Illustrator wins big at Bologna Children’s Book Fair

Bologna-based illustrator, Andrea Antinori, has won the Fundacion SM International Award for Illustration with a €15,000 cash prize at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, which came to a close on Thursday, March 9.

Open to artists aged under 35 whose work has been selected for the Illustrators Exhibition, the €15,000 (US$15,849) is intended to provide the winning illustrator with the peace of mind to create during one year, an illustrated book that will be published and launched for international sales by the Spanish publisher SM.

Antinori is second from right. At left are Deanna Belluti, who is with the fair and Elena Pasoli, the show’s director, and at right is José Manuel Cidad, executive president of SM. Photo: BCBF

Andrea Antinori lives in Bologna. He studied graphic design and illustration at ISIA (Urbino) and at the Escola Massana (Barcelona).

According to Publishing Perspectives, the winner has, since 2013, been working as an illustrator with publishing houses in Italy and abroad. 

In 2021, 2020, and 2017, he was selected for Bologna’s Illustrators Exhibition. In 2017, he won the Italian Andersen Award in the category “Best book 6/9 years” and in 2019 the “Best international picture book” award at the Shanghai Book Fair with La grande battaglia.”

The  2023 jury behind the International Award for Illustration comprises: Monica Bergna (Alboroto Ediciones, Mexico), Lara Peces (SM Madrid, Spain) and Nina Wehrle/ It’s Raining Elephant (Illustrator, Switzerland).

The Jury said in its report that it : recognises a great mastery in Antinori’s work.

 “Antinori’s drawings are compelling. We could easily relate to the funny characters with their strong personalities and humour. It all looks so light but we recognize a great mastery.

“The limited palette of shapes, colours and a few lines create a vibrating graphical expression, reminiscent of electric city lights. The setup is not accidental, each element has its own, well-defined weight and a clear intention.

“Each of his illustrations expresses a clear intention for all kinds of audience. The decision was unanimous and the jury is sure that Antinori will continue his career following his own voice even more radically.”

The book fair and Fundación SM set up the special Fundación SM-Bologna International Award for Illustration in 2009 with an intent to unearth, nurture, and support new talents in illustration.

The original illustrations will then be presented at a solo exhibition at the following year’s edition of the Bologna. This year’s winner has been announced this week.


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