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  • Roger MelloBrazil ⋆ Illustrator
  • Samantha Christensen

"Illustration is the possibility of investigating narrative elements that pass through the graphic experience."

Roger Mello

Born in Brasília in 1965, Roger Mello has built an influential career as an illustrator, writer, and playwright. Over the course of his two-decade career, he has illustrated over a hundred titles—twenty-two of which he also wrote—and his unique style and adroit sense of color continues to push the boundaries of children's book illustration. He pursued an education in design, and earned a degree in ESDI/UERJ Industrial Design and Digital Programming from the Higher School for Industrial Design at Rio de Janeiro State University. Growing up with a passion for drawing and literature, Mello dedicated his life to exploring the history and culture of Brazil through children's illustrated stories, and rather than relying on written narrative to tell the story, he invites his young readers to fill the gaps with imagination.

Mello's striking use of color and intricate design captivates his viewers and leaves them thinking about his images long after viewing them. It is impossible to glance briefly at Mello's art; each viewing of his intricate and colorful works brings to the surface different viewing experiences, and he has a knack for drawing his readers/viewers into his images. The textures, vibrant colors, and depth of his illustrations provide a stimulating and engaging experience, and Mello is able to draw connections between his narratives and the nature surrounding them through his images. He is passionate about storytelling, and he does not underestimate the developing understandings of children. He avoids heavy didactic or moralizing overtones, and instead encourages his readers to draw their own conclusion based on the images and narrative at hand.

Mello has won a number of national and international awards for both his writing and illustrations, including three Brazilian section of IBBY's Luís Jardim Awards, nine Concours Best Illustration Awards, and the Best Children's Book 2002 International Award for Meninos do mangue. He has also been a part of numerous international children's book fairs, and from November 2011 to February 2012 his work was exhibited in the Internationala Jugendbibliothek at the Blutenburg castle in Munich, Germany. This same collection is currently on display as part of the Internationala Jugendbibliothek Itinerant Exhibitions project until December 2014. Mello's illustrations continue to inspire his young readers, providing them with familiar and approachable images while encouraging imagination to fill in the narrative gaps, and he works to capture the mysteries of childhood through rich, vibrant imagery.

Selected Bibliography

Carvoeirinhos. São Paulo: Companhia das Letrinhas, 2009. Print.
Jardins [Gardens]. Text Roseana Murray. Rio de Janeiro: Manati, 2001. Print.
João por um fio [John by a Thread]. São Paulo: Companhia das Letrinhas, 2005. Print.
Meninos do mangue [Boys' Mangrove]. São Paulo: Companhia das Letrinhas, 2011. Print.
Zubair e os labarintos [Zubair and the Mazes]. São Paulo: Companhia das Letrinhas, 2007. Print. [End Page 11]


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