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


Already given up on doing NaNoWriMo but look for an achievable daily writing challenge?

Every year, I think about doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I've participated in the challenge a few years in the past and completed a first draft of a middle grade novel. Doing NaNoWriMo is always fun and I did end up submitting the novel after many revisions. I got some encouraging rejection letters but in the end, I had to shelve the mss. 

One of my challenges in recent years has been that November has always been a very busy time for me in terms of travel and/or work. This year, I have three out-of-town trips during the month.

So....no NaNoWriMo.

But I'm going to be doing daily writing anyway. I've also added badges if you want to use pockets of time for revising instead of writing. You can find the details on this web page and feel free to browse my Inkygirl Daily Writing Challenge on Facebook for inspiration as well.

I hope you'll join me!


In celebration of SAM & EVA's launch, I invited illustrator friends to help me in a creative collaboration


I love how supportive members of the kidlit community are of each other, including those who create children's book illustrations! I recently put out a call to some of my illustrator and author/illustrator friends, asking if they'd be willing to help me celebrate the launch of SAM & EVA by contributing a bit of character (HA!) to a piece of collaborative art.

My friends sent arms, legs, eyes, fur and other bits and pieces; I had a great deal of fun piecing them together in Photoshop to create the creatures in the image above. I encourage you to try this fun exercise with your young artist(s)! It can work just as well on paper as on a digital device. I'd love to see the results!

SAM & EVA is my second solo picture book, and launches TODAY from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers! You can find out more about the book plus get a Teacher's Guide, free printables and other bonus goodies at DebbieOhi.com/SamEva.

Huge thank to the following friends for contributing to my SAM & EVA collaborative art launch party:

Barbara Reid

Fred Koehler

Kevin Sylvester

K-Fai Steele

Kelly Light

Laura Hamor

Lorian Tu-Dean

Maple Lam

Melissa Iwai

Merrill Rainey

Mike DeSantis

Peggy Collins

Russ Cox

Ruth Ohi

Sophie Cayless


A comic for Harry Potter fans (and I still haven't gotten over the fact there won't be any more)


I'M SAD proofs! Plus author Michael Ian Black and I visit Mr. Schu's blog today!

My I'M SAD f&gs (printer's proofs) just arrived along with a sweet note from my editor at Simon & Schuster Children's! You can see the full cover/jacket designed by Laurent Linn as well as find out what inspired Michael Ian Black to write the story over in Mr. Schu's blog today!


A Thanksgiving comic for fellow Canadian writers out there


Doing Donalyn Miller's #BookADay Through The Year (and how able to read more these days)

I've decided to try doing Donalyn Miller's #BookADay Challenge throughout the year instead of just during the summer. 


Made with Padlet


I'm reading a lot more picture books than I used to, but often lack the time to post about them. I'm also behind in posting about some of the wonderful middle grade and YA I've read recently! So I've created this post along with the live-updated Padlet showing many of my notebook-style "what I read" posts. For those who have been asking: I created these by taking a photo of a blank Hilroy notebook page, then adding graphics and handwriting using Photoshop. 

One tip for getting more reading done, I've found: to embrace ALL formats. I read in print, ebook and audiobook. I listen to audiobooks while I'm doing housechores or doing repetitive illustration stuff that doesn't need my full attention on the art. If I'm waiting in line at the grocery store or in a crowded subway car, I'll read books on my iPhone (I can flip pages with my thumb).

I hope some of these tips help some of you get more reading done!

Short URL for this post: http://inkygirl.com/bookaday-collage


Happy National Punctuation Day!


Rejection is part of publishing process, before & after publication. Develop a thick skin, don't take things personally, move on & up!


Writers and illustrators: Be aware when reading advice online turns into a crutch and excuse to procrastinate.


What would YOU do if you were a character in a fairy tale? A fun character-generating exercise for young writers from Josh Funk

A Guest Post by Josh Funk

What would YOU do if you were a character in a fairy tale?

That’s what I thought about as I wrote It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk. If I were Jack, I’d have a little more common sense than to sell my cow for a handful of beans, or climb an enormous beanstalk (how do you even climb a beanstalk?), or steal from a giant!

But how did I really get into character? By reading my writing out loud. By actually being the character. Along with some friends (er- my family), the cast was as follows:

The Storyteller: Me

Jack: My daughter

The Giant: My son

Cinderella: My wife

We would read this out loud for friends and at family gatherings. We’d see which parts got laughs and which parts didn’t connect. And sometimes we’d improvise - and really get into character. Later, I’d often add the best of those improvised lines back into the actual story.

So next time you’re trying to write from the perspective of a character - actually become that character. Read your story out loud to your friends. Maybe what you thought your character would do, doesn’t really jive when the story is put into action!

Also see Three Questions With Josh Funk (includes his advice for young writers).


Josh Funk writes silly stories and somehow tricks people into publishing them as books - such as Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast and its sequel The Case of the Stinky Stench along with It's Not Jack and the Beanstalk, Pirasaurs!, Dear Dragon, and the forthcoming Albie Newton, How to Code a Sandcastle (in partnership with Girls Who Code), Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience and Fortitude (in partnership with the New York Public Library), and more coming soon!


To you cat-owning writers out there: do you think cats do this on purpose?


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



Advice to writers/illustrators: Take the long way. Shortcuts rarely pay off. 


A comic for Oxford comma haters/fans


Productivity tip for writers/illus: While online, DON'T FALL DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE. 


Launching today: RUBY ROSE, BIG BRAVOS by Rob Sanders & me (HarperCollins Children's)

Hurray!! Ruby Rose, Big Bravos by Rob Sanders and me launches from HarperCollins Children's Books *today*!!!

Click to read more ...


Another writer's success doesn't diminish your chance of success. Cheer on other writers. - Debbie Fuhry


Anonymous 4Q multiple-choice survey for children's book agents, editors and art directors (plus a doodle giveaway)

A few years ago, I posted a poll for children's/YA book agents, editors and art directors to find out if they researched potential clients, authors and illustrators online before signing them on.

As part of my research for a Social Media Master Class I've giving at the SCBWI Northern Ohio Conference next month, I'm checking for updated stats.

In addition to sharing my results in the workshop above, I'll also be posting summary results here on Inkygirl.com after the conference.

If you are an agent, editor or art director who works with children's book creators, I would very much appreciate it if you could answer my quickie anonymous multiple choice (four questions) survey.

****If you are a children's book creator on Twitter and would like to help gather data, you can retweet this post (the URL shortcut is Inkygirl.com/2017poll)....and thank you! First three people to retweet will get an original mini-doodle from yours truly. Partly for reading all the way to the bottom of this blog post. :-)


Video: Desiderata Daedalus Drawing Demo (Dip Nib On A Fountain Pen!)

As some of you know, I am hooked on fountain pens (it began at a photo shoot for the Toronto Public Library, but I'll save that for another post). Anyway, I'm totally loving my new Desiderata Daedalus! To artists using dip pens: you might want to check this pen out - you can use certain types of dip nibs, but with the convenience of a fountain pen (e.g. avoid having to constantly dip).


Comic: Book Sommelier

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