You Should, You should! is my first children's book and was published by Familius October 15, 2013 then reprinted in paperback format in 2017.
I documented the entire process (below) so you can watch it evolve from rough draft to polished manuscript, from raw ugly sketch to colorful finished painting. You will also find the adventures of worries, fears, excitements, successes, all things publishing and what it was was like to be a completely NEW author and illustrator.
Your comments and suggestions along the way have helped me immensely - I can't thank you all enough!
Writing / Illustrating Process In Order:
- Big News - Publishers showing interest
- Contract Signed! - Yay
- Hippo Character & Story Boarding - Hippo started out ugly...
- THE STORY - Inviting feedback :)
- Re-working The Ending - Any help?
- Character Design - Yikes...
- Thumbnails - Teeny tiny drawings of what the page might look like
- Watercolor? - Choosing a medium is hard
- The Dummy Book - Starting to come together
- Change The Title?? Help
- Size Relationships - Creating consistency among characters
- DummyBook Reworks (Part 1)
- DummyBook Reworks (Part 2)
- Painting #1 AND Story Behind The Story - Finally a painting! And I open up about the whole reason why I wrote this story. It's kinda personal...
- Color Compositions - Tiny with colored pencil
- Dancing Hippo? - Which dance pose?
- Painting Hippo n Possum / Relationship Pyramid - finally two paintings!!
- Re-Evaluating - Hit a roadblock.... deciding to make some big changes!
- Digital? Good News, Sad News - I tried to switch to digital paint but might not work out after all.
- Writing A "Sales Hook"
- Writing The Back of Book Summary
- Finalizing Drawings (part 1)
- Speed Drawing Video
- Monkeys & Birdy
- Lightning Bug
- Title Page
- Giraffe Tugs Spot
- The Crash
- Walk Like This?
- Final Front Cover
- Pre-Order on Amazon - avaiable now
- Ker-Splat & OO AH EE
- La La La
- I Like My Spot
- A Sweet Chomp
- My Dance
- Good-Bye Old Hat
- Walk Of My Own
- I Would Rather Swim
- The End
- In The Newspaper!
- Back of Book Cover Illustration
- Book Cover Jacket
- Gallery Show (open June 28 - July 13, 2013, at UVU Library)
- *SNEAK PEEK*
- First Book Reviews
How did I come up with the idea for the story?
I actually was in the midst of severe anxiety, depression, counseling, and studying like crazy about something called "Codependency" (read about codependent symptoms here) which finally explained years of habits and obsessions I couldn't seem to drop, and weaknesses I couldn't seem to overcome. As the time to consider my Senior Capstone Project approached, I decided to write and illustrate my own children's book. First I needed a story idea. Learning to become a person who doesn't eat sleep and breathe for the purpose of pleasing others was my main focus at the time, and I thought of how I rarely lived by choices, I lived by imagined "shoulds." I thought of how I did anything just so people would like me, even painful and uncomfortable things, all with a smile. I thought, if only I'd learned this lesson of giving merit to my own wants and feelings as a child, I might have avoided a lot of grief and enjoyed much healthier friendships. Thus, this little story idea was born.
Why a hippo?
I chose a hippo because he's perfectly awkward, yet totally cute. He's huge. Eats messy. Doesn't have hair (much). Not super agile. A codependent hippo would easily only focus on all these reasons why he's not important enough to be loved unless he's pleasing others. But a confident and healthy hippo would quickly see the asset he is and love being in his own skin. He wouldn't waste a minute comparing his differences with others. He would know it's okay to say how he feels and assert his wants and needs.
While in therapy, and therapy is what inspired this book, I might as well share with you what I learned and how it relates. In case you missed it, the shy, though cute people-pleasing, insecure hippo represents old me (shocker).
- CODEPENDENCY SYMPTOMS - Painting Number One AND Story Behind the Story
- GETTING OUR WANTS AND NEEDS MET - Kitty Wants - A digital ebook I'm making at School
- HOW TO ACHIEVE HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS - Painting Hippo n Possum / Relationship Pyramid
- STANDING UP FOR OURSELVES - Abusive Giraffe
- WHAT TYPE OF RELATIONSHIP ARE YOU IN? - Codependent, Dependent, Interdependent
- LETTING GO