Debbie Ridpath Ohi is someone who views life with a difference. She perceives patterns and images in just about anything. Take, for example, broccoli!
That said, Debbie is also an author. After illustrating an outstanding number of books [see her bio below], Debbie went on to write her first solo book, WHERE ARE MY BOOKS, which came out in May 2015.
Her most recent illustrations appear in her two upcoming picture books. RUBY ROSE, OFF TO SCHOOL SHE GOES, written by Rob Sanders (HarperCollins, June 21, 2016).
Mitzi Tulane may be only three years old, but she sure knows how to follow a trail of evidence and solve tough mysteries. From the strange happenings in the kitchen to the sudden arrival of every family member she’s ever met, Mitzi pieces together the clues and (finally) realizes that she’s . . . in the middle of her own surprise birthday party!
Kids and parents will laugh along as Mitzi sorts through not-so-subtle hints and comes to her conclusions. Readers will love figuring out the surprise ahead of the private-eye protagonist! Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s bouncy illustrations bring an extra layer of fun to Lauren McLaughlin’s clever story.
And MITZI TULANE PRESCHOOL DETECTIVE: WHAT'S THATSMELL? written by Lauren McLaughlin (Random House, July 12, 2016)
Ruby Rose loves to dance.
- while she’s brushing her teeth,
- while she’s eating her 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.
Today I have the pleasure of probing Debbie’s mind.
AMM: Welcome Debbie. What’s it like living with an illustrator’s brain, and being able to see a picture in just about anything?
DRO: It can be both wonderful but also a wee bit frustrating. Happily, the wonderful part is much bigger. The frustrating part comes when I desperately want to sketch something I see or suddenly think of, but lack the time. Or the time may not be right.
Explanation of that last bit: I'm sometimes distracted during a meal when I see something on my plate that CRIES OUT TO BE PUT IN A FOOD DOODLE. Sometimes (especially if I am dining with someone who doesn't know me that well) I know it would be horribly rude to whip out my index cards and Pentel Pocket Brush and start drawing.
My husband and I will be having a nice dinner at a restaurant when I suddenly get distracted by a piece of leftover radicchio on my plate, look up and see him giving me the "do you really have to do that right now?" look.
AMM: You mean like these images you created with coffee beans and tic tac teeth?
AMM: Too funny. Tell me, when you stand in front of a classroom, looking on at the kids, what’s going through your mind? What do you want them to hold on to when you leave?
DRO: I want them to know that when they're writing and drawing for fun, there is no such thing as making a mistake.
AMM: Is there a favorite book you’ve illustrated?
DRO: I love all the books I've illustrated, but I confess that my sentimental favourite is my very first: I'M BORED, written by Michael Ian Black (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2012). It's why I was so thrilled to be invited to illustrate the sequel, I'M SAD, this year!
AMM: How exciting!!!!! Congratulations. When did you decide or know that you also wanted to write?
DRO: As soon as I could read.
AMM: And now for some fun trivia. Can you tell me something that no one, or very few people, know about you?
DRO: The shortest time I ever held a job was 3 hours.
The job: As a student, I tried a summer job in which I worked as a telemarketer, doing cold calls and trying to sell people subscriptions to a Toronto newspaper.
I was TERRIBLE at this job and also HATED it.
The worst phone call exchange took place after the person training me criticized my wishy-washy phone personality, told me I had to be more aggressive. So I tried again, and when I used the advised "never take no for an answer" approach with an elderly woman, she finally said, "I'm sorry, dear, but I'm blind."
I apologized profusely, ended the call, and quit on the spot.
AMM: LOL!!! What is one fun fact about you?
DRO: I love Minecraft. It's my go-to comfort computer game, or when I'm stressed and need distraction but can't focus enough to read a book. For those familiar with the game: I play in survival mode, enjoy the mining part; I find it curiously meditative.
These days, though, I'm also playing Don't Starve. I just discovered this a few days ago and am TOTALLY HOOKED. I keep starving, though.
Debbie Ridpath Ohi writes and illustrates books for young people in Toronto, Canada. Her first solo picture book, WHERE ARE MY BOOKS?, debuted from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers in 2015. Debbie's illustrations appear in picture books by Michael Ian Black (NAKED! and NYTimes Notable Children's Book I'M BORED) and Judy Blume chapter book and middle grade reissues (Atheneum). Debbie blogs about reading, writing and illustrating books for young people at Inkygirl.com. Twitter: @inkyelbows.
WHERE YOU CAN FIND DEBBIE:
Blog about reading, writing and illustrating children's books: http://inkygirl.com
FB (personal): https://www.facebook.com/inkygirl
FB (kidlit/YA): https://www.facebook.com/DebbieOhi/