Welcome to Inkygirl: Reading, Writing and Illustrating Children's Books (archive list here) which includes my Creating Picture Books series, Advice For Young Writers and IllustratorsWriter's and Illustrator's Guide To Twitter, interviews, my poetry for young readers, #BookADay archives, writing/publishing industry surveys, and 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge. Also see my Inkygirl archives,  and comics for writers (including Keiko and Will Write For Chocolate). Also check out my Print-Ready Archives for Teachers, Librarians, Booksellers and Young Readers.

I tweet about the craft and business of writing and illustrating at @inkyelbows. If you're interested in my art or other projects, please do visit DebbieOhi.com. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Entries in debbienews (26)


SAM & EVA is nominated for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award!

I was incredibly honoured to find out that SAM & EVA (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers) has been nominated for The Canadian Children's Book Centre Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. I am especially honoured, considering the other finalists in the same category. For more info about each of these books as well as other finalists in the CCBC Book Awards, see this press release from the Canadian Children's Book Centre.

Click to read more ...


The story behind my upcoming Broken Crayons picture book with Linda Sue Park for Simon & Schuster BFYR!!!


I am THRILLED and HONOURED to announce that I will be illustrating a picture book by Linda Sue Park. The announcement appeared Publishers Weekly Children's Bookshelf last week while I was out of town:
Announcement in Mar. 22, 2018 issue of Publishers Weekly Children's Bookshelf

Click to read more ...


I'm on the faculty at the SCBWI Winter Conference in 2017!

When I attended my first regular SCBWI conference back in 2009, I was super-nervous about meeting people. Would anyone talk to me? Would they like me? Would the costs of the flight and hotel and meals etc. be worth it? Would I ever get published?

If I could tell my younger self that I'd be on the faculty of one of the national SCBWI conferences eight years later AND have a nice number of books published with my name on the cover, I would have scoffed and then vowed to stop drinking so much coffee.


I'll be participating in the Illustrators' Intensive on the Friday; you can see the schedule (including my name, woohoooo!) on the SCBWI Conference website.

The main SCBWI-NYC conference webpage is here. Registration opens on Oct. 25 at 10 am PDT! 


My podcast interview on WritersMarket about writing and illustrating children's books

Thanks to Robert Lee Brewer and Brian Klems of Writer's Digest for inviting me to be on their new WritersMarket.com podcast! I talked about how I started writing and illustrating books for young people, what I've learned so far, my middle grade novel, meeting Judy Blume, how much I love illustrating Michael Ian Black's stories for kids, board gaming, musical instruments and much more.

I was nervous but ended up having a lot of fun; both Robert and Brian are such nice guys. I used to work with both Robert and Brian for Writer's Digest (a daily publishing news column as well as articles for the magazine) and I hope to finally meet them in person someday!

Link: How To Be A Children's Book Author & Illustrator With Debbie Ridpath Ohi on the WritersMarket.com podcast.


Story behind the dedication page in MITZI TULANE, PRESCHOOL DETECTIVE

The first MITZI TULANE, PRESCHOOL DETECTIVE picture book launches next Tuesday from Random House Children's! Here's some insider info from the dedication page: mine is for my mom, who died of cancer when I was in my 20s.

Click to read more ...


RUBY ROSE book launches today! Plus some giveaways, free bookplates and dancing in the street

Woohoo, RUBY ROSE, OFF TO SCHOOL SHE GOES! dances into the world today!!!

Ruby Rose loves to dance while she's brushing her teeth, eating breakfast, and even on her way to class. But there's NO DANCING at school! Or...is there? With a little luck and a lot of rhythm, Ruby Rose finds a way to get everyone up on their dancing feet. A perfect back-to-school book for budding dancers!

Click to read more ...


Exciting non-sad news: I'm illustrating I'M SAD (a sequel to I'M BORED)!


