Melissa Manlove is an editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. Her acquisitions tend to be all ages in nonfiction; ages 0-8 for fiction. She’s also a keynote speaker, a breakout session speaker, manuscript critique faculty, and an illustration contest judge for the Los Angeles SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Day, coming on February 25th, 2017. When acquiring, Melissa looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. An effective approach and strong, graceful writing are important to her. She also has 17 years of children’s bookselling experience and is currently on staff at Book Passage.
Sarah Parker-Lee: Your workshop intensive for the SCBWI Los Angeles Writer’s and Illustrator’s Day event, “What We Say Without Saying: Developing Voice in the Text and Art of Picture Books,” is for authors and illustrators. “Voice” is so often associated with text. What does it mean for illustrations? Do authors and illustrators find one voice together, or a way to intertwine their individual voices?
Melissa Manlove: Voice is a lot of things at once, but style and point of view are a couple of the biggest parts, whether you’re talking about text or art. Artists can make a lot of decisions that will make an impact on readers without them being very aware of it—choices that are ‘show not tell’ in the art, like palette, texture, composition—and decisions that ought to be deliberately calculated to communicate what’s most important about the book they’re illustrating; to evoke emotion, to tell a story.
Authors and artists always have separate voices, but when they are both working towards the same (or complimentary) narrative goals, they achieve a harmony that makes them feel like two halves of the same whole. Continue reading