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I had a FANTASTIC time during my WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? Book Tour earlier this month. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Children's for making the book tour possible for me, and to all the schools, libraries and bookstores who participated.
For those interested, I've posted links to my photos and recap at DebbieOhi.com/2015booktour, including what I learned along the way.
Thanks to Writer's Digest for including my website Inkygirl.com in their list of 101 Best Websites For Writers! I haven't seen the full list yet but just got the congrats letter. List is in the most recent issue of the magazine. Congrats to all the others in the list!
I'm delighted and honoured to be a Sharp-Schu Trifecta guest today. Please do go visit their blogs today to find out more about how I helped create the new look for Judy Blume classics like Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Freckle Juice.
On the Mr. Schu Reads blog, K-5 teacher-librarian John Schu congratulates new book releases and then explains the Sharp-Schu Trifecta, with links to my Nerdy Book Club guest post and Colby Sharp's interview with me about the Judy Blue project. He also provides some wonderful Judy Blume videos, quotes and resources. Do read to the end of his blog post, where you'll find a great anecdote about meeting Ms. Blume for the first time.
On the Nerdy Book Club blog, I wrote a guest post with help from my Judy Blume project art director Lauren Rille. Find out why I was terror-stricken as well as ecstatic when I found out I was going to be a Judy Blume illustrator, how the new covers got created, samples of my early sketches, insights from Lauren Rille about the process, a request from Ms. Blume about cultural diversity.
On Sharpread, Colby Sharp does a 5,4,3,2,1 interview with me, which means he gave me five questions which I need to answer with 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 sentence. :-D I had a lot of fun with this.
Thanks so much to Colby Sharp and John Schu for inviting me to be part of their Trifecta today, and to Cindy Minnich for her help with my Nerdy Book Club guest post!
The 2014 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market is now on book shelves, and includes AN INTERVIEW WITH ME!! I'm pretty thrilled.
I've been buying this annual guide for many years, not just for the great info about children's book publishers and other markets, but also because of the excellent interviews and advice for pros in the industry….so actually being mentioned IN this guide is kind of exciting for me.
I'm also SO flattered to be included in the blurb description about the book, especially considering the other names mentioned. An excerpt:
"Interviews with some of today's hottest authors and illustrators, including author R.L. Stine (the Goosebumps series), author Marie Lu (Legend), author Beth Revis (Across the Universe), and illustrator Debbie Ridpath (I'm Bored, written by Michael Ian Black)."
How cool is that?!?
Wish I could send that paragraph back to my younger self to help take the edge off all those rejection letters.
Anyway, thanks so much to Ricki Schultz for interviewing me and to Chuck Sambuchino for editorial guidance.
More info about the book on the Writer's Digest website.
A quickie note to let you all know that I'll be in NYC for work meetings as well as the SCBWI Winter Conference until Tuesday, February 5th, though I may be doing some livetweeting from my @DebbieOhi account.
I enjoyed working on I'M BORED so much that I was secretly hoping that I'd get to illustrate another of Michael's stories...and my wish was granted! Entertainment Weekly posted the news this morning.
I am so very, very pleased to announce that my next picture book illustration project is going to be NAKED, written by Michael Ian Black, published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. I LOVE the story and am already having a ton of fun doing sketches for the book.
Plus I get to work with Justin Chanda (editor) and Laurent Linn (art director) again!
NAKED launches in the Summer 2014.
Inkygirl.com was included in the Writer's Yearbook 2013 list of Top 101 Websites For Writers! Apparently 4,350 nominations for sites were sent in, and the Writer's Digest editorial team sifted through them to choose the final list. Thanks to all who nominated me and to Writer's Digest for choosing Inkygirl!
Today's print issue of The New York Times Sunday Book Review has their list of Notable Children's Books Of 2012. There are six YA books, eleven middle grade books, and eight picture books….and I'M BORED (written by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by me) is included!! I'm about to head out this morning to hunt down a copy of The New York Times in Toronto but first, I wanted to write this post:
It's been a truly extraordinary year for me.
