Home page for information about Jim Harris, children’s picture book illustrator.  Facts for school reports about illustrating and writing children’s books. Jim Harris Books for Children Home Page Helpful Tips and Techniques for Students Learning to Illustrate Children’s Picture Books Frequently Asked Questions about becoming a children’s picture book illustrator.  Best-selling illustrator Jim Harris gives helpful details for students learning about everyday life as an illustrator. Email Jim Harris.  Contact email for teacher information requests, student illustrator queries, and for just saying howdy. Link to Information about Jim Harris Fantasy Art, Caricatures, Portrait Art, and Sports Illustration. Jim Harris – Biography of a Children’s Book Illustrator.  Information for students researching becoming a children’s book illustrator. Advice for Creative Writing Students from Picture Book Author and Illustrator, Jim Harris Day by Day in the Life of a Children’s Book Illustrator.  Facts for art students about a typical day in the life of a picture-book illustrator. Illustrating a Picture Book, Start to Finish.  Jim Harris describes the steps in illustrating a children’s picture book.  Helpful advice for art students about skills needed for an illustration career. Activities for Kids From Popular Children’s Books.  Classroom writing and math activities based on Jim Harris picture books.

Jim Harris talks about the funny characters he created for Three Little Dinosaurs –  a fractured fairytale for dino-lovers.  Helpful facts for students studying a children’s book career, with tips about illustrating in oil and acrylic.

Three Little Dinosaurs


Jim Harris explains the process of creating the popular Cajun picture book, Petite Rouge – going on location to study the setting of picture books and creating the central Cajun Red Riding Hood character.

Petite Rouge


A funny explanation for teachers and students about the process of writing and illustrating Jim Harris’s popular Southwestern fractured fairytale – Jack and the Giant.

Jack and the Giant


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

Ten Little Dinosaurs


Jim Harris gives pointers for art students on creating vibrantly colored children’s illustrations in a little talk about the use of saturated and unsaturated colors in Tortoise and the Jackrabbit.

Tortoise and the Jackrabbit


A peek into the life of a picture-book illustrator and his thought process while illustrating The Trouble with Cauliflower – Also, tips for students about painting textures to create variety in children’s book art.

The Trouble with Cauliflower


Jim Harris shares the inside-story about illustrating the best-selling Three Little Javelinas.  How he modelled the javelina characters, and insight into the jokes illustrators play with picture-book readers.

The Three Little Javelinas


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 humorous picture book, The Bible ABC.

Bible ABC


Tips for student illustrators from the novelty picture book The Treasure Hunter  --  art techniques for students to make their paintings and drawings look realistic.

The Treasure Hunter


Illustration techniques from The Three Little Cajun Pigs –  creative ideas from illustrator Jim Harris about  illustrating a picture book using visual rhythm and diagonal lines in artwork.

Three Little Cajun Pigs


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 famous illustrators’ spelling woes, too!

Slim and Miss Prim


Jim Harris gives students a peek into day to day life early in his illustration career... when he illustrated the National Geographic children’s book, Towns Down Underground.

Towns Down Underground

Jim Harris Answers

‘Claude Visits Grandma’s House’ from  Petite Rouge, the Louisiana Young Reader’s Choice fairytale version of Little Red Riding Hood, illustrated by Jim Harris.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did you become an illustrator?

It was pretty much an accident.  I was going to be a mathematician… but I took a summer job drawing cartoons and after that… I never went back to math.

Where do you come up with the ideas for your stories?

My parents and my kids and even my pets give me a lot of ideas.   Another good place is comic books. 

‘The Second Little Javelina’ from The Three Little Javelinas, Arizona Reader’s Award and PBS Reading Rainbow selection written by Susan Lowell and illustrated by Jim Harris.

How long does it take to do the illustrations for a book?

Well…  that depends.  I’d say four to six months was an average.  Part of that time is waiting to hear back from the publisher about their comments on character sketches and layout sketches… so the actual drawing and painting time is less than that.

‘Tortoise Feels Great!’  from The Tortoise and the Jackrabbit, the popular Southwestern fairytale version of Aesop’s Tortoise and the Hare, illustrated by Jim Harris.

What’s your favorite piece of art equipment?

My Windsor Newton Series 7 size 10 brush.  It’s about as big around as my thumb… and costs about $200 (a lot more than most of my brushes).  You have to like it to pay that much!


What are your favorite colors?

Ultramarine blue and red. 

‘Claude the ‘Ol Gator’ chasing Petite Rouge.   A fractured fairytale illustration by Jim Harris from ‘Petite Rouge, A Cajun Little Red Riding Hood.’

When you write a book, do you think of the pictures or the story first?

Usually, the pictures and the story idea pop into my head at the same time… and they both change a lot in the process of finishing the book.


What are your favorite children’s books?

The Chronicles of Narnia.

Santa’s elves re-decorating a deserving children’s library.  Portraits of C.S. Lewis and Mark Twain going up on the walls.  New carpet headed in to the main reading room.  All from ‘Librarian’s Night Before Christmas,’ illustrated by artist Jim Harris.

Who is your favorite illustrator?

N.C. Wyeth.

One of Jim Harris’s favorite paintings... a classic by children’s book illustrator N.C. Wyeth.

