Welcome to Inkygirl: Reading, Writing and Illustrating Children's Books (archive list here) which includes my Creating Picture Books series, Advice For Young Writers and IllustratorsWriter's and Illustrator's Guide To Twitter, interviews, my poetry for young readers, #BookADay, writing/publishing industry surveys, and 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge. Also see my Inkygirl archives,  and comics for writers (including Keiko and Will Write For Chocolate). Also check out my Print-Ready Archives for Teachers, Librarians, Booksellers and Young Readers.

I tweet about the craft and business of writing and illustrating at @inkyelbows. If you're interested in my art or other projects, please do visit DebbieOhi.com. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi


How Books Get Translated: An Interview with Translator, Publisher and Author Lawrence Schimel

I've been grateful to Lawrence Schimel for his support and encouragement early in my career. We met online years before we finally met in person in NYC:

Click to read more ...


Giveaway: Win this Peppermint Fish Found Object original doodle by yours truly

To help encourage people to sign up for my email newsletter (in which I share art, writing & interesting links - you can unsubscribe anytime) and also to expand my Rafflecopter giveaways outside of Facebook, I'm doing a giveaway of my Peppermint Tea Fish found object doodle. This one-of-a-kind found object doodle on a background I created myself (with Derwent Inktense water-soluble paint blocks) will be sent in a secure cello-envelope with cardboard backing. If you'd like it sent as a gift (I'm happy to mail it anywhere in the world), I can include a gift card message from you.

Click the link below for a chance to win this original art:

Peppermint Fish Found Object Doodle Giveaway

Not sure why the Rafflecopter widget won't embed in the space above, so I've just included the link and sent a message to Squarespace support. Maybe Javascript embeds aren't allowed? Anyway, clicking the link above will take you to the Rafflecopter page for my giveaway.

The contest will be open until 11:59 pm on Sun. Dec. 11, 2016 and a randomly selected winner will be announced on Monday, December 12th, 2016. Click here for official contest rules.


Loved Kate Blair's debut YA novel, TRANSFERRAL (Dancing Cat Books)

LOVED Kate Blair's debut YA novel, TRANSFERRAL. Such a good read: great pacing, engaging characters, thought-provoking, thoroughly satisfying ending. Love the original twist on the dystopian theme. This would make an excellent holiday gift for a teen reader! For more info including reviews and awards, see the TRANSFERRAL page on the Dancing Cats website.

Click to read more ...


Misconceptions about writing picture books: why short does NOT mean easy

NOTE: This is an updated version of a post I made a while back. For those illustrate as well as write, feel free to use my free picture book thumbnail templates.

So many people think that short = easy, especially when it comes to picture books.

And while yes, it's easy to crank out a picture book manuscript in terms of wordcount, writing a picture book story that a publisher will want to acquire is an entirely different animal.

At this point, I can imagine a number of you leaping up and saying, "You shouldn't worry about the market! Just write the story that you were meant to write!"  I partly agree.

However, if your goal is to be PUBLISHED, then I strongly advise you to go to local children's bookstore and  library; I guarantee you will save yourself much heartache and wasted effort. Familiarise yourself with what's being published. Let yourself fall in love with some of these picture books and then ask yourself why you enjoy them so much.

A few common mistakes that new picture book writers make:

Click to read more ...


Happy Thanksgiving to you Americans out there!


A #NaNoWriMo Thanksgiving



Don't let fear of writing poorly stop you from writing. That's why we revise. - Cindy Pon

Don't let fear of writing poorly stop you from writing. That's why we revise. - Cindy Pon


Imagination can be dangerous. It can change the world & that's why we write. - Meg Rosoff

"Imagination can be dangerous. It can change the world & that's why we write."

- Meg Rosoff


Hopeful messages for young people from the kidlit community 

EDITED: Please note that Jarrett has asked the kidlit community use #hugsfromkidlit instead of the safety pin hashtag.

I am so moved, browsing through all the #kidlitsafetypins posts on Twitter. I've created some as well; click on any image below for a printable version. To teachers and librarians: as Kate Messner said, if this is something you plan to share with students, please do also take the time to talk about what it means to have someone's back when it comes to fighting bullying and bigotry. See Kate's post here.

Click on any of the images below (I'll be adding more over the weekend) for a print-ready version.

Poster with characters from I'M BORED:

Poster with characters from the upcoming MITZI TULANE book:


Forget about the flowers & candlelight. This is what would sweep ME off my feet...


Late Bloomer Profile: Andrea Zuill and her debut picture book, WOLF CAMP (Schwartz & Wade)

I met Andrea Zuill through the SCBWI Mentorship Program. Andrea was chosen for the program in 2011. She is SO much fun, with a wonderfully quirky sense of humor. I was VERY excited for Andrea when she got her first book contract! And with a prestigious publishing imprint like Schwartz & Wade!

Andrea was 53 when her first picture book WOLF CAMP debuted earlier this year.

Click to read more ...


Quarks, Aerospace Engineering & Advice For Young Writers: Three Questions with children's book author Ruth Spiro

Ruth Spiro is the author of the Baby Loves Science series, published by Charlesbridge. Her debut picture book, Lester Fizz, Bubble-Gum Artist won awards from Writer’s Digest and Willamette Writers, and was a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year. Thanks to Ruth for answering Three Questions for me on Inkygirl.com today!

Click to read more ...


Comic: Still More #NaNoWriMo Prep...


THE SECRET LIFE OF LINCOLN JONES by Wendelin Van Draanen (Knopf)

I recently read THE SECRET LIFE OF LINCOLN JONES by Wendelin Van Draanen, which launches today from Knopf Books For Young Readers. Thoroughly enjoyed it. The narrator is 11-year-old Lincoln, who keeps secrets in his notebook. His voice is fresh, funny and I love how he sees the world. 

Click to read more ...




I'm on the faculty at the SCBWI Winter Conference in 2017!

When I attended my first regular SCBWI conference back in 2009, I was super-nervous about meeting people. Would anyone talk to me? Would they like me? Would the costs of the flight and hotel and meals etc. be worth it? Would I ever get published?

If I could tell my younger self that I'd be on the faculty of one of the national SCBWI conferences eight years later AND have a nice number of books published with my name on the cover, I would have scoffed and then vowed to stop drinking so much coffee.


I'll be participating in the Illustrators' Intensive on the Friday; you can see the schedule (including my name, woohoooo!) on the SCBWI Conference website.

The main SCBWI-NYC conference webpage is here. Registration opens on Oct. 25 at 10 am PDT! 


Comic: Vampire Readers

Thanks to my friend Kelly Light for the caption!


Comic: Bibliophile Ultimatum.


My two fav. things in life are libraries & bicycles. Both move people forward without wasting anything. - P. Golkin

In celebration of Ontario Public Library Week, here's one of my favourite quotes about libraries, from Peter Golkin.

Click the image above or this link for a free, print-ready version.


A comic for those doing NaNoWriMo this year

I'm going to be using NaNoWriMo as extra motivation to get in some extra writing done on novel-in-progress. I found out last year that NaNoWriMo actually welcomes writers who are in all stages of their project!