Bologna Children's Book Fair - A bilingual post (English/Spanish)

Read the text in grey for English
Lee el texto en azúl para castellano

For a few days, Bologna turns into the capital of the World among illustrators and publishers during the Annual Bologna Children's Book Fair.

I have been twice to this prestigious book fair and each time I met new and interesting people and learned something useful. It's a great opportunity to promote your work internationally and if you are --or want to be-- in this industry, you should experience it at least once.

Here are some thought that may be of interest to you if you are planing to attend this or any other book fair. 

Please note that the following bullet points have been written from my own experiences. Remember that everyone has a different approach and you may find other ways that will work just as well!

BEFORE the fair :

Prepare your portfolio on paper and online. If you have a mock-up of a book, even better, since some publishers prefer completed projects.

Design your business card. If you're planing on including a drawing, which I recommend, better if it's postcard size. Remember to keep it simple. Do not overdo, use only one drawing: a single character with an empty background for instance. Make sure this is your best work, as it will represent you.
Like any business card, it should have all your contact details (phone, email, blog,
Go for a clear font and, please DON'T EVER --under ANY circumstances-- use Comic Sans, as this may ruin any probability of success you may have. No kidding!

- Get the list of the publishers who will be at the fair (usually there's a list of the exhibitors on the fair's website) and contact the ones you think you fit best with. Ask them for an appointment to show them your portfolio.

DURING the fair :

Do not waist a second on the main board. Hanging your cards, posters... on this giant display panel situated at the entrance is good fun but not very useful. Instead get yourself the map of the fair and also a plastic pocket, fill it with your business cards, hang it around your neck and go get new contacts with your charming smile.

Don't queue waiting for a portfolio review. Simply write down the name of that publishing company and contact them via email at another time. This will keep you moving towards your goal: speaking with a publisher.

- Focus on: Networking. Don't be shy. Fairs are for establishing new contacts. Communicate with publishers and other illustrators, as you can learn from all of them.

Visit those publishers who did not reply your pre-fair email. Ask kindly to speak with the art director. Don't get frustrated if you can't meet him/her, just leave your card and keep going!

Take notes! Write down the names of those who met with you and the feedback they provided. Also take note of those who unable to speak with you and the reasons they gave in order to find a better approach. Don't forget to staple on your notes all the business cards that you may have collected on every stand, since it's easy to loose them.

Meet with colleagues.  Write down names of illustrators that you admire and that are also attending at the fair. Do some research: What do they do and with what companies? where are they currently based? Maybe you have things in common and you can arrange a quick chat at one of the many coffee stations to exchange information and business cards.

Pay attention! Once you get to speak with a publisher, use well your time: listen to any advice they may give and don't be afraid of asking.

Be curious! there are so many things to look at and learn from.

Enjoy the experience and drink water regularly.

(There is a lot more to do AFTER the fair but that will come in another post, don't forget to visit this blog after the fair to get more info or to give your feedback.  Good luck!)

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Por unos días, Bolonia se convierte en la capital mundial entre ilustradores y editores durante la anual Bologna Children's Book Fair.

He asistido ya dos veces a esta prestigiosa feria del libro y cada año he conocido gente nueva y muy interesante y he aprendido cosas útiles. Esta es una gran oportunidad para promover tu trabajo internacionalmente y si eres -- o quieres ser -- parte de esta industria deberías vivir esta experiencia por lo menos una vez.

Aquí hay algunos sugerencias que pueden ser de interés para ti si es que estás pensando en ir a ésta o cualquier otra feria del libro.

Ten en cuenta que los siguientes puntos los he escrito a partir de mi propia experiencia. Recuerda que todos tenemos maneras distintas de abordar una feria y que tú puedes encontrar otras que te funcionen igual de bien.

ANTES de una feria :

- Prepara tu portfolio, originales en papel y también online. Si tienes una maqueta de cuento acabada mejor que mejor ya que a algunos editores les gustan los proyectos cerrados.

- Diseña tu tarjeta de visita. Si vas a poner un dibujo, lo cual te recomiendo, mejor hazla tamaño postal. Que sea simple, no la recargues demasiado, usa solo un dibujo; un único personaje con un fondo vacío por ejemplo, asegúrate de que es tu mejor dibujo, porqué éste te va a estar representando.
Como cualquier tarjeta de visita debe de tener tus datos de contacto (teléfono, e-mail, blog, web...) apuesta por una letra limpia y clara y por nada del mundo, JAMAS DE LOS JAMASES, uses Comic Sans, de hacerlo, muy posiblemente estarás arruinando cualquier posibilidad de éxito.

- Consigue la lista de los editores que asistirán a la feria (normalmente, hay un listado en la misma web de la feria organizadora) y ponte en contacto con los que crees que encajan mejor con tu trabajo. Pídeles tener una reunión para enseñarles tu portfolio.

