The Adventures of Ollie and Tip

Once in a blue moon, I get a crazy idea that I have to pursue. 

My latest was thinking I could publishing another children’s book for the holiday season this year, but without a fabulous illustrator. 

I wanted to do the whole book myself – the story, the graphics – everything. 

Crazy, right? 

Especially when I can’t draw, not even a lick. 

Thank goodness for graphic design programs and YouTube tutorials! 

I started kicking around the idea of a children’s book based off two little animal characters from my Baker City Brides sweet historical series. I wanted them to be the stars of the show. 

Ollie is a raccoon and Tip is a fox, and they both got to play the part of a hero in their respective stories right alongside the human hero. 

I knew I wanted this story to rhyme, because who doesn’t enjoy reading a rhyming book. My little nephew and his joy of rhyming stories is what inspired that idea. 

I knew I wanted a hidden character on each page of the book, which turned out to be a cardinal. My mom loved cardinals and it’s my little way of including her in the story even though she’s no longer with us. 

And I wanted the book to be something special for my readers to enjoy for Christmas.

Once I sat down and wrote the story, it was time to dig in and start working on the illustrations. When I dove into this project, I had no idea how much I would learn and how far this would stretch my talents (and sometimes my patience!). 

But it was a lot of fun, so I thought I’d show you few samples of how the book came together. 

Using Adobe Photoshop, I used photographs of foxes and raccoons and through a process (of about a dozen steps for each photo), I turned the photographs into graphics. Then I turned each graphic into a full-page illustration. 

For example:

This photo of a raccoon became

This page in the book. 

And this photograph of a fox turned into

This page. 

Christmas Keepsake: The Adventures of Ollie and Tip

I truly enjoyed working on this sweet little story full of Christmas cheer and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it. You can find it on Amazon in digital, hardback, and paperback versions. It’s also enrolled in Kindle Unlimited for those with subscriptions. 

What is your favorite children’s Christmas story?

I used to love reading The Littlest Angel and The Littlest Christmas Tree


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After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky western heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

32 thoughts on “The Adventures of Ollie and Tip”

  1. Shanna- I loved this children’s book. You did an amazing job and the message within was so fantastic. Congrats on such a great project that will be enjoyed for many years for both young and old.

  2. Good morning Shanna, How fun, exciting and challenging!! I loved to see how this works and now I have a small understanding of how people illustrate their own books! Thank you so much for sharing this! I have a daughter that is very interested in Graphic design and such. She is a pretty good artist though!

  3. Soon as your book came out I had to buy it !! I have no small children to read it to , I bought it for me 😉 I enjoy all your books but the animal books are so sweet !!

  4. Welcome. This looks like a wonderful book. Thanks for sharing.
    Two of my favorite Childrens Christmas books are: The Polar Express and The Christmas Shoes
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  5. I don’t even remember many children’s books! One I found as an adult, though, was Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.

  6. Oh I love this! I have to go order a copy right away. My son’s (just turned 9) favorite critter is a racoon so I know he would love this story. And my daughter (2) just loves to be read to. The Night Before Christmas is our favorite book right now. 🙂

  7. Loved The Little Angel! My children loved Nina and Nutley in The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever. I like all of Jan Brett’s books: The Mitten, the Wild Christmas Reindeer, The Night Before Christmas…

  8. I had a book called: “Children’s Golden Poems” or something like that when I was little. It was filled with beautiful pictures and poems, some well known like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” as well as others that were new to me. I guess that was my favorite children’s book.
    But I have to say, I’m a sucker for cute animal stories!!! Ollie and Tip look like they’re so much fun!

  9. I love The Little Engine that Could, and for Christmas I Love “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, I also love childrens books that rhyme. Your childrens book sounds so , so cute, and I just Love your book cover, it is Beautiful ! Thank you so much for sharing about it. Have a Great rest of the week and stay safe. We get raccoons in our front yard, they love to get pecans from our pecan tree and they come during the night, one night our pup Honeybear was barking in the middle of the night, so I looked out the window, and I saw a little family of about 6 raccoons climbing down from our tree, they are so cute, and I love the way they walk. <3

    • Thank you for your kind words, Alicia! Rhyming books are such fun (for the reader and the little ones). Just love them.
      Those raccoons! We had one stealing out of our garden all summer. They are fun to watch, aren’t they.
      Have a beautiful holiday season!

  10. Oh Shanna, this is so cute!! I love children’s stories. They’re so full of wisdom and warmth. Dr. Seuss was my favorite children’s author and the stories timeless. Huge congrats, sweet, talented lady! I need this for my great grandson.

    • You can’t go wrong with Dr. Seuss. So many good books. Thank you so much, Linda. I had a blast doing this book and the two little heroes of the story were sure fun to write about. Merry Christmas!

  11. Congratulations on the book. It looks sweet.
    It is hard to pick a favorite children’s Christmas book. As a children’s librarian, I saw so many I liked. There was one that became special. Not flash or colorful. Just peaceful and calming. The illustrations had a large part in my liking it. WINTER’S GIFT by Jane Monroe Donavan. It is a picture book and lovely. The blurb: On Christmas Eve, an old farmer whose wife has died acquires new hope after helping a pregnant mare in a snowstorm. If you get a chance, check it out.

  12. Merry Christmas, Shanna. This looks so cute. I wish I had little ones to read it to. Thank you for sharing your wonderful gift of writing.

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