Dear contestants, we welcome your decision to take part in the fourteenth year of our competition, and as in previous years, we offer you some advice how to avoid making mistakes in creating your contest works and achieve  better results.

A good ex libris is based on a well-realised design that is a creative combination of picture and text parts. How to proceed in developing a design? In case of our competition, the picture form is based on the announced topic, and therefore look for such features that will characterise it.  The text part is unambiguous. You know who the ex libris is created for (write his/her name and surname), and you also know that you have to mark your work by EXLIBRIS, EX LIBRIS, or its variations FROM BOOKS, BOOK, LIBRARY in your own language. Text parts should be artfully connected to the picture part, and together they should create  ex libris composition. Look for such artistic features that will depict it and freshen it up. Selection of the font is very important. It should be legible, adequately sized and conveniently located on the surface. Choose rather flat fonts and do not underestimate its role! A good ex libris is typical just by the equivalent combination of the artistic topic and the font.

The text and picture features together determine the format /size/ of the bookplate. Its size must not exceed the dimension 13 x 9 cm, but we also recommend you to create designs and original works in a smaller size.  It is more suitable for use in practice. Ex libris is mainly determined to be used in a book. Think of this fact and try to compact your work to the size designated by the organiser of the competition.

Start your work on a drawing paper A5 format (21 x 15 cm). Draw diagonals by a pencil and determine the middle of the area. Draw a rectangle of a maximum allowable size of your future work  (13 x 9 cm) round the middle. Develop the composition of the picture and text parts from the middle. When you have completed your design, decide whether it will be with a frame, or you will keep the outlines created by the composition. The composition can have different shapes of a square, rectangle, circle, ellipse, triangle and polygon.

The contest design has to be drawn by Indian ink using a pen or a brush to such a form from which it will be clear in what graphic techniques you will implement your design. You may choose from lino- engraving, lino-cut, wood-cut, wood-engraving, paper-engraving , dry needle, plastic-engraving or etching. Mässer plate  is also successful at creation of designs whose upper surface is dark, and we will get the resulting picture  in a pale colour hidden in the bottom layer by scratching off the upper cover. A common mistake includes creating a design which is not technically feasible in practice.  Remember that linear pen-and-ink drawing is suitable for a dry needle, combination of surfaces for lino-engraving, lino-cut, plastic-engraving and other similar techniques.

If you create your design by a white tempera or a white pastel on a dark piece of paper, you will see immediately which lines or places you will remove by a graver or knife. And do not only finish with the design, try to create a matrix according to it for printing the original ex libris.  It should be the aim of your effort, mainly with students of art schools. Printing out the original at the graphic press is a great adventure when suddenly you see the result of your effort.

We have chosen the topic “FLOWERS” for 14th year of the international art competition  EX LIBRIS HLOHOVEC.  It is a great opportunity to express your imagination because each of you can depict this topic in a unique way. Flowers are extremely diverse. In works, we are expecting, there will be  not a smell because you cannot depict it on the paper.  However, you can depict colours and shapes.  And flowers revel in colours.  Shapes of flowers are the same sight for sore eyes. They change in front of our eyes during a single day. A plant is different in the shape of a bud, and it is different when fully bloomed. It opens its arms to attract insects  for pollination. Some flowers are small, they are barely visible, but we also know enormous petals and huge tassels hanging in clusters. In connection with this topic, you can also create flowers that you see in your imagination and children´s dreams.

Flowers surround us everywhere, they grow alongside roads, on meadows, in woods and also on hillsides near water. They grow in pots on windows, hang in colourful cascades from balconies, adorn parks, and somewhere large areas are grown for industrial use.  Colourful carpets also bloom high in the mountains where they find a piece of land for their life. Other flowers delight your eyes in a colder climate, different plants grow in tropic areas. Many countries have flowers in their symbols, they worship their symbolism at various holidays. Therefore, look for flower themes typical for your country and bring the beauty of your flora closer to us!  In searching, do not underestimate small flowers, notice their typical veining, different shapes, curving of leaves and  also arrangement of the perianth. Do not forget for humble plants  from meadows and woods, either, not everybody likes the beauty cultivated in a greenhouse. We cannot imagine any celebration without flowers, we give flowers to people celebrating their personal jubilee, and mainly to those who we love most.

In your hands, you have a topic that is extremely broad, and it can be processed in many ways. As always, a book will be your assistant, but this year, you can fall back on a live template. If you are good observers of nature, everything will only depend on your dutiful preparation and a good choice so that your resulting work grows into beauty. Feel free to talk about your ideas for bookplates with your parents and teachers. You will certainly find  such ways of expressing the contest topic that will bring joy to you and also to the jury in assessing the works. We are looking forward to your works and meeting the best in Hlohovec very much. Moreover, the town hosting the international art competition in creating the bookplate for children aged from 6 to 15 EX LIBRIS HLOHOVEC will  celebrate an important anniversary in 2013 - 900 years  since the first written mention of Hlohovci. And you, dear competitors, will  wreathe a beautiful bouquet from your floral ex librises for its festival. We will be glad if some of your bookplates will be dedicated to our town.

                                                           Competition organising committee.