Not only did my very first children's book come out in bookstores, but Simon & Schuster also gave me contracts for two more books - one of which I'm also writing. I am grateful to so many people who have encouraged and supported me in the past as well as during the I'M BORED creation process, but today I'd like to mention one person in particular: Justin Chanda.
In 2010, Justin saw my portfolio in the SCBWI Summer Conference Showcase and decided that I'd be the perfect illustrator for Michael Ian Black's newest picture book. Later on (after it was too late for him to change his mind), I asked Justin more about why he picked me; you can read some of his answers in the I'M BORED Scrapbook.
Justin had never heard of me when he first approached me at the conference. He didn't know anything about my "author platform" or the fact that I had been focusing on writing up to that point ... it was all about my art. From Justin, when I asked him:
There was a sense of whimsy and definite style. I loved the assorted cast of characters, but I loved your point of view just as much. I remember there was an illustration of a robot who had lost his arm and one of a little girl looking at these tiny monsters. In both instances I got a clear sense of character, a sense of humor, and a sense of style.
Over the years, I've had a wide range of rejection letters from a wide range of children's book publishers…from the bare form letter for my early efforts up to much more personalized "we like her writing but the story's not quite there" or "we love her mss but it doesn't quite fit our list right now". I've been appreciative of all feedback and I can tell by the quality of the rejections that I've been getting much closer…. but they're still rejections. :-)
Justin Chanda was the first children's book editor to believe in me enough to offer me a contract, and I will always be grateful to him and Simon & Schuster Children's. I'M BORED has opened up other opportunities at S&S, with two more picture book contracts. Justin says he'd also be happy to take a look at anything else I've done, including my middle grade and young adult writing (YAY), so I've been working hard on some new projects.
THANK YOU, JUSTIN AND S&S CHILDREN'S, FOR TAKING A CHANCE ON ME.
I'm going to be writing a series of short gratitude posts over the coming months, thanking some of the people in my life as well as those involved with the creation of I'M BORED, but for now... I'm going out to get a print version of The New York Times Sunday Review so I can get ink on my fingers and spend way too much time marvelling at the extraordinary fact that my name is included.
Photo below was taken by my husband Jeff, when The New York Times reviewed I'M BORED back in September. Below the photo, I've posted the comic I created after reading the review.
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.
HOW COOL IS THIS?!??????????
I'm sure you jaded published authors/illustrators out there are rolling your eyes, but give me this moment of SQUEE. :-D
I am SO determined to get more titles listed under "Debbie Ridpath Ohi's Books"...
Read the rest of this post
Yay! The color proofs for I'M BORED arrived today, woohoo!!!
Also included in the package: the welcome sign that was in the front lobby of Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers when I first visited them. I've taped up the sign beside my office door. :-)
If you're on Facebook, please do "Like" our I'M BORED page:
I'll be posting more spreads, sketches and journal entries about the whole process, leading up to the official launch in September 2012.
MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE WITH ANTICIPATION BEFORE THEN, I SWEAR.
Just posted a step-by-step photo essay on Pixel Shavings about how I created the "little girl as rampaging monster" image for I'M BORED, a new picture book by Michael Ian Black (coming out from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers this September).
I recently launched the I'M BORED Scrapbook, a place where I'll be pulling in everything I've been posting related to I'M BORED. Until the picture book launches this September, I'm mainly going to be focusing on a series of blog posts about how this picture book was creating, from start to finish.
Editor Justin Chanda, art director Laurent Linn and author Michael Ian Black have all been kind enough to answer some questions about the process for me.
The most recent post gave me a chance to ask Justin questions I've been wondering about, like whether he attended that 2010 SCBWI-LA conference with the goal of finding an illustrator for Michael's book, what exactly appealed to him about my portfolio, and what Michael's reaction was to my art.
Next up on the Scrapbook: Michael shares what inspired him to write I'M BORED.
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.
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:
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.
THANK YOU, JUSTIN AND GINGER!
Ginger Knowlton is my goddess of an agent.
Justin Chanda is the publisher of three flagship imprints at Simon & Schuster: Atheneum, Margaret 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:
Thanks to Raychelle Muhammed for interviewing me on her blog today as part of her Writer's Block interview series.
In this interview, I answer the questions:
1) Tell us a bit about who you are, and where you live and work.
2) Describe your journey to becoming an author/ illustrator.
3) Describe your body of work. Which have been some of your most meaningful projects?
4) Tell us about your upcoming release, I’M BORED.
5) What is Inkspot? How did you develop the concept for it?
6) Who are your favorite authors? What is on your reading list right now?
7) How do you promote your work? What methods have worked best for you?
8) How has music played a role in your life?
9) How have your professional associations enhanced your career?
10) What are your upcoming plans for 2012?
11) What advice would you offer to aspiring author/illustrators?
Fun questions to answer. Thanks for the interview, Raychelle!
Thanks to my publisher/editor Justin Chanda and art director Laurent Linn for alerting me to the fact that Publisher's Weekly gave I'M BORED a starred review in their July 9th issue, woohoo!
"It looks to be the ultimate ennui smackdown: a bored-out-of-her-gourd kid vs. an equally jaded potato... Debut illustrator Ohi’s minimalist, scraggly digital drawings are anything but boring, and speak volumes about irritation, desperation, and disdain."
For those who aren't familiar with my book...
I'M BORED is a new picture book written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by yours truly, coming out on Sept.4th from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. You can read about how the book was created plus see sketches and sample spreads in the I'm Bored Scrapbook. Parents, teachers and librarians may also want to check out the Super Secret I'M BORED Bonus Page.
You can also find I'M BORED on Facebook, Google+ and the Simon & Schuster website, and buy I'M BORED swag on Zazzle. All swag proceeds will go to Breaking The Chain, a nonprofit literacy cause founded by Riley Carney. Breaking The Chain which works to put new books in high-risk, high-need elementary and middle schools.
I'm Bored Music Video (inspired by the new picture book from Simon & Schuster BFYR) from debsanderrol on Vimeo.
Thanks to my friend Errol Elumir for co-writing the I'M BORED song and creating the video above to help celebrate my upcoming book launch. Note that the song is only loosely based on the book. To find out what REALLY happened to the potato and the end, please buy the book! :-)
And special thanks to 7-year-old Zoe Elumir for playing the part of the girl in this homemade video!
I've posted some behind-the-scenes photos and info about the video plus lyrics/chords to the song in the I'M BORED Scrapbook.
I'm creating a gallery of photos featuring people reading I'M BORED in fun places and situations, and I welcome submissions! Photo below is an example: I'm reading I'M BORED on the Toronto Transit system. :-)
If you're interested in submitting a photo (hey, you may win a PRIZE), read the details here.
Photo below: Shara Alexa, Children's Sales Manager at Simon & Schuster Canada:
Can't believe the day is finally here! It's been two years since a rejection turned into a book contract with Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers to illustrate Michael Ian Black's I'M BORED.
I've updated the I'M BORED In The Wild photo gallery with more reader photos! I invite you all to send in your own photos: here are the guidelines and info about how to submit.
You can find more info about the book, related resources for teachers and librarians, photos, sketches of the book in progress, tips for young writers and illustrators, an I'M BORED In The Wild photo challenge, comics and much more: I'M BORED Scrapbook.
I'm Bored Music Video (inspired by the new picture book from Simon & Schuster BFYR) from debsanderrol on Vimeo.
It's been an exciting and whirlwind week since I'M BORED launched on bookstore shelves last week!
Thanks so much for those of you who have been helping me promote the book online and offline. I've compiled a list of interviews, guest posts and other places online where you can find related posts, and most of these still are or were holding random draws for copies of the book.
*NEW* I am also going to be sending hand-drawn doodles to each of the book giveaway winners for I'M BORED. This applies to any blog who is doing an I'M BORED giveaway in the near fuure.
Wed. Sept. 12, 2012 (online): Interview by Christina Farley on Chocolate For Inspiration.
I'll also be giving a talk tonight at the monthly CANSCAIP meeting about my I'M BORED experience, the benefit of conferences like Packaging Your Imagination and SCBWI, as well as how to get the most out of these kinds of events.
Today's Parent and Parenting magazines featured I'M BORED (Today's Parent photo at the top right of this post courtesy Adele Maclean)
I was Featured Artist on PaperTigers.org
July 27, 2012 (online): Toasted Cheese interview with me about I'm Bored - by Erin Bellavia
August 20, 2012 (online): For Young Readers: Most Anticipated Books Of Fall 2012 (49th Shelf)
August 27, 2012 (online): At The Desk: Debbie Ridpath Ohi on Open Book Toronto
Tue. Sept. 4, 2012 (online): I'm Bored Releases Today! - by Christina Farley
Tue. September 4, 2012: A MiG Writer Book Birthday Series: Happy Book Birthday To I'M BORED, by Christina Farley - A Fun Potato Recipe from Carmella Van Vleet - A Boring School Challenge, by Kate Fall - I'm Bored Potato Celebration, by Andrea Mack
Wed. Sept. 5, 2012 (online) - Miss Marple's Musings. Interviewer: Joanna Marple.
Wed. Sept. 5, 2012 (online) - I'M BORED contest announcement by Andrea Mack.
Fri. Sept. 7, 2012 (online) - Perfect Picture Book Friday, with Beth Stilborn.
Fri. Sept. 7, 2012 (online) - I'M BORED review by Greg Leitich Smith. "With expressive illustrations and a hilarious point-counterpoint, a little girl demonstrates that children are less boring than potatoes. And there are waterfowl, too. Really."
October issue of TODAY'S PARENT (print): I'M BORED feature mention
Sun. Sept. 9, 2012 (online) - New Voice & Giveaway: Debbie Ridpath Ohi on Cynsations. Interviewer: Lena Coakley.
Above: selection of photos from my I'M BORED In The Wild gallery of readers with the book.
Mon. Sept. 10, 2012 (online) - The Other Side Of The Story - podcast interview by Matt Mylusch
Mon. Sept. 10, 2012 (online) - It's Worth The Wait: My guest post on Beth Stillborn's blog, By Word Of Beth, about the waiting process between the offer and when the book finally appears on the shelves.
Tue. Sept. 11, 2012 (online): I'M BORED Trifecta with Mr. Schu and Colby Sharp:
-- My guest post on Nerdy Book Club: In The End, It's The Story That Matters (A defence of so-called celebrity books)
-- Mr. Schu's post about the I'M BORED book music video, his interview with Zoe (w/ help from Zoe's Dad)
-- Colby Sharp shares his 4th grader's favorite moments from I'M BORED on Sharpreads
You can find these and other press links on my Debbie's Interviews, Appearances, Guest Blog Posts and Other Cool Press Page.
As some of you already know, I've been hugely grateful to the SCBWI for the career-changing opportunities that have come my way as a result of attending their events.
I sent them a thank you letter back in May, and SCBWI President Stephen Mooser replied as follows:
Hi Debbie—Wow and Congratulations—we keep a file and a posting of SCBWI Success Stories, and not only is yours one of the best, but it may also be the most entertaining of all time---you have made our day and we are so happy for your well deserved success—looking forward to seeing you again soon—all best wishes from all of us here at the office, Steve
Then in mid-September, The New York Times Sunday Book Review ran a very nice review of I'M BORED, and I sent out a public request for extra copies of the review, if anyone had it.
Today I came home from the cottage to find a copy of the review and a nice note from Steve on behalf of the SCBWI waiting for me.
I continue to be so grateful to the SCBWI for its continuing support of children's book writers and illustrators. THANK YOU, SCBWI!!
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And speaking of other cool snailmail I've received recently...
The note from Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing reads:
"Congratulations! Your book has been reprinted! Please find a sample copy enclosed. Best wishes, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers."