Information about illustrating children’s picture books from illustrator Jim Harris.  Illustrator biography, tips for student illustrators, advice and techniques for illustrating picture books. Jim Harris Children’s Books Home Page Tips and Techniques for Student Illustrators about Illustrating Children’s Picture Books Frequently Asked Questions about becoming a children’s picture book illustrator.  Tips for students and information on life as an illustrator from best-selling illustrator Jim Harris Email Jim Harris.  Contact email for teacher information requests, student illustrator queries, and just saying howdy. Link to Information about Jim Harris Fantasy Art, Caricatures, and Portrait Art.  Jim Harris – Biography of a Children’s Book Illustrator.  Information about becoming a children’s book illustrator. Advice for Students from Author and Illustrator, Jim Harris A Day in the Life of a Children’s Book Illustrator.  Information for students about the day to day life of an illustrator creating picture books. Illustrating a Picture Book, Start to Finish.  The step by step process of illustrating a children’s picture book.  Advice for students about the skills required in the illustration process. Activities for Kids.  Student writing and math activities based on writer and illustrator Jim Harris’s children’s books.

Jim Harris shares tips for illustrators from Three Little Dinosaurs –  Information for students interested in an children’s book career about illustrating with oil and acrylic.

The Three Little Dinosaurs


Tips for students from the children’s book Petite Rouge – Read a story by illustrator Jim Harris about going on location for creating children’s picture books.

Petite Rouge


Just in! Another Jim Harris’ wiggly-eyeball book.  Ten Little Puppies who can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

Ten Little Puppies


Illustration techniques for students from The Trouble with Cauliflower – tips for students about how to use texture to achieve variety in children’s book illustrations.

The Trouble With Cauliflower


Jim Harris gives tips to students from The Three Little Javelinas – about the jokes illustrators play with their readers.  Illustration techniques for young illustrators to use and enjoy.

The Three Little Javelinas


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

The Treasure Hunter


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

Three Little Cajun Pigs


Tips by illustrator Jim Harris from Slim and Miss Prim – about using parody in children’s books.  Information for young illustrators about famous illustrators’ spelling woes, too!

Slim and Miss Prim


Jim Harris gives information for students interested in an illustration career from Towns Down Underground.  Details of Jim’s path to an illustration career.

Towns Down Underground


Jim Harris gives tips for illustrators from Jack and the Giant.  Funny comments about the process of writing and illustrating a book for children.

Jack and the Giant


Check out the art in ‘Ten Little Dinosaurs.’  Artist Jim Harris gives some tips for working with an unusual illustration problem in a wiggly-eyeball picture book.

Ten Little Dinosaurs


Every job has its headaches.  Just ask Jim Harris.  Too much advice makes an illustrator want to, well, turn off his cell-phone!  Jim tells just how bad it gets in his comments about illustrating ‘The Bible ABC.’

Bible ABC


If you need some pointers about illustrating kids’ books, read Jim Harris’s techniques for illustrating ‘Tortoise and the Jackrabbit’ with bright saturated colors and his tips on using frisket for clean, crisp backgrounds.

Tortoise and the Jackrabbit


Here’s another Cajun version of a classic fairytale by writer Mike Artell—this time it’s Jack and the Beanstalk who turn up down on the Louisiana bayou!  Detailed watercolor illustrations by artist Jim Harris.

Jacques And De Beanstalk

Jim Harris

‘Petite Rouge’  The famous little red duck…  who can give you a few tips about dealing with Cajun gators!

Tips for Young Illustrators

Five Quick Tips

Portfolio Review

Detailed Painting and Illustrating Techniques

Using Frisket on Backgrounds
How to Use Saturated Colors
Going on Location to Research Children’s Book Illustrations
Painting in Oil and Acrylic at the Same Time
Using Textures in Illustrations
Illustrating Googly Eyeball Books
How to Use Overlapping Objects  to Define Foreground and Background
An Example of Parody in Children’s Illustration
Illustrators with Spelling Issues
Using Rhythm to Keep Illustrations from Looking Busy
Adding Action with Diagonal Lines
One Way to Make a Painting Look Peaceful
Starting Out as an Illustrator
Secret Jokes in Illustrations
Coming Up With a New Character

Five Quick Tips

A few things to remember as you’re working on your art…

1.  Keep your pencil super sharp.  We’re talking about a point that hurts when you accidentally poke yourself.  I keep an electric pencil sharpener right beside me when I’m drawing and every few minutes, buzzzzzzz, buzzzzzzz, I’m sharpening that point back up.  I use my pencil sharpener so much it wears out and I have to replace it about twice a year!

‘Mort’  A koala bear who demonstrates sharp-pencil illustration technique!

2.  Drink a lot of water during the day.  It helps your brain work better.  If you feel all fuzzy-headed and no creative ideas are popping into your head… head over to the kitchen and drink a big glass of water.  About 20 minutes later… WHEW!  Where did all these great ideas come from?  Well, now your brain cells can function since you gave them a drink!


‘T Rex Thinking’  The T Rex from Three Little Dinosaurs… badly in need of tips for catching young brachiosaurs!


3.  Don’t always draw your picture in the middle of your paper.  Occasionally try pushing it off to one side, or up to the top or down to the bottom.  Let’s imagine a drawing of a puppy, for example.  Sure, it would look great right in the middle of the paper.   But… it would also definitely be worth trying putting the puppy in one of the corners and drawing just a squiggle of grass running over toward another corner.  Stuff like that.  There’s a million things you can try… Go for it! 

 Remember… in art, white space isn’t “nothing.”  It’s something you can use to draw attention to other parts of the drawing.

‘Mort’s Friend, Mouse’  Mouse has some advice for young Mort:  Don’t eat cauliflower!  Watercolor illustration from The Trouble with Cauliflower.

 4.  Don’t worry too much if people make negative comments about your art.   If you spend some time eavesdropping at an art museum, you’ll find out that even the most famous art in the world gets a lot of negative comments.  So if someone says your art reeks…. hey, that’s their opinion.  You do art that YOU enjoy. 


‘The Stegosaurus’  A little brachiosaur who needs information about brick prices.  From Three Little Dinosaurs, illustrated by Jim Harris.


5.  Draw every day. 


6.  Don’t put your paintbrush in your mouth!  Even if you’re using paint that’s labelled non-toxic, get in the habit of keeping anything that touches paint away from your face.  That way when you do find yourself painting with colors that contain poisons like cadmium or cobalt or mercury, (which many art products do), you won’t accidentally get some inside you.  And that’s important because these things are neurotoxins.  In other words, they damage your brain.  Not a chance you want to take!


‘Teddy Bear over Texas’  Children’s book illustration by Jim Harris.


Well… happy drawing, stay true to tip 5, and I’ll see you in an art museum one day.  (You’ll be the artist giving a lecture on your world-famous paintings.  And I’ll be the guy in the audience hoping to get a few good art tips!!!)


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Images and Text © 2009 Jim Harris. All Rights Reserved