Center of Illustration

is a space, both physical and online, that presents, connects, and educates local artists in the field of illustration. It acquaints the general and professional public at home and abroad with a wide and diverse field of Slovenian illustration, presents its active creators, informs about current events, connects spaces and organizations, and takes care of the professionalisation of the field.

Hana Stupica, Festive Keira, mixed media, 2021


Fiction illustration
  • Literary
  • Non-literary
  • Commentary Editorial, Politics and Current Affairs, Lifestyle + Reviews + “Bric-a-Brac”
  • Storytelling Illustration for Narrative Fiction, Picture books and Early Readers, Comics
  • Persuasion Advertising Illustration in Practice, Promotion
  • Identity Corporate branding, Packaging, Series of books and Music, Illustration and Design
Nonfiction illustration
  • Scientific
  • Popular science
  • Documetation
  • Reference
  • Instruction

Illustration for information, National Currriculum + Trade material for Young Audiences, Historical and Cultural Subject Matter, Natural Science, Tehnological Subject

In theory, illustration is most often divided into imaginative and realistic.

While the former is basically tied to the author’s personal expression, which is usually based on a literary proposal, the latter presents us with a credible image of a piece of reality. What they both have in common is that they have a certain mission or a role. According to Alan Mal, these core roles, which are storytelling, documentation, education, reference, commentary, advertising, and identity, are also considered as basic categories of illustration.[1]

Illustration can also be defined according to the areas it covers. Realistic illustration deals with scientific and popular illustration. In the handbook of the Association of Scientific Illustrators, scientific illustration includes natural science illustration, wildlife illustration and medical illustration, and the areas they cover.[2] Individual areas in science can also mean specialization in the illustration profession (e.g. botanical or geological illustrator). In addition to the natural sciences and medicine, we can also include an illustration dealing with the social sciences as a factual illustration. According to Alan Mal, the category of realistic illustrations includes documentary, reference, and educational illustrations.

Furthermore, we can differentiate illustration according to its form. The form of the illustration may be, for example, anthropomorphic. This is typical for imaginative illustration. Illustration can be informative or diagrammatic, which is often the case with factual illustration. However, there are also forms of illustration common to both imaginative and realistic illustration, such as naturalistic, conceptual (also metaphorical), and narrative (also sequential).

The forms of illustration move between the figurative and the abstract.[3]

[1] Male, A. (2017). Illustration: a theoretical and contextual perspective. London: Bloomsbury (Pavšič, J. (1995). Fosili – zanimive okamnine iz Slovenije. Ljubljana: Tehniška založba publishing house).

[2] Hodges, E. R. S. (2003). The Guild Handbook of scientific illustration. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

[3] Christiansen J. (25. 10. 2018). Visualizing Science: Illustration and Beyond. Available at https://blogs.-


Cankarjev dom Gallery

Since 1993, Cankarjev dom, together with The Slovene Association of Fine Arts Societies, has been continuously organizing the Slovenian Biennial of Illustration. This art event has been uniting and presenting older and younger generations of illustrators to the general public for more than a quarter of a century, affirming their best achievements with the Hinko Smrekar Award, plaques, and accolades. The Biennial is traditionally on display in the Cankarjev dom Gallery.

Prešernova cesta 10
1000 Ljubljana


Center for Urban Culture Kino Šiška

The Kino Šiška Center for Urban Culture is a central institution in the field of modern concert offer, complemented by visual and performance cultural programs. The centre also regularly presents visual artists of the younger generation, using various art forms: comics, illustrations, graphic design, photography, graffiti, experimental art publications and fanzines, visual messages in the medium of postcards and posters. The exhibition space is located on a poster wall in the lower lobby of Kino Šiška. Kino Šiška is also the venue for the Biennial of Slovenian Independent Illustration, in addition to managing the DobraVaga gallery and organizing the International Comics Festival Tinta.

Trg prekomorskih brigad 3
1000 Ljubljana


Center of Illustration Gallery

From 2015 to 2022, the Center of Illustration Gallery operated as the Vodnik Homestead Gallery in Šiška. In 2023, it reopened as the Center of Illustration Gallery at a new location in the city center. It is the only gallery in Slovenia dedicated to illustration. With its regular exhibition program featuring the most prominent artists of the older and younger generations, by connecting the illustrator community, and through its many activities, it is a space that significantly contributes to the recognition of illustration and its creators. With the annual December Illustration Fair, a permanent retail corner in the gallery, and the Illustrator's Corner mobile unit, it is also the main retail space in the field of illustration. | foto Nada Žgank

Stritarjeva 7
1000 Ljubljana



DobraVaga is an exhibition and project space, a sales gallery and an open studio of various art languages, styles, and contents, also in the field of illustration, which puts the aesthetic reflections of the young generation of artists at the forefront. DobraVaga thus focuses on new, engaged, and innovative formats, with which it actively supports, encourages and promotes fresh editions of art stories and original artistic practices. DobraVaga, managed by the Kino Šiška Center for Urban Culture, is also the venue for the events of the Biennial of Slovenian Independent Illustration and the International Comics Festival Tinta.

