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


Seeking inspiring/upbeat advice or observations on writer rejection for my book

As some of you already know, I'm working on a book that is both a compilation of my writer comics as well as nuggets of writerly wisdom I've found in blogs, organized by topic. I don't have a contract yet, but I'm confident enough in its saleability that I've started putting it together anyway.

The chapter I'm working on now: REJECTION.

If you've written a blog post on rejection that you think might contain some quotable advice or observation, please do post the URL in the comments below. I'd also love to hear if you've recently read a post or quote on rejection made by someone else. If it's not your post, please include the name of the author of the quote/post as well as the URL.

Ideal length: one sentence (but I'm open to longer).

If I decide to include your quote in the book, I will contact you for confirmation of the info. I'll be including a brief bio and URL of any writer quoted in the book.

I may also include your link/quote in a Writer Rejection: Don't Give Up! page that I'm revamping for Inkygirl.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


Linda Sue Park on writing middle grade novels

Adventures in Children's Publishing has a great SCBWI Conference Round-up from Linda Sue Park's workshop on middle grade novels.


The great mission of middle grade novels is to show young people that the world isn’t fair, but that doesn’t mean it has to be miserable.


Before you believe all the "The publishing industry is doomed!" hype...

Donn Linn in his most recent blog post:

The hyperbolic predictions and bombastic punditry will always be with us. The trick for people and companies trying to navigate through this time of change is to sort fact-based opinion and observation from uninformed assumptions and agenda-biased commentary.

Yay, Donn! I follow Donn's Twitter and blog for his insightful comments about digital publishing and industry news.


Digital magazines aren't quite there yet

For those interested, I've posted some of my thoughts on digital magazines over on my iPadGirl blog:

Diamond Age Lust and Thoughts On Digital Magazines


Never too late to find writing success

I found out about Mary L. Tabor through a recent blog post by Jane Friedman. Mary published her first book after the age of 60, and Jane's Q&A with Mary is full of fascinating insights.

Not only did Mary's writing success come later in life, but blogged her second book on Sex After Sixty.


Wordcount Challenge Check-In: 250, 500, 1000 words/day


Haven't heard of the Inkygirl Wordcount Challenge? The goal of this challenge is to help provide goal-oriented inspiration, with flexibility to avoid giving up in frustration. Please click on any of the buttons above for more info.

Ray Bradbury quote on writing:

Ray Bradbury

"You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world."
Ray Bradbury


So how did you all do this past week? Good luck with your writing, all!


Deborah Halverson: Ultimate Checklist for Submitting to Publishers

One of the biggest challenges of attending an event like the SCBWI Summer Conference, I found, was having to pick between simultaneously scheduled workshops.

I wasn't able to attend Deborah Halverson's workshop but Adventures In Children's Publishing did, and has generously shared a conference round-up.

A former editor at Harcourt, Halverson already had a wealth of editorial experience when she began writing her first novel while pregnant with her triplet sons. In her Ultimate Checklist workshop, she consolidated years of expertise into ten simple tests.


New post up on Writer Unboxed

I've posted a new comic on Writer Unboxed today. My comics appear on this site on the first and third Saturdays of every month.


2010 SCBWI-LA Takeaways: Jon Scieszka

I've always appreciated those who post "takeaways" after they attend conventions: nuggets of wisdom that they took away from the event. Everyone's takeaways are different because everyone has different levels of experience and goals.

I'm going to be sharing mine over the next little while, as well as linking to any others that I can find. If you have takeaways or convention reports of your own to add, feel free to post in the comments section!

Jon Scieszka: Tales Of A Picture Book Writer: Do's, Don'ts, Maybes

- Look up the top 100 books listed by School Library Journal and read them.

- Don't do what someone else does. Do what YOU connect with.

- Read bad books, which can be educational.

- Read children's trade publications and kidlit blogs.

- Most picture book manuscripts by new writers can be improved by cutting length by half.

- Don't try to follow the market.

- Read everything in your field that you possible can: library, bookstore.

- Learn and read in prep but once you start to actually WRITE, then forget about trying to follow every rule and industry blog, and just focus on WRITING.

- In retrospect, Jon is glad that his early submissions got rejected.

Other reports on this event:

SCBWI Conference Blog


2010 SCBWI Illustrator Mentorship Award Winners!

Many thanks to the SCBWI for the Illustrator Mentorship Awards; the six of us learned SO MUCH at our mentorship sessions on the weekend. We also had fun hanging out with each other, exchanging tips and advice, and we plan to keep in touch after we all go home.

In fact, we've decided to launch a joint online project soon...stay tuned!

In the photo above:

Debbie Ridpath Ohi (me!)
Ashley Mims
Andrea Offermann
Eliza Wheeler
Kimberly Gee
John Deininger

And many thanks to our mentors:

Cecilia Yung, Art Director and VP at Penguin Young Readers;

Pat Cummings, Illustrator, Writer, and Instructor at Parsons;

Priscilla Burris, National Illustrator Coordinator;

David Diaz, Award Winning Illustrator;

Bridget Strevens-Marzo, International Illustrator Liason; and

Rubin Pfeffer, Agent at East/West Literary Agency.


A Brief (And Somewhat Stunned) Post From The SCBWI Conference In L.A.

Illustration Friday: Robot

The image above was one of the pieces in my portfolio, and was displayed on the screen at the Golden Kites Luncheon, when the award winners were announced.


