Filed under: Events, Illustration, On My Mind, Shanda's Journey • October 30, 2013

Man, the past few weeks have spun me around! Here’s the list in order of the craziness…



1. First of all, I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t attend another writing/illustrating conference without a book dummy! So, for 2 months I tweaked my best story, Dollie 1.0, and prepared a sample dummy for the WIK Southern Breeze SCBWI conference in Birmingham, AL. I learned SO VERY much during the dummying process! So much, that once I finished the dummy for the conference, I knew it was just a place holder for much work still needed on it. A little disheartening, but I’m growing tougher. I am still a work-in-progress and so is my book. But it was great to lay even a work-in-progress dummy beside my portfolio display. Definitely a step up in the right direction.

spread1_2 spread2


2. The Birmingham conference was nice and familiar territory. But this time I went with a few of my writing group homies! 2-night stay in a hotel and all :)



3. After the conference, I got some wonderful feedback on my story/dummy from this writing group as well as from Author/Illustrator, Sarah Francis Hardy. Now, I’m about to rework the entire story to focus my message more. I love pulling together the framework of a story. It’s the stringing together of words that intimidates me.

4. We had a Friends Family Pumpkin Carving Shin Dig!

photo 1 copy

spider cookie

5. Ball Ground Public Library asked me to fill their display cases with my artwork to share it with the community! I sure do love my local library and the people there. It is a cool opportunity, so I took it!

photo 3 copy

photo 2 copy

6. I helped my mom (NuMe Natural Soap) prepare for the Country Living Fair in Atlanta, GA. She makes natural soap. I helped build displays, wrap soaps in fabric, paint signs, and think strategically, etc. It was a great weekend, and a beautiful distraction!

fairpass photo 4 setup

7. Then I had a scissor accident! I cut a tiny tip of my finger off while cutting string for soap wrapping. You know, I try to do do something nice…

photo 5

8. I sent out a new set of postcards to art directors. Who the heck knows if they ever catch anyone’s eye?! But my options are limited until I have a killer book dummy/dummies to send out.

9. I’m trying to sketch more each day. I joined DOODLE DAY on Facebook for some inspiration and prompts.

photo 3

10. I’m registered to participate in Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo)! Where I vowed to come up with 30 picture book ideas in 30 days… should be interesting.

11. And now I’m getting back to my blog! I hope to have a new “A Picture Book & A Project” post soon!

12. Last but not least… I signed up to attend my first National SCBWI conference in New York City in February 2014! This is a huge step for me. I know I will leave with a sense of where to go from here. Benny is going with me! He works with a company located across the street from the conference venue. Cool, right?!


So, that’s what I’ve been up to, but I’m eager to get back to a steady work routine to pump out work… great work I hope.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN with HJ’s pumpkin! I think it’s pretty cute.
photo 2




Comments: »

  • Amazing!!! Well all accept the cutting your finger part! I am so excited about your trip to NY and can’t wait to hear about it when you get back ;) you inspire me all the time Shanda!!

    Comment by Shannon Marrs — October 30, 2013 @ 11:20 am
  • Ha! Thanks, Shannon! Right back at you- I want to make words “sing” like you do!

    Comment by Shanda — October 30, 2013 @ 3:22 pm
  • Your art work is amazing, Shanda! The display at the Ball Ground library reminded me of all your awesome student displays at Creekview! Can’t wait until you are a world famous author/illustrator!

    Comment by Ruth Fleet — October 30, 2013 @ 2:04 pm
  • Thank you, Ruth! It means a lot that you came to read my blog!

    Comment by Shanda — October 30, 2013 @ 3:23 pm
  • i JUST LOVE YOUR WORK. AS AN AUTHOR/ARTIST I am trying to illustrate my next book but man, I do art on wood, i have a hard time developing a style for my book. You should be so proud of your natural ability to develope such style. :)

    Comment by tESS — October 30, 2013 @ 3:19 pm
  • Thanks so much! Your working on wood is AWESOME! Don’t let that make you feel like you don’t have style- that IS style! I have struggled with a “style” too, and many folks will tell you not to search for a style and just make art. But I found that bad information. I love many types of art, so I have to really focus on a look I’m trying to create. Sure, most of it happens by accident and practice, but some is very deliberate. For me, anyway. I’m still learning.

    Comment by Shanda — October 30, 2013 @ 3:28 pm
  • HOLY COW!! You’re a busy girl. And yay for getting to go to the NY Conference. You are going to have a blast!! I’ve never been and am dying to get there.

    I absolutely love this post–shows how much work it takes to make it in this biz.

    Also, I love getting to see your fantastic work!!

    Hope you’re not left handed.


    Comment by Sarah Frances Hardy — October 30, 2013 @ 4:39 pm
  • Ha! Luckily, I am right-handed! Thanks for commenting, Sarah Francis! I’ll fill you in on NYC! It’s probably a little early in my journey to go, but then again, is it ever too early to be brave and see what happens? I’ve been talking to Lori Nichols about her experiences going to the NYC conferences for a while, and she says it’s pretty awesome!

    Comment by Shanda — October 30, 2013 @ 4:53 pm
  • Always love to read what you’re up to, Shanda! Congrats on the conference in NY! Love the drawings/artwork displays, etc. _and_ your persevering spirit! Keep seeking Jesus through all your ideas and dreams, He will guide you,…perhaps to places you never dreamed of going! Praying for you just now, :)

    Comment by Nelda — October 30, 2013 @ 7:45 pm
  • Thank you, Nelda! I appreciate the prayer sent on my behalf :)

    Comment by Shanda — October 31, 2013 @ 4:11 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author