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