Just got permission to make this public: I am ***THRILLED*** to announce that I will be illustrating I'M SAD, a sequel to I'M BORED written by Michael Ian Black, coming out from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers in 2018!

I'm excited to be working with editor Justin Chanda and art director Laurent Linn again.


Click to read more ...


WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? Book Tour recap

I had a FANTASTIC time during my WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? Book Tour earlier this month. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Children's for making the book tour possible for me, and to all the schools, libraries and bookstores who participated.

For those interested, I've posted links to my photos and recap at DebbieOhi.com/2015booktour, including what I learned along the way.


My office featured in Andrea Skyberg's Tuesday Studio Tours today!

Thanks to Andrea Skyberg for featuring my Office Cave in her Tuesday Studio Tours today.

Find out why my office looks NOTHING like the rest of the house, how my hero husband Jeff helped enhance my office, my envy of those who have appealing-sounding creative rituals, music I'm listening to (including Ookla the Mok) and a sampling of my new OfficeCrazyDanceBreak playlist, the most useful tool in my studio, and advice for those who want to make a personal space where they can be creative. Plus LOTS of photos!

Thank you, Andrea!


Part 2 of my BIG NEWS: Judy Blume, Simon & Schuster Children's, audition process info & why I can't attend SCBWI-NYC this year

UPDATE: To see sample illustrations, final covers, photo of me meeting Ms. Blume in person, see DebbieOhi.com/judyblume.

So in Part 1 of my Judy Blume news, I mentioned that I was thrilled to be illustrating the covers of the seven middle grade editions of classic Judy Blume novels that are being reissued by Simon & Schuster Children's.

Well, that's not all.

Just got word that I can make this public: I am also excited to be illustrating the covers of three Judy Blume classics that are being reissued as chapter books AND PROVIDING THE INTERIOR ILLUSTRATIONS AS WELL.

These books are Freckle Juice, The One In the Middle Is The Green Kangaroo and The Pain And The Great One. (***Edit May 12, 2014: Hardcover editions come out June 3rd, paperbacks on May 27th, 2014***)



My history as a Judy Blume fangirl:

Like many others reading this, I'm a longtime fan of Judy Blume's work. Her books reassured my younger, angsty self that I wasn't the only one having all these bizarre thoughts and feelings and impulses. I was way too insecure and introverted to ever talk frankly about many of these topics with anyone. Books like Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret comforted me, helped me gain the confidence to ask questions, to not feel so much like a freak. Reading her books, it seemed as if Judy Blume knew me.

My sister helped introduce some of Judy Blume's work to me, like Deenie. Ruth read the book just before she was diagnosed with scoliosis herself, and told me later that Deenie's experiences with wearing a Milwaukee Brace were very similar to hers. "Except I didn't have a guy fall in love with me while I wore mine. :-)"

At the SCBWI Summer conference in 2011, Judy Blume was on the faculty and I was struck by her down-to-earth good humor and easygoing manner. I was too nervous to consider approaching her during the weekend, but as I was about to head off to the airport, I came across Richard Peck and Ms. Blume in front of the hotel. On impulse, I asked if they minded if I snapped a photo and they kindly agreed:

Fast-forward two and a half years later. LOOK what Judy Blume tweeted a few days ago:


I have, of course, printed this tweet out and put it up in my office. I'm also going to print out and laminate a smaller version which I plan to carry around with me FOREVER, to remind myself that childhood dreams sometimes do come true.

How I became the illustrator of Judy Blume's revamped middle grade & chapter books:

On Dec. 19, Justin Chanda (my editor at Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers and also publisher) emailed to see if I was interested in auditioning for a book project "of great proportions" but that also had a very tight deadline. Intrigued, I said I was interested. Here is a transcript of the email exchange that followed...

---- Transcript begins ------

9:07 pm, JUSTIN:

    Did you perhaps read Judy Blume growing up?

9:08 pm, ME:


9:10 pm, JUSTIN:

    Ok good. We'll talk tomorrow morning.

