I did this for a class assignment last semester. (I'd rather think I left the role on the left behind not too long ago). The inspiration came from a Tibetan statue of the Goddess of Tara (or Goddess of Mercy). The type could be better though.

This is the project that has been keeping me busy the weeks running up to the Bologna Children's Book Fair. We were given a brief that requires us to produce 4 images that will promote a silent film festival held in New York, Manhattan. The films that were being promoted are films by the following stars: Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and Harold Lloyd. Instead of producing 4 film posters, I decided to use this brief as an opportunity to learn more about the etching process by creating 4 etching portraits. The following are the final results: printed on A3-sized Fabriano paper. The signatures were inked in after the print.

Charlie Chaplin

 Buster Keaton

Harold Lloyd

Laurel and Hardy

I was walking around in Bologna a lot, and catching up with a friend, and busy snapping away with my camera, that I didn't have time to sketch a lot. And I think these were the only sketches worth showing!

Piazza Maggiore

Listened to Page Tsou (winner of SM Foundation International Award for Illustration 2011) talk of his experiences at the Illustrators' Cafe during the Bologna Children's Book Fair, and I sketched him and jotted down notes

 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!

Last week, I realised that although I have the portfolio for the Bologna fair, but what happens when people ask for ways to contact me? Some of my classmates had made booklets (together with their contact details) to give away to interested parties. And so I decided to make some business cards. And here they are! There are four designs altogether (why not?). I actually forgot to include the word "illustrator" and had to photoshop that in!

Anyway, onward to Bologna!

The four designs

Closeup of the printed cards

I know I haven't been posting for some time. I've been busy trying to finish my 4 etchings for a class project called Manhattan Mono Festival (I will post that later once I get my last print from the etching studio).

In the meantime, I've painted two more pictures for the Bologna Children's Book Festival. It's a pretty small portfolio: I'm bringing my Mook pictures, the pictures I did for the House of Illustration competition, and these two. It's a little old lady who loves her pets. And they love her too. So after passing on, they stay on by her side as little angel dogs and cats.

Waiting for the bus

Knitting a little sweater