Prize for Illustration 2017 – Sounds of the City late opening at LTM

May 10th, 2017 by Special Projects

The Prize for Illustration 2017: Sounds of the City at London Transport Museum on Friday 19 May 2017

friday-lateLondon Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB. Doors open at 18:45 and the event closes at 22:00 (last admission 21:15). Tickets to the Friday Late cost £15.00 (concessions £12.00) and can be booked in advance at This is an adult only event suitable for those aged 18 and over.

Get ready to party at the opening night of the new Prize for Illustration: Sounds of the City exhibition at London Transport Museum on 19 May. With bars, a DJ, talks, tours, a quiz and creative make-and-take workshops guests can enjoy a range of activities inspired by the exhibition. The 100 illustrations on display, which were chosen from over 2000 entries by a panel of independent experts, celebrate the variety of sounds associated with our cities: lyrics and language; hubbub and stillness; heritage and science; wildlife and nightlife; transport and sport.

Friday Late activities include:
Exhibition highlights tour – with Brian Webb, designer and Prize for Illustration judge

  • Craft workshop – using musical notation paper and decorative motifs, create a unique notebook to take home
  • Language in Motion – co-presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Word of Mouth and historical language expert Dr Laura Wright talks about the knock-on linguistic effects of the railway boom in the 1840s
  • Learn watercolour techniques with Emma Hockley – create an abstract soundscape postcard to take home
  • Cries of London – The Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life tells stories of the celebrated street traders of Covent Garden and reveals unexpected social realities of their lives
  • Adult face painting – Sit in the hot seat and give a nod to your musical heroes. Anyone for a Bowie zig zag?
  • The Lost Worlds of Sound – sound archivist Ian Rawes takes you back through time on an auditory journey into the past through soundscapes of London history from the 1950s to the 1880s
  • Unstructured mark making – respond to sounds through art in a creative workshop with illustrator Anna Hymas
  • Poetry inspired by the city – with John Canfield. Presented in partnership with the Poetry Society.

The Friday Late takes place at London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB. Doors open at 18:45 and the event closes at 22:00 (last admission 21:15). Tickets to the Friday Late cost £15.00 (concessions £12.00) and can be booked in advance at This is an adult only event suitable for those aged 18 and over.

The exhibition runs until Sunday 3 September 2017.

Bologna Book Fair: Before, During and After – Part One

May 10th, 2017 by Special Projects

Jean Mackey Lebleu, Illustrator and AOI Member, draws on her experience of visiting the world’s largest children’s book fair to give illustrators guidance on attending in 2018.


The 2017 Bologna Children’s Book Fair ended in early April, so you know what that means… time to start preparing for the 2018 fair! I’m only half-joking – I learned a lot from my very first visit this year, and preparing in advance definitely helped me to make the most of the trip.

Here are some suggestions for preparing now; as we get closer to BCBF2018 I will submit more suggestions on how to make the most of the fair before, during and after your visit.

Part One: What You Can Prepare Now for BCBF18

Sign up for the BCBF email alerts/newsletter here, at the very bottom of the page and follow them on the social networks; the new Twitter hashtag is #BCBF18.


Photograph by Jean Mackey Lebleu

If you were born before 31 December 1999, be on the look-out for their online announcement to submit work for the Illustrators’ Exhibition of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. For 2017, if you entered, you were eligible for FREE admission to the fair, for a savings of up to 80€. Click here to see last year’s requirements and links to more information; you’ll note that the contest for 2017 closed in October. You can also try writing to [email protected] to see if they can tell you when the 2018 contest will be open for submissions, and if they can confirm whether or not the free entry tickets are for all entrants or only those who win.


Start now to update your portfolio, prepare dummy books, create ‘leave behind’ samples and update/increase your online presence. Begin by making a list of the publishers you would like to meet at the fair. Many of them host Open Portfolio Reviews (more on that in a future blog) and you want to be fully prepared for them. If you need ideas for publishers, look at the list of exhibitors who were at the 2017 fair.

Illustrators queue for publisher. Photograph by Jean Mackey Lebleu

Illustrators queue for publisher. Photograph by Jean Mackey Lebleu

Ask yourself, which publishers have a catalogue or approach with which your style would be compatible? Then write your Wish List of publishers, follow their websites and also their social media profiles. Closer to the fair opening, they may make announcements about portfolio review appointments or a special event. It’s important to be organised and clear in your mind about your Wish List because otherwise it can become overwhelming, and then you run the risk of missing out on meeting a publisher you really wanted to meet.