9:11 pm, ME:

     Very much looking forward to chatting tomorrow

---- Transcript ends ------

What I needed to do: come up with cover illustration sketch ideas for three of the books. Justin and I brainstormed and I also had notes from brainstorming sessions that took place at S&S Children's with Namrata Tripathi. Thanks also to some of my Torkidlit friends (whom I swore to secrecy) and a few others for helping me come up with some extra sketch ideas.

I had been warned that I may not get the job, so I knew that there was a good chance I'd be working through the holiday season and still get passed over, but I couldn't say no. I mean....JUDY BLUME!!!

Shortly after I began sketches, however,  the Toronto ice storm hit and we lost power in our house. My friend, Cathy Rutland, came to the rescue and offered to let me stay at her apartment until our power came back on. Jeff (MY HERO) took a break from trying to keep our water pipes from freezing and moved my scanner, iMac, Wacom stuff and other hardware I needed over to Cathy's apartment.

Meanwhile, Justin and I were in constant touch. He and I were exchanging emails, sketches, feedback on sketches pretty much every day throughout the holidays except for Christmas Day and New Year's. [Correction: Justin reminded me that we actually did exchange email on New Year's as well. :-)]

Because the books were coming out in April and they had not yet found the right illustrator, timing was tight. I estimate I drew over 150 sketches during that time and sent Justin 50 of those. When everyone else got back after the holidays, I continued the brainstorming and sketching process with Justin, Dan Potash, Namrata Tripathi and Lauren Rille.

Side note: I've noticed some mistakenly think that I did the cover redesign. I want to emphasize that Lauren Rille did the wonderful new cover designs, not me. I just provided the illustrations.

Up to this point, I had mainly been focusing on hand-drawn sketches that I scanned into Photoshop, but Dan Potash asked if I could redraw some of their favorites into vector-line style. This wasn't my usual illustration style but I love creative challenges. :-)

Finally we came up with some cover samples that were good enough to send to Judy Blume, and then I waited to hear if she liked them or not. This is when I posted the following on Facebook:

The waiting was AGONY. I was such an airhead at home, forgetting where I put things, only half paying attention to what was going on around me. I burned meals. I also put dish soap in the rinse agent compartment of our dishwasher....there were suds everywhere! Jeff was incredibly patient. :-)

Justin called me on January 16th, 2014. I remember noticing the 212 area code and immediately thinking newyorknewyorkohpleaseohplease and then picking up the phone and JUSTIN TOLD ME THAT JUDY BLUME LOVED THE COVERS YAAAAAAAAY *AND* that they wanted me to also do the interior illustrations for the three chapter books. (!!!!)

I freaked out. I became aware I had started screaming at Justin, tried to calm down and be professional, but then started screaming again. At one point, he had to reassure me that "Yes, this is really happening." After the call, I immediately called Jeff at work and screamed at him and then I emailed my sister and my agent at Curtis Brown, Ginger Knowlton (by that point my throat was sore from all that screaming :-)).

Some of you may have seen my "Blooming" found object doodle recently:

The material came from a congratulatory bouquet of flowers from my friend Cathy, who said they were blooms for my Blume news. :-)

And this brings me to why I can't attend SCBWI-NYC this coming week:

Because the chapter books are coming out in May, the deadline is tight. Cover details are still being tweaked. And I've been madly working on the b&w interior illustrations, which need to be finished in the next couple of weeks. I'm using a much looser illustration style for the interiors; I'll post samples when I can.

I had to cancel my trip to NYC and the SCBWI Winter Conference and have been working through weekends and many evenings, turning down social invites. Jeff treks down to my basement office every once in a while to check on how I'm doing. He and I have been getting takeout a lot lately.

But every so often I'll force myself to press pause, sit back and appreciate the moment. I AM ILLUSTRATING BOOKS BY JUDY BLUME.


