Illustrate a Children’s Book

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Have you ever thought about writing a children’s book? And what it would be like to see that book illustrated? It’s lots of work for both writer and illustrator, but it’s always fun and rewarding. The part I love the most is the process of watching my characters come alive by the hands of the artists.










The black in white drawing here is the first prototype of Sadie in Color Me Happy!.

I wrote Color Me Happy! during a particularly cold winter in the Northwest. I longed for the colors of summer, so I wrote a book about how color affects our moods. After I’d polished and shined the manuscript it was time to find an illustrator.

Would you believe I advertised on Craigslist? Minutes after I placed the ad, I checked my email. It was flooded with responses from around the country. I hadn’t known the power of the internet until that moment!

I went through the emails, one by one, looking for anyone that fit the description of an experienced children’s illustrator. Not one. My ad had specifically asked for an artist that had illustrated children’s books. I was in luck if I needed illustrations for a comic book. Most of my responses were from comic book and sci-fi artists who “always wanted to always illustrate a children’s book.” I just couldn’t take a chance with inexperience. I was about to give up, then decided to check out one more email. Something about that one made me follow Cecelia Paplinske’s link to her website.

I knew right away she was the perfect gal to do the job! Her colorful and sweet drawings made me smile. This was exactly what I’d imagined for my book. I contacted her – she was on the East Coast in Canada – a different time zone, different country. But with email it worked. And we planned to talk at specific times on the phone to collaborate our ideas.

We shared a vision of the story, and page by page, Cecilia sketched out her ideas. I think about half of them were used. I learned a lot about how an illustrator works doing that book. I found it is similar to writing, since not all of your ideas work, and you need to be flexible and not let your ego get in the way. My illustrators have all been great in that area. Months of work go into each book, and when it’s done, it’s like a birth. When Color Me Happy was “born” and we saw it for the first time in print, Cecelia and I were as happy and proud as new parents!


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"Sally M. Harris has written beautiful books that create feelings of optimism and self confidence that children will love. As a therapist, I recommend them to my colleagues and patients.” Julie Dinsmore-Myers, CSW - Seattle, WA

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