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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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Debbie Ridpath Ohi FAQ > For Teachers and Librarians > What three tips would you give aspiring young writers & illustrators?

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This is a list of questions I am frequently asked. Here's a list of links to my more popular pages. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie


I'm often asked for advice on how to become a children's book writer or illustrator. Here are three tips I gave to Dr. Morris Gibson School students in 2015:

1. Read a LOT. I learned so much about writing and illustrating from the books that I read in the past and continue to read. I also try to read more than one type of book: fiction, nonfiction, picture books, novels, mysteries, science, poetry...I read everything I can get my hands on. When I find a book I especially like, then I reread it and try to figure out what it is about the book that I like. If I don't like a book, I ask myself what it was about the story or characters that I didn't like

2. Write something for fun every day. When I say "for fun," I mean something that is just for me, not anyone else. Sometimes I write a poem, sometimes a snippet of an imaginary conversation, other days could be stream-of-conscious rambling or a description of a character. I experiment with writing from the perspective of different characters. I keep a small notebook with me all the time in case I get ideas. I also keep a private journal.

3. When you're drawing or writing for fun, remember that there is NO SUCH THING AS MAKING A MISTAKE. Experiment, try new things. Avoid using expensive writing or drawing materials, else you'll feel too much pressure to be perfect. You don't have to show anyone else. The more you play with your writing and art, the better you'll get.

I look forward to seeing your books on the shelves someday!

Last updated on June 1, 2015 by Debbie Ohi