Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Prints for Exhibition

Not sure if I have mentioned this on here - but I''be taking part in illustration exhibition organized by Slovak Illustrators Association during the Bratislava Book Festival - BRAK. This is going to happen on the last weekend of May in Pisztory palace here in Bratislava. You can find more information here http://brakfestival.sk/. They do have some neat line-up.

So, I went to get some of my fresh work printed in the Calder design studio http://calder.sk/ as they do giclee prints regularly and I just love it. Took a few shots of the work for you - it is so much different to see your art on screen of the computer than seeing it printed, with the paper texture...ohhh. Take a look! See you at BRAK!

These illustrations were originally created for B4U Publishing http://www.b4upublishing.com/.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sneak Peek From a New Project

I have a very quick project on my work schedule this week - a farm activity book for kids. Here is a little sneak peek from the book - a farmhouse. I kind of wish there were a lot more objects to illustrate, haha :-)

Monday, April 27, 2015

New Book! Abecedario Maluco

Last week, I have received this colorful book in my mailbox - Abecedario Maluco, written by Luisa Ducla Soares, illustrated by me in cooperation with the wonderful Illustopia agency. I am really happy about it, took a few pictures with my phone this morning, hope you like them!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bologna Book Fair 2015

It has almost become a tradition - and I have realized I actually quite enjoy this - that every time I come back from a book fair or an event I attend, I write a blog about it. It's always nice to sum things up, to know that it might help someone in the future, and to come back to these lines later and read them over. So here is a post about my trip to Bologna Children's Book Fair 2015.

Attending Bologna Fair is now one of the highlights of my year (at least in the working life, hehe). I can't imagine not going there. This year, it was my third time at the book fair. I can now compare it with other book fairs, such as Frankfurt, Montreuil, Prague or Bratislava. Let's say that Bologna is the best place an illustrator can go, if they'd like to get inspired, get in touch with people from the market, present their work and get to know other illustrators. It's not as huge as Frankfurt - but I found Frankfurt a bit off topic when it comes to dealing with creatives, and not too small, like Montreuil.
What are the reasons to attend Bologna Book Fair if you are still in doubt?

Welcome! No. 1 finding of this year - you can forget printing out the ticket, it's okay to have it on your phone only! Poor control freak me, I was so stressed out when I realized I didn't print out my ticket.

Firstly, it's the best place to go opportunity-wise (for illustrators, of course)
If you are just starting out, or if you are looking for ways to get your work abroad, this might be the right place to begin with. Most of the people from the children's publishing market are here, and most importantly - a lot of the publisher bring their art directors or editors along to (among other things) interview the illustrators. There is always someone to talk with you about your work.

Bologna is a good place to meet fellow illustrators
An illustrator's job may sometimes get lonely. Let's face it, sitting at your desk all day is not the funniest thing to do all year round. I share a studio with other creative people now (illustrators, graphic designers), but I also like to meet new people and keep in touch with other illustrators, that I don't meet daily. Spread your net wide and speak to them! Let people know you're going - share it in the social media world. If you don't find out who from the illustration world is going beforehand, no reason to worry, you'll probably meet new faces queuing for the meetings.

Keep your eyes open for inspiration, Bologna is a great for this!
There is so many beautiful books! Plenty of wonderful illustration work! Get inspired, keep your eyes open, visit the illustrator's exhibition in the entrance hall. Pay attention to what is going on outside the Fair (there are lots of things going on in the evening in the city - exhibition openings etc.)

The entrance hall of the Bologna Book Fair. This year's guest of honor was Croatia.
The illustrator's exhibition in the entrance hall was a great, great, great showcase of talent this year! (I actually got a bit frustrated just looking at the works :-)
I would also like to share some advice. After three years of attending, I have a better insight of things I did wrong and things I would like to do better (or same! haha) nex time:

Get confident about yourself and about the work that you do!
Trust me, I know how hard it is to get courage and speak to people. I used to give my little sister my pocket money to call other people on the phone back in the old days. That's not the "me"you want to bring to a book fair. It's not easy, but once you start asking around, speaking to people, and you'll see them respond positively to your work, it will get better.

Don't get upset if the publisher won't speak with you. Ask for the art director's business card or contact details. This might be even more important than speaking to the person. Always ask for the email address. This way, you can follow up after the book fair with a link to your website or samples of your work.

Get to know the publisher. Take a look at their book showcase. 
Before approaching someone at the stand, take a look at the books displayed. Does your style fit? This year, I saved myself a lot of time actually "not"speaking to publishers who rejected me before, or whose stand looked nothing like my portfolio.

My friend Daniela speaking to one of the French publisher. I think they would do really well if they hired her, haha :-)
 Meet new folks and old friends!
Every year, I arrange a meeting my agent, Ines, who is the nicest lady in the world. We meet in the entrance hall and speak about work and life. I also like to go to dinner with other illustrators or publishers I already worked with. It's never as serious as speaking at the book fair and it can actually be very useful and refreshing! (and I also like to shake hands with publishers I worked with at the fair - never miss a familiar face! :-)

My friend Daniela being followed by a cleaning lady, hahaha. Just kidding, they only walked in the same direction :-)

Visit the city of Bologna!
During my previous visits, I always tried to book a place to stay as close to the Fair as possible. This year, my friend Daniela and I booked an apartment via Airbnb (oh, how I love this service!) directly in the center of Bologna. Could not make a better decision! Having dinner in the city (the food at the Fair is not that good, really, you have something to look forward to once you get into the town) seems to be the best possible reward after a hard day at the Fair.

