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.