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 mentees (2)


Google+ Hangout with my SCBWI Illustration Mentee Pals

2012 01 19 Hangout5600

Just had a great Google+ Hangout with my fellow SCBWI Illustration Mentee pals (Class of 2010): Kimberly Gee, Eliza Wheeler and John Deininger. Andrea Offermann tried to join us, but unfortunately had browser issues. :-(

It was great to be able to catch up with what we're each doing in our children's book illustration and writing projects, plus Eliza and I filled in Kimberly and John about our kidlit-focused Lost Weekend With David Diaz.

I'm looking forward to seeing Eliza (second from the left in the bottom row of screens) at the SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC next week! As I posted in the KidLitArtists.com blog back in the summer, we were super proud when John won an Honor Award and Eliza won the Grand Prize in the Illustration Portfolio Showcase at the SCBWI conference in LA.

As part of her prize, Eliza is going to be meeting with children's book publishers while she's in NYC. You can see a fantastic interview (with tons of photos and drawings) that Kathy Temean did with Eliza about her work on Kathy's blog.

For more info about the SCBWI Illustration Mentees (not just the class of 2010), see http://kidlitartists.blogspot.com/.

If you're curious about Google+, feel free to check out my list of Google+ Guides For Newbies directory.


Lost Weekend with David Diaz (Part 2): Art, Food & Friendship

Lost Weekend group with David Diaz

(Continued from Part 1: Lost Weekend with David Diaz)

Another highlight from Lost Weekend: the conversations. They sprung up everywhere and without warning, while we were painting, sitting by the fire, helping David in the kitchen, over meals, while we were out walking.

Topics frequently revolved around children's book illustration but also writing, family, food, travel, other work…in other words, LIFE.

As the weekend progressed, it became clear to all of us that this was about so much more than just kidlit illustration info and new business contacts. It was also about mutual encouragement and sharing, bonding and appreciation.

And um, food. Lots and lots of good food. :-)

Each of us ended up taking away something different. One aspect I especially enjoyed: getting to spend more time with people I knew mainly online. It was fun rooming with Andrea Offermann, who had flown in from Germany. She had arrived the week before for an art show at ThinkSpace Gallery.

Some of the newer Mentees I had only been in contact with via Facebook and had only met briefly in person.

And it was such a treat to finally spend time with Bonnie Adamson, co-founder of Kidlitchat and founder of the KidLitArt chat on Twitter. We had run into each other at SCBWI conventions, but usually only had time to exchange a few words before hurrying off to the next workshop or keynote talk.

And that was another thing I LOOOVED about Lost Weekend. We had a chance to slow down and get to know each other in a much more casual environment than a convention. Although David had some activities planned for us, the schedule was flexible and adjusted to the group dynamic.

Another of many highlights: getting to know David's son, Ariel Diaz. Not only is Ariel a talented artist but his quirky humour and dry wit enhanced the weekend for all of us. You can see samples of his work at his site: turbogrease.tumblr.com.

I can't imagine what it must have been like, having a horde of women descend on your house for an entire weekend! Ariel handled it well. :-)

On the last evening, David hosted a party for not only our group but some of the local artists and industry people. We helped David with food prep but he did the bulk of the work. If it had been my house, I would have been super-stressed about all those people showing up for dinner but if David was, he sure didn't show it.

Great to see Erin O'Shea; Erin was one of the first Mentees in 2009 (in the red sweater below):

We had a table where some of our portfolios, postcards and business card were on display for people to peruse:

I was also happy to see Jen Rofé from Andrea Brown Literary Agency at the party; Jen had given my YA novel a great critique at the SCBWI Summer Conference in L.A. (and nominated it for the Sue Alexander Award!) and I loved her energy. She gave us all some excellent advice during the evening PLUS --not sure if it's public news yet so am not naming names yet-- is going to be representing one of the Mentees!

[Edited December 8, 2011: Yay, it's official. Eliza Wheeler has just signed with Jen Rofé. CONGRATS to both of you!!]

There was so much relaxing downtime and casual conversation that I didn't realize how much useful children's book illustration info I had absorbed during the event until I got home. I had learned something that could help me in my own craft from every Lost Weekend attendee, from new techniques to try, process tips, digital tech (I sooo want Christina Forshay's drawing tablet!!), attitude inspiration and encouragement, how-to advice and practical industry info.

We've been in touch since Lost Weekend, rehashing some of the memories from those magical few days, following up on tips and advice, exchanging recipes (ok, they've all been David's recipes…and they're making me hungry!!). Plus we Mentees are starting to gradually ramp up our website at:


Please do bookmark us; we'll be adding more Mentee bios and organizing our post schedule. Stay tuned for lots of great info and news for children's book illustrators! Plus you can find us on Twitter at @KidLitArtists; Juana Martinez-Neal has started to help with that account. And please do Like our KidLitArtists Facebook Page; you can find updates to most of our blogs as well as main blog.

And finally, a huge THANK YOU to David Diaz for inviting us to be part of this incredible Lost Weekend! As I mentioned before, this wasn't an officially sanctioned SCBWI event but rather something that David put together on his own, opening up his home and devoting a big chunk of time (including prep) for our group. We were all blown away by his generosity.

And thank you also to the SCBWI for bringing us all together in the first place! If you're interested in children's book writing and illustrating, you NEED to join this organization if you haven't already. More info: http://www.scbwi.org

You can find out more about David Diaz at his Wikipedia page as well as his NCCIL.org page, plus he's on Facebook.

Attendees of Lost Weekend 2011:

Andrea Offermann, Eliza Wheeler, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Christina Forshay, Jessica Lanan, Juana Martinez-Neal, Andrea Zuill, Bonnie Adamson and Alice Ratterree.

You can see my other photos from Lost Weekend in Flickr.

In case you missed it, here's the link to Part 1 of my Lost Weekend with David Diaz report.