An Illustrator’s Guide to The London Book Fair
Updated: Jan 13
Last week we attended the London Book Fair 2022 and had the best time! We came away feeling motivated and inspired, and so we wanted to share with you a deep dive of all that LBF has to offer. We understand that it can be really tough for freelance illustrators to decide which trade fairs and industry events (if any) to attend because of the cost and time commitment. So, we’ve put together an overview to help give you all the details you need to make an informed decision on whether attending LBF 2023 is the right decision for you.
What is London Book Fair?
The London Book Fair is a large publishing trade fair, held annually every April at Olympia in Kensington, London. It’s a global marketplace for rights negotiation, and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film, and digital channels. The event typically welcomes more than 25,000 publishing professionals for 3 days of business, networking, and learning. You’ll find everyone from giant publishing houses and independents to gaming start-ups, from all across the world. Therefore, it’s a brilliant event for illustrators to attend as all of these companies bring content to life and need illustrators to help them do this.
There are also over 100 seminars on offer, and this year Wednesday was the ‘Illustration Day’ (it’s not promoted as such but seemed to be the day when all the illustration related talks were held) with a range of invaluable presentations for illustrators on how to break into the publishing industry.
How much does it cost to attend?
Visitor tickets are £60 for the full 3 days, which is a very competitive rate compared to other trade fairs. However as members of the Association of Illustrators (AOI) we got a 50% discount so only paid £30 peach for our tickets, making it even more affordable. We chose to just attend on the Wednesday as we were mainly going for research purposes rather than self-promotion and meetings, and also that was the day when most of the illustration based industry talks were on.
Can I exhibit?
Yes, illustrators can exhibit at the fair in an area called The Illustrator’s Gallery, which is on the first floor next to Author’s HQ and the independent children’s book publisher stands. Each exhibiting illustrator has 1-3 A1 boards, and this year there were winners from the Cheltenham Illustration Awards 2021 and lots of beautiful children’s book illustrations – our favourites were Julia Sarda and Violeta Fernandez Lopiz. However, the gallery is a relatively small area and, on the whole, LBF is more geared up for illustrators to attend and network with exhibiting publishers and companies, rather than exhibit themselves.