My husband has gotten used to me sending him random texts during the day consisting of just the following:

Early in the process, Lauren Rille and I were chatting about being Judy Blume fangirls, and how absolutely COOL it was we got to read and reread Judy Blume books and say it was part of work.

One thing I noticed as I was rereading her books: Judy Blume books are as relevant and inspiring now as they were years ago, dealing with universal issues and feelings while growing up. At the L.A. Times Festival Of Books, Judy Blume had advice for grown-up fans of her work who want to introduce their children to her books.

"First, invest in one with a new cover," she says. "Even if you like the old, original covers. Second, don't give it to them. Just leave the books strategically placed around the house and then occasionally say: 'Oh no, you're not reading that -- you're not ready for it yet.' " Heh.

You can find out more about Judy Blume and her work at  JudyBlume.com, including tips for aspiring writers.

Meanwhile, I'd better get back to work. THANK YOU for all the kind words, congratulatory messages and encouragement. They are so much appreciated.


I'M BORED into its third printing, yay!


Jeff and I got back from BoardGameGeek last night. After being away for a week, we had a pile of snailmail to go through. Mine was Very Nice Snailmail and included:

(1) Check from Penguin Books for the use of one of my writing comics. I love checks. :-)

(2) Note from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers that I'M BORED has gone into a third printing, WAHOO!!! Considering that the book just came out late last year, I'm pretty happy.

For those who haven't been following my work up to now, I'M BORED is a picture book written by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by yours truly. More info on the Simon & Schuster website plus I have tons of bonus material, activities, print-ready goodies available on the I'M BORED Bonus Page including some Thanksgiving-themed greeting cards and activity sheets.

(3) Advance signing check (did I mention I love checks? :-)) for SEA-MONKEY AND BOB, a picture book written by Aaron Reynolds, to be illustrated by MEEEEE, coming out from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers in Fall 2015. I just recently created a Facebook page for SEA-MONKEY AND BOB, by the way, and would soooo appreciate any Likes. :-)



I'm writing and illustrating two more books for Simon & Schuster!

Back home, and I HAVE NEWS.

I am delighted to announced that I am going to be writing AND illustrating two more picture books for Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Many thanks to Jeff, Ginger Knowlton, Mina Feig (who works with Ginger at Curtis Brown) and my MiG Writer critique partners (especially Andrea Mack) for helping me get my picture book dummy for SAM AND EVA polished. I sent it to my editor, Justin Chanda, around 10 pm and he responded at 8:30 the next morning:

Absolutely 100% love this!


Ginger… I'll be in touch.

When I read his reply, I yelled and jumped up and down in my office (no lie) and then ran upstairs to wake my husband up to tell him. Jeff is not a morning person, but I figured he wouldn't mind in this particular case. :-)

I'll be posting more about how I put together this particular picture book dummy in my "Writing & Illustrating A Picture Book With Simon & Schuster BFYR" series:

Justin was the first editor to ever offer me a contract for a children's book, and I continue to be grateful to him and Simon & Schuster Children's for their continuing support of my work.

SAM AND EVA (title likely to change) will be published in Fall 2016. The second picture book is yet to be written and illustrated, and is tentatively scheduled to be published in 2017.

You can see an updated list of my upcoming book projects at DebbieOhi.com/books.

On Facebook, you can be kept up-to-date on my writing projects at https://www.facebook.com/DebbieOhiBooks.


I'm illustrating SEA-MONKEY AND BOB by Aaron Reynolds for Simon & Schuster BFYR!

I am delighted to announce that I'm illustrating SEA-MONKEY AND BOB, a new picture book by Aaron Reynolds (author of CREEPY CARROTS and the recently released CARNIVORES), scheduled for publication in Fall 2015.

