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

Entries by Debbie Ridpath Ohi (1491)


Writing is a solitary endeavor, but trying to get published doesn’t have to be. - Nancy Parish


Reminder to everyone out there: DO YOU BACKUPS! (and make sure they're working)


Comic: Plot Crisis


Comic: Book Purge Angst

Gah. I have (once again) reached the point where there is no more room on my office bookshelves for new books, so I've been piling my "to read" books on the floor -- but these are starting to get tippy.

I know I need to give away older books I'll likely never read again, at least in physical form, but.....BUT IT'S SO HARD!


Writers: Take regular breaks away from the keyboard. HERE'S WHY.


Writers: don't be ceremonious. When time's available, WRITE. - Cory Doctorow

Writers: don't be ceremonious. When time's available, WRITE.

- Cory Doctorow, in Locus ("Writing In An Age Of Distraction")


Happy Canada Day weekend to fellow Canucks and Canadians-at-heart!



Writers & illustrators: Focus on enjoying your own journey instead of comparing yourself to others. You may be luckier than you think.


Comic: Life with a Scrabble addict



Every journey to publication is different. Resist comparing yourself to others. Find your own path & pace.

Every journey to publication is different. Resist comparing yourself to others. Find your own path & pace.


I'M SAD launches June 5th! My own feelings about our new picture book from Simon & Schuster BFYR

I am SUPER-excited about the upcoming launch of I'M SAD, a new picture book written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by yours truly, published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers! I'm leaving tomorrow to visit schools and bookstores from June 5-11, and author Michael Ian Black will be joining me for part of the tour! You can see a list of scheduled events on our I'M SAD Book Tour page.

I'm delighted by the press and feedback so far! Kirkus says our books is "Bibliotherapy done right....Happy to see such a well-done feelings book." I'M SAD is on the Kids' Indie Next list: "....A funny and surprisingly sweet examination of those days when you wake up and just aren't at your most cheerful."

I love Michael Ian Black's story so much. I cried when I first received the manuscript from my S&S editor (because of what was going in my life at the time). It was a good kind of cry. I also laughed out loud (also much needed). My hope is that our book helps kids understand that emotions can sometimes be complicated and hard to express, and to help them acknowledge their emotions....even the negative ones. Something I'm still learning, as a grown-up!

John Schumacher (aka Mr. Schu) asked Michael what inspired him to write I'M SAD. Michael's answer:

"So often, when our kids (or our friends or co-workers or whomever) are sad, our instinct is to try to make them feel better instead of just being there for them in a supportive way without necessarily trying to 'solve' their sadness. We all feel sad sometimes, and when we do, it’s good to know we have people (or potatoes) in our lives who won’t think any less of us for feeling the way we feel and who will still love us no matter what."

And here's a great video about I'M SAD from teacher Colby Sharp:

You can find a Teacher's Guide, bonus info and resources, print-ready resources and the I'M SAD Bonus Page.

*** GIVEAWAY: I am giving away copies of both I'M BORED and I'M SAD as well as some original art! ENTER HERE. ***

Thank you so much for your support of me and my work! I so appreciate it.

Also, I understand that picture books are expensive and not everyone can afford to buy them. If you'd like to support me (or others who have books coming out), there are so many other ways you can show your support.

THANK YOU again, and I look forward to seeing some of you in person June 5-11th!


#BookADay: BECOMING MADELEINE by Léna Roy and Charlotte Jones Voiklis 

Where you can find out more about BECOMING MADELEINE:

Becoming Madeleine book page on Macmillan's site

Becoming Madeleine audiobook (which is how I read the book)


More info: Donalyn Miller's #BookADay Challenge - My #BookADay Archives (also see my visual #BookADay archive on Padlet).


Advice for young writers, debut picture book SUN DOG, deals with the universe: Deborah Kerbel answers three questions

I met Deborah Kerbel through our local Torkidlit group. Deborah is the author of eight books for young readers. She was born in a police station, smack-dab in the centre of London, England but moved to Canada before she was old enough to cultivate a love of marmalade. She’s the proud mom of two book-loving teens and a rescue schnoodle named Fred. You can find Deborah at DeborahKerbel.com, on Twitter and on Facebook.

I was super-excited to hear that Deborah not only has a new middle grade, but also her first picture book! SUN DOG is written by Deborah and illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo (see Suzanne's amazing plasticine creation process in her Inkygirl interview from 2013).

Click to read more ...


Donalyn Miller's 10th Annual Summer #BookADay Challenge has launched!

Woohoo! Donalyn Miller has launched her 10th Annual Summer #BookADay Challenge. See the archived Facebook Live event here.

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SCBWI Success Story, Creative Process and Jen Betton's upcoming debut solo picture book, HEDGEHOG NEEDS A HUG (June 19, 2018)

I first met Jen Betton at the 2012 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles when she came up to introduce herself. She said my blog post about getting an Illustration Mentorship Award at the Portfolio Showcase inspired her to attend (!). Thanks to Jen for answering questions about her process and her advice for young writers and illustrators.

Click to read more ...


Anyone else feel like this when they're about to start reading a much-anticipated book?


Interview with Helaine Becker and Dow Phumiruk about COUNTING ON KATHERINE: HOW KATHERINE JOHNSON SAVED APOLLO 13 (Launches June 19)

I met Helaine Becker through Torkidlit and Dow Phumiruk through the SCBWI, and I was so excited when I found out that they were collaborating on a picture book: COUNTING ON KATHERINE: HOW KATHERINE JOHNSON SAVED APOLLO 13. Their book is geared toward ages 5-9, launches from Holt Books For Young Readers on June 19, 2018 and has already garnered praise from publications like Kirkus and the Junior Library Guild.

Helaine and Dow were kind enough to answer some questions for me about their new book.

Click to read more ...


Writers & illustrators: Learning to handle rejection is an essential skill, before AND after publication.


"Don't be afraid to be weird." Advice for young writers from WEAVE A CIRCLE ROUND's debut author, Kari Maaren in a Three Questions interview

I met Kari Maaren through a filk music convention, and fell in love with her song Being Watson (which almost always makes teary-eyed). She also is cartoonist with a webcomic, West of Bathurst, and an active one, It Never Rains. After being a fan of her other work, I was VERY excited to find out she was writing a book.

Her debut novel for young readers, WEAVE A CIRCLE ROUND, is a thoroughly engaging read with an irresistible main character (I love 14-year-old Freddy Duchamp's voice, both inner and outer) in a fearless and original take on time travel and coming-of-age. If you want to know more about the book, you should read the Globe & Mail reviewthe starred Kirkus review, starred Publishers Weekly review, starred School Library Journal review.

Click to read more ...


HOW TO CODE A SANDCASTLE by Josh Funk and Sara Palacios - Highly recommended!

If you don't have time to read the rest of my post, that's fine. Here's a one sentence summary: I love everything about HOW TO CODE A SANDCASTLE by Josh Funk and Sara Palacios, and I can't wait until it launches from Viking Books For Young Readers and Girls Who Code on May 15, 2018!

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