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International Trends: How to Enter the EU Market as an Illustrator

Published on 08/05/2023

International Trends: How to Enter the EU Market as an Illustrator.
Teacher: Adolfo Sanchez, Manager Advocate Art Sociedad Limitada

Today we hear from Adolfo Sanchez, Manager of Advocate Art Sociedad Limitada about different themes and illustration styles that are popular in the EU. 

One of the keys to entering the EU market as an illustrator is knowing about the current international trends. In 2023 we can’t afford to look past some important topics such as diversity and environmental awareness, mental health themes of self-esteem and self-reliance, friendship and inclusion. 

DIVERSITY

Not only in children’s illustrations, but also in all kinds of creativity. Diversity is everywhere in our lives and relationships, and the illustrations have to show this in all cases. LGBTQ+, multiracialism, multi generationalism, other kinds of families beyond the most traditional ones, multicultural environments, teaching and highlighting disabilities of all kinds, including mental/psychological disabilities, enhancement of local cultural riches… If you want to succeed in the EU all these topics are a must in your portfolio.

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS

Many things have happened during the past 2 years. The pandemic changed all and we ended up with a European armed conflict around the corner. But when put into perspective the protection of the natural environment is above all else, which is why ecological awareness issues remain a super trend. In fact, the pandemic has shown us how fragile humans can be in the face of natural disasters, which is why it is still trending more than ever.

REFUGEES

Of course, we cannot forget the war in Ukraine, which in European countries feels very close and very familiar, so another interesting topic especially for children in the coming months is everything related to this humanitarian crisis, the refugees, the children who left everything including their schools to start from scratch in other European countries, and how these host countries have responded to them. Don’t forget to raise your voice through your illustration in this humanitarian crisis.

SELF-ESTEEM & SELF-RELIANCE

This is an interconnected world in which we are all at the same time in company and alone. This reality gives us tools to empower ourselves, while also exposing us in our fragility to a changing world in which everyone has a say in ourselves. The result of all this, together with the pandemic crisis, was the increase of psychiatric/psychological pathologies at all social levels, regardless of age or class. The good thing is what resulted. The awareness of the problem we have and visualisation as a way to cure it. Illustration has not been oblivious to this need and is one of the most used tools to talk about this problem. Show your weaknesses, be proud of them and you can heal through your own art, and help others do so as well.

WOMEN/GIRLS

Showing empowered women in illustrations, such as the current president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, is still in vogue. All feminist iconography, such as female historical figures, works perfectly and art directors are looking for illustrators who know how to highlight this rise.

At the same time, using roles and attitudes that are not usually applied to the assigned and culturally established gender is also something that has to be in your folio, beyond female empowerment.

Illustration Styles

In addition, make sure to take into account the different illustration styles that are currently trending. We would like to highlight:

  • 3D. It is a very fashionable trend to take into account and one that not all illustrators are able to develop. If you are one of them, don’t hesitate to be seen.
  • Simple doodle illustration.  At the same time, there are editors who shy away from the complexity of 3D and opt for simplicity. There is a niche market for this as well.
  • Arty styles. Many European clients seek to create books in which aesthetics are more important than even the concept they can encompass. They are looking for artists who are less commercial and closer to fine art.
  • Soft palettes. Soft colour palettes are in fashion, feel free to create your own to elevate your work in the market.
  • Whimsical themes. The magical, fairy-tale aesthetic with a lot of romanticism is well suited to many kinds of children’s projects.
  • A realistic style for non-fiction books. With the changes in educational models due to the pandemic, many European governments are redoing their curricula completely. And along with non-fiction projects, there is a great need for illustrators who can produce more realistic or true-to-life illustrations.

With all this in mind, if you think your illustration portfolio meets most of these trends or fits one of these needs in terms of style, why not join one of the most important children’s illustration agencies in the old continent? We have a multilingual sales team spread across Europe ready to bring your illustrations to the best European clients. Contact us and show us your portfolio!

For more free tips for how to improve your creative design skills subscribe to our ITSme Learning Newsletter!

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