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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's second picture book launches on Oct. 17, 2017!

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Back to Debbie's Books - MAIN Sam & Eva bonus page - Blog and News - Press & Press Package - Honours & AwardsTeacher's Guide - Print-Ready GoodiesHow SAM & EVA Was Created - Videos - Miscellanea - Site Map


Instalments so far: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

Also see my Creating Picture Books for links to templates, advice and other book creation posts.

(Last updated August 16, 2017)

Q. Where did you get the idea for Sam & Eva?

When I was a student at the University of Toronto, my friend Reid and I used to have cartoon wars in which one person started a drawing and then we took turns adding to it. Usually it involved a lot of explosions and violence, so maybe it's a good thing I didn't keep any of those old drawings. :-)

Years later, I did cartoon wars and comic collaborations with my nieces and nephews.

Drawing with Garrison, Spencer and Olivia.

I love doing creative collaboration like this! Even if it got messy sometimes:

Q. Did you write the story for Sam & Eva before you drew the illustrations? Or at the same time? After?

I wrote the story first. Here's an early version of the text:

When I was mostly happy with the text, I did thumbnail sketches (small sketches). Feel free to download and print my picture book templates:

Q. Then what happened?

When I was happy with my story, I asked my writing critique group, my sister and my husband to read over my picture book dummy (a mock-up of a picture book with rough sketches). I'm grateful to my beta readers!

My last reader before sending the dummy to my editor is Ginger Knowlton, my agent at Curtis Brown.

And then it was time to send my story to my editor at Simon & Schuster Children's! I crossed my fingers and hoped he would like it. Here's what I wrote:

The next morning, I was THRILLED to get this email from my editor:



After details were worked out, THIS came in the mail:

I signed the contract for Sam & Eva in 2013. The final book came out in 2017 (four years later!). Keep reading to find out what happened...

Continued in Part 2 and Part 3