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 archives, 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

Friday
Mar082019

Comic: Cinderella Writer, Revamped (and Happy International Women's Day!)

Wednesday
Mar062019

Comic: The Angst Of Reading A Good Book

Thursday
Feb282019

Three Questions With Debut YA Author Nikki Barthelmess (THE QUIET YOU CARRY, launches March 5th)

Nikki Barthelmess is a journalist and author of young adult books. She entered foster care in Nevada at twelve and spent the next six years living in six different towns. During this time, Nikki found solace in books, her journal, and teachers who encouraged her as a writer. The Quiet You Carry is her first novel. You can find out more about Nikki at her website, on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb212019

Quickie tip: There are no shortcuts. You need to do the work.

Saturday
Feb022019

Tips for SCBWI conference newbies, second-timers, plus a CHALLENGE for the many-timers

Only a few days until the annual SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC! You can follow the action via the #NY19SCBWI hashtag and (once the conference begins) the SCBWI Conference Blog. I'll be there - if you see me, please do say hi!

The following is a slightly updated version of my annual post; I hope some of you find it useful. 

This comic applies just as much to SCBWI-NYC as SCBWI-LA

To those attending an SCBWI conference for the first time: I'M EXCITED FOR YOU! As some of you already know, my career got jumpstarted at an SCBWI conference. Even if you're unable to attend this year, you can follow along virtually via the #NY17SCBWI hashtag on Twitter as well as the SCBWI conference blog.

In addition to an updated version of my SCBWI newbie tips, I've also added a list of other people's tips; the list of links is at the end of this post. 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan182019

Don’t wait for your Muse. Avoid precious rituals. Get into the daily habit of doing the work.

Friday
Jan042019

Comic: New Year Writer

Thursday
Jan032019

How To Find Time To Read More Books In 2019

Now that my eyes are fixed (woohoo!), I have started reading print books again, in addition to other formats. I'm also reevaluating my reading habits. I love to read but sometimes I find that reading gets put on the back burner more often while other activities take priority. Sometimes these activities, especially family-related and work-related, NEED to take priority, but I find there are still ways to find more time to read.

I've updated my post below in case one or more tips might help others. You might also want to check out what parents suggested in my "Finding Time To Write (Even If You Have Kids)" survey.

1. I have multiple print books on the go, and keep them around the house. I usually have print books that I'm in the midst of reading in our bedroom, my office, living room, dining room, etc. Print books have the advantage over ebooks here in that just SEEING them reminds me to read them.

2. I read books on my iPhone. Yes, the screen is small but I enlarge the text to make reading comfortable. This is super-handy for reading when I may only have a few minutes, like when I'm in a line-up or waiting for someone. Or when I'm in a super-crowded subway train and am holding onto a support pole with one hand....but I can easily reach into my purse, pull out my iPhone and flip through pages with my other hand.

3. I read books on my iPad. I have an iPad Pro and find it a bit too heavy to hold for reading unless it's propped up somehow, but I find that using a pillow or my knees works fine. I prefer print books for the esthetic experience (turning print pages, feel of of a physical book etc.) but I do find that the backlit screen on my iPad enables me to read even in places with dim lighting. Some are ebooks I've bought, some are borrowed from the Toronto Public Library.

4. I read books on my Kindle. Because the Kindle is lightweight and loaded up with a lot of my ebooks, I can avoid angsting over what book to take on out-of-town trips ("I'm 3/4 of way through this book so if I finish it on the plane, what do I read next? Should I bring an extra just in case? But I'm trying to travel with just carry-on augh" etc.), I just take my Kindle and I have access to many books-on-the-go.

5. I listen to audiobooks. I remember avoiding audiobooks in the beginning because I never considered it REAL reading, plus I didn't think I could really enjoy a book by just listening to it. Then my husband played an audiobook (I can't remember the title...something about divers and scavenging in deep waters) on a long car trip and I was surprised to find it an immersive reading experience. The narration is important, though -- a bad narrator will totally turn me off a book, so I make it a habit of always listening to a sample first. I have an Audible subscription but I also borrow audiobooks from the Toronto Public Library. Whenever I'm at certain stages in book illustration, I listening to audiobooks as I draw.

SUMMARY:

As long as the story is good, I am willing to read it in any format. I do make a point of buying books from indie bookstores but I have found that my appetite for reading makes it impractical (from a budget standpoint) to buy all my reading material. The Toronto Public Library is a wonderful resource, with print and ebook and audiobooks available.

Also, I squeeze in reading whenever I can. While I'd love to save my reading stints for when I have an entire afternoon to curl up on the couch with a good book, reality is that if I always waited for The Perfect Reading Day, I wouldn't be reading nearly as many books as I do now. Before my recent eye surgery, I also found it a challenge to read a regular print book.

And as summer approaches, consider participating in Donalyn Miller's #BookADay Challenge!

OTHER RESOURCES ON HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR READING TIME:

11 Ways Busy People Make Time To Read - by Eva Lantsoght on Lifehack.org

How To Read Even More In 2019 by Strand bookstore

5 Ways To Find More Time To Read - by Kristin Wong on Mentalfloss.com

25 Expert Tips To Reading WAY More Books This Year - by John Rampton on Inc.com

 

Sunday
Dec302018

Comic: A Resolution Not To Make New Year's Resolutions

Friday
Dec282018

New Year's Resolutions For Writers

Friday
Dec282018

Free, print-ready template: Insert for iPhone XS Max case with clear back

I recently started printing out and/or drawing on custom inserts for my iPhone XS Max case; I'm currently using an Otterbox Traction Series case with a clear back. In case anyone else wants to experiment with these as well, here's a free, print-ready template (3 per page). ***I strongly advise printing out a test on cheap paper first and doing a test cutout to see how the template fits your case. You will also need to do a bit of trimming here and there.

