Making a Book with Procrastination

I was about 75 percent done sketching out the illustrations for my first children’s picture book about a boy, Makoto, who fights Laziness and Procrastination. At that point I went to visit some family. Since there were kids in the household who were interested in my stories, I brought my sketches that I had completed at that point along with the words for the whole story. (I was drawing the pictures chronologically from page one.)

My 11 year-old niece heard me reading the story to her four-year-old brother earlier that morning. Almost exactly at the point in the story when the drawings ran out, my nephew went off to play.

A little bit later, my niece asked me to read it and show her the sketches. I was very happy to narrate and show her. Afterward, she gave me some thoughtful advice proving her knowledge of children’s picture books. Her mature intelligence often impresses me.

snail and turtle garden statues

Into the Garden with Procrastination

I had brought some miniature garden creature statues from our garden for my niece. The weather was good for planting a fall garden, and we planned to do that together. The two frogs, turtle, red salamander and snail were small and life-sized. There was also a fairy statue. She had lost her wings.

Later that day, we went outside to work in my niece’s garden. When she was placing the statues, my niece held up the snail and said, “Is this Procrastination?”

That made me smile, “I guess it is!” At that point in time, I had started doing Leo Babauta’s Un-Procrastination Challenge. My “un-procrastination” list contained daily sketching time minimums. I spent that time drawing the pictures for my first Dojo Kun Character book.

sketch for children's picture book about fighting laziness and procrastination
preliminary sketch of Laziness, Makoto and Procrastination

Only when my niece named her snail statue Procrastination did I realize there was a link there. The snail character in the story had that name. And the challenge I took was about un-procrastination or not procrastinating.

Before that, it hadn’t occurred to me that my life was imitating my art. Now I realized that I was living what I was illustrating and writing about. This gave me a kick in the pants and self-accountability to continue putting daily efforts into the book.

-Jenifer Tull-Gauger

P.S. Check out the picture of Makoto sparring with the Laziness slug creature here in the Art Gallery.

P.P.S. The book above, “The Can-Do Karate Kid” children’s picture book, is available now on Amazon.

Jenifer Tull-Gauger Kyoshi

Children's picture book author/illustrator. Traditional karate teacher and practitioner. Loves drawing and all kinds of art. Also into animals, plants and Mother Nature.

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