The Frankfurt Book Fair 2016

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We found out a little while ago that HAI member, children’s artist Rachelle Meyer, was going to the 2016 Frankfurt Book Fair and we asked her if she’d be kind enough to report back to us after the event. We felt it would be a good opportunity for Rachelle to share her experience via the staff blog. – Darren Di Lieto


I went to the Frankfurt Buchmesse with few expectations and lots of curiosity. I’ve been to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair many times and what I kept hearing was that in comparison, the Frankfurt Book Fair is huge and overwhelming. I had three days, a few appointments, an iPhone, and a sketchbook. I made a point of exploring beyond the English-language and European halls where I already had appointments to find unfamiliar faces and new experiences.

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I can’t say for sure if my observations are the typical visitor experience or simply what I’m drawn to based on my personal preferences. My feeling about the trends in publishing is that there are more books now which are personal, political and hand-crafted. There was an entire stand devoted to the independent voices of INDIECON, with zines available for purchase on site. I bought this lovely comic by Tine Fetz. The side-stapled comic had crop lines still visible on many pages, which I found quite charming and added to its indy credentials.

Nils Oskamp’s excellent process sketches for his graphic novel, Drei Steine, drew me into the booth for the Amadeu Antonio Foundation. It was refreshing and empowering to speak to people who ardently want to make a difference in the world.

I loved the textural richness of the crafted books. Take, for example XY Printing Group‘s folded accordion style book which was illustrated entirely with paper cuts. It’s a gorgeous retelling by Anne Montbarbon of the traditional Three Little Pigs story. The hand-printed pages at Tara Books smelled so delicious from the inks they used. In addition the Flanders and the Netherlands (99 Flemish and Dutch authors and artists from every genre) were the guests of honor this year and in the guest pavilion, you could snag a beautiful limited-edition Parade magazine. Another nice detail was the Happy Hour, hosted by the Netherlands and Flanders, which featured typical Dutch/Flemish treats like mini-beers and tiny bowls of french fries with mayo.

To prepare for the book fair, I reached out to my publishing contacts and printed up a new batch of cards for distribution. Once there, I had a meeting that led to a new assignment and I also received an email from a publisher I had worked with before. The publisher had received my promotional postcard at just the right time to offer me a new project, showing in my opinion that my advertising was paying off. As a working illustrator, the fair was not just inspiring, but also rewarding from a financial and professional standpoint.

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Being in Frankfurt allowed me to touch base with a number of professional groups. I’m the International Illustrator Coordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and they hosted a very informative and motivating workshop called “Supercharge Your Submissions with agent Hannah Sheppard” on the Saturday morning during the fair. I also got to catch up with some nice people from the SCBWI local chapter.

Chatting with people from the IO (German Illustratoren Organisation) left me feeling energized and hopeful about our direction and place in the industry. They’ve been around for ten years and have grown exponentially in this relatively short time. With these sort of positive communities and support bases, we have a greater chance of setting better terms for illustrators and making the industry we work in, work for us.

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I don’t know if I’ll go every year, but it was a very rewarding trip and I’ll definitely go again. – Rachelle Meyer (professional illustrator)


If you attended this year, say hello, share your experiences or leave a comment in the section below, as we’d love to hear from you. For information about Frankfurt Buchmesse 2017, please visit buchmesse.de

Post-Showcase 100 normality

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So, it’s been a couple of weeks now since we were in London with the Little Chimp Society for the Showcase 100 exhibition. The dust has finally settled and we’re pretty much back to normal here now (or as normal as things ever get!) 🙂 We had a fab week and a really good night on the Thursday for the private view – it was wonderful to meet everyone and we’d like to thank you all again for coming. It was very busy and we certainly had a great time – we hope you did too!

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The Framer’s Gallery were wonderful yet again (the LCS held the last Mail Me Art show there) and it’s definitely our favourite venue in town for this kind of thing. It’s easy to get to, everyone there is so helpful and the space itself is perfect for arty events of all sizes.

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A number of the 100 prints were sold on the night, but the rest are now for sale in the LCS shop at £40, unframed. They are very high quality archival prints and there’s a wide range of subjects and styles, so there’s sure to be something to tickle your fancy. Can’t decide which one you want? Then why not buy the SC100 book and be able to peruse them all at your leisure? There are still some books available to buy here.