Ideas for authors and illustrators: design an insert with characters from your upcoming book, or book covers. For a recent event, I printed out an insert with my name, Twitter and Instagram accounts - that way whenever I took a photo of people at the event, they could see who I am (if they didn't know already) as well as where they could find my livetweets/posts.

Idea for illustrators: print out the template on nice paper and then fill the paper with art. Make sure you don't draw with anything that might leave marks on the back of your iPhone! And again, do a test printout/cutout with cheap paper before starting to draw, to see how the template will fit your case.

You can find more free, print-ready templates and activities at DebbieOhi.com/printready. I've collected so many templates, posters, activity sheets etc. that this coming year, my plan is to reorganize into different pages to make my Free, Print-Ready Archive easier to navigate. I'll be posting updates as well as special bonus offers in my email newsletter (which I also plan to update more regularly :-)).

Sunday
Dec232018

Need a gift for a book lover, writer or illustrator but have a small budget? Give them some TIME.

 

Looking for a meaningful gift for a friend but don't have the cash? Consider giving them TIME to read, write or illustrate. Click the image above for a print-ready PDF or download the "Gift Of Time" gift certificate here.

Depending on your relationship with the recipient, you could offer to do dishes for a week, pick up the kids from school, x number of hours of running, grocery shopping, babysitting and so on. If your friend complains about not having time to read, combine this certificate with a book.

Some suggestions for presenting the gift:

- Slip the certificate into a white envelope and then decorate the envelope with holiday stickers, sparkles, doodles, etc.

- Roll up the certificate and tie a color ribbon around it. Present it as is, or wrapped in gold tissue paper.

- Combine the certificate with themed gift, like with some packaged soothing chamomile or mint tea, chocolates in a mug, or other "it's time to spoil yourself" items.

- Combine the certificate with one of your favorite books.

Enjoy!

For more free, print-ready goodies, see Debbie's Print-Ready Archives.

Thursday
Dec202018

Comic: Best Holiday Season Dream

Tuesday
Dec182018

Comic: Santa Writer

Tuesday
Dec182018

THE SWAN RIDERS by Erin Bow (sequel to THE SCORPION RULES, Simon & Schuster)

For more info about Erin Bow's Prisoner Of Peace series, see this Simon & Schuster page.

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More info: Donalyn Miller's #BookADay Challenge - My #BookADay Archives (also see my visual #BookADay archive on Padlet, Flickr and Pinterest).

Wednesday
Dec052018

Comic: Writer and Santa

 

Wednesday
Dec052018

MY BEAUTIFUL BIRDS by Suzanne Del Rizzo (Pajama Press)

Yay, my copy of MY BEAUTIFUL BIRDS by Suzanne Del Rizzo (Pajama Press) now has a signed bookplate! Thanks, Suzanne. :-) This book about a young boy's refugee experience in the Syrian Civil War has received many accolades, and deservedly so.

From the New York Times: “If you’ve been wondering how to present the refugee crisis to children without losing faith in humanity, take a look at this graceful, even uplifting book.”

Find out more about Suzanne's book on the Pajama Press website.

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More info: Donalyn Miller's #BookADay Challenge - My #BookADay Archives (also see my visual #BookADay archive on Padlet, Flickr and Pinterest).

Tuesday
Dec042018

Advice For Young Writers, Quotes That Inspire, Why Picture Books Are Important, Advice For Young Writers - Three Questions With Author/Educator Frank Murphy

Frank Murphy is a teacher who writes and a writer who teaches. He spends most days at Holland Elementary School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania teaching 6th graders. I first came across Frank via Twitter, when I was impressed by his positive energy and joyous enthusiasm for teaching and children's books. You can find out more about Frank and his work at FrankMurphyBooks.com, Instagram and Twitter.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec042018

HEDGEHOG NEEDS A HUG by Jen Betton (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books For Young Readers)

Click the above image for a bigger version of my #BookADay collage for HEDGEHOG NEEDS A HUG by Jen Betton (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books For Young Readers). Jen's debut solo picture book launched earlier this year, and I adore it.

Also check out my interview with Jen Betton earlier this year to find out her SCBWI success story, get a peek into her creative process (with sketches!) and her advice for young writers and illustrators.

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More info: Donalyn Miller's #BookADay Challenge - My #BookADay Archives (also see my visual #BookADay archive on Padlet, Flickr and Pinterest).

 

Monday
Dec032018

COUNTING BIRDS by Heidi E.Y. Stemple and Clover Robin (Seagrass Press)

Above: My #BookADay post about COUNTING BIRDS: The Idea That Helped Save Our Feathered Friends, written by Heidi E.Y. Stemple and illustrated by Clover Robin (Seagrass Press, 2018). I was inspired to add some fan art!

**BOOK GIVEAWAY!** The publisher is giving away a copy of this book! Just retweet my post; a randomly picked winner will receive the book from the publisher (open worldwide).

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More info: Donalyn Miller's #BookADay Challenge - My #BookADay Archives (also see my visual #BookADay archive on Padlet, Flickr and Pinterest).