What is your favorite food?

Pizza with pepperoni.

‘Little Elephant,’  Original pencil sketch for one of the funny characters in The Trouble With Cauliflower, the picture book for picky eaters.

Your least favorite food?


Mort the Koala wants to know, ‘Does This Have Cauliflower?’  Original art from The Trouble With Cauliflower children’s book illustrated by Jim Harris.

Do you have a favorite sport?

Basketball and weightlifting. 

‘Dino Workout’  from The Three Little Dinosaurs (and the Big Bad Tyrannosaurus Rex) – a fractured fairytale based on The Three Little Pigs – written and illsutrated by Jim Harris.

Where were you born?

My mother tells me it was in a hospital in North Carolina.   She says the whole country set off fireworks a day in advance… which ended just as I was born on the 5th of July.

Do you have any sisters and brothers?

Only brothers.  But I have nine sisters-in-law, so that kind of makes up for it. 

What were you like as a child?

Skinny and shy. 

‘Shy Packrat’  Original art from children’s book Tuesday In Arizona – in which the aforesaid packrat manages to ruin the Old Prospector’s life every day of the week—except Tuesday.

What was your childhood like?

Very happy.  My mom and dad weren’t artists themselves, but they generously supplied me with several truckloads of art supplies in the course of my childhood, and put up with a couple decades of my bedroom looking and smelling like an oil-paint factory.  I didn’t really appreciate this enough at the time… but it means a lot to me now.


‘Cozy Kitchen’  Original art from children’s book The Trouble With Cauliflower, written by Jane Sutton and illustrated by artist Jim Harris.

What was your best subject in school?


What was your worst subject?

Hmmm.   Do I have to pick?  I guess it would be spelling.  I also had a hard time with reading.  After I finished school I learned to love to read… but I’m still not a fast reader. 

‘Library Elves’  Original art from children’s book Librarian’s Night Before Christmas – an adaptation of the classic original poem ‘The Night Before Christmas’ – especially for librarians.

Did you ever do any other jobs besides illustrating?

When I was a kid I worked for a dentist, boxing up a product he was selling.  When I was older I was a camp counselor, and a janitor, and an art gallery guard.  And for a while I worked in film animation.  (Also, my mother paid me to clean my room.)

‘Rooms for Rent’  Original art from Three Little Cajun Pigs, a fractured fairytale written by Mike Artell and illustrated by Jim Harris, based on the classic fairytale Three Little Pigs.

What do you like to watch on TV?

I liked “Wild Wild West” as a child, but I don’t have very much time to watch TV now.  It always seems like there are more important things to do.

Where do you live?

In the country -- at the end of a dirt road outside a little village in New Zealand.  By “little,” I mean one general store, one fish-and-chips store and one gas station. 

‘Old Western Boardwalk’  Original art from children’s picture book Slim and Miss Prim, a Western love story (and kidnap tale) for kids, written by Robert Kinerk and illustrated by artist Jim Harris.

Do you have any pets? 

Yes, there’s Shep, the Newfoundland/Collie cross.  His fur is a getting white around his muzzle because he’s so old.  Mostly he likes to lie around and sleep.  We tease him because Newfies are supposed to be water dogs, but Shep doesn’t like to get his feet wet. 

Then there’s Grace, the calico cat.  She only lives at our house part-time.  We aren’t sure where she goes the rest of the time… but I think she goes hunting in the forest behind our house.

Lollipop and Aiko are our guinea pigs.  Lollipop tends toward the double-chin side of things.  Aiko is more your athletic go-getter.  But they both love cabbage.  And grass.  I have not yet figured out how two small guinea pigs can consume, daily, a pile of grass twice as tall as they are. 

And there’s the horses:  Sonny is a retired racehorse.  He loves to blow warm air down my neck on a cold winter day.  I think he is saying something in horse language… but the closest I can come to a translation is… Hey, Big Guy, got any carrots today?

Ginger is your basic old gray mare.  She is almost 30 years old, but when she races Sonny up the pasture hills, she gets to the gate first more than her share of the time.

Itty Bitty Smitty, the Shetland pony, actually owns the farm.  He just lets the rest of us live here.  He wanders around the yard, nibbling roses, dahlias, lettuce plants and whatever else strikes his fancy. If you sit down on a log—to get down on his level—he will come over and have a chat with you.  And he is always happy to give you a ride, if you are not too big. 

‘Rustler Band’ Original art from the children’s book Slim and Miss Prim.  Four rustlers with five horses... a parody of original art by illustrator Frederic Remington.

Do you have any hobbies?

I like archery.    And I love to read books to my kids. 


‘An Old-Fashioned Swing’  Original art from the Cajun fairytale Jacques and the Beanstalk, a Louisiana version of the original Jack and the Beanstalk children’s tale.

In-Frequently Asked Questions

 I would say my top three infrequently-asked-questions are, without a doubt…

      1. Dad, can I clean your studio today?
      2. Dad, did you lose some weight?
      3. Dad, do you want the last piece of pizza?


Link to Jim Harris Children’s Books Home PageEmail the page ‘ Frequently Asked Questions About Life as an Illustrator’ to a friend.

Images and Text © 2009 Jim Harris. All Rights Reserved