kind of get an idea of how to go about the fair best, even though this is of course my personal view and not everyone might agree with me.

What caught my eye straight away when entering the halls was the open design of the illustrators corner. The illustrators wall was at least twice as big as last year if not even more, which was  fantastic, as not too many people would stick their posters and cards upon yours or even go as far as ripping them down (yes, had that last year, not so nice, if you ask me). The whole exhibition felt very welcoming and of course we will have to come back to it when speaking of inspiration.

The wall early Monday morning after I put my stuff and my Storybook Brushes Group Calendar up with art by Katriona Chapman, Angela Matteson and Juana Martinez-Neal.
The wall later ... so many amazing things to discover!
 I got to attend only a few talks at the fair but the ones I sat in on were very interesting. One was on digital publishing withe Peter Sis, André Letria, Klaas Verplancke and Roger Mello. The most important message out of this talk was to me that when creating digital content, be it an ebook of sorts or app that the story is still to be key. It was pointed out that as with movies too, all emphasize seems to be on the sole use of what is technically possible, which results in very weak if sometimes even almost non existent stories. The possibilities to enhance a story are manyfold. One very interesting example though was an augmented reality book project called Mr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde . This project really uses technical support to enhance the experience of the book and story. Surely something to be on the look out for and maybe experiment with, if one gets the chance.

Another talk I happened to sit in on was about the rights of authors and illustrators. It was more of a very passionate talk held by Mats Lindberg (IAF), Paolo RUI (EIF President) and Anders Suneson (EIF Member). It is a topic widely discussed around the internet not only by art its within the book publishing industry, but also in other creative fields. Emphasis of the talk was on art its not working for free and in order of valuing their service to increase the respect and value on the client side too. Fees have dropped reasonably in the last few years and also a lot of other bad things for authors/illustrators have happened when it comes to their copyrights. The speakers really pointed out to be aware of ones rights and step up for them and not undervalue what we can offer to our clients. I think this is crucial to talk about and it was great to hear and see that there is an understanding of an issue throughout the industry that can lead to a change, if it gets more known and also followed by art its around the globe.

Inspiration could be found in every corner of the fair. From the illustrations exhibition to the illustrators wall and all the booths. I spotted books from fellow illustrators I know, if only through the internet but nonetheless, it is always so wonderful to see others published work, when you can connect it to a person. So here are a few pics for your inspiration taken from the fair.

Got nice presents here for my kids!

 I met with other illustrators and had lovely food, but just one gelato, as it was freezing cold in Italy.

As far as tips go when attending the fair I can only encourage you all to make as many appointments as possible. I reached out to the people I hoped to see 6-8 weeks ahead of the fair. Some did not attend, but at least I got to talk to them and a few asked for me to leave samples at the booth to be handed to them personally. I also had my cards and portfolio prepared and got in cues, when I had the impression my art might fit the publisher. Apart from that, never hesitate to simply walk up to a booth and ask if you can either show your work or leave a card. This got me two more appointments, so it is all worthwhile. 
This year my portfolio felt very good to me and responses were very positive, which only encourages me to push further and make an even better portfolio for the next year. I leave you for now with this credo I came up with when strolling the aisles with Kirsten Carlson.
 "Get inspired, not intimidated!"
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