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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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***Please note: You are browsing Debbie's personal blog. For her kidlit/YA writing & illustrating blog, see

You can browse by date or entry title in my Blatherings archives here:

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Welcome to Debbie's Blatherings, a personal blog where I've been posting since 1997. You can find my archives here: 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 -2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010+ (current archives)

If you're a kidlit/YA writer or illustrator, see Inkygirl. To find out more about me, my books and comics, various collab blogs, online portfolio and press, other miscellanea, browse the navigation links beneath the header banner. And thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi

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Gratitude: I have the best husband and sister ever


First, I ordered a chair for my new art studio corner but it turned out to be way too tall (it was a drafting chair & I neglected to measure my desk height properly). Jeff Ridpath figured out how to modify the chair to make it work and now it's PERFECT. I feel very lucky to have a husband who is a handyman as well as a technonerdboy. This is only one of many, many ways he has been supporting me in my career.

I've also been careening from "this is so cool" to panic and waves of insecurity as I experiment with traditional physical art techniques for an upcoming book project. I feel like such a newbie! Envious of those of you with proper art training. Anyway, my awesome and super-experienced sister Ruth Ohi came to the rescue! Not only did she show me some watercolour technique tips but also offered practical advice about my setup and tools. Feeling much better about stuff now. THANK YOU, SIS!!!!

Feeling very, very lucky to have the husband and sister that I do. Can't imagine doing what I do without their encouragement and support.

I also encourage you to check out Ruth's doodles on Instagram: and find out more info about her work at


Best fortune cookie advice ever

Found this in my fortune cookie at Mandarin Restaurant near Yonge & Eglinton in Toronto.


Stephen King autograph, plus thoughts on horror, Drew Daywalt, and my Little Nightmares art

Page from my childhood autograph album. And yes, I deeply regret using one of those adhesive sticky-tack albums for my collection.

Continuing to go through my office stuff. I also just remembered that I owe a certain blogger photos of stuff in my office, so I figured I'll post some photos here as well.

I used to read a lot of horror when I was a kid, especially Stephen King's early work. I preferred horror books over horror films because I felt I had more control. Loved the idea of being totally freaked out by the creepystuff in the story, but from the safety and comfort of the living room couch. Or beneath the covers in my bed, hugging a pillow to my chest as I read.

My favourite Stephen King book: Different Seasons, a collection of four Stephen King novellas. WONDERFUL storytelling. So not surprised that three of the four novellas in this collection ended up being turned into Hollywood films.

Stephen King novel I found the scariest: The Shining. Especially the hallway scene with the fire hose. If you're familiar with the book, YOU KNOW THE ONE. No, I haven't seen the movie. When it came out, I didn't want to see it because I thought it would be too scary. Now, I don't want to see it because I don't want the movie to dilute my memory of reading the book.

Anyway, I love my Stephen King autograph, which I got by sending a letter and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the author via his publisher at the time. If you look closely, you can see where he made a couple of typos, and fixed one of these with correction fluid.

I still love reading horror nowadays, but lean toward horror for young people. My recent favourite: THE NIGHT GARDENER by Jonathan Auxier.

I still don't watch pure horror films in the theatre because I still don't think I could take it. However, I do have a weakness for zombies, especially if there is humor. Which is why I loved Shaun Of The Dead (this trailer is not for young viewers!):

I also just discovered (and loved) Drew Daywalt's mini horror films on YouTube. Again,  NOT for young viewers:

For fellow kidlit-types out there: Drew Daywalt is also the author of THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT, which was illustrated by Oliver Jeffers and is one of my favourite picture books ever.

And after seeing the above mini-films, I am DYING TO MEET THIS GUY EVEN MORE.


Title: "Oh, The Horror!"

I used to do a lot of monster doodles called Little Nightmares. One was included in the portfolio which helped get the attention of publishers at SCBWI-LA in 2010. The original Little Nightmares are too scary for picture books, I think, plus all that black is...well....too BLACK. I haven't given up on doing a Little Nightmare picture book someday, and have started playing around with variations of my monsters. I'll be gradually adding them to my Monster Portfolio, for those curious.

And now I've rambled on way too much about horror and must get back to work. Just got feedback re: my illustration for the cover of WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? from Laurent as well as a rough mockup to work with. I LOOOOOVE Laurent's cover design! Will post when it's finished.

To finish this post, here's my all-time favourite zombie song, which is RE: YOUR BRAINS by Jonathan Coulton:


Office purging, Inkspot award and reminiscing

I've been (very) gradually going through my office and doing some purging, motivated by my dwindling bookshelf space. Anyway, one of the things I couldn't bring myself to throw out: the crystal award shown above, which I received for Inkspot. Inkspot was one of the first websites for writers on the Web back in 1995.

Inkspot began as a resource for children's writers but after getting a ton of great press, I decided to expand it to include other genres. I began it as a way of finding others interested in writing for young people but ironically, the site became so successful that I had less and less time for working on my novel and spent more and more time on managing and administration. I have since vowed never to do this again, so have purposely kept my online projects small and avoid getting involved in the management/admin of other sites.

Anyway, I eventually decided to sell Inkspot. This inspired a thread in my semi-autobiographical comic starting here, where you can also read a summary of what happened.

I remember being completely shocked when I received the 1998 Mecklermedia Internet World World Impact Award by snailmail. It struck me as so odd, getting a physical award (made from Belgian crystal via Tiffany's, no was HEAVY) for something I had created out of bits and pixels in my tiny home office. Nowadays, of course, people are used to the idea.

I kept the award shoved back on a top shelf because it always brought back bittersweet memories: although I had tons of fun with Inkspot early on, my experiences in the corporate world immediately afterward were not the greatest. Here's a one-page summary.

Now, though, I find that I can look back at that time with greater objectivity and am better able to remember the good bits...and there were many good bits.

None of the entities named on the award exist any longer. Mecklermedia was acquired by Penton Media which became Jupitermedia which became WebMediaBrands which evolved into Mediabistro, whose publishing assets were acquired by Prometheus. Hm, according to Wikipedia, Mecklermedia still represents the company's trade show operations. Interesting.

Internet World used to be a popular magazine back in Inkspot's days. You can browse an old issue online, if you want.

Inkspot is now shut down and the domain sold as traffic funnel into You can read Inkspot's Epilogue here.

Anyway, I'm sooooo much happier with my career now than I was back then. As much as I enjoyed running Inkspot in the beginning, I'm having SO MUCH MORE FUN NOW.


Concrete doodles and thoughts on happiness

Came back from a great evening with Cathy Rutland to find the new basement concrete has hardened, or at least is too hard to play with anymore. Ah well, probably for the best. And at least I got some fun art out of all the jackhammering and other (expensive) basement repair chaos.

Anyway, you can tell the cement is drying in the photo at the top, which is also one of the last cement doodles I did before leaving the house. The "dmo" and "jwr" are the sets of initials that we went by in our University of Toronto days, and still use with our friends from those days as well as with each other (in signed notes, cards, etc.).

As I did the quickie portraits and added today's date, I found myself being struck by an odd mix of emotions. I've lived long enough and have had my life turned upside down in both good and not-so-good ways in the past that I know how quickly everything can change.

As I did the quickie portraits and added today's date, I found myself being struck by an odd mix of emotions. I've lived long enough and have had my life turned upside down in both good and not-so-good ways in the past that I know how quickly everything can change.

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