Tiny Talk Tuesday with . . . E.B. Lewis!

lewis I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet E.B. Lewis at a LA conference. His work in watercolor is wonderfully rich in detail and expressive.

E.B. Lewis has illustrated sixty-five books for children. Yowsah! Lewis displayed artistic promise as early as third grade. He attended Temple University Tyler School of Art where he discovered his love for working with watercolors. In 1992, he began painting illustrations for the book, Fire on the Mountain, and his career as an “Artistrator” was launched.  E.B. Lewis has received numerous awards, including a 2003 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner for Talkin’ About Bessie; a 2009 Coretta Scott King Honor Award for The Bat Boy and Circle-Cover-353x400His Violin; a 2005 Caldecott Honor for Coming on Home Soon; and a 2009 Coretta Scott King Honor Award for The Negro Speaks of Rivers. He won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award in 2003.

His work is owned by numerous private collectors and sold by art galleries throughout the United States. His most recent book is Jacqueline Woodson’s, Each Kindness. You can find him at http://www.eblewis.com.

I hope you enjoy this special “tiny” talk.

ME: Finish this sentence. A perfect day would involve . . .

E.B. : Walking along the Seine river, with a special friend.

ME: Tell us something that has been in the vault. Something hardly anyone knows about you.

E.B. : Not ready to reveal those secrets, that’s why they’re in the vault.

ME: Describe your illustrating style.

E.B.: Poetic

ME: If you could sit and have a drink with famous artist/illustrator dead or alive who would it be, and why?

E.B. : Picasso. I’ve always loved is approach to art. He used his work to express what he felt about life.

ME: Who influenced your illustrating career/passion?

E.B. : Every artist I’ve come in contact with, both dead and alive in every genre.

It was my pleasure to interview E.B. Lewis. I thank you for taking the time to chat. I look forward to seeing more of your brilliant illustrations in the near future.


Tiny Talk Tuesday with . . . Akiko White

 untitled I had the pleasure of meeting Akiko for the first time at a SCBWI Houston conference. At Houston’s conference, this past April, I got to experience, first hand and up close, her cake artistry. (It was delicious, see below)

BmGAcCnCAAA-Y6LShe calls them, “cakelustrations.” I can see this word going viral someday and possibly getting a spot in Webster’s dictionary.

Akiko is an avid baker who recently included this aspect into her illustrations. She has been enjoying art and baking since she took a painting class with her mother and started baking with her grandmother at the young age of 4 years old.

She received a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the McNay Art Institute in 1993 and worked as a professional illustrator and graphic designer. In 2011, Akiko became the Illustrator Coordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators Southwest Texas Region.

Akiko recently won the 2014 Tomie dePaola award through the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. This first cakelustration was composed of a fondant and (of course) cake. Her recent picture book project is a poem by Eugene Fields about a Fly Away Horse. All her illustrations will be done with cake as my medium. Akiko is represented by Rising Bear Literary.

At the present, Akiko is enjoying life on the farm in the Texas hill country and gathers inspiration from her past, her children and the many animals on the farm.Profile%20for%20LA14%20portfolio

I am pleased she took the time from illustrating to answer a few simple questions for my blog friends.

ME: Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.

AKIKO: I’m a pretty good roller skater.

ME: I wondered, four-wheels or blades. I’m a four-wheeler myself.

ME: Do you have a nickname?

AKIKO: Aki. That is the name my friends called me growing up and it is the name that most of my family calls me. When I was in kindergarten, the children couldn’t pronounce Akiko, so they started calling me Aki.

ME: I think you have such a cool, original name.

ME: What is your greatest accomplishment?

AKIKO: Personally- having three healthy children and a happy marriage. Career- Winning the Tomie dePaola this past year.

ME: Life is good.

ME: What motivates you in your illustrating career?

AKIKO: Books, stories, movies and art. I get inspired from my peers too! That’s what I love about this career. We are all there to cheer each other on.

ME: What book character would you be and why?

AKIKO: I would like to be Stillwater in the book Zen Shorts by Jon Muth. I could sit around telling deep stories, paint pictures and eat cake all day long!

ME: Sounds like a perfect life.

I want to thank Akiko for our Tiny Talk and sharing some intimate details about herself. I wish her much success in her “cakelustrations.” I hope to see you again soon, Aki, my friend.

Tiny Talk Tuesday With Debbie Ridpath Ohi


When you visit any of Debbie’s social media pages you get a strong glimpse of her bubbling personality. Those big dimpled smiles are for real. I met this energetic bundle at a Los Angeles conference. I introduced myself, and she was exactly what I imagined. We chatted about her baby Sea Monkeys. I was impressed with their growth. She took top-notch care of those little floaters. But what Debbie is really known for are those adorable inked illustrations.

She’s a Japanese-Canadian children’s book writer & illustrator living in Toronto with her husband Jeff. She’s the founder of Inkspot and Inklings, one of the very first online writing communities and electronic newsletters for writers. Debbie ended up selling to a U.S. company, so she could focus on doing more creating and less administration/managing.

Debbie illustrated I’M BORED and NAKED!, two picture books written by Michael Ian Black, as well as some Judy Blume chapter books and middle grade titles. Debbie’s first solo book, WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? comes out from S&S Books For Young Readers in May 2015. You can find her on Twitter at @inkyelbows and at DebbieOhi.com.

As you can see she is soaring in her writing and illustrating career. Now to learn a little bit more on Debbie.


ME: How do you want to be remembered?

Debbie: With laughter.

ME: You easily got that covered. You’re a bundle of smiles.

ME: Finish this sentence. A perfect day would involve…

DEBBIE: A perfect day would involve reading an entire book for pleasure in a comfy chair, an afternoon nap and a two-player evening board game with my husband in front of the fireplace.

ME: Now all you need is a little snow to fall outside the window.

ME: What book character would you be and why?

DEBBIE: Douglas Spaulding from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, so I could see Green Town, Illinois through his eyes.

ME: Love his stuff.

ME:  What motivates your illustrations?

DEBBIE: Depends on the day and my mood, plus whether the illustration is for a book project. So motivation can range anywhere from joy, sadness, discovery, experimentation, an occasion and deadlines. But these are just a few reasons. Mostly I draw because I can’t help myself.

Me: I can relate.

ME: If you could have lunch with a famous artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

DEBBIE: Dead artist: Edward Gorey, because I’m such a huge fan of his work and am so curious about what he’d be like in person.

Living artist: Dan Santat. Same reasons as above but also because I love his social media posts, which are fascinating and funny and insightful. I’ve chatted with Dan online but haven’t had much chance to hang out in person yet.

Thank you so much Debbie for being part of my blog. It was a pleasure getting to know you, and I wish you many more successes. I look forward to our next meeting.