New Book, Old Book, Blue Book, Gold Book

Only half the title written above is legit. The other half...well, there's no reason for just rhymed.

Which takes me off topic from the original direction of this post which is to introduce or reintroduce a couple of picture books. I'll get to that. I promise. But I stray because I read a lot of manuscripts each year by writers of all experience levels. Some are great. Some are not. Just like my own work. But I will tell you, many of the less experienced writers seem to have this idea that a picture book has to rhyme or even that it should rhyme. Well it doesn't and it shouldn't...unless there's a reason.

I'll say it again, and you can quote me on it, "Steer clear of writing your picture book in rhyme, unless there's a good reason."

So, the title of the blog post breaks that rule. (granted, this is a blog post and not a picture book so I can write whatever and however I like, right?)

What are the reasons you'd write in rhyme? Well, here are a few. And if yours isn't on this list, you'd better have a darn good one I didn't think of or get rewriting.

  1. You ARE Dr. Suess himself. (Which if that's the case, you're a ghost but I'd still like to meet you)
  2. Your book's plot is about a song, or rhythm or music, or singing. For example, Kristyn Crow's "Skeleton Cat" or "Middle Child Blues" or "Bedtime at the Swamp." Check those books out. They have great rhythm and rhyme, with a reason for it.
  3. You are a trained poet. You've actually studied poetry, rhythm, and rhyme, and know what it really is and how to effectively use it. Like, taken classes on it, kind of studied. 
Why you ask? Because writing in rhyme and doing it well is REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY HARD.  Why make your job harder than it needs to be? 

So unless your reason is one of the above, steer clear. (See what I did there at the end of that sentence? Ha. Ha.)

Now, on to the real reason for the post! YAY!

My dear friend, Camille Andros, is a very talented writer who knows how to get to the heart of the matter. I loved her first book, "Charlotte the Scientist Gets Squished" because it's cute, funny, spunky, clever, and tugs at the heart just enough in the end.  But I love her newest book for totally different reasons. It's sophisticated, quiet, beautiful, and migratory.  And still, like her first, it also tugs at the heart. Julie Morstad's illustrations add a deeper sense of timelessness and nostalgia to the story and I must admit I'm envious of the smooth wash in her peachy skies and the beautiful flora on the hillsides. Simple and elegant, the illustrations leave plenty of space for the words to work their magic as well.

The Dress and the Girl, published by Abrams 2018

I just got the news that the very first book I illustrated, "Hip Hip Hooray for Annie McRae!" which was published 17 years ago in 2001, is being reissued! It will have a new cover (I don't have the reveal for that quite yet) but all the same interior illustrations and is supposed to come out in the spring of 2019 as part of an anniversary book list for the publisher. Some of you might remember this book. My own nephew married a girl who excitedly told me when we met that she LOVED "Hip Hip Hooray for Annie McRae!" when she was a little girl (yes that made me feel old). I have actually met teachers at elementary school visits who also loved the book and its message of positive self talk, but they were sad it had gone out of print. But now, I am so happy it will be out in the world again and a brand new generation will get to enjoy it. I guess it IS available...somewhat...the current $87 price tag for a first edition on Amazon is a little steep for most readers. It is for me! 

But never fear. The new edition will be MUCH cheaper, I'm sure. So watch here and on my instagram for news of the new cover and for the re-release date!

Original Version of Annie McRae

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Watercolor Pallet Layout & other resources

I am always interested to learn about other artists' processes and tools. Someone asked me today what watercolor paints I use. There isn't a single answer so I decided to do a blog post on it to give more information. Read on til the end, and I'll post some links to some other helpful posts on the process of becoming an illustrator and how to illustrate and more.

First, my palette.

I have had this watercolor palette for a LONG time. I can't even remember when I bought it. Maybe in college. Maybe soon after. I really don't know. But I love it. It is large (14x14 inches), it is round (like the color wheel), and it has a cover. (you can get the same one I have here)

Second, the paints on my palette.

I've used various paints over the years, but after taking a watercolor master class from landscape watercolor artist, Carl Purcell, I realized I needed to add a few the name of the colors in sharpie along the edge of each paint well and a few colors I didn't even know existed, like Horizon Blue. The result is the following palette. (I choose to keep my palette messy and leave the dried paint in the wells...I just mist it all down before I start).

You are welcome to click on the image and look at the labeling more closely to find out what specific colors and brands of paint I use.

Now, Third...Links extra resources and how to's on my blog.

How to get started as an illustrator  
click and then scroll through the posts for March 2010
3. SEARCH "How to" IN THE SEARCH BAR in the right column of this blog (view webversion of page to get it to pop up if you are on a mobile device)

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LDS General Conference Sketchnotes Download

My sketchnotes are ready.

I have compiled my notes from General Conference Spring 2018 into one downloadable PDF. These are my personal notes I take for my own use while I am listening to the speakers. I have to write fast, draw fast and design fast. There are probably mistakes. Sorry about that. Another listener may have heard other things I have not noted. That's inevitable. So take all that into account. I was able to correct the initial misspellings of some names that you will see on the images I posted to Instagram. But I did not go through and add or correct anything else.