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We hope to make Showcase a two-yearly event, with the LCS continuing to run the project for HAI members. Being able to offer opportunities like this to our members is really important to us. It adds an extra dimension to our community and provides the chance to meet-up with people and celebrate the wonderful illustrations that they create.

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Finally, a special thank you is in order to the lovely Eleanor, who travelled down from the Midlands for some gallery experience and did a sterling job taking photos on the Thursday night!

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Congratulations to the winners of SC100!

Showcase 100 - An Illustration Project, Exhibition & Book

The Little Chimp Society announced the final 100 illustrators who had been selected for the Showcase 100 project (which we’re the official partners of) a little while ago now. We just wanted to congratulate the winning illustrators on making it into the exhibition and book as they were up against some very tough competition with there being over 1,400 entries of high quality work submitted for only one hundred places.

At the moment, The LCS is busy creating a detailed publication to accompany the project and framing all the work for the show. As a project partner we would like to extend an invitation to the exhibition to all of our readers. If you’d like to join us in London (UK) next April you can find the details at sc100.co.uk or sign up to let us know you’re coming on the Facebook event page.

ICON8 – Part 2: Business Cards & Art Shows

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Following on from Pat Higgins first blog post about his trip to ICON8 this is part 2. – Darren Di Lieto

To read part 1 visit: https://www.hireanillustrator.com/i/blog/874/icon8/


Friday morning I woke up at 7:55. Somehow I managed to make it to the continental breakfast at the Portland Art museum by 8:00. After a cup of coffee and a bagel I was able to pull myself together and start interacting and socializing with my conference peers. On a side note, trading stories, business cards and promo materials with like-minded creators from around the world was one of my favorite parts of ICON. I can’t imagine any other profession where business cards are fun to get and are literally a work of art. During these moments of the conference, I couldn’t help but thinking of it as a total inverse of the business card scene in American Psycho.

After breakfast the herd headed upstairs to the Main Stage where we were greeted by the conference emcees, Vanessa Davis and Mimi Pond. These two were great. They told us about the sold out workshops, “Complaining About Having an Illustration Assignment” and “Complaining About Not Having an Illustration Assignment” as well as the elusive “Lunch on Your Own” presentation, which they never did find. Vanessa and Mimi continued to entertain as they introduced the presentations throughout the day. “What the Fuck Are Infographics?” (presented by New York Times graphics editors, Jennifer Daniel and Alicia DeSantis) taught us that “infographics are a style and a marketing ploy” to get people to click on a link and that it’s really better described as visual journalism due to the research involved. The Clayton Brothers talked about their collaborative efforts and Jan Pinkava showed us all some of the ways that illustration is moving forward with technology with Google Spotlight Stories such as “Windy Day” and “Buggy Night”. Sam Arthur told us the impressive story of Nobrow, a publishing company from the UK. They are printing some of the most interesting and amazing things and working with some of the most talented illustrators out there (plus their books smell great). One of the most informative speakers of the day was Linda Joy Kattwinkel, who had two different presentations about legal issues, “Protecting Your Work in the Age of the Internet” and “Work Made for Hire and Copyright Termination Rights”. The day concluded with Craig Bartlett’s, “An Animator’s Charmed Past Life”. He told us about working on “Rugrats” as well as the creation of his animated series, “Hey Arnold” and how it was inspired by his childhood in Seattle and Portland.

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Immediately following the lectures was a happy hour in the downstairs area of the art museum. Both the crowd and the line for the bar were insane, but it was nice to get a couple drinks after such a full day. Once happy hour was over, there was a double decker bus waiting to take us to the Land Gallery, where the ICON 8 Work and Play group art show was held. This was an amazing show featuring art from 70 ICON attendees (including myself). The only downside to this event was the heat. Not sure if it was the weather or just the amount of people in and out of the gallery, but it was almost unbearable. If you want to check out the work from the show go to buyolympia.com. Those time limited prints are available from that site from July 22, 2014 until August 24, 2014.

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While at the gallery show, I met up with my brother and some other friends. Once again it was party time. We headed to a bar across the street from the Land Gallery for a few drinks. By the time we realized what time it was, the double decker shuttle bus had made it’s last trip back to the hotel. The six of us decided that the party must go on, so we walked outside to figure out where our next stop would be and how we would get there. We got a few steps away from the bar and my friend Kevin pointed behind me. Some woman was standing next to a motorcycle that had fallen on the ground. “That’s my roommate’s bike!”, she screamed at us. I explained to her that one of us would have noticed if we knocked over a motorcycle. As I was helping her pick up the bike, a big angry guy comes out of the bar and starts screaming, “What the FUCK?! That’s my roomate’s motorcycle! That’s a custom paintjob!”. As soon as he said that, one of our group says, “How many roommates does this guy have?”. As soon as I heard that I started laughing. The next guy to come out the door did not think it was very funny, as he started yelling at us along with the rest of his friends,”Whoa… who fucked up my bike? Do you know how much I paid for this paint job?”. No sooner did he say that than another smartass comment comes from our group, “This guy paid all of that money for a custom paint job but he skimped on the kickstand? HA!”. At this point I was multi-tasking: Trying my hardest not to laugh while at the same time working to convince these people that we didn’t knock over the bike. Before I knew it, the three room mates were arguing about what happened and whose fault it was. We took this as a cue to leave. We ended up hanging out at some punk rock bar, which reminded me of home. We were a little late for the show that was going on so we just hung out and had some beers. Eventually it was time to end the late night and head back to the hotel.

Image credits Pat Higgins, to see more of his work visit: illo.cc/25631

Showcase 100 has a website!

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We’re excited to announce that the LCS Showcase 100 project in partnership with hai now has it’s very own website! You can learn more about the project and exhibition, find out how you can get involved, and see some of the entries we’ve received so far at http://sc100.co.uk/

Once the judges have made their final decisions we’ll be adding the selected artists and artwork to the site, and of course, we’ll be making updates with more details about the show and book nearer the time.

Call for Showcase 100, an LCS project

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We’re proud to announce after a number of requests that The Little Chimp Society is organising a group project and show exclusively for members of hire an illustrator. The project is called Showcase 100 and will run from now and culminate with a public exhibition in London in April 2015. The LCS will be printing and framing all of the work on behalf of the artists involved. Plus, they’ll be creating an exciting publication to accompany the show. It’s going to be big and it’s going to be brilliant!

If you wish to be part of Showcase 100, sign up for a hai profile and email us for more details. http://www.hireanillustrator.com/i/submissions/

Artwork by hai member Tony Healey.

Installing Exhibitions: A practical guide

Exhibiting your work is always exciting, but how do you know what the right way to display your artwork is? What fixings should you use? What’s the best way to light your work? How do you make a shelf for your 3-D pieces to stand on? Even if you have a professional gallery install and curate your art for you, it’s always handy to know how to the practical side of things work. And if you’re doing it all yourself, then it’s really important to know the best and safest way to do things. So, it’s time to look at another useful book from the hai bookshelf!

Installing Exhibitions: A practical guide, by Pete Smithson, does exactly what it says on the cover. If you want to know how to transport, fix, hang and display your prints, paintings, 3-D or audiovisual work, this book will give you the information you need. Pete Smithson is the Technical Manager for Fine Art at Central Saint Martins in London, so he definitely knows his stuff!

The book starts off by asking you to consider the space that you are using, then briefly talks about risk and health and safety issues (important as you will have people visiting your show). Next it looks at the tools you’ll need, how to prepare the space, and how to safely pack and move your work. There is plenty of information about different types of wall fixings plus a chapter on using rigging to suspend items. For 2-D artwork, there is advice on how to plan where to put the pieces so they look their best and how to hang different works. For those artists who create audiovisual art, there is a chapter that covers using projectors, video and audio, how to install the equipment and what to check to make sure it works.

If you fancy having a go at a bit of construction, this book will show you how to make various shelves and plinths. The final chapter looks at electrics (UK, Europe and North America), managing all those cables and using lighting. At the end of the book is a glossary and space to make notes.

This is a great book for anyone who exhibits their own or other people’s work at any level (or who is planning to). It’s totally hands-on and full of useful advice and plenty of diagrams. We recommend it!

Publishing info –
Title: Installing Exhibitions: A practical guide
Author: Pete Smithson
Publisher: A & C Black Publishers Ltd. (2009)
ISBN: 978-1-4081-1016-4