[August 21, 2010 update: WOW, Simon & Schuster wants me to illustrate a book! Author: writer/actor/comedian Michael Ian Black. Tentative release date: Spring, 2012.]

I'm writing this from a hotel room in the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in L.A., where I'm attending the SCBWI Summer Conference. It's been a FANTASTIC conference. I dare anyone to come to this event and not leave super-inspired, armed with new knowledge about the craft and business of writing and illustrating. I've been taking all my notes on my iPad.

This was also the first time I attended this conference where I attended some illustrator tracks in addition to writing tracks. My California illustrator friend, Beckett Gladney, convinced me to sign up for the Portfolio Showcase at the last minute. I was highly resistant, telling her my work wasn't good enough yet, that I wouldn't have the time to polish the pieces I wanted to include.

But (as good friends do), she pushed hard enough that I finally thought heck, I might as well. I'm always encouraging people to step outside of their comfort zones and push their own personal envelopes, so I should listen to my own advice. My mega-talented author/illustrator sister, Ruth Ohi, also encouraged me to enter, offering me portfolio and art tips.

When I almost pulled out because of lack of time, Beckett helped me by going into my Flickr set of illustrations online, picked out the pieces she thought would showcase my strengths, and printed them out for me. She also sewed a gorgeous handmade cover for my portfolio that attracted a lot of positive comments (to you artists out there: Beckett sells custom-made portfolio covers in her Etsy shop).

Photo by Beckett Gladney.

At the hotel, we spread all the pieces on the floor of our hotel room, and she helped me put my portfolio together. I was surprised by her choice of pieces -- they weren't the images I would have chosen. But I trusted her instincts, and I'm glad I did. Because...


Not only did I place in the top three (an Honor award) overall, but I was also selected by a second set of judges as one of the six Mentorship Award illustrators. The Mentorship Award is given to illustrators participating in the annual Portfolio Showcase "whose publishable work shows great promise and potential." Yesterday morning, I had individual critique sessions with six members of the SCBWI Board Illustrator Committee  as well as publishing industry pro, Rubin Pfeffer.

Mentor List (added later because some people were asking):

Cecilia Yung, Art Director and VP at Penguin Young Readers;

Pat Cummings, Illustrator, Writer, and Instructor at Parsons;

Priscilla Burris, National Illustrator Coordinator;

David Diaz, Award Winning Illustrator;

Bridget Strevens-Marzo, International Illustrator Liason; and

Rubin Pfeffer, Agent at East/West Literary Agency.

I was completely stunned, considering the level of craftsmanship I saw in the portfolios display in the showcase.

I'll post more info when I get back from L.A., but I had to post the news here because you've all been so supportive of my cartoons and doodles. THANK YOU! Special HUGE thanks to my friend Beckett and sister Ruth for encouraging me to do this.

After talking with the Mentors yesterday morning, I'm SOOOO excited about new possibilities in my creative work that I hadn't considered before.

Part of me is still wondering if I'm going to be waking up at some point.

Ok, so this post wasn't so brief after all. And AUGH, I can't believe it's already the last day of the conference!

Must log off now...



Wordcount Challenge Check-In: 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day


Haven't heard of the Inkygirl Wordcount Challenge? The goal of this challenge is to help provide goal-oriented inspiration, with flexibility to avoid giving up in frustration. Please click on any of the buttons above for more info.

I'm going to the SCBWI Conference in L.A., so likely won't be posting an update until after I get back in early August.

So how did you all do this past week? Good luck with your writing, all!


Will Write For Chocolate has been updated

Click inage above to see the new strip.


Countdown to the SCBWI Convention

I lack the time to do a SCBWI countdown comic for this year, but here are the comics I did for last year's conference:

Hope to see meet some of you at the conference!



Comic up at Writer Unboxed

I have a new comic up at Writer Unboxed. Title: Writers On Vacation.


How NOT To Approach An Editor At A Writers' Conference

Above video is from Lee Wind's YouTube channel. The editor? Arthur Levine of Arthur Levine Books. The author? Paula Yoo. :-D

Speaking of writers' conferences, I'm off to L.A. soon for the SCBWI Summer Conference! SO looking forward to this. This year, I'll be rooming with my friend Beckett Gladney. Beckett's a wonderful illustrator and crafty Esty-ite.

Yay, only two weeks to go!


The Old Spice Guy Praises Libraries and Books (VIDEO)


Writer's Guide To Twitter updated

Believe it or not, I think I've finally moved over most of the old site. Most recently revamped: The Writer's Guide To Twitter. I'll be gradually adding to this FAQ, so if you think of any questions you'd like me to answer or research, please let me know!


Blog highlight: Rachelle Gardner's Rants & Ramblings

If you're not already following Rachelle Gardner's blog, you should go add her site to your RSS feed RIGHT NOW.

Not only is her blog a great glimpse into how a literary agent operates, but Rachelle's site is packed with fantastic advice for writers.


Golden Marmot Winner: SlushPile Hell

Hopefully, reading through SlushPile Hell will help new writers avoid making the same mistakes as the ones made in queries to this crusty lit agent. You can also find SlushPile Hell on Twitter at @SlushPileHell.

I'm resurrecting my Golden Marmot Awards because I keep coming across sites and tweets that, while they may be a tad too cynical or crusty for my Golden Cupcake Award, still make me laugh.

Sadly, I wasn't able to import the previous winners when I moved to Squarespace, so am starting from scratch again. If you'd like to nominate a tweet for the Golden Marmot Award, feel free to RT the tweet in question with the #marmotaward hashtag.