Friday, November 09, 2018

Connecticut Children's Book Fair 2018--Robbi Behr & Matthew Swanson

I wasn't planning to go to Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson's presentation. They write for a few different age groups, and once again, I didn't know which one they'd be talking about. But I found myself with a hole in my schedule, they were talking, and there was a free chair. This is what is known as one thing leading to another.

They turned out to be right on the button for me. Or, I should say, right on a button. Robbi is an illustrator and Matthew a writer. They are a little (or maybe a lot) intimidating in that they run a couple of presses and also publish with traditional publishers. They also have a great patter. Also intimidating.

Editing Hybrid Books

What was meaningful for me, though, is that their new series, The Real McCoys, is what Robbi and Matthew call a hybrid book. It's not actually a graphic novel, but is traditional text with a lot of graphics. I have toyed with the idea of doing a graphic novel version of one of my earlier books. But this hybrid business sounds interesting, too.

The two particularly interesting points they made about their work on this kind of book:

  • While Matthew, the author, has an editor for the text, Robbi, the illustrator, works with the publisher's art director who acts as an editor for the graphics. She showed a couple of examples of what she means by editing. And, yes, it did, indeed, look like editing.
  • The text has to be edited and complete before the graphics are done. You don't want to spend time and energy creating graphics for a scene that will be changed or even dropped altogether. So authors and illustrators of this kind of book are working on different aspects of the book at any particular time. And if it's a series book, which The Real McCoys is, they may not even be working on the same book.

So stopping by that presentation was certainly worth while.

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