I hope you enjoy them and find them useful. I am happy to share my notes with all of you free of charge. All I ask is that you do not reproduce them, sell them, or use them for anything other than personal study or teaching.

I'd also love more followers on Instagram or Facebook. If you follow me there, you'll get first peak at all my conference notes PLUS you'll get insight on my world of writing and illustrating for children.

You can find me on Instagram HERE or my public profile on Facebook HERE.

AND now... the file you've been waiting for... my GENERAL CONFERENCE SKETCHNOTES


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New Free Valentine's Day Cards for 2018

I'm sharing the love today. I made new valentines for you to use for 2018. But all the other valentines I've made over the years are still available for you to print as well. So you have a wide choice. Just click the PRINTABLES tab at the top of my blog menu and scroll down til you see the one you want to print.

Remember, these are for personal use only. They are not to be resold, repurposed, or revised in any way. Thanks so much! AND ENJOY!

 This will take you to the page with all the valentines
click the image

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Custom Family Trees on Sale!

Maybe you didn't know this, but family is very important to me. It most like is important to you and to all you love as well. So as a Christmas special, I am offering my custom family trees at a 20% off discount.

These 18x24 inch wall hangings have a hand painted tree specific to your family with a custom amount of main and sub branches designed to fit your names in a beautiful arrangement. Then the tree is professionally scanned in and I hand place each name in a calligraphic font on the computer. The final art is professionally printed with a canvas texture and protective spray and mounted on a piece of masonite ready for hanging with or without glass in your frame.

They normally sell for $250 each (the printing and mounting included) and are great family gifts for parents or grandparents. I often have a group of adult children all chip in with each other to purchase this one-of-a-kind piece of art for their parents. But from now until December 17, 2017 you can get one for just $200.

Here are a couple examples of trees I have recently completed.

If you would like to order a custom family tree, please email me at 

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The Perfect Christmas Gift - Parade Portrait Sale

Have you been looking for the perfect Christmas gift for your loved one? For yourself? For your parents? Well you're in luck!

For a limited time, I'm offering a sale on commissioned Parade Portraits just in time for Christmas.

There's one catch...
at the sale price!
(but I am happy to paint more at the regular price after the 5 spots are filled)

You must place your order by November 25th 
to guarantee a December 22nd delivery

What is a Parade Portrait?
     An 11x14 (or longer depending on number of people portrayed) hand drawn and hand painted depiction of children or an entire family which actually will look like the person. Optional free inclusions: Family name or motto banner, items of interest for each person, specific items of clothing depicted. 

So what is the deal anyway?
     You will get 10% off the base price of a custom created Parade Portrait, and 30% off each additional person added to the portrait. The base price is usually $350 for up to 4 people depicted, with extra persons costing $50 each.  So you will instantly save $35 off of the 4 people.

the 30% off each additional person added. So instead of $50 per additional person, the price will only be $35 per person and $20 per pet. 

The so that makes the sale price...
ONLY $315 
for a custom, one of a kind, original, hand painted, commissioned work of art they will cherish forever

How do you order?
  1. email:  jujubeeillustrations (at) gmail  with PARADE PORTRAIT REQUEST in the subject line
  2. subject of email: include names and ages of people to be depicted and hobby or interest or pose you'd like shown, and any special bonds/connections between people to be depicted (so I can place those people interacting with each other more. In addition, include your mailing or drop off address for delivery.
  3. attachments to email: send 2 photos of each person, one of their head and neck only with a smile on their face, in profile, and the other of a side profile view their full body frozen in a walking position if possible (in particular clothing if you want that depicted). Send any pictures of items you'd like included.
  4. I will respond with a paypal invoice and confirmation message 
  5. I will draw paint and deliver your custom work of art by December 22nd!

I am able to work easily with anyone from anywhere in the world.

This was done for a family before their last child was even born (in the womb) so I was able to incorporate the baby anyway
This was done a couple years ago for an older couple of their 9 children from old photographs from around 1982. Great gift for the parents or grandparents.
This was a portrait that included the children's favorite things and even their pets (see above for the big discount on pet pricing)

The dad that commissioned this portrait for his wife was able to send me pictures of each of their favorite toys to include and even requested specific items for each child to be wearing.

This family Parade Portrait was completely painted off of old family photos to depict their family at the young stage of life. These parents are now grandparents with grown children and cherish the memory of their time growing together.

The mom of these three girls bought herself a mother's day present last year and loved the results. 

This Parade Portrait included the parents and was done for the family after the father passed away too early in life as a final family portrait...They were never able to get one done after their baby was born before he passed so I was honored to create this for them.

I include the children's interests in the portrait as well. As you can tell, this was one soccer loving family.

Again, another portrait including the parents and their 6 beautiful children with the inscription, families are forever, painted underneath.

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I'm a freelance illustrator working in the children's book industry. I love kids and raising my own 4 children. They are the inspiration and the passion behind all I do in art and in life. See my website at

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