Veryvery excited about this project for so many reasons, including:

1. I love Aaron's work! Check out his website for more info about his many wonderful book projects.

2. I've been soooo wanting to illustrate an underwater creature story.

3. I've had quite a history with Sea-Monkeys, and once had Sea-Monkeys named Lettuce and Abdul The Destroyer. 

I'm so looking forward to working on this book. :-)



See MY INTERVIEW in the 2014 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, yay! (and what I wish I could tell my younger self)

Debbie CWIM2014 v2

The 2014 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market is now on book shelves, and includes AN INTERVIEW WITH ME!!  I'm pretty thrilled. 

I've been buying this annual guide for many years, not just for the great info about children's book publishers and other markets, but also because of the excellent interviews and advice for pros in the industry….so actually being mentioned in the book as well as ON THE FRONT COVER (thanks to my friend Carolyn Dee Flores for pointing out the latter) this guide is way exciting for me.

I'm also SO flattered to be included in the blurb description about the book, especially considering the other names mentioned. An excerpt:

"Interviews with some of today's hottest authors and illustrators, including author R.L. Stine (the Goosebumps series), author Marie Lu (Legend), author Beth Revis (Across the Universe), and illustrator Debbie Ridpath (I'm Bored, written by Michael Ian Black)."

How cool is that?!?

Wish I could send that paragraph back to my younger self to help take the edge off all those rejection letters.

Anyway, thanks so much to Ricki Schultz for interviewing me and to Chuck Sambuchino for editorial guidance.

More info about the book on the Writer's Digest website.

Photo of me at I'm Bored signing courtesy Walter Korynkiewicz.


Registration now open for SCBWI-Montreal conference (Oct. 4-6, 2013). I'm giving the opening keynote!

I had a fantastic time at the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA earlier this month and will be posting a bit about that soon, but I wanted to also announce that registration for the SCBWI Canada East Fall Conference in Montreal is now open. It's my first SCBWI faculty position, and I'm thrilled to be part of the event this year. I'll be giving the opening keynote! Nervous but also waaaay excited.

Conference promo above & conference info PDF put together by SCBWI Canada East Illustrator Coordinator Peggy Collins.

More info: SCBWI-Montreal conference brochure PDF - Registration

Here's more info some of the other faculty members and attendees:

I met David Diaz when I was chosen for the 2010 SCBWI Illustration Mentorship Program; he was one of my Mentors. In addition to being on the SCBWI Illustration Board, David's been hugely supportive of the Mentorship program, generous with his time and knowledge (including opening up his home to some of the Mentees once a year for a creative retreat). David won the Caldecott Medal in 1995 for U.S. picture book illustration in Smoky Night (HMH Books For Young Readers) written by Eve Bunting. He's illustrated many other books and won other awards since. You can find more info about David and his work:

NCCIL profile for David Diaz - Wikipedia entry for David Diaz - David Diaz on Facebook

Laurent Linn is my fantabulous Art Director at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Laurent was so patient with me as I navigated my very first book illustration project (I'm Bored by Michael Ian Black) and I had so much fun working with him on Naked! Just about to start work with Laurent on the very first picture book that I'm writing AND illustrating, Where Are My Books?

Laurent began his career as a puppet designer/builder in Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop (how cool is that?!?), creating characters for various productions, including the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films. With Henson over a decade, he worked primarily on Sesame Street, becoming the Creative Director for the Sesame Street Muppets, winning an Emmy Award. Currently, at Simon & Schuster, Laurent art directs picture books, middle-grade, and teen novels, including I, Too, Am America, by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Bryan Collier; Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo by John Lithgow, illus. by Leeza Hernandez; The Scarecrow’s Dance, by Jane Yolen, illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline; Better Nate Than Ever, by Tim Federle; and the Rot & Ruin YA series by Jonathan Maberry. Laurent is Artistic Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York.

More info: www.LaurentLinn.com. On Twitter: @LaurentLinn.


Bonnie Bader is the Associate Publisher of Frederick Warne and the Editor-in-Chief of Penguin Young Readers/Early Readers, imprints of Penguin Young Readers Group. At Warne, Bonnie overseas the Peter Rabbit, Spot, and Flower Fairies publishing programs. She also oversees all of Penguin’s leveled readers, which fall under the imprint, Penguin Young Readers. In addition, she will be starting up an 8x8 picture book program, Penguin Core Concepts, which will launch in Spring 2014.

