Welcome to Inkygirl: A Blog For Children's/YA Book Writers And Illustrators (archive list here) which includes my Writer's and Illustrator's Guide To Twitter, interviews, #BookADay, my MicroBookReviews, writing/publishing industry surveys, Writing & Illustrating a Picture Book For Simon & Schuster BFYR post series and 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge. Also see my Inkygirl archives, and comics for writers (including Will Write For Chocolate).
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
Today's #BookADay: A Good Trade, written by Alma Fullerton, illustrated by Karen Patkau, published by Pajama Press in 2012.
You can read more about Donalyn Miller's Book-A-Day challenge and guidelines on the Nerdy Book Club blog.
I've decided to participate in Donalyn Miller's 6th Annual Book-A-Day Summer Challenge. You can read more about the Book-A-Day challenge and guidelines on the Nerdy Book Club blog.
I wouldn't be able to attempt to do this were it not for the fact that picture books count; there's no way I'd have the time to read an entire novel a day this summer. I also figure it'll be a good excuse to reread some of my favourites! Not sure if I'll be able to post here for every book I read or reread, but will tweet about my #bookaday books on @inkyelbows.
Today, I reread my friend Fred Koehler's HOW TO CHEER UP DAD. Can't wait to read the sequel in 2015.
Thanks to Jim Hill for inspiring this comic with his "metaphor mixologist" phrase on Twitter.
When I was working on the comic, I got curious about mixed metaphors and did some research...and of course immediately fell into the Black Hole Of The Internet. Sooo many interesting links! I could browse grammar sites for way too long, I think.
One of the best explanations is Grammar Girl's Mixed Metaphor post.
I’ve uploaded a new Will Write For Chocolate strip on Writer Unboxed. Click the image below to see the comic:
Because of my book project schedule for the next couple of years, I’m not posting as often on Writer Unboxed. Thanks to Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton for letting me do a guest post every few months; I love their site!
Earlier today, I posted about the book launches of my good friends Arree Chung (NINJA! from Henry Holt) and Brian Won (HOORAY FOR HAT! from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). And as some of you already know, my very first chapter book illustration project launches in hardcover today, and the books are by JUDY BLUME (!!!). I posted about the Judy Blume project, including how I became a Judy Blume illustrator.
When the three of us discovered we all had books coming out on June 3rd, we decided to do some joint promotion. I met both Arree and Brian through the SCBWI: Arree through one of David Diaz's Lost Weekends (David is one of my SCBWI Illustration Mentors) and Brian through the SCBWI Illustration Mentorship program. We've since become friends and have exchanged mutual encouragement and advice.
Below: photo from the 2013 SCBWI Summer Conference, when Brian, Arree, Christina Forshay, Kimberly Gee and Jen Betton and I were hanging out in the hotel room. I had met Christina, Kimberly and Jen through the SCBWI Mentorship Program as well. They all kindly agreed to pose for one of my I'M BORED In The Wild photos. :-)
I'm grateful to the SCBWI for so many reasons. You can read the thank you letter I sent to the SCBWI a couple of years ago, and their response.
As I was putting together blog posts about Arree and Brian, I was struck the number of similarities in how we found out way to publication. All three of us found our agents because of the SCBWI or SCBWI connections. All three of us got our first "big break" in getting noticed in the kidlit publishing industry largely because of the SCBWI. And of course all three of us met through the SCBWI and SCBWI connections.
So on behalf of Brian, Arree and myself I'd like to send out a big THANK YOU to the SCBWI!
To aspiring children's book writers and illustrators who have never heard of the SCBWI (Society Of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators): I strongly encourage you to check out all that the SCBWI has to offer. Do go over to the SCBWI website RIGHT NOW.
And that's another reason I'm so glad I joined the SCBWI and have been attending their events. It gives me so much joy to watch the blossoming careers of children's book writers and/or illustrators I've met and befriended.
If you're nervous about attending your first SCBWI conference, please do read my SCBWI Conference Newbie comics (which I created when I was a nervous SCBWI Conference newbie).
And I hope to see some of you at the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles this year!
You can read my posts today about Brian's and Arree's book launches:
NINJA! is published by Henry Holt, and here's a plot summary from Arree's website:
"A ninja must be strong, courageous, and silent! He creeps through the house on a secret mission. There may be obstacles! But have no fear—a true ninja can overcome all challenges."
I can't wait to get my copy of NINJA!, especially after seeing Arree's book trailer:
And I loooove the reactions of these young readers as they watch the video:
NINJA! has gotten some great reviews, including Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal and Publishers Weekly.
Arree also has a fun NINJA!-fy ME app online where you can upload a photo and add NINJA! graphic elements. Here's what I came up with:
Do check out the rest of Arree's wonderful NINJA! content at Arree.com, where you can not only find info about NINJA! but also see related bonus content, including an activity guide and coloring pages.
Here are some interviews and blog posts where you can find out more about Arree and his work:
My journey to becoming a children's book author and illustrator - by Arree, on his blog. Fascinating account of Arree's journey to publication, from his upbringing, studying bio-chemistry, working for Pixar and Walt Disney Imagineering, getting inspired at SCBWI conferences, how he made his decision to become a children's book writer and illustrator.