Adamič-Lundrovo nabrežje 5
1000 Ljubljana


Slovenian Association of Fine Arts Societies (ZDSLU) Gallery

Slovenian Association of Fine Arts Societies (ZDSLU) Gallery regularly presents the activities of societies that are members of the Slovenian Association of Fine Arts Societies, their sections, and individual members. The exhibition program is designed broadly (from painting, sculpture, graphics, illustration, photography, ceramics, art pedagogy, video projects and performances to contemporary research art practices). Exhibitions in the gallery are also organized by the ZDSLU Illustrators' Section.

Komenskega ulica 8
1000 Ljubljana


Šivec House Gallery, Radovljica

Šivec House Gallery is an exhibition space dedicated to architecture, painting and illustration. It has a long tradition of presenting and exhibiting illustrations, in more than forty years there have been exhibitions of most prominent Slovenian illustrators, and a valuable and unique collection of original works in the field of book illustration for children and youth of Slovenian illustrators has been formed, which is on display as part of the permanent exhibition in the house. Illustration has gained appropriate importance and recognition in our space also thanks to the systematic and professional work of the Šivec House Gallery.

Linhartov trg 1
4240 Radovljica

The Ljubljana Puppet Theatre Bookstore

Since 2018, the Bookstore of the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre has dedicated a special space to smaller exhibitions by both young and established Slovenian illustrators. Some of them are directly involved in the theatre’s programme, either as authors of the visual identity of a performance or as designers of the overall look of a theatre season. Visitors thus get an insight into the connection between artistic genres that is necessary for the creation of a performance.

Krekov trg 2
1000 Ljubljana


+ Sales spaces of illustration

In recent years, illustration has become increasingly accessible and available for purchase as well. Mostly signed and numbered reproductions are available in more and more places, to a greater extent in the Konzorcij bookstore and the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre bookstore, but the best stocked sales place is the Vodnik Homestead Gallery, where many original works are offered for purchase.


Cankarjev dom

Cankarjev dom, the largest cultural and congress institution in Slovenia, has been continuously organizing the the Slovenian Biennial of Illustration together with the Slovenian Association of Fine Arts Societies since 1993, which has been uniting older and younger generations of illustrators for more than a quarter of a century and validating their best achievements with the Hinko Smrekar Award, plaques, and accolades. The Biennial is on display in the Cankarjev dom Gallery.

Prešernova cesta 10
1000 Ljubljana


Divja misel

At the Divja misel institute, they design numerous programs in the field of literature for various audiences. In doing so, they like to connect literature with other creative fields. More than 15 years ago, they designed the Library under the Treetops, which creates spaces for free reading in public areas. And since 2015, they have been managing the Vodnik Homestead Šiška, the house of reading, writing and storytelling, within which the Vodnik Homestead Gallery also operates, focusing on illustration. The illustration is also well represented in their regular program Nedelce, which brings books and reading closer to the family audience, as well as other productions for children, where the books are also presented in the form of storytelling and live animation of illustrations. Since 2017, they have been running the office of Ljubljana, the UNESCO City of Literature, which also takes care of presenting the field of illustration to the domestic and - through the UNESCO City Network - foreign public.

Vodnikova cesta 65
1000 Ljubljana


The Illustrators‘ section of the Slovenian Association of Fine Arts Societies (ZDSLU)

Slovenian Association of Fine Arts Societies (ZDSLU) is an association of professional fine artists who live and work in the Slovene cultural space. With nine regional associations and over 800 members, it covers the entire Slovenian cultural space, and the sections of the association cover various areas within the profession. The Illustrators' Section was established in 1992 with the aim of ensuring the continuity and development of Slovenian illustration in the new political and economic conditions. The section, along with many other activities, organizes the Slovenian Biennial of Illustration, which presents Slovenian illustration production every two years and at which the highest awards for illustration in Slovenia are presented, named after the Slovenian cartoonist, graphic artist, illustrator, and caricature artist Hinko Smrekar. The expert jury selects the recipients of the Hinko Smrekar awards, lifetime achievement awards, as well as plaques and accolades. The biennial is organized in cooperation with the Cankarjev dom Gallery. The section of illustrators carries out other activities as well, among other things, it organizes the sending of illustrations by Slovenian authors to the central international illustration biennial BIB - The Biennial of Illustration Bratislava. The section regularly cooperates with the Public Book Agency, the Slovenian section of IBBY and other cultural institutions.

