2015 Valentines Printables

Hello my friends! If you are like me, you are once again trying to get your kids' valentines boxes made and all those valentines signed and ready to go. But why go to the store...here are some free valentine printables. This year the card can be made double sided.

 download and print the images below,  double sided, then cut in 4ths
(For personal use only, not for resale, copyright Julie Olson 2015)

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Groundhog Day 2015 and Caldecott Announcement

In honor of Groundhog Day 2015, Amazon has placed my "Tickle, Tickle! Itch, Twitch!" book on sale for today. Don't miss out on your hardback copy for only $7.79 and have some tickle tickle fun with your little one.

In this book, Gus the groundhog gets an annoying little itch on his back that he just can't scratch. Through a series of seemingly unfortunate events, Gus finally gets that itch scratched and makes some new and unexpected friends. A great read-aloud, this book will have you and your little one giggling and tickling the whole way through.

Here's the book trailer for the little book...


Also, #Caldecott awards for 2015 were announced this morning.  I think they made quite the variety of choices for awards this year. And I was very pleased to see the wonderful artwork of Dan Santat win the Caldecott Medal. Check out the rest of the awards HERE.

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Deadlines & Presentations & Fun

I decided to do a little exploring and sketching in ArtRage this morning. I really love the character that came out of it. What do you think?


This month has been very busy. You always think that after the holidays life won't be so chaotic. But everything you put on hold for Christmas celebrations comes back to hit you in the face in January. At least the weather here in Utah has been pleasant and not the usual bitter cold. So this month I've been doing the following...

MEETING DEADLINES: The project I'm working on for Zondervan publishing (subsidiary of Harper Collins) has been keeping me working a lot this month. I had sketches due and then full color finals due. I lost some editing I had done in photoshop the day the color finals were due and I thought I was up a creek. But I was able to redo them faster the second time and get everything turned in. I will have deadlines for these 4 books every month or so until September when they should all be completed.

In the meantime...

My agent has been submitting two picture book dummies of mine and so far no offers for acquisition. But all the rejections have been positive rejections so they aren't completely disheartening. It's a good thing I'm working on other jobs because it distracts me from the waiting and the blow of the rejections.

And then...

PRESENTATIONS: I really enjoyed going to Sara Larson's launch for IGNITE, the second book in her Defy series. She did a great job and I always have fun catching up with friends. Then last night I gave a hour and a half lecture at BYU to Rick Walton's Publishing Industry class. I lost my VGA adapter only hours before so I had to run and buy one, but everything worked out.

Finally...

FUN: My daughters 11th birthday was this month and she wanted to make a movie during her party and hand out oscar awards. I love decorating cakes so I made her a film reel cake and film negative cupcakes and everyone had a great time.
I also took the kids to an indoor swimming rec center on MLK day to pretend it really wasn't winter. I forgot how much swimming can tire you out. LOL!

If you want to stay more up to date on my day to day life as a mom and illustrator, follow me on Instagram @julieolsonbooks
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Free Christmas Tags Printable



Here's an early Christmas present for you all. Free Christmas tags for all those gifts. Just print out on cardstock and cut out. You can tape on the package or use a single hole punch near the top of the tag to weave a ribbon through.

Click HERE to download the PDF file.


Please only print and use for personal use. Do not alter or resell in any form. That way I can keep offering things like this for free. Thanks so much!
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Do you want to illustrate children's books?

So perhaps you are a wonderful artist. Your paintings could hang on walls in galleries. And then your friend asks you to illustrate a picture book she wrote. She says, "You are an amazing artist. I would love it if you'd do the pictures for my book. It'll be wonderful and we will make millions!"(FYI, you may make millions of pennies, but don't count on millions of DOLLARS.)

So then...

You decide NOT to  illustrate your friends' book (because that's probably the smartest option unless they are some celebrity), but the idea gets going in your head that you'd really love to illustrate BOOKS!

If that's the case, being a great artist isn't enough, you HAVE to learn the process, the design, the layout, the limitations, the reproduction problems, the character design...all parts of a picture book. I've done posts on here before about the steps I personally take in illustrating a book, but today I'm going to link you to an awesome opportunity to learn from two amazing book illustrators.

CHECK THIS OUT...
You will not want to miss these classes offered by veteran illustrators  Will Terry and Jake Parker. Besides being talented, knowledgable and experienced, these guys are great teachers too. Their encouragements and personal instruction will take you leaps and bounds above where you are right now. So don't miss out. The live sessions start soon and are almost full. www.SVSlearn.com
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School Visits and Book Signing: Indiana

AHH! Those southern Indiana tree tunneled roads.
Over my birthday this year I had the opportunity to visit a few schools in my home state of Indiana. I had a fabulous time and was amazed at how many memories came flooding back as I walked the halls of my elementary school, drove down my old neighborhood streets, and chatted with old friends. I was blessed to have a wonderful childhood and it was such a treat to relive some of it. Here is a recap of the trip...

On Friday, September 26th, I had a fun and full day in my childhood hometown, Evansville, Indiana. It started out at Highland Elementary School with three back to back presentations.

Here are a couple of shots during the presentation where I talk about how I became an author/illustrator and teach about the process of writing and illustrating books.
I get through the presentation in about 20-25 minutes and then spend another 20-25 having the kids help create a character with me. At the end I leave this character with the school along with a challenge to the kids.

Here is a short clip of one of my presentations.
 One of the best things about the morning was connecting up with my former 1st grade teacher, Teri Chamberlain. 
And old friends who now have children at the school. And many who didn't have children there who just heard I was coming and took time to come to the school and see me speak.
Right after I was finished with my presentations at Highland and signing books there, I hurried across town to Westside Catholic School where I did another presentation for grades K-5.
After a lovely dinner with a childhood friend and her family, I went over to the Evansville Barnes and Noble store for a book signing. I saw met many new people and saw many old friends there as well. It was a lovely evening.
One amazingly awesome thing that happened at Barnes and Noble that night was meeting this beautiful and talented lady, Kristi Valiant. She is a fellow author/illustrator who heard about my visit from a mutual friend. This friend told her to come meet me and she graciously did. That little chat at Barnes and Noble wasn't nearly enough so we had to meet up the following day to talk shop. Check out Kristi's work HERE.
Over the weekend I attended my 20th High School reunion and then headed to Indianapolis. On Monday morning I did three more presentations at Stonegate Elementary School. It was a beautiful school and fun to present to those kids.
In my presentations, I talk about the source of ideas and how the idea for a book is the most important step and sometimes comes when you aren't even trying. Then comes the rest of the hard work...a lovely adventure.

I left that evening to fly back to Utah. I had such a great time sharing my love of writing, illustrating and CREATING, with those kids. I love to see their excitement and creative energy ready to burst when I'm done. I only want to inspire people to do something they love and to love what they do.

I'd love to come visit your child's school. Contact me via email at jujubeeillustrations (at) gmail.  Or click on the School Visit link above.

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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 JulieOlsonbooks.com

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