Jacki Kellum has too many interests to pursue them all, but painting and writing–especially writing for children–are her main pursuits. While she was in graduate school, seeking her second master’s degree–this one in visual art–Jacki’s graduate committee asked her: “Why do you want another master’s degree? You already have one in English, with emphasis in writing.” Jacki responded: “Because a picture is worth a thousand words.” Indeed, trying to say as much as possible with as little fluff as possible has become the hallmark of Jacki Kellum’s work. In Jacki Kellum’s opinion, picture books are the perfect literary medium to achieve that goal.







Jacki Kellum grew up and has lived most of her life in the South and, like many Southerners, she is a natural storyteller. While she has also lived many years in the Northeast, she has recently relocated from the East Coast, and she is currently painting, writing, and illustrating from her studio in Harrison, Arkansas, which is in the heart of the Ozark Mountains.

Many people who are familiar with Jacki’s art recognize her as a colorist who paints loosely and flamboyantly. She is an avid gardener, and her flower paintings are some of her most dazzling pieces. Jacki often paints these from her own garden or en plein aire, while traveling. Jacki Kellum strives to maintain this whimsical flamboyance in her illustrations for children, and she considers her flower studies to be a continual practice for illustrating.  In order to fully understand her subject matter, she often also does intricate and detailed pencil studies before she paints more freely.