ABU DHABI // People will always judge a book by its cover. That's why organisers of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair felt it was necessary to include a new illustration corner this year.
The special focus on illustration and book design features the work of 20 artists from nearly a dozen countries, including Antje Damm, the German illustrator of the popular children's book What is This?
The fair also features the work of Kate Forrester, an Abu Dhabi-based artist who has found a niche in designing covers for romance novels and women's fiction.
The trick to designing a cover, says Forrester, is to draw in a potential reader with just the smallest hint of the story and tone, without giving it all away.
"You're aiming for a certain demographic, and it has to be something that will entice someone to ask questions about the art on the cover and come over to pick it up off of the shelf," she said, as another illustrator, Omar Jaramillo Traverso, sketched her portrait.
The new illustration corner is meant not only to help authors better market their books, but also to include local artists in publishing, said Monika Krauss, the general manager of Kitab, the joint venture between the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach) and the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is responsible for organising the Abu Dhabi fair.
"There are so many gifted and talented illustrators and artists on this side of the world who don't always have the possibility of showing what they can do, so this offers them that opportunity," Ms Krauss said.
Nasim Abaeian, who lives in Sharjah, has had two children's books published through Kalima, the commercial translation arm of Adach.
One is a fairy tale about an Arabian princess who is forced by her evil stepmother to marry a snake, which later transforms into a rich sheikh. The book, called Khaya and Hanish, is available in local stores.
Ms Abaeian, who is Iranian, calls the book an "Arabic Cinderella story".
"There are not enough books like this here," she said.