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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My first book as author/illustrator! Launches from Simon & Schuster in May/2015.

LA Times list of "30 Summer Books That Kids Will Gobble Up"

Read the *starred* review for WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? in Kirkus

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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: Lawrence Schimel

Thank you to my friend Lawrence Schimel​, for his support and advice early on, before I had any children's books out in the wild. I just wish he didn't live so far away!

In addition to being a writer, poet and translator, Lawrence is also publisher at A Midsummer Night's Press​ (he's worked with authors like Jane Yolen, Joe Haldeman and Nancy Willard!). You can find out more about his press at

p.s. I especially love his Fairy Tales For Writers.


Gratitude: Beckett Gladney

Feeling grateful to so many people these days, especially those who helped and encouraged me long before I had my first children's book published.

Only just starting to catch my breath after my Where Are My Books? book tour and launch, still need to finish unpacking (!) and will also be posting more about the tour. My office floor is covered with stuff left over from various presentations and trips and events, and one of my goals this weekend is to get it sorted out so I can get back into regular creativehermitworkmode next week.

I've already mentioned some of the people to whom I am grateful but today I need to talk about Beckett Gladney. I haven't told her yet, but her name came up several times during my book tour and also at my book launch; parents said they were so enjoying her blog ( and that it was helping inspire them. They had discovered her through one of my posts.

Beckett, as you probably already know, is the friend who helped me put together my very first portfolio for the SCBWI convention in Los Angeles back in 2010, when so much happened.

She is also an accomplished photographer (especially candid photos of people), illustrator and a wonderful writer. I am so looking forward to seeing her illustrations in a children's book someday.

Beckett tends to shy away from the limelight but does so much to help and support her friends. I wish we lived closer. Here's a sample for an unpublished graphic novel project that I wrote and she illustrated. I should point out that this is only one of Beckett's illustration styles:

To find out more about Beckett and her work (see navigation links along righthand column):


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: