I will confess it. I have illustrator envy. As a picture book writer teaching other writers to write picture book text, I am painfully aware of knowing only half the form. So it’s always like seeing magic unpacked when I watch writer-illustrators in action.
Last month at VCFA’s picture book workshop, Debbie Ridpath Ohi was a joy to behold. She was energetic, funny, honest, passionate about the picture book form, and more than generous in sharing her experience and knowledge with us.
And she was an empath! She managed to get at the heart and soul of what each student was trying to reach in every single manuscript, yet offered clear perspective on what was needed (or not needed) in each work in progress.
The questions flew. Light-bulb moments flared into being. We laughed a lot, talked a lot. It hardly felt like work to be digging this intensely into the form we all loved.
The day after I got home from residency, this arrived in the mail.
What joy! My very own portrait, swirling yarn in the thought department, or maybe ideas, or both? I’ll treasure this gift.
And there will be more. Watch this space for a guest post from Debbie on thinking visually, the form of the picture book, and anything else that strikes her dancing visual and storytelling mind.