Growing Up Artsy

A Picture Book & A Project: “I’m Bored” and how NOT to be bored with a potato!

"I'm Bored" by Michael Ian Black, Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012

“I’m Bored” by Michael Ian Black, Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012

This kid is so bored she starts talking to a potato that thinks SHE is boring! So, she has to set the record straight: Potatoes are boring and kids can do ANYTHING!

SHANDA: I am taken with these cute, yet wild illustrations! And I love the illustrator’s success story. She really thought she was more of a writer, but was discovered big time at an SCBWI portfolio showcase!

HJ: (She likes to say “I’m bored” in a potatoey voice). If you can imagine that.

Now, grab a potato, a parent, a knife, paint, and paper! The best way NOT to be bored with a potato is to make potato stamps! Have fun!

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Here’s a great link to show parents how to cut a potato stamp!

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We made a gift bag with our stamps… but kids can think of lots of cool stuff to decorate! What can you come up with?

 

A Picture Book & A Project: “Little Mouse” and drawing a mouse!

Sometimes your mommy might call you her little mouse, but that’s silly because you’re probably nothing like a mouse at all!

"Little Mouse" by Alison Murray DISNEY HYPERION BOOKS, 2013

“Little Mouse” by Alison Murray
DISNEY HYPERION BOOKS, 2013

SHANDA: I have been hungry for a new book! So, I let myself walk into a bookstore and judge the books by their covers, literally! I didn’t read this before I bought it. I just loved the art, and took it home :) Lucky for me, the writing is lovely too. It’s really a book of comparisons and what animals you might be similar to. I am drawn to the color palette, lines, and shapes this illustrator uses. My favorite page is the precious hug at the end. The simplicity isn’t too simple for me. This is the sweet spot I’d like to find in my own work.

HJ: I like this book because I’m not like a mouse either!

 Final mouse drawing :)

Here’s the project… Learn to draw a mouse on your own! Watch the video below…

 

How to draw a mouse: tutorial by a 3-year-old from Shanda on Vimeo.

Lesson #5: Kids Are Amazing (a lesson from Pirate Portraits at the library!)

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I just got home from a fun morning with 18 of the coolest kids in town at the Ball Ground Public Library! And they’ve got SKILLS! There’s just something extra neat about younger kids and their confidence in their art. I’m used to teaching big kids (high-schoolers) who are much more scared of failing. I was really nervous at first teaching these younger ones, but I was reminded how amazing kids are. They made me feel so welcome and comfortable and happy :) Just another reminder that I’m in the right place, pursuing the career of my dreams. If I keep doing stuff like this as an unpublished illustrator, I’ll be “fit as a fiddle” when I need to do workshops and talk to kids, etc. as a published illustrator.

Look how great these portraits turned out!…

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I think it was a hit! And I’m so grateful for everyone who came today! And thanks for letting me know you had a good time!

Love,

Shanda!

PB&P: “The Paper Bag Princess” and paper bag fashion design!

A Picture Book & A Project: "The Paper Bag Princess" written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko and paper bag fashion design!

A Picture Book & A Project: “The Paper Bag Princess” written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko and paper bag fashion design!

Elizabeth was a beautiful princess about to marry a handsome prince, then one day a dragon ruined everything… or so she thought. The tragedy taught Elizabeth how to spot a bum… and just in time!

"The Paper Bag Princess" written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko ANNICK PRESS, Seventieth printing, 2012

“The Paper Bag Princess” written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
ANNICK PRESS, Seventieth printing, 2012

SHANDA: This book was sent to HJ by some NYC friends. No wonder this book is a classic! The story is super fun and packed with a very important life lesson about the danger and stupidity of being in love with one’s image whether it be a forest-burning dragon or a royal prince or princess. The art has a nostalgic look for me (from the 80’s). It’s funny, unreal, and too real all at the same time. Great for young and older kids. HJ ALWAYS says “AGAIN!”

HJ: I like her paper bag, because I love it!

Image from "The Paper Bag Princess"

Image from “The Paper Bag Princess”

 

Now let’s embark on some paper bag fashion design! You’ll need: large paper bag, small paper bags, markers, sticky rhine stones, scissors, dolls to dress.

 

 

Step 1: Cut holes in paper bags for head and arms.

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Step 2: Design your paper bag princess dresses however your heart desires.

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Step 3: Try them on and play!

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This project could be made more complex for older kids with trimmings, belts, beads, tiaras, etc. Let them get as creative as they want. Happy fashion designing! (I would love to get photo emails from kids who enjoyed this project :) For more books and projects visit “A Picture Book & A Project” category.

Love,

Shanda and HJ

 

A Picture Book & A Project: “Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover” and make a pizza!

"Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover" by Cece Bell

A Picture Book & A Project: “Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover” by Cece Bell and making a pizza!

Rabbit and Robot have a sleepover, and rabbit has a checklist of fun things to do and a certain order to do it in! When things don’t go exactly as planned, Robot helps Rabbit learn to go with the flow and still have a great time :)

Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell CANDLEWICK, 2012

Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell
CANDLEWICK, 2012

SHANDA: First of all, I’m TOTALY into robots right now! Second, this artwork made me smile. It’s simple, sweet, accessible, and highly effective. I just love it. This book is more like an easy reader, lots of pages, with simple words like Dr. Seuss books. The ending and little happenings along the way were cute and subtly surprising. HJ asked for this one several times, night after night :)

HJ: I like when the robot put nuts and bolts and screws on his pizza!

Image from Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell.

Image from Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell.

Now let’s make a pizza just like Rabbit and Robot did… (Make 2 pizzas if you want different toppings on each one.)

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Hope you enjoyed this post!

Love, Shanda & HJ!

 

 

Lesson #4: Attempt Being Friends with Technology

Work in progress… painting in Photoshop.

Work in progress. Painting in Photoshop on screen.

Work in progress. Painting in Photoshop on screen.

I’ve felt in my gut for a while that I needed to learn some more computer art skills. I already have a good foundation knowledge of Photoshop and I use it often to enhance photos for the  blogs and websites that I help with. Up until now, I’ve only used Photoshop to brighten my artwork before printing it or posting it.  CREATING with it is over my head. But… I took a little course called “Digital Painting in Photoshop” by illustrator Will Terry. He is a great teacher, and this course has eased my concerns so much. I’ve just started my first digital illustration painting in the style that Mr. Terry demonstrates. I literally just started, so… stay tuned- I’ll post my progress :)

I am aware that the competition in children’s illustration is fierce. There are so many really talented folks sending out to the same publishers and agents that I am. So, I feel I can’t be a stranger to the technology that could potentially help me work FASTER to create MORE work for my portfolio. The more I create, the better I will become. Also, I think it’s increasingly more appealing to work with artists who are technically-able, even if just for scanning and sending high res images over the internets :)

My Ben snagged me a Wacom Tablet for my birthday, so I could really give this a fair shot. I must say, I really like it! I would have bet money on me mostly hating it, and that I would have to force myself to use it. But I found that it’s easier! That’s all I need.

Computers in the studio

Computers in the studio

My almost 3-year-old embraced digital painting before I did, so I’m already behind…

 

 

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Thanks for stopping by!

-Shanda

 

 

 

 

A Picture Book & A Project: A Sick Day For Amos McGee and Feel Better Balloons

A Picture Book & A Project: A Sick Day for Amos McGee (written by Philip C. Stead, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead) and making Feel Better Balloons!

A Picture Book & A Project: A Sick Day for Amos McGee (written by Philip C. Stead, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead) and making Feel Better Balloons!

Amos McGee was a very reliable and busy zookeeper, but he always made time for his friends: the elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros, and owl. One day, Amos did not feel well and stayed home, but don’t worry- his friends made time to help him feel better!

A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead. ROARING BROOK PRESS, 2010

A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead.
ROARING BROOK PRESS, 2010

SHANDA: I noticed this book in a bookstore several years ago, because the beautiful illustrations caught my eye! Then I noticed it was a Caldecott winner! The pictures are realistic, yet cute, sweet, and expressive with simple backgrounds. The printed textures and colors are lovely. I picked it up and read it. It touched my heart and made me all warm inside.

This is another husband and wife author-illustrator combo! I love that! They now have a few more books out together since this one.

This is a nice bedtime book as it is calm and comfy. Let your little one look for the bird, mouse, and red balloon throughout the book! We have probably read this book together 100 times :)

HJ: I like the elephant on the bus. And Amos McGee!

Now, on to the Project! Let’s make time (like Amos’s friends did) for someone feeling under the weather… We can take or send a Feel Better Balloon to them!

What you'll need to make a Feel Better Balloon

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We hope you’ll help somebody feel better this week :) Also, I’d love to see the art you create from this post- email me if you like, and I’ll show it on the blog!

Love, Shanda & HJ!

A Picture Book & A Project: Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad (by David Soman and Jacky Davis) and painting rocks like bugs!

 

A Picture Book & A Project: Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad (by David Soman and Jacky Davis) and painting rocks like bugs!

A Picture Book & A Project: Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad (by David Soman and Jacky Davis) and painting rocks like bugs!

Ladybug Girl is so excited to have the perfect playdate planned with her friends (the bug squad). She wants everything to be just the way she imagined! But when an unexpected catastrophe arises, Ladybug Girl has to deal with it like a hero.

Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by David Soman and Jacky Davis DIAL BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS, 2011

Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by David Soman and Jacky Davis
DIAL BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS, 2011

SHANDA: I like this book because it has a female super hero, and it shows that even good girls make mistakes, and heros don’t run away when things get hard. Lots of character building built into this fun adventure!

David Soman and Jacky Davis (husband/wife team) hit a home run with introducing the Bug Squad characters! These characters have the potential for many different adventures (and still room to maybe meet new friends/squad members in the future.)

I am awed by the beauty of the artwork! The painted/fine art-like backgrounds with the comic/inky characters on top is a lovely and exciting combination throughout all the Ladybug Girl books. It meshes painting and illustration in a new way for me.

This book is longer than most modern picture books, but it absolutely works. HJ (3 yr old) is captivated all the way through! She asks to read Ladybug Girl series books more than any other books these days.

HJ: My favorite part is when Kiki gets mad.
SHANDA: Why?
HJ: Because I like her!

Well there you have it! Our project is a scene right from the story…

Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad

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We hope you enjoyed this very first “A Picture Book & A Project”! Now go have a blast reading and creating with your sweet peas :) Also, I’d love to see the art you create from this post- email me if you like, and I’ll them on the blog!

Love, Shanda & HJ!

Lesson #3: Give Your Blog Readers Good Free Content (& they’ll probably be excited about your books too :)

This lesson I learned from my Southern Breeze Illustrator Coordinator, Elizabeth O. Dulemba. About 5 years ago, she started offerring a FREE coloring page every Tuesday on her blog. Every Tuesday. For 5 years (and still going). Wow!

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Readers loved it. Teachers loved it. Librarians loved it. Kids loved it! Her blog blew up! Coloring Page Tuesdays are hotter than hotcakes! Now she has a super nice platform of readers to tell about her new books when they come out! Genius! And she did this by GIVING!

So, the lesson here is the title above: Give your blog readers good, free content, and they’ll probably be excited about your books too! At this point, they would probably be willing to buy your books for their kids, kid’s friends gifts, nieces, nephews, classrooms, or themselves.

Well then, what can I do on my blog that could serve a similar purpose? Of course, I would not copy Elizabeth’s coloring page idea, so I thought about my own strengths, experiences, and what I enjoy. At this point in my journey, I like to experience lots of books and learn from them. Especially picture books. Reading with my daughter is my favorite way to spend time with her. We are both into books, and can have a lot of fun together. I’m not the best to get on the floor and play each day, but reading is different. We read together just about every day.

Our Reading Chair

Our Reading Chair

I love to see what books she asks for again and again. Reading together is such a great way to learn what kids respond to, and the breadth of their understanding of a story. It’s that stuff and so much more! Here’s a great quote from The Encyclopedia of Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books:

A picture book may seem like a simple proposition- a decorated story. In fact, a picture book contains several modes of expression and can contain multiple layers of meaning. What a picture book “means” to a child is more than just a story with illustrations. From an early age, children learn what a book is, how to hold it the right way up, the order in which to turn the pages, and how to read- first the images and then later the words. The imagery may be “realistic” or entirely graphic. Imagery and colors may form patterns throughout the book, accruing meaning as motif; white space may imply content and demand that the child mentally “fill in the gaps”; and the illustrations may expand on and extend the information in the text. Sometimes, the illustrations may even tell a different story. This tension between what is said and what is shown makes picture books a unique and exciting form of graphic expression.

So I’ve decided to offer up picture book suggestions that my daughter and I both enjoy and why. I’ll share my point of view, and then she’ll share hers :) But I’m also going to add an art element to it, and we’ll demonstrate a project to do with your little ones that expand on the book and are fun! And there you have it! I think I’ll call it “A Picture Book & A Project”.

I try to do it once a week, and my projects will be suited for young kids for now, My daughter is just about to turn 3. But as she grows, so will the complexity of the projects.

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Which books will she pick??

Be on the lookout for “A Picture Book & A Project”. Coming soon!

-Shanda

P.S.- Notice anything different about the look of my site? It’s nice to change things up every so often :)

Illustration Friday: Liquid (and other art on the beach!)

Filed under: Growing Up Artsy,Illustration,Sketchbook | May 23, 2013

Abby on the Beach

Just got back last night from a wonderful beach getaway! We went with friends who also had a precious little girl :) These beach beauties were my muse this week! And perfectly fitting for the latest Illustration Friday prompt: liquid. We played in or beside liquid all week!

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HJ beach drawing

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HJ got really good at sand sculpting during our stay.

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And so did I… I present my greatest beach masterpiece: “The Princess and the Mermaid”!

 

Ha! -Shanda

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Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author