I have finally found a moment to sit down and write all about my first Bologna Book Fair experience so I will try to keep it brief but informative!
I had spoken to a few people about their experience before going, so as to prepare myself which really helped in knowing what to expect.
Laura Wood, who works in my studio gave me lot's of good advice and we actually ended up being at the fair together which definitely made us both feel much less nervous!
1. Before going, prepare your portfolio.
This sounds obvious but make sure it is up to date, taking out anything that you no longer feel fits in with your work. I definitely found a few pieces, that were by this point only fit for throwing in the bin!
2. Have something to put up on the illustrators wall and make sure you go there first thing on Monday morning if you want to have any space, it get's full very quickly...
I ended up printing loads of postcards and business cards which went in a little box that I stuck to the wall, as well as a couple of posters. As far as I know, I'm pretty sure that publishers and art directors don't really frequent the wall but lot's of people go and take your cards which is obviously just a really good way to get your name out there.
4. Visiting the ridiculous bookshop is a given. Inspiring and overwhelming, I walked around with an armful of books, not being able to decide what to buy.
In the end I just bought one Beatrice Alemagna book, Le Merveilleux Dodu Velu Petit, which, although I cannot fully understand, is wonderful and if anyone would like to send me the full English translation I would be eternally grateful!
5. Other than this, all I can say is be confident with your work and be prepared to learn.
From talking to anyone, be they publishers, art directors or even fellow illustrators, there is always something to learn that you didn't know before.
David Roberts' illustration on the Bloomsbury stand. Definitely excited to see the book that this illustration was for.
All in all, my trip inspired me to write more, draw more (always!) and book my flights for next year!