Packed house for Lisa Wheeler's session at the SCBWI Summer Conference.
Lisa breaks down what she sees some of the important ingredients that form a picture book character:
dialogue, the author's voice, description (or, more importantly, minimalism with description); the character's name (make sure not to pick a name so limiting that nothing else can be remembered or said about him); internal monologue; the character's relationship to secondary characters; his ability to solve his own problems.
She cautions authors to allow the illustrator to interpret details about your character instead of providing descriptive passages. "You don't know what you're going to get from the illustrator -- and that's fine." She shared how Molly Idle illustrated their forthcoming book People Don't Bite People by not once illustrating a person biting another person. Lisa says she could never have envisioned her book that way -- that's part of the magic of the partnership between author and illustrator.
From People Don't Bite People by Lisa Wheeler, Illustrated by Molly Idle