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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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What people are saying about I'M BORED:

"Read I'M BORED to children's choir last evening. They have never, ever laughed aloud so much! Reading Success!" - Twitter post by Marjorie Bowman


I'M... Books


I'm Bored Bonus Page
I'm Worried

Back to I'M BORED Classroom Activities 

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By Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Also see Tips and Activities For Young Writers and Activity Pages, plus Debbie's post on Pixel Shavings showing the step-by-step process of a spread in I'M BORED, sketch to final art.


(click on any image to get a print-ready PDF)

Coloring page.

Add a background to this picture.

What is the princess fighting? Draw & color.


Coloring page. What do you like to do when you're bored?
Add faces to potatoes to show different emotions.
Design the cover for I'M BORED.



Download and print out the text-only version for I'M BORED (PDF). Exercises:

1. Notice that this text has not been separated into pages yet. There is no one right way to paginate a picture book mss. How would YOU paginate this text? Draw lines to show where you would break the text into separate pages, then look at the final book to compare.

2. Show some sketches to show how you would illustrate I'M BORED.

3. Come up with your own character sketches of the little girl, the potato and the flamingo.

4. Draw an alternate cover for I'M BORED.

Some advice I wished someone had told me when I was a younger artist...

1. Practice a LOT. Draw every day.

2. Do more sketching from life. Not just people but also buildings and landscapes and machinery and animals.

3. Try drawing from different angles.

4. Yes, your drawings may suck right now. But you won't get better unless you keep practising.

5. Don't always draw the same type of thing. Pick something you don't normally draw and try drawing it. If necessary, refer to Tip #4.

6. Seek out different types of art. Don't just look, but THINK about what you're seeing. What do you like about a particular piece? What don't you like? How does it make you feel?

7. Copy artists you admire. Try drawing in their style, just for fun of it. Don't try to pass it off as your own, of course, but copy to learn. What is it about their style that you like? What don't you like? What parts feel natural to you? What doesn't? Don't get stuck on one artist. Move to another. As you gain confidence, you'll start developing your own style.

8. Don't get stuck on little details or try to be perfect in your practice drawings. I've seen way too many aspiring artists spend waaaay too long agonizing over trying to get an exact rendering of real life.

9. Practice, practice, practice. Yes, I know I've already said this, but it bears saying again.

10. Develop a thicker skin when it comes to people's comments about your art. For every person who loves your style, there will be someone who hates it. Be open to criticism. Artist Jim Harris suggests going to an art gallery and eavesdropping. "You’ll find out that even the most famous art in the world gets a lot of negative comments.  So if someone says your art reeks…. hey, that’s their opinion. You do art that YOU enjoy."

11. Experiment. Try drawing with different types of media. If you have the tools available, experiment with digital drawing.

12. Pay more attention to how things look, even when you're not drawing. What makes morning light different from sunset light, for example? How do colors change in different types of light? Where do shadows fall? Any interesting textures?

13. Use a mirror to practice drawing interesting facial expressions and body positions.


Extra Exercises:

Try to put little extra bits in your drawings that add a story. If you're drawing a person's face, make the expression intriguing somehow. Make the person looking at the draw want to ask themselves, "So what's going on with THAT? What are they THINKING?" Another suggestion: try adding an extra figure so that there can be interaction between the two.



Related Resources:

The Alliance For Young Artists and Writers

Tips For Young Illustrators - by Jim Harris

Advice To A Young Artist - by Dawoud Bey

A Canadian Illustrator's Tips For Inspiring Young Artists - by Carrie Snyder re: Jirina Marton (more for parents)

Tips For Young Artists - by Craig Smith

Advice For Young Illustrators - by Yuko Shimizu

Tips For Amateur Artists - nksrinivasan on Scribd

Tips For Young Artists - by 13-angels-death on DeviantArt