Ninja! and an interview with Arree Chung - by Carter Higgins on Design Of The Picture Book! A great peek into Arree's process, with storyboarding and sketches as well as sample illustrations from NINJA!
Things children's book writer/illustrators can learn from Arree:
Work on your craft every day.
Join the SCBWI. Arree won the Portfolio Showcase at the 2010 SCBWI conference in Washington and found his agent (Rubin Pfeffer) at the 2012 SCBWI Summer Conference. Rubin helped him sell NINJA! to Macmillan as part of a 3-book deal.
Scribble and keep a notebook.
Take leaps of faith.
Don't give up. Rest when you need it. Try again.
Listen to that voice inside of you.
Congrats to my friend Brian Won, whose HOORAY FOR HAT! launches today from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I met Brian through the SCBWI Illustration Mentorship program (see today's THANK YOU to the SCBWI), and he's one of the nicest guys you could hope to meet.
You can find out more about HOORAY FOR HAT! and download an activity kit from http://www.brianwon.com/hoorayforhat. You can find Brian at BrianWon.com, @bwon1 on Twitter, BrianOneADay on Tumblr, bwon1 on Instagram, and Brian Won Illustration on Facebook.
Here's a plot summary of HOORAY FOR HAT! from Brian's website:
"Elephant wakes up grumpy—until ding, dong! What's in the surprise box at the front door? A hat! HOORAY FOR HAT! Elephant marches off to show Zebra, but Zebra is having a grumpy day, too—until Elephant shares his new hat and cheers up his friend. Off they march to show Turtle! The parade continues as every animal brightens the day of a grumpy friend. An irresistible celebration of friendship, sharing, and fabulous hats."
Here's the trailer for HOORAY FOR HAT!:
Quotes from nice reviews:
"This lighthearted story revels in the small acts that make life better -- cheers all around." - Kirkus Reviews
"In this debut, Won explores the way a simple gift and a little attention from friends can have nearly magical healing properties." - Publishers Weekly
Here are some interviews and blog posts where you can find out more about Brian and his work:
Author-Illustrator Brian Won on Mr. Schu Reads: Includes fun animations, why he wrote HOORAY FOR HAT!, his Picture Book Sounds series (a peek into the music playlists of picture book authors and illustrators) and more.
A Mini-Interview With Brian Won by Juana Martinez-Neal: Brian's favourite childhood books and influences, inspiration for HOORAY FOR HAT!, his daily routine, how the SCBWI helped him on his journey to publication.
The Writing and Illustrating Process: Brian's post, part of an Author Blog Tour. Brian talks about what he's working on, how his work differs from others of its genre, his process.
KidLitArtists interview with Brian in 2013: Brian talks about his mentorship critiques and what he learned.
Things children's book writer/illustrators can learn from Brian:
Understand the emotions behind the characters you are illustrating.
Don't compare yourself to others. Instead, compare where you are now to where you came from.
Join the SCBWI and attend conferences, enter the Portfolio Showcase. You never know what might happen!
Photo below: Goofing around with Brian and my Mentee Tribe pals at the SCBWI Summer Conference in 2013. The fellow in the blue checked shirt is Arree Chung, whose NINJA! also launches today! My next post will be about Arree and his work.
Martha Rago (HarperCollins Children's) and Lauren Rille (Simon & Schuster Children's) advice for aspiring children's book illustrators
I recently posted two mini-interviews with Martha Rago and Lauren Rille over on the KidLitArtists blog.
With the SCBWI Summer Conference coming up, I asked HarperCollins Associate Creative Director Martha Rago about how SCBWI portfolio showcases help publishers HarperCollins Children's find illustrators.
Martha says that the Showcase is a great way for art directors to see a lot of work all at once when they're looking for something in particular. She also points out that the event connects many artists with agents.
I asked Lauren Rille what the biggest mistake or misconception that aspiring children's book illustrators make.
Lauren said that artists new to the process tend to have the misconception that being asked to revise means that they're doing it "wrong."
I'm delighted and honoured to be a Sharp-Schu Trifecta guest today. Please do go visit their blogs today to find out more about how I helped create the new look for Judy Blume classics like Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Freckle Juice.
On the Mr. Schu Reads blog, K-5 teacher-librarian John Schu congratulates new book releases and then explains the Sharp-Schu Trifecta, with links to my Nerdy Book Club guest post and Colby Sharp's interview with me about the Judy Blue project. He also provides some wonderful Judy Blume videos, quotes and resources. Do read to the end of his blog post, where you'll find a great anecdote about meeting Ms. Blume for the first time.
On the Nerdy Book Club blog, I wrote a guest post with help from my Judy Blume project art director Lauren Rille. Find out why I was terror-stricken as well as ecstatic when I found out I was going to be a Judy Blume illustrator, how the new covers got created, samples of my early sketches, insights from Lauren Rille about the process, a request from Ms. Blume about cultural diversity.
On Sharpread, Colby Sharp does a 5,4,3,2,1 interview with me, which means he gave me five questions which I need to answer with 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 sentence. :-D I had a lot of fun with this.
Thanks so much to Colby Sharp and John Schu for inviting me to be part of their Trifecta today, and to Cindy Minnich for her help with my Nerdy Book Club guest post!