Swiss Unite Illustrators in an Alphabet at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2019 (Full Alphabet and Illustrator Quotes)

Switzerland was the host country of this year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and they sure know how to put on a show! For their brilliant “A Swiss ABC” exhibition 26 artists each illustrated a letter of the alphabet. The show married words and images in unique, clever, though-provoking and amusing ways. It perfectly exemplified what makes picture books such powerful tools of communication and how words and images can effectively be put together.

The 26 words used in the exhibition come from all four of the Swiss national languages: Romansh, Italian, French and German. This exhibition was a major highlight for me and included my favourite image of the fair. Here are all the letters. Below each letter is a quote from each of the super talented illustrators and a link to their website. If there is no link it’s because I was unable to find a website, but please tweet me at @MrSteveAntony if you do find one. Enjoy!

Shadows that can be interpreted in different ways fascinate me - or an object that, seen from an unfamiliar perspective, suddenly becomes something else.
— Liliane Steiner
I address children - the people who will shape tomorrow’s world.
— Catherine Louis
You can compare illustrating with the process of cooking. You mix, you try things out, you see if the colours work together, if they look appetising - and you look forward to the result.
— Haydé
Illustrate - the word comes from the Latin ‘illustrare’ and means ‘illuminate’, ‘light up’, ‘bring to light’. And: ‘celebrate’!
— Claudia de Weck
I would like to call up an emotion in the reader - to each his or her own, and it doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative.
— Adrienne Barman
Often there are discrepancies between what’s in your head and what your hand actually does on the paper. In these discrepancies, which are not under our control, lie the surprises - gifts for the imagination.
— It's Raining Elephants
My recurrent motif is the journey. Through changing landscapes and city scenes, in the imagination, into a dream world- or even toward myself.
— Vera Eggermann
With my kind of illustration, I would like to penetrate to the unconscious places of the soul, to nurture and to mirror them.
— Lika Nüssli
What could be more beautiful than reading a story aloud to children in the evening? And, touched by the story, to be moved to laughter or tears?
— Marcus Pfister
Books were like stuffed animals to me. They were companions.
— Fanny Dreyer
Drawing is a place for me. A place where I can be utterly myself, in peace, freed from reality. And yet still belong to the world - without lying, cheating or obeying.
— Emmanuelle Houdart
I am inspired by circumstances, encounters, death, and situational poetry.
— Ronald Curchod
I think that nature is complex for children who attempt to understand it. I try to make things clear to them.
— Anne Crausaz
I would like to move people to look at pictures precisely. To let themselves be pulled into them. Pictures should create joy by granting the viewer a new vision of a story.
— Käthi Bhend
Through the medium of illustrations I discovered just how broad the narrative spectrum is.
— Anna Sommer
Illustration can open up words, can send the spirit on a journey to places you never would have thought to go.
— Paloma Canonica
Drawing is part of my life. They develop together.
— Kathrin Schärer
It is a gift to be able to express myself through creating works that touch other people.
— Petra Rappo
Inspiration arises from exploring , going even further, inventing a universe for yourself, playing. Illustration can anything from the moment you endow it with significance.
— Albertine
If you open yourself up to ‘looking’ and ‘experiencing’, many spontaneous ideas offer themselves up yo you. I find ideas in dreams, early in the morning between sleeping and waking, and, some days, even while I’m jogging. I’m ‘tuned in’ day and night.
— Jürg Obrist
Imagination has to find you at your work. It is never a bolt of lightening, more a connection and a merging of points that surround a topic or a fixed idea in your mind. It is a quest.
— Francesca Sanna
The direction of reading doesn’t only go from left to right, but also into the depths.
— Hannes Binder
I seek a greedy pleasure for the eye. To create a drawing that is immediately ‘inhaled’ by the viewer as she beholds it.
— Tom Tirabosco
I like getting the kind of ‘assignment’ that places me in front of a riddle that would like me to solve it.
— Pia Valär
In my drawings I seek a balance between poetry, humour, movement and meaning.
— Mirjana Farkas
Pictures speak a universal language that every person can read, translate for him or herself and understand. Good pictures ask questions that every person can ask him or herself, and can approach.
— Paolo Friz
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More info here: