I am thrilled to have my critique partner from the MiGs, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, chatting with us here at Chocolate for Inspiration. I’ve known Debbie for a number of years and I’ve had the chance to read her middle grade and picture books. She is incredibly talented and I can’t wait to see all of other projects come out to the light of day over the next few years.
Debbie: Thanks, Christy! I draw a lot, just for the fun of it, and I think that helps a great deal. If I only drew for work-related projects, I suspect my illustrations would tighten up and lose much of the energy that people seem to like. So I try to sketch and doodle digitally and on paper as much as I can.
I admit it was an adjustment at first. Once I started working on I’M BORED, my doodling went way down at first because I figured I needed to put the time into workstuff instead…but then I found this had a negative influence on my workstuff. Once I started drawing for fun again on the side, things got better again.
Debbie: That’s an interesting question, mainly because I’ve always looked at stories visually when I’m reading.
However, working on I’M BORED as well as my new picture book project for Simon & Schuster BFYR has certainly started me thinking a lot more about the picture book reader experience. There are so many aspiring picture book writers and illustrators out there who think that it’s just a matter of writing the story and then adding pictures.
It’s so much more, however. Writing picture books is HARD. Or rather, writing a good picture book that stands out in the marketplace and is appealing to young people (rather than grown-ups who are used to the classic type of picture books from the past) is hard.
It’s a challenging but ultimately immensely satisfying process.
Debbie: Good quality dark chocolate.
Debbie and Simon and Schuster have also offered to give away a copy of I’M BORED! Just comment in the section below. Get an extra entry for tweeting, blogging or mentioning this interview on Facebook. Just let me know in the comments section!