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

Entries in debbienews (26)


My interview on London Time about illustrating children's books

Posted today over on London Time: Lorna London interviews me about the process of illustrating a children's book, advice for aspiring picture book writers, and I'M BORED.

For more press, please see my Press, Interviews & Other Coolstuff page.


My Big News: TWO BOOK CONTRACTS with Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers (!)

[ UPDATE: I've started posting about the process of working with Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. ]

I have been dying to share this ever since I first received the offer but now that the contracts are all negotiated and signed, it's OFFICIAL:

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I am (so very very) pleased to announce that I just signed TWO (!) book contracts with Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers.

One contract is to illustrate a picture book.

The other contract is to WRITE and illustrate a picture book.

To say I am excited would be a vast understatement.

Even now, I am fighting the urge to insert exclamation marks at the end of every sentence.

The good people at S&S are looking for a picture book story for me to illustrate right now (yes, RIGHT NOW).  Michael Ian Black's I'M BORED was such a perfect fit for me, and I had SO much fun working on it - I can't wait to see what my next illustration project will be.

As for the picture book that I write AND illustrate: I'm very much looking forward to working again with Justin Chanda, my editor on this project. I've already sent him some ideas, and he'll be helping me choose and work on the story that ends up getting published. MY VERY FIRST OWN PICTURE BOOK!!!! Oops, accidentally let some extra exclamation marks escape there. Sorry, can't help it.


Ginger Knowlton is my goddess of an agent at Curtis Brown Ltd.

Justin Chanda is the publisher of three flagship imprints at Simon & Schuster: AtheneumMargaret K. McElderry Books and Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. He is crazy-enthusiastic about children's and YA books.

He was also one of the illustration portfolio showcase panel judges at the SCBWI Summer Conference in 2010 (thank you thank you, SCBWI!), where he offered me a book contract to illustrate Michael Ian Black's I'M BORED (I later asked Justin about why he picked me, and here's what he said).

I've already learned so much from Justin about the craft and business of creating children's books, and I look forward to learning more.

So much more I want to say, but it'll have to wait.

But for now, just this:




Woohoo! My contributor's copies of TOMO are here!!

YAY! My contributor's copies of TOMO arrived today!! TOMO (which means "friend" in Japanese) features 36 stories for teens by authors and artists around the world. One of these stories is by me: it's my very first graphic short story, which is sort of a fantasy/romance/horror. Here's the first page:

Looking forward to reading other stories!

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit teens affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Please do consider buying a copy, and tell your friends! You can point them to this online postcard about TOMO.

Find out more about the anthology here: tomoanthology.blogspot.com/ (includes an interview with me)

From Kirkus Reviews:

A broadly appealing mix of the tragic and droll, comforting, disturbing, exotic and universal, with nary a clinker in the bunch.

Buy on Indiebound

Buy on Amazon (On sale for $9.95 right now)

Be sure to visit the Tomo website to learn about our events this March at Boston Children's Museum and the New York Public Library in Manhattan.


TOMO anthology of Japan teen stories launch date: March 2012

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Holly Thompson just posted the cover of Tomo on her book blog:


The illustrated figures were created by illustrator John Shelley. I took the cover and created the promo graphic above...feel free to repost it anywhere you'd like to help promote this anthology; please do link the graphic to http://tomoanthology.blogspot.com. (and thanks!)

As I mentioned a while ago, I'm tickled that my illustrated short story "Kodama" was chosen to be included in this anthology for teens. Proceeds will benefit young people affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

Edited by Holly Thompson, Tomo will be published by Stone Bridge Press in March 2012.

You can find a list of the other contributors as well as more information about the book at:



Excited! And here's why...

A children's book publisher I admire a great deal recently invited me to send them a picture book story. Well, I did...and THEY LIKE IT! They've asked for a few sketches, so that's what I'm working on right now. So if I'm a bit scarce in Inkygirl for a little bit, that's why.

Meanwhile, I've just sent a proposal for a nonfiction book to my agent for her comments, and will be sending that off soon.

Sooooooooooo excited! Please keep your fingers crossed for me, thanks. :-)


Ginger says I can post the news, so here goes...

How I'm feeling today

I am pleased to announce that I will be illustrating a picture book written by author/actor/comedian Michael Ian Black for Simon & Schuster. Tentative publication date: Spring 2012.

More (MUCH more) later.


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