Review your portfolio against your target publishers’ existing catalogues and their news. How can you make a contribution to their business that does not duplicate what they already have? What are your strengths – storytelling? Character rendering? Pre-school? Middle-grade? Teens? Make a portfolio that focuses on your strengths and areas of interest, rather than trying to be ‘all things to all people’.

Dummy book of Zed Goes Up The Mountain by Jean Mackey Lebleu ©

Dummy book of Zed Goes Up The Mountain by Jean Mackey Lebleu ©

Do you want to write as well as illustrate your own books? If so, then you absolutely must bring at least one dummy book or books you’ve had published. They will need to see your storytelling abilities in action. Start that dummy book now!

An A4 size portfolio is perfectly acceptable and in some cases even showing work on a tablet was fine. For leave-behind samples and business cards, paper quality should of course be sturdy and present your work in the best way possible, but it’s not necessary to spend a fortune or to buy more than around 100 copies.

Practice talking about yourself and your work in concise and compelling terms. What is your ‘unique selling proposition’ – what makes your approach different from the others? What is your area of focus? Think about the areas mentioned above – pre-school vs. teens, comics vs. picture books, etc. Also, be able to describe each of your books in one sentence that includes the genre, target audience, who the main character is, the plot and the moral. Write out this ‘elevator speech’ if necessary, for practicing. This will be very useful during portfolio reviews; if you get to speak it will have to be very quick as you usually get only three to five minutes.

Bologna stone. Photograph by Jean Mackey Lebleu

Bologna stone. Photograph by Jean Mackey Lebleu

When planning your stay, bear in mind that although the fair is four days, the first three days will be the most helpful for you. On my fourth day this year, many exhibitors had left, there were no more portfolio reviews, the last talk ended near noon and the fair ended at 3pm. Start researching hotels at your leisure now, because you don’t want to be in a rush and end up miles away, or with a bad hotel deal, because you were unfamiliar with the city or ran out of time. When you research hotels, of course look at a Bologna map so you can be clear about how near or far you would be from the fair and how many buses you would need to get there. You can get a lot of information from but some of the links are not in English. There are a few maps at the bottom of this linked page that could be useful.

And finally, make sure your passport won’t expire before March 2018!


Photograph by Jean Mackey Lebleu

There are more, very specific, suggestions to come in early autumn, but laying out your unique selling propositions, choosing your target publishers, updating your portfolio and online presence and making dummy books are things to start right now because they take time. The more time you have to print, the more money you can save by avoiding the need for express services. Starting early also leaves you time to fix unexpected errors. So get going, and we’ll be back with more suggestions in a few months.


AOI at Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2017

May 9th, 2017 by Special Projects

The AOI’s MD, Ren Renwick, and Projects Manager, Derek Brazell, attended the Bologna Children’s Book Fair which was held 3-6 of April 2017 to promote the AOI and meet with the European Illustrators Forum representatives to discuss potential projects for the Forum.


The Fair appeared busy and there were a noticeable number of illustrators visiting to promote their work and meet publishers.


Some work from the annual Illustrators competition was ingeniously turned into ‘hammocks’ of artwork which attendees took advantage of!


There were publishers from all over the world with a variety of stands, all making deals with other publishers.

Penny Holroyde and Claire Cartey from AOI agent members Holroyde Cartey

Penny Holroyde and Claire Cartey from AOI agent members Holroyde Cartey

The European Illustrators Forum shared a stand with the Italian organisation, Autori di Immagini (AI) and Derek gave a talk on Pricing illustration with Paolo Rui of AI at the stand. AOI Agent members gave their time for a Portfolio consultation with illustrators from the Fair (above).

Derek and Paolo also gave talks to a busy Illustrators Corner crowd on Fair contract principles and Self Promotion for Illustrators.

DerekAnd PaoloTalk_2017_550


Bologna is a beautiful town with an old centre with many place to wind down after the daily Fair.


ICON10 Call for Papers

May 9th, 2017 by Special Projects

Academic and professional submissions are invited for peer review for ICON10: The Illustration Conference. The Conference will be in Detroit, Michigan, July 11–14, 2018. The first two days of the conference are devoted to the Education Symposium and workshops; the second two days of the conference consist of main stage events with speakers, panels and presentations representing a broad range of specialties from the fields of illustration and design.


Symposium Date: July 11–12, 2018

Venue: Detroit at (or nearby) the Book Cadillac Westin Hotel

Date for Abstract Submissions: July 15, 2017


The ICON10 Education Symposium seeks to explore ways in which educators can effectively address the myriad changes in the methods of teaching, creating and delivering illustration now and in the coming decades. The digital realm has altered not only means of production but distribution channels. Teachers of illustration must address the needs of establishing a fundamental foundation as well as cultivating a nimble, fearless curiosity for themselves and in their students. How? Discuss.


Monteoliveto Gallery : Cities of Europe / Illustration, Graphics, Communication

May 9th, 2017 by Special Projects

7 May 2017–20 May 2017

Coningsby Gallery, 30 Tottenham Street, London, W1T 4RJ

Monteoliveto Gallery returns to The Coningsby Gallery to present the latest exhibition in their ‘Cities of Europe’ project. This year’s show is dedicated to Illustration, Graphics, and Communication, displaying work from artists located all over the world.


Brian Sanders: Selected Works from 2001: A Space Odyssey to Mad Men

May 8th, 2017 by Special Projects

12 May – 31 July 2017

Lever Gallery, 153 -157 Goswell Road, London, EC1V 7HD

This is the first exhibition dedicated to the work of pioneering British illustrator Brian Sanders.

Moon Pit, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Copyright Brian Sanders

Moon Pit, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Brian Sanders

A veteran of the golden age of magazine illustration and the co-founder of the Association of Illustrators, Sanders’ solo exhibition will include his trailblazing portraits for magazines such as The Sunday Times and Nova Magazine during the 1960s, his unprecedented illustration work on 2001: A Space Odyssey with Stanley Kubrick up to his 2011 work commissioned by Matthew Weiner for series six of AMC’s Mad Men.

Chronicling Sanders’ long and successful career, the exhibition will include previously unseen and unpublished artwork.

Brian Sanders rose to prominence in 1960s London, when magazine illustration was booming. The work was experimental and reflected the excitement of the ‘Swinging Sixties’, mirroring the fashion and music of this defining era. The medium was new, the compositions were off-kilter and the colours were brighter, sharper and more striking.

American illustrators had a huge influence on the style and work of their English counterparts, with the US artists using acrylic paint to create what was referred to as the ‘bubble and streak’ effect, initially developed by US masters such as Bernie Fuchs.


Kubrick setting up shot, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Brian Sanders

In 1965, Sanders was commissioned by Stanley Kubrick to spend months on set with unfettered access during the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey to illustrate the film sets and scenes of Kubrick and his crew in production. Sanders would draw on the set two days per week and work on larger paintings in his studio.

This was a rare occurrence, as Kubrick often worked with a closed set, and was the only person allowed to take photos on set. Much of this work by Sanders remained unpublished for decades.

Sean Connery DB3. Copyright Brian Sanders

Sean Connery DB3. Brian Sanders

The Happy Prince: A Tale by Oscar Wilde – book review

May 5th, 2017 by Special Projects

Illustrated and Adapted by Maisie Paradise Shearring

Published by Thames & Hudson ISBN: 978-0-500-65111-7

Reviewed by Karl Andy Foster


On the cover of this hardcover book is the Prince of the title. He stands atop a column overlooking his city. His left arm stretches outwards to lead the eye to the book title. This new version of the popular story has been given several visual twists. Chiefly the Swallow is anthropomorphised to help us to feel his emotions more deeply. There is a kind of magic realism within the images as we are transported through time and space, and across a cold and unfeeling city.


The tale is adapted from a short story by Oscar Wilde. Shearring’s text is spare and moves the story along efficiently, whereas in Wilde’s original text he gives greater dimension to the psychology of the Prince and the Swallow. Wilde emphasises the love story, while this book condenses the narrative down to the essential motivations of the two protagonists.


This award winning picture book is illustrated from the point of view of the Swallow and the Prince. They are up on high and see the objective truths that the people on the ground are too ‘blind’ to see. Even after the Prince has his sapphire eyes removed by the Swallow, in an act of kindness, his vision remains clear.


The book is printed on uncoated paper so the inks appear subtler allowing a good sense of space and place. Shearring’s illustrations are very stylised and use a palette not often employed in picture books, broad strokes and fields of grey or brown. The drawing is bold, direct and some of the mark making naïve in character. Her work is reminiscent of the trend for bold and confident illustrations in publishing. It brings to mind output by Laura Carlin, William Goldsmith and the NoBrow Press.


It’s a beautiful story and the illustrations draw us into the benighted world seen through the eyes of the Prince and his companion. They are locked in a struggle that brings them closer together as they discover they are prepared to die for each other. The final transformation image as they arrive in paradise is a nod to an inclusivity that Wilde could only dream of.

You may be interested in these reviews:

Fox & Goldfish


Klaus Flugge Prize event

May 4th, 2017 by Special Projects

Wednesday 17 May

The Auditorium at Foyles, Level 6, 107 Charing Cross Road. 6.30pm – 8.00pm.

Tickets cost £8 (or £5 for Foyalty members and students). A glass of wine is included in the cost of the ticket.

The shortlist for the 2017 Klaus Flugge Prize is to be announced live at a special event at Foyles Charing Cross Road on the evening of Wednesday 17 May. Established in 2016, the Klaus Flugge Prize is awarded to the most promising and exciting newcomer to children’s book illustration. It honours publisher Klaus Flugge, founder of children’s publisher Andersen Press and a supremely influential figure in picture books.

The Shortlist

The Shortlist

As well as the announcement of the shortlist, the Foyles special event will celebrate the art of the picture book: Professor Martin Salisbury, Course Leader in the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art, and distinguished illustrators Michael Foreman, Emily Gravett and Mini Grey will discuss what makes great picture book illustration, and how illustrators today use pictures to move, entertain and influence their audience.

The 2017 Klaus Flugge Prize shortlist will be announced by last year’s winner Nicholas John Frith, 2017 judge Tamara Macfarlane and chair of the judges Julia Eccleshare. Julia Eccleshare says, ‘The Klaus Flugge Prize is all about celebrating picture book illustration and putting exciting new talent in the spotlight. We are delighted to be announcing the shortlist live at this very special Foyles event and to have such a stellar panel of speakers. This will be an unmissable event for all those interested in children’s picture book illustration.’

All of the longlisted illustrators and their editors have been invited to attend.

There are fifteen books on the Klaus Flugge Prize longlist. They are:

The Lonely Giant, Sophie Ambrose (Walker Books), edited by Lizzie Sitton (Walker)

Hannah and Sugar, Kate Berube, edited by Tamar Brazis (Abrams & Chronicle), edited by Tamar Brazis (Abrams)

Baxter’s Book, Hrefna Bragadottir, edited by Louise Bolongaro (Nosy Crow), edited by Louise Bolongaro (Nosy Crow)

World of Information, James Brown, written by Richard Platt, edited by Denise Johnston-Burt (Walker Books)

Animal Surprises, Abbie Cameron, written and edited by Nicola Davies (Graffeg)

Bob the Artist, Marion Deuchars, edited by Elizabeth Jenner (Laurence King Publishing)

The Museum of Me, Emma Lewis, edited by Alice Chasey, (Tate)

Life is Magic, Meg McLaren, edited Libby Hamilton (Andersen Press)

First Snow, Bomi Park, edited by Victoria Rock (Chronicle Book)

Little Mouse’s Big Breakfast, Christine Pym, edited by Louise Bolongaro (Nosy Crow)

Duck Gets a Job, Sonny Ross edited by Alison Ritchie (King’s Road Publishing)

The Journey, Francesca Sanna, edited by Harriet Birkenshaw, (Flying Eye)

Little One, Jo Weaver, edited by Emma Layfield (Hodder Children’s Books)

Hiding Heidi, Fiona Woodcock, edited by Lara Hancock, (Simon and Schuster)

Little Red, Bethan Woollvin, edited by Suzanne Carnell (Two Hoots)

Draw exhibition

May 4th, 2017 by Special Projects


DRAW is an exhibition of works by final year Visual Communication students who investigate drawing within their practices at the Royal College of Art.

Until 7 May.

Olivia Essandoh

Olivia Essandoh

WIA 2017 – Shortlist Announcement

May 3rd, 2017 by Special Projects

Choi_K_H_detail_550 image detail by Steven Choi, Bus Station

Thank you to everyone who entered the World Illustration Awards 2017.

AOI in partnership with the Directory of Illustration are pleased to announce the 200 projects that were shortlisted for the Awards in the eight categories this year.

The names of artists whose work is shortlisted for the Awards are listed below. You can view all projects on the Awards shortlist tab.


A.Richard Allen
Aad Goudappel
Aart-Jan Venema
Aiste Stancikaite
Aleix Pons
Alexander Wells
Alice Yu Deng
Amanda White
Andrew Davidson
Andy Potts
Balbusso Twins
Bartosz Kosowski
Beatrice Cerocchi
Beatriz Espinosa
Becca Thorne
Ben Tallon
Bethan Woollvin
Bob Venables
Bryant Santamaria
Butcher Billy
Carlo Giambarresi
Carly Gledhill
Charlie Padgett
Charlotte Pearce
Chen Winner
Chen-Ying Lu
Chirag Jindal
Chloe Caroline Watson
Christian Gralingen
Claudine O’Sullivan
Clive McFarland
Conform Cox
Coqué Azcona
Cristiana Radu
Daniel Stolle
Daria Petrilli
Dave Cutler
Deborah van der Schaaf
Diego Becas Villegas
Duncan Beedie
Ellie Wilkinson
Elsa Klever
Enrique Ibanez
Euan Cook
Eva Bee
Ewelina Skowronska
Fausto Montanari
Fionna Fernandes
Florian Bayer
Gabrielle Paxman
Gaeun Shin
Gaia Stella
Geoff Grandfield
Gregory Baldwin
Haam Juhae
Hanane Kai
Hengguang Li
Hokyoung Kim
Ileana Soon
Imogen Slater
Inhye Moon
Izhar Cohen
Jacob Stack
Jake Duczynski
James Tyrrell
Janusz Jurek
Jens Magnusson
Jerry Suh
Jessica Meyrick
Jing Li
Jo Cole
Jo Jang
Joanna Gniady
Joe Whang
Joey Guidone
Jon Arne Berg
Jonny Glover
Joost Swarte
Joshua Drewe
Julien Chung
Julija Straizyte
Jun Cen
Kate Forrester
Kerry Hyndman
Kiki Ljung
Klaas Verplancke
Kristyna Litten
Ksenia Kopalova
Kuri Huang
Kürti Andrea
Kushal Birari
La Boca
Lasse Skarbovik
Lennart Gäbel
Lesley Barnes
Liang Gen
Lisk Feng
Lizzy Stewart
Louise Weir
Maëlle Doliveux
Maïté Franchi
Maki Yamaguchi
Manda Wolfe
Manuja Waldia
Marco Palena
Marcus Reed
Marguerite Carnec
Maria Karipidou
Mark Chambers
Marta Madueira
Minho Kwon

Mr Misato

Nan Cao
Natalia Zaratiegui
Nathan Evans Illustration
Neil Webb @ Début Art
Niall McCormack
Nik Neves
Nina Chakrabarti
Noa Snir
Oana Nechifor
Oivind Hovland
Olivia Healy
Olivier Kugler
Owen Davey
Pablo Amargo
Patrick Seymour
Paul Garland
Pencil & Help
Peter Greenwood
Rebecca Hendin
Renia Metallinou
Ricardo Munoz
Rod Hunt
Rosalba Cafforio
Ruth Palmer
Sam Kalda
Sam Ki
Sam Pierpoint
Sandra Rilova
Sara Fratini
Sara Wong
Scott Bakal
Sean Loose
Shirley Chiang
Shu-ti Liao
Sija Hong
Silke Werzinger
Silvia Bonanni
Siyu Cao
Sohyun Lee
Soomyeong Kim
Stephen Fowler
Steve Barrett
Steven Choi
Susannah Lovegrove
Sveta Dorosheva
Tabletop Whale
Till Lauer
Tony Rodriguez
Vanessa Hibbert
Veronica Grech
Vic Lee
Victor Medina
Victoria Semykina
Wenjia Tang
Wenyi Geng
William Grill
Yukai Du
Zihan Chen

The full shortlist will be announced here.