Komenskega ulica 8
1000 Ljubljana


The 3rdHand Association (Tretaroka – društvo za reciklažne in kreativne projekte)

The 3rd Hand Association – the association for recycling and creative projects has been organizing the Biennial of Slovenian Independent Illustration since 2007. It arose from the need to redefine the concept of illustration, which was no longer understood in conventional frameworks, and the need for a space or platform where the creators of independent illustration would present themselves together.

Krimska cesta 1
1000 Ljubljana



If your organization engages in the field of illustration and we do not represent you on this page, please write to us at

Annual and biennial events

The Biennial of Slovenian Illustration

The Biennial of Slovenian Illustration was established by the Illustrators‘ section of the Slovenian Association of Fine Arts Societies in 1993. The biennial exhibition, which traditionally takes place in the Cankarjev dom Gallery, presents the entire Slovenian illustrator production and provides opportunities for its further development and continuous presence in Slovenia and internationally. As part of the biennial, the highest awards for illustration in Slovenia are presented - the Hinko Smrekar award, the Hinko Smrekar lifetime achievement award and Hinko Smrekar plaques and accolades. Applications for participation in the biennial take place through a public tender, which can be applied for with both artistic and scientific illustrations. Along with the biennial, an extensive catalogue is published, in which all the participants and the winners are published.

Cankarjev dom Ljubljana, Prešernova cesta 10, 1000 Ljubljana


Biennial of Slovenian Independent Illustration – The Independent Biennial

As the first promoter of contemporary Slovenian independent illustration, its creators and contexts, the Independent Biennial has been researching the fields and contexts of contemporary illustration with periodic events as well as promoting authors, thus co-creating domestic visual culture scene since 2007.  The independence of the Biennial is mainly reflected in supporting the uncensored realization of visual authorial projects. The selection of the authors who present themselves at the biennial is taken care of by the artists themselves, since the authors of the last biennial choose their successors themselves. The biennial takes place at various locations in Ljubljana (DobraVaga, Cankarjev dom Gallery, ...), the main venue being Kino Šiška.

Kino Šiška, Trg prekomorskih brigad 3, 1000 Ljubljana




December illustration fair

The December illustration fair was created under the auspices of the Divja misel institute and has been taking place in the Vodnik Homestead Gallery in Šiška since 2015. With its diverse selection, it offers illustrations of the most prominent domestic authors of all generations, both originals and prints, with frames and without. Applications for participation in the fair are made through the annual autumn public call. Authors of various profiles, both older and younger, established, and promising, are encouraged to participate. This kind of connection of the younger generations with the oldest, some of them have been, after all, establishing the Slovenian illustration scene, is of key importance. It is an intergenerational sales exhibition, which is also a social event where authors meet, get to know each other and exchange knowledge and thoughts.

Vodnikova domačija Šiška, Vodnikova cesta 65, 1000 Ljubljana




The Hinko Smrekar Award is the highest Slovenian recognition in the field of illustration, awarded by the The Slovene Association of Fine Arts Societies as part of the Slovenian Biennial of Illustration since 1993. The award also includes a plaque and accolade of the Hinko Smrekar, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award.

GOLDEN PEAR LABEL (Znak kakovosti Zlata hurška)

The Golden Pear is a quality mark for youth books, awarded by the City Library of Ljubljana in partnership with the Association of Library Societies of Slovenia. With the quality mark, they award books that stand out in terms of content and execution, in four categories: for the original Slovenian youth fiction book, for the original Slovenian youth educational book, for the translated youth fiction book and for the translated youth educational book.


The Kristina Brenkova Award for the best original Slovenian picture book is presented every year on 22 October, Kristina Brenkova's birthday, by the Chamber of Publishing and Bookselling of Slovenia at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia. Until 2011, the award was given around 2 April, the holiday of the original Slovenian picture book.


The Levstik Award is an award given by the Mladinska knjiga publishing house since 1949 for achievements in the field of children's and youth literature to the authors who they publish. Until 1991, the award was given once a year, and since then biennially. Prizes are awarded in four categories: for life's work in the field of literature for children and youth, for life's work in the field of book illustrations for children, for original literary work and for original illustration.

Formal education

In Slovenia, illustration can only be studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana (UL ALUO), which carries out the Bologna study programme of illustration of the first and second degree. The condition for the study is the passed entrance exam.

The university study programme Design of Visual Communications covers the fields of photography, graphic design, illustration, and interactive design. Through seminar assignments, studio work, and lectures, students gain basic knowledge that can be used in many areas of visual communication and can appear in both print and online media. The study of illustration prepares the student to perform creative work in all areas of public life, where illustration itself can provide the communication solution or is an important element of the whole visual communication.

Oddelek za oblikovanje vizualnih komunikacij
Dolenjska 83, 1000 Ljubljana



Events, Professional corner

Exhibition of Slovenian Illustration at Bologna Children’s Book Fair | AND THEN WHAT HAPPENED?

8.-11.- April

Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Italy

The title relates to a child’s curiosity, the desire to turn the page and find out what happens next. More broadly, it asks us where we are directing our common future, how books and illustrations can contribute to optimism and motivation for change.

The expert committee of the Slovenian Book Agency, in cooperation with the Slovenian Center of Illustration, presents the imaginative and stylistic variety of contemporary Slovenian illustrators. The exhibition highlights the works of award-winning original Slovenian authors working in the field of children’s and young adult book illustration.

Exhibiting: Marta Bartolj / Vesna Benedetič / Suzi Bricelj / Matej de Cecco / Zvonko Čoh / Danijel Demšar / Jurij Devetak / Bojana Dimitrovski / Tina Dobrajc / Jure Engelsberger / Milan Erič / Jelka Godec Schmidt / Ančka Gošnik Godec / Miha Hančič / Ciril Horjak / Adriano Janežič / Marjanca Jemec Božič / Maja Kastelic / Dora Kaštrun / Samira Kentrić / Anka Kočevar / Tanja Komadina / Ana Košir / Maša Kozjek / David Krančan / Kristina Krhin / Tomaž Lavrič / Polona Lovšin / Izar Lunaček / Marjan Manček / Ana Maraž / Matija Medved / Ivan Mitrevski / Eva Mlinar / Manica K. Musil / Silvan Omerzu / Andreja Peklar / Maja Poljanc / Lila Prap / Tereza Prepadnik / Petra Preželj / Ana Razpotnik Donati / Jelka Reichman / Liana Saje Wang / Zoran Smiljanić / Alenka Sottler / Alenka Spacal / Damijan Stepančič / Hana Stupica / Katarina Šeme / Igor Šinkovec / Peter Škerl / Andrej Štular / Gorazd Vahen / Tina Volarič / Jaka Vukotič / Huiqin Wang / Ana Zavadlav / Maša P. Žmitek

AND THEN WHAT HAPPENED? Exhibition of Slovenian Illustration | CATALOGUE


Exhibition of Slovenian illustrations at the book fair in Frankfurt

An Unexpected Abundance
Exhibition at the Frankfurt Book Fair

18–22 October 2023

The unexpected abundance of illustration carries the stories of Slovenia beyond its linguistic borders through universal visual poetry.

Within the framework of Slovenia as the Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair and in cooperation with the Slovenian Book Agency, we present the abundant world of Slovenian illustration to the international public. Across 80 m2, the exhibition highlights selected works, accompanied by a catalogue of 66 authors that showcases the creative vitality and the variety of creative styles of contemporary Slovenian illustration.

Marta Bartolj, Marjanca Jemec Božič, Jure Brglez, Suzi Bricelj, Matej de Cecco, Zvonko Čoh, Danijel Demšar, Jurij Devetak, Bojana Dimitrovski, Tina Dobrajc, Ana Razpotnik Donati, Jure Engelsberger, Milan Erič, Milanka Fabjančič, Ančka Gošnik Godec, Miha Hančič, Ciril Horjak, Maja Kastelic, Samira Kentrić, Anka Kočevar, Tanja Komadina, Ana Košir, Maša Kozjek, Gašper Krajnc, David Krančan, Tomaž Lavrič, Polona Lovšin, Izar Lunaček, Marjan Manček, Ana Maraž, Matija Medved, Trina Čuček Meršol, Ivan Mitrevski, Eva Mlinar, Manica K. Musil, Marija Nabernik, Silvan Omerzu, Andreja Peklar, Maja Poljanc, Lila Prap, Arjan Pregl, Tereza Prepadnik, Petra Preželj, Jelka Reichman, Jelka Godec Schmidt, Aleš Sedmak, Luka Seme, Tanja Semion, Zoran Smiljanić, Alenka Sottler, Alenka Spacal, Damijan Stepančič, Hana Stupica, Matej Stupica, Igor Šinkovec, Peter Škerl, Andrej Štular, Gorazd Vahen, Tinka Volarič, Žarko Vrezec, Jaka Vukotič, Huiqin Wang, Liana Saje Wang, Meta Wraber, Ana Zavadlav, Maša P. Žmitek

Selection of authors and works: Expert committee of the Slovenian Book Agency / Exhibition design: Sara & Sara (Sara Badovinac in Sara Škarica) / Izdelava razstavnih elementov: GC DPI / Texts: Samira Kentrić / Catalogue editing: Andrej Hočevar / Prevod: Daniel Sheppard / Graphic design: Ajda Fortuna / Executive design: Teja Jalovec / Catalogue printing: Tiskarna Cicero, Begunje, d.o.o. / Photography: Jernej Čampelj / Art direction, organisation, and production: Center of Illustration (represented by Maša P. Žmitek) Divja Misel Institute (represented by Tina Popovič)

Client: Slovenian Book Agency