August has been a busy month at Joana Miranda Studio. I’ve been working on the final 3 illustrations for a project with an overseas company (more on that soon, I promise!), as well as creating custom art for a client in the USA. And, I also focused on children’s book illustrations with my entry for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators monthly Draw This! contest.

My children’s book illustrations start with a mood, word or concept. Then I create a rough pencil draft…

Children's book illustrations by Joana Miranda - SCBWI Draw This! August entry by Joana Miranda

The August SCBWI Draw This! prompt word is “Dress Up.” For inspiration I drew from my own childhood memories. Although we’re much closer in age than the children above, playing dress up was one of my sister’s and my favorite games. And, like in my illustration, most of our dress up games included pairing a mixture of “found objects” with yard sale treasures. Incidentally, the household laundry basket was appropriated for our play purposes, too. In addition to standing on it (sadly, we also stomped on all of our board game boxes), we used the basket to sled down the stairs.

(The latter activity falls into the “don’t try this at home, kids” category!)

To keep the freshness and spontaneity in my illustrations, I try to use my pencil drafts mostly as a guide.

Can you spot the differences?

Whimsical children's book illustrations in watercolor by Joana Miranda

Keeping spontaneity, freshness and a child-like vibe in mind, I painted the illustration with transparent watercolor paints.

P.S. I had so much fun creating this illustration that winning the contest would simply be the icing on the cake! Each illustration I create moves me forward and makes me eager to start on the next project. If you’re looking for children’s book art or whimsical illustrations, I’d love to hear from you! You can contact me here.


  1. sharonia628 says:

    You did WHAT with the laundry baskets??? Lordy. Good thing I was oblivious…

    • Joana says:

      Yes, you were probably teaching a piano lesson at the time. (I’m sure we were as quiet as mice…NOT!)

      xox – J

    • Joana says:

      Thanks so much, Susan! I hope you are doing well and that you’re enjoying some nice down time this August.

      With all best wishes,

    • Joana says:

      Thank you, my dear! Don’t tell me that you, too, went “sledding” down the stairs in a laundry basket…I thought we were the only clever ones!


      • Ha. My stepdaughter broke her arm sledding down the stairs in a laundry basket and she talked her little sister into giving her that last little push over the edge Um………the front door is right at the bottom! Ouch!

        • Joana says:

          Ooh, that sounds painful indeed! Though of course we know that the problem was just the door…otherwise it was a brilliant idea to sled down the stairs. 😉

    • Joana says:

      Yes, the smile was definitely a change (and an improvement!) I changed the jewelry box, too…though not the jewelry (it’s all Harry Winston, of course.) 😉 I hope you are doing well, Jennifer! Did you have your Michigan getaway yet? xox – Joana

  2. Yup! We did use the laundry as a sled to go down the stairs at least once. I also recall that we wrestled at the top of the stairs once, leading to disruption of a piano lesson taking place downstairs. However, I believe I was the one who broke all of the boxes to the board games.

    • Marta Miranda says:

      I meant laundry basket! There was no laundry in it, lol!

    • Joana says:

      Hi Marta,

      Our piano hour wrestling games definitely happened more than once…in fact, I think they were sort of a regular occurrence. Poor Ma. I don’t think you broke all of the boxes, though I do remember when you accidentally kicked the Chinese checkers board mid game and all the marbles went flying. 🙂

      xox – Y.S.

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