Filed under: Illustration, On My Mind, Sketchbook • March 6, 2014

color_image by Shanda McCloskey


Something has been missing for me lately. I’m not quite sure what it is, but I think it might be real paint. Not that I was ever a master painter, but it bothers me that I’ve gotten so far from painting since I’ve tried working digitally. I’m feeling like I should bring some paint back into my work somehow, at least in the backgrounds. ┬áThe Ladybug Girl series is a beautiful example of watercolor backgrounds with flatter characters on top. So is Winnie the Pooh, and some Calvin and Hobbs. I’m not sure to what extent I can do this, but I’m willing to start experimenting. I’d like illustrating to feel good. Lately it has been a real struggle in my heart. Most of what I create, I hate. Is that normal? I hear it’s normal to make more mistakes that triumphs, but it’s getting ridiculous!

I understand why someone would quit now. It’s a roller-coaster ride for your mind, heart, eyes, and brain for what seems like it should be so simple. Ha! Not simple for me!

I couldn’t sleep last night so I put some watercolor down on paper, scanned it, and put it behind a character I drew. Something about it is sort of nice. Next I’d like to try a real scene with characters interacting and details of the setting. Hopefully, I’m on the right track.

Comments: »

  • This is beautiful I love it. Don’t give up. I found your blog when searching children’s illustrations a few weeks ago and your blog has been so fun to read. Someday I would love to be a children’s book illustrator too. I’ve never worked digitally, what program do you use? You can see my latest illustrations on my blog. Thanks for all the good stuff on here! I think you have a lot of talent!

    Comment by Juliana Hall — March 28, 2014 @ 12:36 am
  • Thanks for the compliments and for reading my blog, Juliana! I use Photoshop when I work digitally, but I try not to rely too heavily on it. I think I ‘m a stronger artist when I work with my hands and real art materials. But if you want to learn a little more about working digitally, you should check out Will Terry’s website. He has links there where he teaches lots of digital painting courses. Good luck on your journey!

    Comment by Shanda — May 6, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

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Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author