She continues to edit several bestselling series including George Brown, Class Clown and Magic Bone by Nancy Krulik, Almost Identical by Lin Oliver, and Here’s Hank by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver, coming out in 2014. Bonnie is also a member of the SCBWI Board of Advisors.

Here's a great pre-SCBWI-LA interview that Jolie Stekly recently did with Bonnie.

On Twitter: @BonnieBader.

Linda Pratt, Agent, Werner and Pratt. After 20 years at the Sheldon Fogelman Agency, Linda Pratt and long-time colleague, Marcia Wernick, established the Wernick and Pratt Agency in January, 2011. The agency specializes in representing creators of children’s books. “Our philosophy is client care that focuses not just on individual books, but the long-term careers of our authors and illustrators in the ever-changing world of publishing.” Linda’s clients include LeUyen Pham, Richard Peck, Denise Brunkus, Sharon G. Flake, and Kathryn Erskine among others. She also enjoys introducing new talent. Two 2013 debuts are author/illustrator Aaron Becker’s JOURNEY (Candlewick) and middle-grade novelist Judy Hoffman’s THE ART OF FLYING (Disney-Hyperion). Linda is a member of AAR, SCBWI, and served on the planning board for the Rutgers Oneon-One Mentoring Conference for five years.

More about Linda:

On the Wernick & Pratt agency site - Agent Spotlight on Literary Rambles

Jill Santopolo is an executive editor at Philomel Books, an imprint of the Penguin Young Readers Group, where she edits everything from board books for the youngest of readers to edgy novels for teens. Her list of authors includes many award-winners and New York Times bestsellers, most notably Andrea Cremer, David Levithan, Jane Yolen, T.A. Barron, Felicia Bond, Olivier Dunrea, Lisa Graff, Alex London, Peter Abrahams, and Erin Moulton. Prior to coming to Penguin in August of 2009, Jill worked for seven years at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she once had to dress in a pig suit and hand out cupcakes to booksellers (she edited a lot of books there, too). Jill holds a B.A. in English Literature, an M.F.A. in Writing for Children, and a Certificate in Intellectual Property Law. In addition to working as an editor, Jill is also the author of the Alec Flint series (Scholastic 2008, 2009), the Sparkle Spa series (Simon & Schuster, 2014), and the Follow Your Heart series (Puffin, 2014). In her spare moments, Jill teaches fiction writing online for McDaniel College and is an M.F.A. thesis advisor at The New School. Once in a while, she sleeps.

Website: Jillsantopolo.com - Twitter: @JillSantopolo


And ME!

Photo: Beckett Gladney is a writer and illustrator based in Toronto, Canada. Her debut picture book, WHERE ARE MY BOOKS?, will be published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers in Spring 2015. Her illustrations appear in I’M BORED (NYTimes Notable Book) and NAKED! (comes out Summer 2014), both written by Michael Ian Black, published by Simon & Schuster BFYR. She also has upcoming book illustration projects with HarperCollins Children’s (RUBY ROSE books by Rob Sanders) and Random House Children’s (MITZI TULANE books by Lauren McLaughlin).

Plus a few other upcoming projects with Simon & Schuster BFYR she can't talk about yet. ;-)

Debbie is represented by Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown Ltd.

For more info, visit DebbieOhi.com or @inkyelbows on Twitter.


In addition, there will also be a special presentation during the conference for: Jennifer Lanthier, a Canadian children’s author who recently won a Crystal Kite award for her wonderful book, The Stamp Collector (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2012).

Jennifer's one of my Torkidlit friends, and I was thrilled to hear that she had won the Crystal Kite for our region. You can see the other Crystal Kite winners on the SCBWI site. Looking forward to seeing Jennifer at the event!