DURANTE una feria:

- No malgastes ni un segundo en el panel principal.  Colgar tus tarjetas, pósters... en el panel gigante de display que hay en la entrada puede ser divertido, pero lamentablemente no sirve de mucho. En su lugar, hazte con el mapa de la feria y una de esas funditas de plástico para llevar colgando del cuello, méte allí tus tarjetas y con tu mejor sonrisa  disponte a hacer nuevos contactos.

No hagas colas para que revisen tu portfolio. Simplemente apunta ésa editorial que ahora está saturada y ya contactaras con ellos vía email en otro momento, mantente en movimiento en dirección a tu objetivo: Hablar con un editor.

- Céntrate en ampliar tus redes de contacto (Networking). No seas timid@ las ferias son para hacer nuevos contactos. Habla con editores e ilustradores, porqué de todos puedes aprender.

- Ve a visitar a aquellas editoriales que no te respondieron a tu email pre-feria. Amablemente pídeles hablar con el director artístico. No te frustres si no consigues reunirte con él/ella , déjales tu tarjeta y sigue adelante!

Toma notas! Anota quién te atendió y el feedback que te dieron, anota los que no te pudieron atender y el motivo que te dieron para encontrar una mejor vía de acercamiento. No olvides grapar en tus notas las tarjetas de visita que vayas recogiendo en cada stand, ya que se pierden con mucha facilidad.

- Contacta con otros colegas de profesión. Busca ilustradores que admires y que sepas que van a asistir a la feria. Investiga: ¿Qué hacen? ¿En qué país residen actualmente? ¿Con qué editoriales suelen trabajar?  Quizá tengáis cosas en común. Organiza un encuentro en alguno de los puestos de café que hay por la feria para charlar e intercambiar  información y tarjetas de visita.

- Pon atención! Una vez consigas la atención de un editor y éste te esté revisando el portfolio aprovecha bien tu tiempo: escucha cualquier consejo que te pueda dar y no tengas miedo de preguntar.

Se curios@! hay muchas cosas que ver y de las que aprender 

- Disfruta la experiencia y bebe agua regularmente.

(Hay mucho por hacer también DESPUÉS de una feria pero eso será en un nuevo post. Visita  este blog después de la feria para más información o para darme tu opinión. Buena suerte!)

A little too late

My latest painting was made in 2 hour. It's a 65X50 support and it's entirely gouache. This time I experimented with a more fresh and spontaneous line. The theme was about  not getting to meet with someone for whatever reason. Here is my personal vision: A story about love at old age revealed only a little too late.

'El desencontre' (65X50)

La Santa Pintada

This is the new Illustration I've been working on for a collective exhibition that will take place at a new cultural space/art gallery in Barcelona, called "La Santa Pintada" (a play on words between "The Holy Painted" and "The Holy Painting").

The request to take part in this collective exhibition is to use the concept "Santa Pintada" as the theme. And here is my contribution to such an amazing cultural space.

The name of this creative initiative came after the new owners (3 young and talented artists) found a small sculpture of a saint facing the building while they were refurbishing themselves this space. They thought it was a very good sign; therefore they decided to go for a name that should include the word "Santa" (Saint).

Why do I collaborate with this collective exhibition? Because I strongly believe that projects like this are great not only to promote new talents but also to make new bondings between artists of all disciplines. 

I wish you the best of luck and success, guys! 

"La Santa Pintada", situated in the heart of Barcelona, will officially open its gates to the public this week and many illustrators will get to know each other on a pretty cool inauguration.

Classic novels

Here are some of the classics of all times. Using only one color in each case (plus black and white).

Saint Valentine's Day

This year, Zebra also wanted to wish you all a Happy Saint Valentine's Day. 
(And love took Zebra high above the clouds!)

A successful event called 'Cafè D'Artistes' in Barcelona

Last year I created a networking event for artists of all fields. The experience was really good so I decided to go for a second round on the 3rd February 2013. 

Over 60 artists spent their time exchanging business cards and working together on some activities to break the ice. It was an absolute success and so once again I am organizing our next meeting, which will be in Spring 2013. 

So if you are an artist and you happen to be in Barcelona next Spring, do not miss this opportunity to join us on the next 'Cafè D'Artistes'. To find out more, about this event, check out the Cafè D'Artistes' blog.

Madame Butterfly

One day Pinkerton returned to Japan with his distinguished American wife to take Butterfly's child.  Devastated, Butterfly killed herself.

Illustrating a song

This week I have been working on a new illustration based on this songs by 'The Police'.

And suddenly there was silence

Don't forget to join me on Facebook and 'Like' the drawings you like the most