Bring someone with you, if you can. Have a backpack and comfy shoes. Bring plenty of promotional materials. Don't wear yourself out.

At last (but not least), all of the above is the best you can do. But I blogged about these earlier here and here and here. I also find Laura Wood's blogs a great source of inspiration and a soooo useful! You can read her last Bologna post here.

So! Not sure if anyone is still here, hahaha :-) Still, I hope someone finds this blog useful and I really do hope this might help other illustrators have a successful Fair and enjoy their visit in Bologna! See you next year!


Friday, April 10, 2015

Sketching up a new project!

New project on the desk! I am not able to show more at the moment, but am working hard these animal pattern designs for kids! Will post more as soon as I can! And of course there is a Bologna Book Fair post in the making, haha!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Ready for Bologna!

Can't believe it is the third time I am packing my things for Bologna! I am so excited, I just love this book fair, can't help it. Meeting people who have the same passion - children's books - as I do and talking with them is just a breath of fresh air to my working life. (and I need that right now so badly!)

Above, I took a quick shot of my promotional material and books that I will be taking with me. If you are an illustrator going to Bologna, here is a short advice if you'd like to prepare yourself a bit before you go.

1. Don't feel stressed trying to book appointments beforehand. I did try last year and from all the emails I sent, I only got 2 replies saying they would book an appointment with me. Fortunately, plenty of publishers bring their art directors and editors with them to the Fair and they have illustrator hours and free slots for appointments, so do not worry, you'll be fine. Just take a walk around the stands on the first day and ask much as you can.

2. When trying to get appointments at the Fair, please take a look at the stand you're trying to approach and try to imagine your work there. Does it fit? Is this the right publisher for your illustrations? Consider the publishers book portfolio, if your style is not what they are into, don't put yourself through a meeting that could turn out unnecessary for both sides.

3. Get ready before you go. Try to create a nice portfolio, or just take dummy books, or published books, whichever you prefer. Show it to the art directors and editors and make sure you have enough business cards or postcards to leave behind.

4. Quick tip for illustrator's business cards - I like to put a sample of my work on one side and my contact details on the other side. This is because I think most people in the children's book business are very visual, and seeing your illo on the card will make it click much faster when they pull out their business card dossier after they get back to the office.

5. You can bring a poster to put on the illustrator's wall if you like. You can also put a box with postcards or business cards for people to take away as they pass by the wall. However, I decided not to bring these this year - don't think they really work in the way you would like them to (I saw a student taking ALL of my postcards away right after I have left them at the wall last year).
*illustrator's wall is a huge white wall right in the entrance hall of the Fair.

6. Bring a notebook or have your phone with a calendar at hand when you walk around the Fair. It's good to have it on you when you need to jot down the times and dates of the appointments. Mark down a number of the stand, too.

7. Wear comfortable shoes. Trust me, this is one of the most important things to do :-)

8. Bring a backpack or a suitcase on wheels. You'll probably have a lot of promotional materials to carry and maybe books. This is much better for your back than a purse or a big bag. Some of the publishers will also give you a catalog with contact details instead of a business card.

9. I always bring a bottle of water and some dark chocolate :-) I know there is food at the Fair, but it has happened to me before, that I wasn't able to go for lunch when I was hungry, because I was standing in a queue at the illustrator's hour.

10. Have fun! Keep your eyes open! Talk to people, this is probably the place where you can meet the biggest number of professionals from the children's book business in Europe. Make it count!

Hope this will be helpful for someone. Good luck! See you in Bologna!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Meadow




For the past few weeks, I have been working on this extremely illustrated board book project - The Meadow. It's another great cooperation with the wonderful folks at B4U Publishing - check out their website here, they have sooo many fab projects! 

Anyways, the book is full of bugs, bees, flowers and other plants, it's also very interactive - lots of peek-a-book holes, flaps to flip through, look and finds etc. It's really fun!

Will definately let you know when the book is available for purchasing! Happy Thursday!

If you'd like to see more illustrations, please check out my behance: https://www.behance.net/gallery/24582371/The-Meadow

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I'm on Behance! (finally!)

So I finally got my profile on Behance and have uploaded quite a few projects Today, so if you like my work and would like to follow the things that I do, do check it out! See you there! :-)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Little house for Tuli vaky

I am so very happy I finally got the opportunity to try a different medium rather than paper. Thanks to Tuli vaky I was able to create a fabric design for these cute little houses by designer Michal Stasko. They are now being exhibited at the Nabytok a Byvanie 2015 fair in Nitra, Slovakia. Hope the kids like them! There even is a snail that says hello! There will be more, so I will keep you posted!
If you'd like to see more of Tuli's production, visit their page: http://www.tuli.sk/
Or their facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tuli.vaky