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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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I'm Bored Bonus Page
I'm Worried

 (Last updated: February 13, 2018)

Welcome to my Creating Children's Books page, where I've collected all the "How <Title> Was Created" guides for young writers and illustrators, advice from children's book creators I've interviewed over the years, plus a few tips for not-so-young book creators. If you're a grown-up writer or illustrator, do check out my guides for older readers below as well as my free picture book thumbnail templates for writers and illustrators.

If you're curious about how I helped revamp the new Judy Blume covers for Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, please see my Illustrating Judy Blume page.

My compilation of advice for young writers and illustrators from children's book creators I've interviewed on over the years. Thank you to all who have generously offered advice for up-and-coming writers and illustrators!

Part 1: The idea, early stages, submission to my editor, his response.

Part 2: Editing the manuscript, character sketches, early layout sketches and revisions.

Part 3: Cover sketches, printer proofs, and seeing the book out in the wild.

Part 1: Coming up with the idea.

Part 2: Writing the story.

Part 3: Illustrating the story.

Part 4: Final stages and publication.

 Part 1: Coming up with an idea

Part 2: Thinking visually with thumbnail sketches (includes downloadable template). ***NOTE: Also see my updated post with extra templates.

Part 3: Figuring out characters, ethnicity, more revisions.

Part 4: More process, final art and cover art.


From an illustrator's perspective:

From the Sea Monkey & Bob Bonus Page:

Part 1: How Aaron Reynolds came up with the idea for SEA MONKEY & BOB and wrote the story plus his advice for young writers.

Part 2: Debbie's research and early sketches.

Part 3: Debbie's final illustration process. Before-and-after example.

Part 4: Publication and book tour.


From the Mitzi Tulane bonus page:

Part 1: How Lauren McLaughlin came up with the idea for MITZI TULANE, PRESCHOOL DETECTIVE in WHAT'S THAT SMELL?, writing and editing process, real-life inspiration for Mitzi and Gigi Gaboo.

Part 2: Debbie's illustration process for MITZI TULANE including sketches.

Part 3: Launching second MITZI book at Nerd Camp 2017.


From the Ruby Rose Bonus Page:

Part 1: How Rob Sanders wrote RUBY ROSE, OFF TO SCHOOL SHE GOES, how Debbie began her illustration process.

Part 2: Debbie's research, early sketches.

Part 3: Final illustrations and book publication, plus sneak peek at the second Ruby Rose book.

 For young readers, I've created a step-by-step guide about how the picture book NAKED! was created


For young readers, I've created a step-by-step guide about how the picture book I'M BORED was created.

The I'M BORED Scrapbook documented the creation of I'M BORED, a new picture book by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by yours truly, published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers in Sept/2012. This blog includes photos, sketches, process notes, comics as well as quotes from the author, editor (Justin Chanda) and art director (Laurent Linn).