The Illustrators Survival Corner

Established for illustrators by popular demand in 2017, the Illustrators Survival Corner is a BCBF space dedicated to the profession of illustrating, and designed for the many artists who come to the Fair every year looking for new assignments or to show publishers their portfolios.

The Illustrators Survival Corner’s daily schedule of events features activities for both young first-timers and seasoned professionals: 

  • Portfolio Review: a chance for emerging illustrators to present their portfolios to major publishers, illustrator authors, agents and art directors, and hear opinions and valuable suggestions.
  • Workshops: international artists offer illustrators practical drawing tips and design workshops.
  • Masterclasses: illustrators can access tangible information and practical tools, from self-promotion to managing interviews with publishers, contracts, using social media, creative processes, and professional experiences.

During BCBF24, the finalists of the 2024 Illustrators Exhibition will enjoy priority access to present their portfolios within the framework of the Survival Illustrators Corner activities, to important publishers, author illustrators, agents and art directors in order to receive opinions and valuable suggestions.


The many events scheduled for the 2023 edition included: meetings with the Jury of the 2023 Illustrators Exhibition - Gusti, Christine Morault, Sidney Smith, Eric Telfort, and Erik Titusson; masterclasses by Pablo Amargo, Suzy Lee, Elena Odriozola, Sarah Mazzetti, Chiara Rapaccini; and workshops held by Andrés López, Mayumi Oono, and Lian-En Lin.

A masterclass in memory of Tomi Ungerer held by Martin Salisbury, Beatrice Alemagna and Axel Scheffler was followed by a live painting session dedicated to this great author. Also on the bill were meetings on the increasingly topical question of artificial intelligence in the creative process and copyright protection.

An exclusive series of AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions were held by some members of the “Landscapes and Portraits of BCBF” jury: Albertine Zullo, Nina Wehrle, Laura Carlin, and Rotraut Susanne Berner.

In addition to the traditional portfolio reviews with international publishers, agents, and illustrators, this year saw a new feature: Portfolio Play – a fun session led by a professional illustrator or art director looking at how to select illustrations for the ideal portfolio.


Italian creativity meets the world

Italian creativity met the world In the framework of the Illustrators Survival Corner (Hall 30), this brand new lounge fostered the meeting between young Italian illustrators and the international publishers participating in the BCBF Invitation Programme. Created thanks to the collaboration and support of the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI), the Italian Illustration Lounge host a rich programme of presentations and portfolio reviews. 
External Link
Mimaster Illustrazione


The Illustrators Survival Corner returns to Bologna with some 100 events and meetings after its world tour as part of the 2021 and 2022 Bologna Grand Tour, visiting the Frankfurt Book Fair (20-24 October 2021), Sharjah International Book Fair (3-13 November 2021), Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara (29 November-1 December 2021), the Salon du livre de Montréal (23-25 November 2022), and going to the "Children‘s Literature and Publishing Industry Days” in Lithuania (4-6 November 2021).


Among the many events scheduled for 2022 are masterclasses from Serge Bloch, Otto Gabos, Lucie Felix, Beatrice Alemagna, Sarah Mazzetti, and Joanna Concejo; meetings in partnership with the Taipei Book Fair, the Sharja Book Authority (UAE), UaeBby (UAE), Imaquinario (Peru) and the Lithuanian Vaikų žemė festival; and conferences and workshops dedicated to the world of comics in collaboration with Hamelin.

Scheduled guests include Lucie Luddington of Bright Agency, the Tsat Mon 105 association, illustrator Neil Packer, as well as David Carter, Anna Castagnoli, Martin Salisbury, Marianna Coppo, Maria Russo (former Children’s Books Editor at the New York Times), and Valentina Colombo (Phileas Fogg Agency). For this edition of the Fair, the Illustrators Survival Corner is enriched with a new meeting space to foster professional connections between foreign publishers and Italian illustrators, featuring daily “Meet the publisher” conferences, portfolio reviews and meetings (in partnership with the MEFU) dedicated to comics-related professions.

Mimaster Illustration is curating the “Villains” exhibition at Survival Corner for BCBF22. Conceived to celebrate Mimaster’s tenth anniversary, this group exhibition brings together images of “bad guys” created by more than 140 illustrators, including former alumni and major international names Noma Bar, Brad Holland, Katsumi Komagata, Libero Gozzini, William Grill, Federico Maggioni, Lorenzo Mattotti, Emiliano Ponzi, Peter Sìs and Olimpia Zagnoli – just some of the many illustrators who answered the call.

As part of this snapshot of the impact villains have on illustrators’ careers, each character is accompanied by a short text, a quote or an anecdote in which the character expresses itself through music, theatre, popular culture or poetry. Published by Edizioni della Galleria l’Affiche, with texts by Mimaster Illustrazione founders Ivan Canu and Giacomo Benelli and graphic design by Daniele Morganti, the Cattivi catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Like the exhibition, the catalogue is divided into sections: “Beasts’”, “He devils”, “She devils”, “Men or monsters?”, and “Nasty relatives”.

During the last edition of the Fair when people could physically attend (2019), the Illustrators Survival Corner achieved outstanding results: 105 guests including artists, authors, publishers and illustration professionals; thirty-six master classes and eight workshops by internationally-renowned illustrators; and fifty portfolio reviews. A total of approx. 6300 people visited the Illustrators Survival Corner, of whom more than 5300 participated directly in an event.