My interview on Simply Messing About: How Inkygirl.com was born, my writing/illustration career, time management and more

SimplyMessingAbout header5

Thanks to Renee Kurilla for interviewing me on Simply Messing About, a wonderful blog about creating children's books.

Topics covered include:

- How I ended up selling my website for writers and moving to Philadelphia for six months (away from my husband!)

- How Inkygirl.com got started

- Time management

- Why I encourage aspiring children's book writers and illustrators to attend SCBWI conventions

- Introverts and networking

- How to get out of a creative rut

- How to maintain a positive attitude

Read the full interview on Simply Messing About.


First meeting re: MITZI TULANE, PRESCHOOL DETECTIVE (and a note about wonderful art directors)

I just had my first phone meeting with Maria Modugno and Cathy Goldsmith about illustrating author Lauren McLaughlin's MITZI TULANE, PRESCHOOL DETECTIVE. The first MITZI title comes out from Random House Children's Books in 2016.

Only just found out that Cathy will be my art director, and I'm especially thrilled because she used to work with Dr. Seuss (!!!).

More about Cathy, from an SCBWI conference bio:


Cathy L. Goldsmith is Vice President and Associate Publisher at Random House Books for Young Readers. She has been with the company for over 34 years and currently supervises the art department of the Random House and Golden Books imprints. Cathy was Dr. Seuss's art director for the last ten years of his life, during which time she worked with him on Hunches in Bunches, The Butter Battle Books, You’re Old Only Once, and Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Cathy has also overseen the creation of the highly successful Step into Reading and Stepping Stones series. Over the years, she has worked extensively with Stan and Jan Berenstain (The Berenstain Bears), Denise Brunkus (Junie B. Jones), Sal Murdocca (Magic Tree House), Jennifer L Holm and Matt Holm (Babymouse and Squish), Marc Brown (Arthur), and many others.


I feel incredibly lucky to be working with such wonderful art directors these days. At Simon & Schuster Children's, the fantabulous Laurent Linn has been guiding me through I'M BORED and NAKED!, two hilarious picture books written by Michael Ian Black:

And I'm so looking forward to working with the amazing Margo Rago at HarperCollins Children's Books on the RUBY ROSE books, written by Rob Sanders:

Photo from ArtBeats site.

So many great projects in the pipeline over the next couple of years! Can't wait. :-)


My Exciting News(!!): Two Book Contracts With Random House Children's Books

I am thrilled to announce that I will be illustrating two picture books written by Lauren McLaughlin debuting the pint-sized detective, MITZI TULANE, for Random House Children's Books. Editor: Maria Modugno. Art Director: TBA.

Lauren McLaughlin worked in the film business as both a screenwriter (Hypercube, Prisoner Of Love, Specimen) and producer (American Psycho, Buffalo '66, Vig, Stag and others), and she is the author of several teen novels including Scored, Cycler and (Re)Cycler. You can find out more about Lauren at http://www.laurenmclaughlin.net. I read Scored a while back and loved it, am looking forward to reading Lauren's other YA books as well.

My editor will be Maria Modugno. I was originally supposed to work with Maria on the RUBY ROSE books by Rob Sanders at HarperCollins Children's, but then I heard that Maria had left HC to become editorial director at Random House.

Maria Modugno, Editorial Director of picture books at Random House & Golden Books For Young Readers Group

Turns out that Maria still wanted to work with me (YAY!!) because soon afterward she contacted my agent, Ginger Knowlton, at Curtis Brown  and asked if I'd be interested in illustrating the Mitzi Tulane books.

I read the manuscript and fell head-over-heels in love with the pre-school detective.


I'll be starting work on the first Mitzi Tulane book in 2014.

Thank you SO VERY MUCH to my fantabulous agent, Ginger Knowlton, for helping make all this happen and keeping me organized, as well as Ginger's wonderful assistant, Mina Feig.

