Steve Jenkins and Robin Page are a bestselling team. Their newest book, How to Swallow a Pig, is a clever and whimsical nonfiction book about animal behavior disguised as a How-to / Advice book. Here, they share a bit about the making of the book:

Once we’ve come up with an idea for a book and talked about it, our next step is to make lots of little sketches. These sketches, called thumbnails, allow us to try out ideas for content, layout, and sequence without committing a lot of time to any one scheme. They are like a kind of shorthand. Probably no one else can make sense of them, but it doesn’t matter — they are just for us.


The illustrations in the book are cut and torn-paper collage, but they start out as pencil sketches. Here’s an example of one:

illustration 1

Here’s the final illustration:

illustration 4


We design the book using a computer desktop publishing program called InDesign. We scan the illustrations and place them on the pages with final, edited text copied from a word processing program (the finished file is called a digital mechanical). This is a screenshot from our computer:



Almost exactly two years after we start work on the book, we receive our first copy of How to Swallow a Pig.


a book!


Click here to find out more about the book!