And so I went, I saw, and I learned.

Illustrators are really a hardy bunch. They work hard at their craft. They will queue up for hours for a chance to show someone their work, with the hope of getting some recognition for their talent, only to be told that their work is not what the reviewers are looking for. Then they move on to the next queue. And they do the same the next day.

And they do this every year!

This is the wall where illustrators post up samples of their work with their contact details. There are postcards and business cards. Some illustrators post their details on more than one wall. You can tell that some of them are veterans: they come with their boxes full of materials including tape, pins, staples, and clear plastic sheets. They go around every now and then and refill their placeholders when they're empty!

Here's my own little post on the wall. I painted the picture the night before, on the back page of a flyer I took from this same wall! I wasn't handing out my business cards as many times as I originally thought, so I thought I'll just leave them here. I know that most samples are picked up by other illustrators rather than editors and publishers (whom I saw prefer to take photos of the work instead), but I figured that it'd be nice if other illustrators took an interest in my work and visit my blog.

Portugal is the country guest of honour. And they were showcasing some of the best illustrations from Portugal. I loved how they displayed the work, in mock-up portfolio cases.

This is one of my favourite illustrations by a Korean illustrator Sae Young Park on exhibit at the illustrators' exhibition (work that was chosen to be included in the illustrators' manual for 2012). I love brushwork, and I loved how this can be incorporated into a children's picture illustration!

Another of my favourites: lovely watercolour work by Marcolin Marina, also selected.

An illustration from The Toy Soldier by last year's winner of the SM Foundation International Award for Illustration, Page Tsou.

The fair lasted for 4 days, but I was there only for the first 2 days. It was at times inspiring, overwhelming, tiring, but mostly an eye-opening learning experience. Amongst such talent, there were times when I wondered if I have what it takes. But what I've also found is that illustrators are really friendly, helpful, and supportive of each other. And so were all the publishers I've shown my work to (although they essentially said no).

I now have such a respect for all illustrators. It takes a certain courage to do this over and over again, year after year. I hope I still have the courage to do this next year!


cboon said...

Sounds fun! Definitely a lot of hard work to crack this industry!

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