Thursday 24 October 2019

An exclusive Q&A with Emma Yarlett!

Read on for a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes process of the monstrously fun Beast Feast by the amazingly talented author and illustrator, Emma Yarlett! What a treat. 

1.       What gave you the idea for Beast Feast

After having such a wonderful time creating Dragon Post, it was great to have the opportunity to work with Walker on another ‘post in a book’ title as they’re so much fun! I had a whole host of ideas that had not quite reached maturity in my brain... but then I suddenly remembered a conversation I had with my agent, Louise, a few months prior: she and her godson had been playing a game together involving a beast catching a child to eat for his dinner... and Beast Feast was born!

When I was a child (and still even now!) I loved the dastardly and dark humour of Roald Dahl, and so it was fantastic to have the opportunity to work on a book which had a certain naughty kind of humour in it - as well as some fun wordplay, particularly with the tongue-in-cheek name of the child Beast catches...

2.       What’s your work process like?

I created the book from the tropics of Falmouth in my seaside studio. This book had to be put together within a very definite and immovable timeframe - as I was pregnant at the time! With the help of Walker, the book came together in record timing... I believe 4-ish months. Usually, it can take me 7-10 months, and so being pregnant gave me some sort of temporary superpower!

The process of this book began with a lot of talking about the storyline, concept, characters and then ironing out any crinkles within the story arc.

I’m rather traditional and create all of my art by hand. Usually, this involves a fair bit of planning and thinking through how to do this... but as I was on a tight timeframe I had to just jump into it! When I’d finish painting, collating, drawing, colouring and splashing, all of my art was scanned in - the colours corrected, and then sent off to Walker for checking!

The final bit of this book was hand rendering the typography. Boy, did that give me hand cramp as everything had to be written out over and over again to get the handwriting looking just so.

3.       What is your favourite spread/illustration in Beast Feast?

If I had to pick a favourite page from the book, I think it would either be the opening one where Beast is chasing Dinner and then has him dangling from his fingertips, or where Beast is trying to salt Dinner in his salt/meat room. That one was a lot of fun to paint!

4.       What is your favourite picture book that you’ve read recently?

Now that I have a little one of my own, I’m finding I’m reading even more picture books than I was before! I think the one I last read with her this morning (she loves books and so it’s a constant stream!) was ‘Dear Zoo.’ The last one that I picked to read though was ‘The Day the War Came’ by Nicola Davies and Rebecca Cobb; such a prolific book that is very telling of our troubled times.

Pick up Beast Feast by Emma Yarlett where all good books are sold!

It's got a sprinkling of fright but it's also overflowing with cups of fun and a whole jar of love and warmth. Not to mention the beautifully bright illustrations on each page! Great for children aged 5 and above.