Skip to main content

5 Tips on Writing & Illustrating Children’s Books From Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Here are 5 great takeaways on writing and illustrating children’s books from our Writer's Market Podcast with Debbie Ridpath Ohi. (Plus a link to listen to all the other great tips she has to offer writers and illustrators.)

Are you interested in writing or illustrating a children's book (or both)? If so, then you'll want to listen to this fun, yet in-depth Writer's Market Podcast (which I co-host with the one-and-only Robert Lee Brewer), where we interview successful writer and illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Ohi is the illustrator for the Michael Ian Black children's books I'm Bored and Naked, as well as the Judy Blume books and her own Where Are My Books. While she dished out many, many great pieces of advice throughout, here are five takeaways that stuck with me (and if you find these helpful you should definitely listen to the entire interview here or here on iTunes):

debbie-ridpath-ohi-featured

5 Tips on Writing and Illustrating Children's Books

1. Be Enthusiastic.

Always be excited about your work when discussing with others, whether that’s with literary agents, editors, publishers or potential readers. The publishing industry can be a grind at time, as you often battle unanswered emails and rejection letters. Don’t let that overshadow why you wrote your book in the first place and keep that positive spirit alive. You never know where it may lead.

2. Put Yourself in a Position to Succeed.

While you can’t control when lightning will hit, you can control your own personal lightning rod all the time (Debbie credits Maureen McGowan for this advice). Also, make sure you’re always prepared that way when lightning does hit, you’re in excellent shape to push your career forward (Debbie credits Kevin Sylvester for this advice).

3. Don’t Assume Where You Are is Where You Are Meant to Be

Be open to what you might be able to accomplish. Be willing to take risks. Debbie left her freelance career behind to follow her real dream of writing and illustrating children’s books.

4. Trust the process.

Let people in the publishing process do their jobs and don’t try to micro-manage others along the way. An illustrator shouldn’t tell the writer how to do their job, he or she should trust the writer to write the script—just as a writer should trust the illustrator to take the script and do a great job illustrating it.

5. Perseverance.

At times it may feel like the only thing that’s happening is rejection, but battle through that. Nearly all writers face rejection—it’s almost like a rite of passage. But it’s the writers who persevere and push forward with their craft that finally find success. Be one of those writers.

If you want more great tips on how to write and illustrate children’s books as well as in-depth explanations of the thoughts above, listen to the full podcast with Debbie Ridpath Ohi here at WritersMarket.com or click here to listen to and subscribe on iTunes.

WMPodcast_featured

Plus, check out these other great interviews on the Writer's Market Podcast:

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

Thanks for visiting The Writer's Dig blog. For more great writing advice, click here.

brian-klems-2013

Brian A. Klems is the editor of this blog, online editor of Writer's Digest and author of the popular gift bookOh Boy, You're Having a Girl: A Dad's Survival Guide to Raising Daughters.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Sign up for Brian's free Writer's Digest eNewsletter: WD Newsletter
Listen to Brian on: The Writer's Market Podcast

10 Tips on Covering Events as a Freelance Journalist

10 Tips on Covering Events as a Freelance Journalist

From planning ahead to staying late, Alison Hill shares 10 tips for journalists while covering events as a freelancer.

From Script

Character Studies, Writing the Immigrant Experience, and Six Adaptation Steps Before You Adapt a Book (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, navigate different character study approaches in your writing, and tracking emotional journeys.

Lora Senf: On Trusting Children With Middle Grade Fiction

Lora Senf: On Trusting Children With Middle Grade Fiction

Author Lora Senf discusses how one chilling text message led her to writing her new middle grade horror novel, The Clackity.

Katrina Leno: On Writing Around an Idea

Katrina Leno: On Writing Around an Idea

Critically acclaimed novelist Katrina Leno discusses the process of bringing her childhood memories to magical life in her new young adult novel, Sometime in Summer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: A New Podcast Episode, "Your Story" Prompt, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our latest episode of "Writer's Digest Presents," the new "Your Story" prompt, and more!

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Here are the top live streams, podcasts, and YouTube channels as identified in the 24th Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

You might have heard the term, especially if you’re in online fandoms, but what exactly is fan fiction? Managing Editor Moriah Richard explains.

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

Short story writing can be a gateway to writing your novel—but they’re also fun and worthy stories in their own right. Here, author Dallas Woodburn shares 5 ways to use short stories to grow as a writer.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not having an online presence.