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


A comic for bibliophiles


Comic: Fairy Tale Critiquing Angst + some advice for writers and illustrators

It's so important for writers and illustrators to develop a thick hide in this business. If you don't, chances are good that you won't be able to handle the critiques (solicited or not) and bad reviews. Learn how to take negative feedback gracefully.

And never EVER publicly respond to a negative review. This applies to friends of authors as well as authors themselves.


Interview with Vijaya Bodach, who sold her TEN EASTER EGGS picture book mss to Scholastic through an Inkygirl post

Back in 2013, I posted an interview with Scholastic editor Celia Lee, who invited Inkygirl readers to submit picture book manuscripts for a limited time. Two book contracts came out of that, including Josh Funk's PIRASAURS! story (see my interview with Josh Funk and the illustrator, Michael Slack).

I'm delighted to interview the author of the other book that sold. Vijaya Bodach's story, Ten Easter Eggs, illustrated by Laura Logan, published by Scholastic in 2015. For those in the Mt. Pleasant, SC area, Vijaya Bodach will be doing a Ten Easter Eggs Reading at the local Barnes & Noble.

Click to read more ...


A Compilation Of Advice For Young Writers & Illustrators From Children's Book Creators

Thanks to all the children's book writers and illustrators who have contributed advice for young writers and illustrators in their Inkygirl.com interviews over the years! I'm gradually going through my archives as well as my interviews with authors of books I've illustrated and compiling a list of advice takeaways.

If you click on the author's name beside each piece of advice, you can read the full interview.

Here is the list of advice for young writers and artists from published children's book creators.


Tips for busy bibliophiles who have trouble finding time to read

When I was a child, I remember looking around my school library and vowing to read every single book on the shelves. As a grown-up, I've discovered it can be a challenge sometimes to find time to read. I rarely get the luxury of reading an entire book at one sitting.

What I've learned: that it's not so much about finding time to read as making time to read. And as Stephen King pointed out in his On Writing book (which I'm rereading right now), writers need to make time to read. "If you don't have the time to read, then you don't have the time (or the tools) to write."

Click to read more ...


Be kind to your apostrophes today


Speedy Doodle: Bugs and Baked Goods

Starting my week off with a BUGS AND BAKED GOODS speedydoodle.  I find keeping a sketch journal fun, inspiring (getting some ideas for stories) and therapeutic (especially when crazystuff is going on in the news on or social media). See more of my art videos, found object doodles and sketch journal pages on Instagram and Twitter

Materials and process: I used a Lamy Safari (Fine nib) inked with Platinum Carbon Black ink in my Rhodia paper sketchbook, waterbrush, and Winsor & Newton Cotman pan watercolours. Recorded the video with the Hyperlapse app on my iPhone, imported into Premiere Pro (which I'm just learning) to speed up and crop, added static images to the beginning and end.

Some of my other recently posted Speedy Doodles:

Click to read more ...


Comic: Grammarian Party Angst.


THE DOLL'S EYE by Marina Cohen (Roaring Brook Press)

Deliciously creepy! I finished this in two sittings. I'm a longtime horror fan, and this was right up my alley; I was inspired to do some fan art, as you can see above. And now I'm even more creeped out by those old-fashioned glass-eyed dolls than I was before! :-)

You can find out more about The Doll's Eye on the Macmillan site.

The book came out TODAY from Roaring Brook Press!



MAUD: A Novel Inspired by the Life Of L.M. Montgomery, by Melanie Fishbane (Penguin Teen Canada)

I grew up on L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables books, so was VERY excited to receive an ARC (via NetGalley) of Melanie Fishbane's debut novel, MAUD: A Novel Inspired By The Life Of L.M. Montgomery.

What I especially loved:

- Fascinating to find out more about the author's life growing up, and inspired me to want to find out more about her.

- Finding out some of the challenges that L.M. Montgomery faced as she pursued her goals, growing up in a world where women were often discouraged from higher education and pursuing a career.

- Storytelling style a wonderful homage to the author's voice in the original Anne books. 

If you enjoyed the Anne of Green Gable books, I strongly recommend that you check out MAUD when it comes out from Penguin Teen on August 25, 2017!

More information about MAUD at Penguin Random House and on Melanie's blog.

Related links:

Publisher's Weekly review of MAUD: A Novel Inspired by the Life Of L.M. Montgomery

Maud author Melanie Fishbane on the various TV and movie adaptations of Anne Of Green Gables: on Quill & Quire

Guest Post: Melanie J. Fishbane, author of Maud: A Novel Inspired By The Life Of L.M. Montgomery, on Earning & Celebrating Success: on Cynsations



Comic: Why it's always a good idea to proofread one more time before you hit SEND


Agents and editors on Twitter

For those on Twitter:

I've updated my lists of children's/YA book editors on Twitter as well as literary agents on Twitter who represent children's/YA book creators.

I've compiled these lists to help writers and illustrators find industry types to follow on Twitter, not as official lists of those accepting particular types of submissions, so do check the agency and editorial guidelines online before submitting queries, etc. 

For info about breaking into the business etc., please see my list of answers to questions I am frequently asked.


Biggest misconception about writing picture books: thinking that short = easy/quick

One of the biggest misconceptions about writing picture books, I've noticed, goes something like "While I'm working on my REAL book, I think I'll write a picture book or two for some extra cash. They're so short, after all."

Here's my post about why short does NOT mean easy when it comes to writing picture books. Includes links to my free picture book thumbnail templates!


Three Questions with Jackie Azúa Kramer & Maral Sassouni, debut author & illustrator of THE GREEN UMBRELLA (NorthSouth Books/Simon & Schuster)

I'm delighted to be one of the stops on THE GREEN UMBRELLA blog tour! The story is fun and imaginative, with gorgeous art. The underlying message of sharing, generosity and looking out for one another is even more important these days. 

Click to read more ...


This comic was inspired photos I keep seeing from my cat-loving writer friends


Tips for SCBWI conference newbies, second-timers, plus a CHALLENGE for the many-timers

I'm leaving soon for the SCBWI Winter Conference! This year I'll be on faculty for the first time (woohoo!), participating in the Art Of Collaboration Illustrators' Intensive on Friday where we'll all be discussing how to make sense of feedback and incorporating alternate viewpoints. 

This comic applies just as much to SCBWI-NYC as SCBWI-LA

To those attending SCBWI for the first time: I'M EXCITED FOR YOU! As some of you already know, my career got jumpstarted at an SCBWI conference.

Click to read more ...


Give your stories time to develop before sending them out into the world: My Guest Post on Storystorm today


Comic: Grammar Kidfight


Turning a coffee stain into art: responses from artists to my #CoffeeStainChallenge + an art giveaway


As some of you already know, I am fond of doodling with coffee stains. I was first inspired by (lo and behold) an accidental coffee stain, whose shape spurred me to turn what was initially a random event into art. I recently posted about purposely creating a bunch of coffee stains as doodlefodder, and my friend Joyce Grant suggested I post one of them and challenge people to doodle with it. Here's the original coffee stain:

Click to read more ...


The beautiful part of writing: you don't have to get it right the first time unlike, say, brain surgery. - Robert Cormier 

I have to remind myself of this again and again as I'm working on my novel; my tendency has always been to over-edit as I write the first draft.

Feel free to download and print this Robert Cormier quote to post in your home, office, classroom or library!

For many more free, print-ready posters, bookmarks and other material related to writing and reading, see my For The Love Of Reading and Print-Ready Archives.