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How to Make the Most of Your Book Fair Visit With Bhavi Patel

Published on 09/10/2023

How to Make the Most of Your Book Fair Visit
With Bhavi Patel, Advocate Art Art Director and ITSme Creative Director

Hiya illustrators!

With the Frankfurt Book Fair coming up, it’s time to put your best art forward as you walk the fair, and connect with art directors and creatives in the industry. This year, we have agents from Advocate Art headed to the fair, ready to meet clients and artists.

In order to help you get prepared, I’m sharing my top tips for getting the most out of the fair:

  1. Familiarise yourself with exhibitors and the floor plan:
    In advance of the fair, take a look at the exhibitors list, and note down any Publishers/ clients you definitely want to meet. By planning ahead, you can meet them first and beat the rush!
  2. Have your portfolio ready to share:
    You can present your work via printed material in a physical portfolio, or have your pieces on a tablet which you can go through with Art Directors. Think about what you are presenting, and the best way to show it, for maximum effect.
  3. Be on message:
    Organise your portfolio in such a way, so that your strongest work is what the client see’s first. Your portfolio should be on message, and a clear reflection of your style, that illustrates the type of work you want to attract. You can have other ideas towards the end of your portfolio, and go through them if there is still time.
  4. Get to the point:
    Time is limited. Art Directors will have many meetings booked throughout the fair, so think about what you want to gain from your meetings. Share key information to the client that is relevant to them.
  5. Name drop:
    Don’t be afraid to name-drop and mention any special projects/ publishers you’ve worked with. If you have any awards/ accreditations, share them loud and proud!
  6. Leave-behinds:
    Art directors will be meeting A LOT of people, so leave-behinds are a great way to make yourself memorable. Nothing too big and bulky, think of something they can easily carry. A few ideas are: Business cards/ Postcards/ Mini printed catalogue (essentially a condensed version of your portfolio)/ Any promo products with your artwork on it.
  7. Check notice boards:
    Some Publishers/ Agencies will have designated days/ times for portfolio reviews. Notice Boards are great, as there might be opportunities to sign up to Portfolio reviews. Keep an eye on it, and sign up to secure a space.

They say 7 is a lucky number, so I hope these tips bring you some good luck as you walk the fair! And lastly, be friendly, show confidence and enjoy the experience as you form new connections.

If you’d like to ensure you have the best possible work to present at the fair, consider joining our next Illustrator Mentorship Program. You will get hands-on support as you develop your portfolio, so reach out to us if you’d like to have more information.

All the best,


For more free tips for how to improve your illustration portfolio, subscribe to our ITSme Learning Newsletter!

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