Bologna Book Fair – Australian Children’s Book Illustrators and Exhibition

A highlight for visitors to the Bologna Book Fair has definitely been the Australian Children’s Book Illustration Exhibition that occupied part of the Australian Publishers Association stand.  Showcasing notable picture books from 2011-2012, there were some 25 one-off illustration prints on display, with their books alongside – and the added dimension of a constant flow of different illustrators and authors working and chatting to visitors to the exhibition.

Enjoy these photos of the exhibition.  My favorites?  Yikes, impossible to choose.  I loved seeing Dub Leffler’s Once There was a Boy, that I’ve heard so much about, and Norma MacDonald’s illustration from Stolen Girl written by Trina Saffioti, both Magabala Books, 2011.  Also Bronwyn Bancroft’s  Kangaroos and Crocodiles: My Big Book of Australian Animals (Little Hare, 2011) and The Little Refugee by Anh Do and Suzanne Do, illustrated by Bruce Whatley.

It was a thrill to watch featured illustrator Nick Bland at work, since he was staying in our hotel and we shared taxis with him to or from the Fair.   Take a look at this beautiful bear as a work in progress to completion, done this morning at the Fair, to be scanned and wired back to his editors in Australia… and the original given to Corinne, who you’ll see is over the moon.  We’ve already held it up to Skype for her daughter to see!  And I was very lucky too, as Nick gave me one of the drawings he’d done while working on the stand – a very regal pig and two sad sheep!  Wow, watching all these very talented artists at work is such a thrill!

Nick is also very interesting to talk to as he’s at the forefront of Book App technology with his company Wheelbarrow.  Here he is showing us the App version of his best-selling picture book The Very Cranky Bear…

We caught up again (after the SCBWI illustrators’ duelling yesterday) with  Lesley Vamos and Serena Geddes, as well as author Deborah Abela, whose recent book The Ghosts of Gribblesea Pier has been included in USBBY’s 2012 Outstanding International Books List.  We also saw Jeannette Rowe creating beautiful watercolor butterflies from round wee pallettes that looked unpromisingly dark and uniform.  And just caught the end of Ann James’ demonstration.  An illustration from Ann’s beautiful picture book The Butterfly (written by Richard Vaughan Carr) is included in the exhibition, and it was really special also to look through the portfolio of preparatory material Ann had alongside it on display too.

Ann James is one of the founders of Books Illustrated, along with Ann Haddon, whom we had a great chat with – but that’s for another post. In the meantime, enjoy the photos…


3 Responses to “Bologna Book Fair – Australian Children’s Book Illustrators and Exhibition”

  1. Emma @ My Book Corner Says:

    Great write up, not at all biased because you’ve mentioned some of our favourite books, authors and illustrators!! Once There Was A Boy is awesome, and today Magabala Books have announced he is the illustrator on a book to be published in August – can’t wait!

  2. Angela Sunde Says:

    Thank you for sharing these lovely photos. It’s almost like being there.

  3. Marjorie Says:

    yes, Emma, I so loved getting to see Once There Was A Boy, having heard so much about it, and it did not disappoint!

    Angela, thank you. There are more to come! :-)