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


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.


Advice for young writers, finding one's voice and CRUSHING IT: Three Questions Interview with Joanne Levy

I met Joanne Levy through the local Torkidlit group. I love her wry wit and also loved her middle grade, Small Medium At Large (Bloomsbury); you can see my interview with Joanne from a few years ago, where she talked about how she wrote the book, her work process and advice for aspiring authors. I'm loving her new book, CRUSHING IT, which debuts *today* from Aladdin/Simon & Schuster as part of their MIX series for tweens.

Click to read more ...


I feel like this at least once every book project

Anyone else feel like this sometimes? I go through this at LEAST once every book project. The insecurity helps keep me humble and also motivates me to always keep learning and experimenting, to push myself to step out of my comfort zone. I try to write or doodle in my journal every day, and will sometimes share my entries publicly. If you're looking for extra motivation to start journalling, I encourage you to check out National Journal Writing Month, which encourages journal writing for personal growth but especially in Jan, April, July and Oct.


New Year's Comic For Writers


"I wrote things to get them out of feeling them, and onto paper. So writing in a way saved me, kept me company." R.I.P. Carrie Fisher: actor and writer

Above: my sketchbook journal entry yesterday. So sorry to hear about the passing of Carrie Fisher. My sister and I saw the original Star Wars (A New Hope) in the theatre together, and I remember being so inspired by the character of Princess Leia -- a princess who was a strong and independent thinker, sassy and courageous, who didn't count on a prince to find her happiness.

Most people recognize Carrie Fisher for her Princess Leia role in Star Wars role, but did you know she was also a writer?


New Year's Resolutions For Writers


Comic: Snowfamily nostalgia

Thanks to Pamela Ross for the caption!


Need a gift for a book lover, writer or illustrator but have a small budget? Give them some TIME.

Looking for a meaningful gift for a friend but don't have the cash? Consider giving them TIME to read, write or illustrate. Click the image above for a print-ready PDF or download the "Gift Of Time" gift certificate here.

Depending on your relationship with the recipient, you could offer to do dishes for a week, pick up the kids from school, x number of hours of running, grocery shopping, babysitting and so on. If your friend complains about not having time to read, combine this certificate with a book.

Some suggestions for presenting the gift:

- Slip the certificate into a white envelope and then decorate the envelope with holiday stickers, sparkles, doodles, etc.

- Roll up the certificate and tie a color ribbon around it. Present it as is, or wrapped in gold tissue paper.

- Combine the certificate with themed gift, like with some packaged soothing chamomile or mint tea, chocolates in a mug, or other "it's time to spoil yourself" items.

- Combine the certificate with one of your favorite books.


For more free, print-ready goodies, see Debbie's Print-Ready Archives.