I'm soooo excited about all the fun picture book projects I have lined up over the next little while. These include...

What I'm working on right now:

NAKED! for Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by me.Editor: Justin Chanda. Art Director: Laurent Linn. Scheduled for publication in Summer 2014. Read the announcement about NAKED! in Entertainment Weekly.

What I will be working on in the near future and next couple of years:

UNTITLED picture book for Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, written AND illustrated by me (woohoo!!!!!). Editor: Justin Chanda. Art Director: Laurent Linn. Scheduled for publication in Spring 2015.

RUBY ROSE ON HER TOES for HarperCollins Children's Books, written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by me. Editor: Margaret Anastas. Art Director: TBA. Publication date: TBA.

UNTITLED (second RUBY ROSE book) for HarperCollins Children's Books, written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by me. Editor: Margaret Anastas. Art Director: TBA. Publication date: TBA.

UNTITLED (first MITZI TULANE book) for Random House Children's, written by Lauren McLaughlin and illustrated by me. Editor: Maria Modugno. Art Director: TBA.

UNTITLED (second MITZI TULANE book) for Random House Children's, written by Lauren McLaughlin and illustrated by me. Editor: Maria Modugno. Art Director: TBA.

Meanwhile, I am also working on writing and sometimes illustrating my own projects: picture books, illustrated middle grade, and YA. My children's book writer/illustrator sister Ruth Ohi and I are also planning to do a book project together. Life is pretty amazing right now, and I'm grateful for the people who have helped make it happen. I've mentioned a few of these people already, and will be posting about more of them over the coming year.

A Thank You To Justin Chanda & Simon & Schuster Children's

A Thank You Letter To The SCBWI

And how it all got started:

How A Rejection Got Me A Book Deal


It's official: Just received contracts for RUBY ROSE books!

Last year, I mentioned that I was going to be illustrating two picture books by Rob Sanders for HarperCollins.

Then Rob and I found out that his editor, Maria Modugno, was leaving HarperCollins to join Random House. Since I still hadn't received the contracts, I didn't know what would happen. Would the new editor prefer a different illustrator?

Margaret Anastas was named the new editor and happily, she still wanted me as the illustrator for Rob's books. Yay! The fully executed/signed contracts arrived this week:

The first book is called RUBY ROSE ON HER TOES, and is a fun story about a little girl who loves to dance. You can read more about Rob's story on his website. I was delighted when HarperCollins sent me the mss -- those familiar with my Daily Doodles already know how much I love to draw dancing children, adults and creatures.

Margaret invited me to come visit HarperCollins earlier this year, and I enjoyed meeting her and Jeanne Hogle. Here are some photos:

Margaret Anastas & Jeanne Hogle

Visiting HarperCollins (NYC) for the first time

Thanks to Jeanne Hogle for taking the photo above

They haven't named an art director for the project yet. Final art for the first RUBY ROSE book is due October 2014. Before then, I'll be finishing the illustrations for NAKED! (picture book by Michael Ian Black, published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers in Summer 2014) and as well as a yet-untitled picture book that I'm writing AND illustrating (Simon & Schuster BFYR, Spring 2015).

Thanks so much to my agent at Curtis Brown, Ginger Knowlton, for all her help.

I'm so looking forward to working on RUBY ROSE!


Announcing my next illustration project for Simon & Schuster: NAKED! by Michael Ian Black


I enjoyed working on I'M BORED so much that I was secretly hoping that I'd get to illustrate another of Michael's stories...and my wish was granted! Entertainment Weekly posted the news this morning.

I am so very, very pleased to announce that my next picture book illustration project is going to be NAKED!, written by Michael Ian Black, published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. I LOVE the story and am already having a ton of fun doing sketches for the book.

Plus I get to work with Justin Chanda (editor) and Laurent Linn (art director) again!

NAKED launches in the Summer 2014.

If you're on Facebook, I'd appreciate you Liking our new NAKED Facebook Page...thanks. :-)