All about books illustrated by children’s artist Jim Harris.  Jim’s biography, tips for creative writing students, and tips for illustrating picture books. Jim Harris Children’s Books Home Page Tips and Techniques for Art Students Frequently (and Infrequently) Asked Questions about becoming a children’s picture book illustrator.  Facts and trivia about an illustration job -- from best-selling children’s artist, Jim Harris Email Jim Harris.  Contact email for teachers, students and readers. Link to Jim Harris Fantasy Art, Caricatures, Portraits and Sporting Art.  Jim Harris – The Story of a Children’s Book Illustrator.  Read about how Jim became a picture book artist. Creative Writing Tips from Author and Illustrator, Jim Harris Day to Day Life as a Children’s Book Illustrator.  Information for students about the day to day routine of a picture-book illustrator. Illustrating a Picture Book, Start to Finish.  The step by step process of illustrating a children’s picture book. Activities for Kids.  Student reading, writing and math worksheets with pictures from Jim Harris’s children’s books.

Illustration advice by artist Jim Harris from The Treasure Hunter.  Jim gives tips for art students about using overlapping to make paintings and drawings look realistic.

The Teasure Hunter


Dinosaur's Night Before Christmas, a holiday story as told by Jim Harris - the perfect Christmas gift for dinosaur lovers

Dinosaur's Night Before


Jim Harris gives painting tips from the Three Little Dinosaurs fairy tale.  Information for art students -- about how to use acrylic and oil paints and about cleaning your paintbrush!

Three Little Dinosaurs


See the adorable puppy characters that fill another Jim Harris’ wiggly-eyeball book.  Ten Little Puppies who can’t seem to stay out of trouble!  New 2009!

Ten Little Puppies


Jim Harris gives pointers on creating vibrantly colored children’s illustrations in a little talk about the use of saturated and unsaturated colors in the Southwestern fractured fairy tale Tortoise and the Jackrabbit.

Tortoise and the Jackrabbit


Art tips from the popular southwestern fairytale, The Three Little Javelinas.  Jim Harris tells about the jokes illustrators play with their young readers and about how he began painting the Jim Harris mouse.

The Three Little Javelinas


Jim explains more about the job of illustrating a picture book.  Details about creating art for a novelty book from the best-selling children’s title, Ten Little Dinosaurs.

Ten Little Dinosaurs


Tips by illustrator Jim Harris about using parody in children’s books, based on the Southwestern title, Slim and Miss Prim.  Thoughts for creative students about illustrators’ spelling woes, too!

Slim and Miss Prim


Jim Harris tells about starting out in a career as an illustrator.  Funny stories about life as a ‘starving artist.’

Towns Down Underground


So, if I become a children’s book illustrator… what kind of people will I be working with?  Read Jim’s answer to this important question in his discussion of the children’s alphabet book, The Bible ABC.

Bible ABC


Jim Harris shares illustration techniques from The Three Little Cajun Pigs.  Learn how to illustrate a picture book using visual rhythm and diagonal lines.

Three Little Cajun Pigs


Go on location with Jim Harris and see how he developed a central character for the Cajun fairy tale Petite Rouge (A Cajun Red Riding Hood.)

Petite Rouge


Jim Harris gives tips for young artists from Jack and the Giant. Funny insights into the process of writing and illustrating a book for children.

Jack and the Giant

Jim Harris Talks About Illustrating...

The Trouble With Cauliflower.  The book for picky eaters (and anyone who thinks cauliflower brings bad luck).  Illustrations by children’s book artist Jim Harris.

The Trouble With Cauliflower

You have to admit that a book called The Trouble With Cauliflower covers a very important topic.  In fact, the main surprise for me when I read the manuscript for the first time was that it was so SHORT.  I mean, I could have filled volumes talking about “the trouble with cauliflower.”

Mortimer the Koala Bear.  (A bear who shares artist Jim Harris’s feelings about cauliflower.)

Having said that (mostly for the benefit of my mother… who could not think of one SINGLE trouble with cauliflower the whole time I was growing up)…  I must tell you that the book The Trouble With Cauliflower actually purports to show that there IS no trouble with cauliflower.  In fact, it tastes fine, smells great, looks charming (thanks to the art, I might add) and will not – although there is some confusion over this at the beginning – bring you bad luck.


A Bad Day at the Driver’s License Bureau.  Art for kids from children’s book illustrator Jim Harris.


It almost convinced me.

I said ALMOST.

The only time I eat cauliflower is if it is chopped up into invisible pieces and surreptitiously slipped into a lettuce salad.  And my wife gets away with that only if I’ve been up 48 hours straight trying to meet a deadline… thus my taste buds and visual apparatus are only functioning at half normal capacity.

Cauliflower. The dreaded vegetable. Illustrated with a quivering brush by artist Jim Harris.

Personally, I think variety is the most important thing in a diet.  A good variety would consist of something like pepperoni pizza, followed by ham pizza, then mega-cheese-supreme pizza, triple-pepper pizza, sausage pizza, cream-cheese pizza, chocolate pizza….  You get the idea.  I feel strongly that a steady rotation of this type of variety completely eliminates any need for cauliflower. 

Pete’s Pizza Parlor.  This is the kind of place Jim Harris hangs out… when he’s thinking up new children’s book illustration ideas.  (At least, when he’s not on a diet.)

And now that we are on the topic of variety, I would like to move over to the idea of variety in artwork.  ANYTHING to get off the topic of cauliflower!

A Lecture About Cauliflower.  Mort doesn’t believe a word Sadie says about the harmless nature of cauliflower.  Typical picky-eater behavior.

Using Textures in Illustrations

Variety is actually very important in artwork.  And one of my favorite ways to use variety is in textures.  Some people say my artwork is “detailed.”  But there are many places it isn’t detailed at all… it just has a lot of variety in the textures.

Here’s Mortimer, the hero of The Trouble With Cauliflower, making a very good point about one particular cauliflower casserole.  (I can’t tell you the point or I’d give away the plot… )  

Does This Have Cauliflower???  Mort the Koala Bear wants to know what’s in his casserole.  Illustrated by children’s artist (and fellow picky eater) Jim Harris.

Anyway, this illustration would be boring if it didn’t have different textures for your eye to enjoy subconsciously when you look at it. 

There’s the chair seat…   a knobbly kind of texture  
There’s Mort’s shoes…. a glossy leathery texture  
There’s his socks… chunky lumps  
There’s Mort’s fur… spiky texture  
And his nose…  a smooth, almost shiny kind of texture   .

Sadie’s Houseboat.  Fanciful children’s illustration by artist Jim Harris.

Now maybe it seems like all this happens automatically… but it doesn’t.  You have to purposely notice the textures in the objects you’re painting and choose to emphasize them in your brush strokes (and even before that, in your preliminary sketch)… for them to show up clearly.

Duck Takes the Plunge.  Mort the Koala Bear dropped his soap in the toilet… so it’s up to the duck plumber to get it out.

Not all artists choose to emphasize texture.  Some almost ignore it and get a sense of variety through other things, but I love to play with interesting textures.

A Koala Bear’s Tree House (complete with tire swing).  Just the sort of place artist Jim Harris hopes to have someday… high in the gum trees of Australia.


Buy the book The Trouble With Cauliflower at Amazon.Buy an original illustration from the children’s book The Trouble With Cauliflower.

Link to Jim Harris Children’s Books Home PageEmail the page ‘The Trouble With Cauliflower | Textures in Children’s Book Art by Jim Harris’ to a friend.

Images and Text © 2009 Jim Harris. All Rights Reserved