Our Next Chapter

This blog is about the process of writing & illustrating my first picture book inspired by Bella, the little sheepdog with a very big personality.

Our First Picture Book

Welcome to our blog! Over the Christmas holidays in 2022, as part of my goal setting process for the year ahead, I decided to devote some of my down time to writing and illustrating my very first picture book for children.

While I have worked on story and activity books for clients in the past, this is my first attempt at writing and illustrating by hand instead of the computer—so there was a lot to learn.

During the months ahead, I did my homework. I read everything I could find about the children’s book development and publishing process, took classes, attended workshops and soaked it all in.

This blog began when I had just completed the first draft of the manuscript and story board.

How it Started

I became interested in practicing the ink and watercolour technique shortly before our first road trip to PEI. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to document our trip in a sketchbook but as soon as I started, I realized how much I had to learn.

My husband Rob, and I  took Bella on her first big road trip from Barrie, Ontario through Quebec and New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island and home through Maine, Vermont and New York State in the United States. Our second big road trip was along the shores of beautiful Lake Superior in Ontario, to Winnipeg, Manitoba and back again.




of Adventures

Recent Blog Posts

This blog is Julie’s journey through writing and illustrating her first picture book.

Professional Development Days

Professional Development Days

Last year, along with writing and illustrating my first picture book, I added schedule quarterly professional development days to my list of intentions. As a self employed graphic designer, my days often get filled with client projects, so it felt important to make...

Creating the Final Artwork

Creating the Final Artwork

So, here we are—working on the final artwork during this cold, snowy week in January. I've 'finished' the first spread and have started working on the second. I love this part of the process! Although many illustrators seem to prefer working digitally using software...

Making a Dummy Book

Making a Dummy Book

This week was a lot of fun! We learned a lot about the importance of making dummy copies of our books to test out the format, page turns, pacing, etc. To make mine, I scanned in the thumbnails that I made last week, enlarged them a little, added text in InDesign, then...



The Picture Book Course was back this week, after three weeks off for Christmas. Although I enjoyed the downtime over the holidays, it felt great to be back at it! As I mentioned before, I had a story idea in mind when I started this course, but I took the...

Our True Colours

Our True Colours

Okay, I know I said I wasn't going to work on the book again until after I'm finished the Picture Book Course—but I changed my mind. I was sad yesterday, so I started choosing a colour palette to cheer myself up. On Saturday morning, I woke up to our find our...

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a behavioural health phenomenon described as self-doubt of intellect, skills, or accomplishments among high-achieving individuals. Now, I wouldn't say that applies to me exactly but last week when the other students in the private Facebook group...

Picture Book Course

Picture Book Course

Eek! Here we go!  In September, I celebrated 20 years of being a self employed graphic designer. Perhaps because of that milestone, one of the goals I set for myself this year was new: to write and illustrate a picture book inspired by my old English sheepdog...

Character Development

Character Development

I finished the first draft of my manuscript this afternoon! Wow, does it feel great to be able to say that! My production schedule has been very full with graphic design projects lately. In between juggling three larger, long term projects with the day-to-day website...

We're making a picture book!

Hi there! I’m Julie Bateman. I’ve been a self employed graphic designer, working from a home office in Barrie, Ontario Canada since 2003.

In the summer of 2022, I decided to start an ink & watercolour travel journal to document an upcoming road trip from Ontario to Prince Edward Island with my husband Rob, and Bella our Old English Sheepdog.

From there, I fell in love with drawing, painting and documenting my world in sketchbooks. That learning process inspired me to follow the dream of writing and illustrating a picture book for children.

That’s where our blog begins.

Travelling with Dogs

It can be challenging to travel with dogs, so I plan to include some itineraries so you can see the routes we took, and get some tips about dog friendly places to stay or visit.
Check back soon for details.


Ontario to Manitoba
Lake Superior

East Coast
Canada & USA

Barrie, Ontario
Local Getaways

Stay in touch!

Please join our email list if you’re interested in getting a glimpse behind the scenes of  how a picture book gets created and published.

If you’re a Kid Lit Agent or Publisher, you’re interested in a collaboration or looking for a freelancer, I’d love to hear from you.

Please feel free to email me at julie@batemandesigngroup.com if you have a direct inquiry.

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