Here's a little secret: writing and illustrating children's picture books is the most fun there is. Sure, it's hard work, but we couldn't love it more. And in the end, a picture book can delight and enlighten and expand the world of a child (or an adult). What could be better?
The members of Yellapalooza got here on very different paths. Some of us went to art school and studied illustration. Some of us felt the desire to write and illustrate grow as we read to our own children. Some of us started by illustrating picture books by other authors. Some of us are working hard to develop their own style and break into the business. Since we formed Yellapalooza in 2002, members have left and others have joined us. We've had the joy of sharing news of several book contracts and awards, and the pleasure of watching our books moves from notes and sketches to the bookshelves.
We live in the Pacific Northwest, in California, in Las Vegas, in Tennessee, in Massachusetts, in Maine and in Canada, but one thing we all have in common is that when we were starting out we turned to the internet for help, information, advice and comradeship. The founding members of Yellapalooza, Sarah Brannen, Elsbet Vance and Agy Wilson, met and became friends at the famous Yellaboard,
the message board at write4kids.com. Having searched in vain for a critique group dedicated to people who both write and illustrate, they decided to form their own online critique group. They invited other writer/illustrators they had gotten to know on the Yellaboard, in Verla Kay's nightly children's
writing chat and on the Children's
Writers email group.
We help each other with our writing and illustrating and we've become good friends. We cheer each time one of us gets a new book contract. We commiserate in our "Growlery" each time one of us gets a rejection. We vent our frustrations and enjoy our achievements together. Although many of us have never met face-to-face, we dream of a day when we might all be on a Yellapalooza tour of the country together promoting our books. Crazy? Probably. But fun? You bet!
To read biographies of individual members and to see their artwork, click on the names at left.
Our heartfelt thanks to Jon Bard and Laura Backes for maintaining the Yellaboard, for without it there would be no Yellapalooza. We are also astonishingly lucky to have a talented web designer, Lauren Francis, in our group. We couldn't have begun to put this together without her brilliant design and very hard work!