Fluo – Lit-up Books is an exhibition of 130 fluorescent books released in different parts of the world over the last ten years, testifying to one of the most recent, interesting and original trends in children’s publishing.
Adopted everywhere by world-famous artists or newcomers to children’s illustration, fluorescent illustration is used for all genres and subject matter. The result of in-depth graphic-art and printing research and experimentation, fluorescent features have now become a structural part of the books they are used in. The exhibition looks at the technical side of fluorescent applications, offering visitors an opportunity to discover new innovative tools and new creative avenues.
Accademia Drosselmeier, co-organizer of the exhibition in occasion of BCBF 2022, told us something more about fluo...
The handcraft behind fluorescent children's books
Ever more numerous, fluorescent books certainly don’t go unnoticed. What started in the fashion and art world has passed to children’s books. For us, the first signs came in 2015 with Beatrice Alemagna’s fluorescent pink in her The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy – followed in 2021 by her even more intense use of fluo colour in You Can’t Kill Snow White. When fluo books started appearing at the Accademia Drosselmeier and were entered for the BolognaRagazzi Award, it was obvious this was a trail to follow. The upshot is the Exhibition Fluo-Lit up Books that will see the light at the 2022 Bologna Children’s Book Fair: 130 publications whose fluorescent colours, even if only present in the smallest detail, are either intrinsic to the overall narrative and style or simply harnessed to attract the reader’s attention to points of interest.
Many books are by acclaimed authors like Oliver Jeffers, Isabelle Arsenault, Shawn Harris, and BB Cronin, to name just a few. Others are by emerging illustrators from around the world: Allison Colpys, Young Lee, Sarah Mazzetti, Aurore Petit, Alice Piaggio, Anna Pirolli, Emily Rand, and Marie Tolman.
Ignoring all geographical boundaries, fluo trends span artistic research across all genres of illustration. These unusual colours have opened up new horizons in every field, from graphic art to illustration. Experimenting in the non-fiction category, for example, are people like the Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv duo. As printers Grafiche AZ notes, the use of fluorescence also harks back to traditional printing:
“While digital applications of fluo are the work of computer calculations, analog fluorescent colours return to traditional printing skills.”
Craft skills are themselves a new focus of several children’s books. Artistic skills are explored at first hand in the craftsman’s workshop where the creative process takes place.