Debbie Ridpath Ohi writes and illustrates books for young people. She is represented by Ginger Knowlton at Curtis Brown Ltd.




Debbie's blog post: Why Picture Books Are Important

Just launched: NAKED!


Out in bookstores now:

I'M BORED. Written by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi, published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. A New York Times Notable Children's Book and Junior Library Guild selection. Teacher's Guide (K-5) now available.



Before using my comics

Creative Commons Licence

Writer comics by Debbie Ridpath Ohi are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

More details: Comic Use Policy

Three Questions For Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Welcome to Inkygirl: Reading, Writing and Illustrating Children's Books (archive list here) which includes my Writer's and Illustrator's Guide To Twitter, interviews, #BookADay, writing/publishing industry surveysWriting & 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 Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi


#BookADay: BREATHE by Scott Magoon

I loved BREATHE by Scott Magoon (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster) soooo much. I found the combination of sparse and lyrical text with gorgeous, airy art irresistible and deeply moving. 

I confess it also made me weepy. Have no idea if it'll affect others the same way, but so much of this book can be appreciated on a grown-up level as well as by young readers: a reminder to take time to breathe and enjoy the moment, to be brave and explore, to listen and observe the beauty in the world around you, to not be afraid of obstacles but find other ways up, to dream big, to love and be loved.

And of course BREATHE can absolutely be appreciated simply as a wonderful bedtime readaloud, without any of the above interpretations. I so love books like this.

Seven Impossible Things has a great post about Scott's process for creating Breathe, and you should also visit Scott Magoon's page about Breathe.

Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.



Video: Tarik and the Roots performs a Harry Potter Rap on the Jimmy Fallon Show

Tarik and The Roots performed a Harry Potter-themed rap on the Jimmy Fallon show. Love. :-)

(Thanks to Mediabistro)


Comic: A Caution For Writers


#BookADay: GIFT DAYS, written by Kari-Lynn Winters & illustrated by Stephen Taylor

Today's #BookADay: GIFT DAYS by Kari-Lynn Winters (author) and Stephen Taylor (illustrator), published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside. The launch of this book raised money for the charity Because I Am A Girl and has already raised enough money to send ten girls to school in Uganda for a full year.

Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.


#BookADay: CHICKEN, PIG, COW by Ruth Ohi (my awesome sister)

I love my sister Ruth Ohi's CHICKEN, PIG, COW series from Annick Press!

Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.


Finding Time To Write Tip #176: Teaching Others To Respect Your Time



#BookADay: NEVER LET YOU GO by Patricia Storms (and advice for aspiring children's book writers & illustrators)

Today's #BookADay: NEVER LET YOU GO by Patricia Storms (Scholastic Canada).

You can read my interview with Patricia Storms about her process and personal growth during the creation of her book. Her advice to aspiring children's book writers/illustrators: "Try not to be too obsessed with what is selling in 'the market.'" and "It's really about discovering who you are, and what stories you want to tell."

Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.


#BookADay: BEHEMOTH by Scott Westerfeld, audiobook narrated by Alan Cumming


Today's #BookADay: Just finished listening to the audiobook version of BEHEMOTH (2nd in his Leviathan series) by Scott Westerfeld, wonderfully read by Alan Cumming. I've discovered that I can listen to audiobooks when I'm at certain stages of book illustrations, and Behemoth is my most recent audio listen. Here's a fun video interview of Alan Cumming by Scott:

Because I don't own a copy of the print version, I missed out on Keith Thompson's wonderful illustrations, but I found many examples online. You can find out more about the illustrations at the bottom of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan page.


Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.


Comic: The Scream


Tip For Aspiring Picture Book Writers: Read picture book stories out loud

I've been reading each of my #BookADay picture books out loud in my office. I've read some before, and some I haven't. Reading them out loud emphasizes even more how IMPORTANT it is for aspiring picture writers to read their stories out loud. 

If you find yourself stumbling over awkward phrasing or dull prose, then you know it's time to revise. Yes, the illustrations are going to add a lot to your story but if it's not an enjoyable readaloud, then it's going to be tougher to find a publisher.

I also encourage you to read other people's picture books out loud. If you're in a public place like a library or bookstore and don't want to disturb other people, then read silently. But HEAR the words in your head.

Also advised: be aware of pacing and page turns. More on this in a future post.


#BookADay - I MUST HAVE BOBO, by Eileen and Marc Rosenthal


#BookADay - WON TON: A Cat Tale Told In Haiku, by Lee Wardlaw and Eugene Yelchin


Comic: Starving Writer, Sort Of


#BookADay: A Good Trade, by Alma Fullerton and Karen Patkau


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

See my #BookADay archives for other books I've read or reread during the Challenge.


#BookADay: How To Cheer Up Dad, by Fred Koehler

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.

See my #BookADay archives for other books I've read or reread during the Challenge.


Comic: Metaphor Mixologist

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.


New Will Write For Chocolate on Writer Unboxed

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!

I’ll be adding this newest comic to the regular Will Write For Chocolate site eventually but for now, I encourage you to visit the Writer Unboxed site.


Micro Book Review: BOG by Karen Krossing (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)

For more info about Karen Krossing and BOG, see


Comic: Writer's Block & Biscotti


Thank you, SCBWI! (and why all aspiring children's book writers and illustrators should join SCBWI)

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.

I went over just now to see what was up, and was delighted to find my friend Jessica Lanan is this month's Featured Illustrator! I met Jessica through the SCBWI Illustration Mentorship Program.

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:

Inkygirl Profile: Brian Won and HOORAY FOR HAT! (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Inkygirl Profile: Arree Chung and NINJA! (Henry Holt)

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