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Have you ever wondered what it’s like to journey through the whimsical world of children’s book creation? Let’s venture into this realm together, revealing the layers that make this process intriguing and enriching.

The Genesis of an Enchanting Tale

Our first stop is where every tale begins—a spark of inspiration. For me, my dad, a captivating storyteller, ignited that spark. I grew up enthralled by the stories of Xieng Mieng, a Lao trickster. Realizing that this unique character was unknown to many outside the Lao community, I was struck by an idea: Why not introduce Xieng Mieng to the world?

From Animation to Illustration

Initially, I envisioned this project as an animated feature—think Pixar with a splash of Lao folklore. But when my first daughter arrived, the demanding pace of animation took a back seat. I needed a more manageable outlet for my storytelling. The answer? Children’s books.

Mastering the Craft

Children’s books are more than just simple tales; they’re gateways to boundless imagination. My new mission was to introduce young minds to Xieng Mieng while respecting the authenticity of his Lao origins. I poured myself into workshops, read widely, and doodled like my life depended on it.

The Art of Visual Storytelling

In children’s literature, illustrations are much more than eye candy. They’re the heartbeat of the story. Using custom Photoshop brushes as my creative allies, I was able to blend the authenticity of Lao culture with universally appealing visuals. The result? Xieng Mieng came alive right off the pages.

The Publishing Gauntlet

With my story and illustrations ready, I faced the formidable wall of traditional publishing. After numerous setbacks and rejections, I opted for the path less traveled—self-publishing. Sahtu Press was born. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, A Sticky Mess found its way into the hands of eager readers across the globe.

Creative Wisdom Gained

Embarking from an idea to a published book taught me invaluable lessons about creativity, storytelling, and perseverance.

  • Start promoting your work early to generate buzz.
  • Create a circle of reliable editors and beta readers. Their diverse viewpoints are priceless.
  • Be consistent in developing and maintaining your brand. For Sahtu Press, this meant championing Lao culture and literature.

In Closing

Whether you’re a product designer like me, an illustrator, or just someone entranced by the power of storytelling, remember: the process may be grueling, but the journey itself is where the magic lies. So, what’s stopping you from igniting your creative fire?

Resources for Aspiring Children’s Book Creators:

*affiliate links

  1. Books on Writing for Children:
  2. Illustration Tools:
    • Procreate for iPad
    • Adobe Photoshop
  3. Self-Publishing Platforms:
    • Amazon KDP
    • IngramSpark
  4. Crowdfunding Platforms:
    • Kickstarter
    • Indiegogo
  5. Courses and Workshops:
  6. Design & Layout Software:
    • Affinity Designer
    • Affinity Publisher

Do you feel like sharing your thoughts or your creative journey? I’d love to hear from you. Join our community of storytellers at Sahtu Press.