Thursday, December 17

A New Way to Illustrate and Author a Book!

Today’s Image
Jenny Gives A Pony Ride
A Book for Children
Copyright 2009

I wanted to tell you about a children’s book on which a fellow watercolorist and I collaborated—I authored it, and she illustrated it. First, the details—it’s titled Jenny Gives A Pony Ride (and it’s available now on It's cover is Today’s Image.

I thought you may find it interesting the way the project evolved.

It all started last summer. One of the members of my watercolor class has a definite style of painting that is recognized as being open, flowing, soft, and which usually puts you in a cheerful or relaxed mood when you look at her paintings. She also illustrated a previous children’s book titled Too Too Many TuTus, a clever title I think.

This artist also likes to paint animals—dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, and cows, among others. One day she brought her painting of a donkey to class. During one of the breaks I casually told her she should write a story to go with the portrait of the donkey.

She replied. “Why don’t you write one?” I thought, well, OK, I can probably do that, and that’s how our collaboration started.

I thought about the story line for a couple of weeks, and actually wrote it in about a week. It’s about a little donkey named Jenny, which also happens to be the name for a young female donkey. Jenny lives on a farm with her family and best friend, Boswell, the dog. Jenny, who dreams of giving pony rides down at Old Main stables, wants to try out for the pony-ride team, but runs into an obstacle because she’s a donkey.

It’s really a story about how it’s OK to be different. I hope you and a child in your life, if there is one, enjoy it. Here’s the link to order one or you can just go to and type the title in the search box to find it on Amazon. (And thanks!).

Anyway, with the story in hand, the illustrator and I met for two or three work sessions where we decided which and how many paintings we thought we needed. It was totally an iterative and collaborative process. Sometimes the story dictated what the art should be, but sometimes one of her paintings added so much to the story that it was edited to accommodate the art.

The book was published and produced totally online through one of the new print-on-demand publishing or self-publishing services. Basically, you write the manuscript, plan and layout the art with the text, then save it as a PDF file, then upload it to the service. For a fee, you then receive proof copies, as many as it takes until you’re satisfied. The book is then “published” on the service’s site and also on

It was a great experience where writing and art come together to produce something that I think readers, especially children, will enjoy. After you’ve read Jenny Gives A Pony Ride, please feel free to write your own book review on!



  1. Hi, great post. I think your book sounds wonderful and will appeal to parents and children alike. Could you pleaseshare the links to some of the online self publishers you mentioned? Thanks!

  2. Thanks for your nice comment. You can Google 'self publishing a book' or 'self publishing companies' and find several, such as BookSurge, CreateSpace, Lulu, and Xlibris, among others, and they all have different terms and rates.