Illustration

Wormal (a comic by Shanda McCloskey) #6

Filed under: Illustration,webcomic | November 28, 2023

Wormal (a comic by Shanda McCloskey) #4 & 5

Filed under: Illustration,webcomic | November 28, 2023

High Schoolers Dig Author Visits Too!

While they didn’t laugh (as much) at my cornball jokes or appreciate my robot-voice-changer as much as the elementary kids I typically visit do, we had a fantastic time anyway–making CHEESY COMICS at Union County High School!
This 2-day writing/illustrating workshop began with cheese drawing lessons and students created their own “cheesy” character (a literal slice of cheese). This worked well because a slice of cheese is basically a square and is drawable at any skill level. Then, we interviewed our characters to find out their wants, fears, strengths, weaknesses, personality, best friend, etc.
On the second day, we wrote a cheesy story (based loosely on 7-step storytelling) for our cheese character by putting them up against their greatest fears or biggest enemies! Last, we folded zines and filled them with our cheesy comic stories and shared them aloud :)
I was impressed by many of the concepts that came thru in the students’ short comics. There were silly stories, love stories, and even tragedies (which circled back to funny because it was cheese :)I love how Jae (below) barely used any text at all and told her story mostly through pictures.
Awww!
An Author’s Valentine…If you loved one of my books, would you pleeease write a short (seriously, it can be super short) review on Amazon?

Three Printable Activities to go along with reading Nubby by Dan Richards and Shanda McCloskey

Peek into the art process for NUBBY

Filed under: Illustration,My Books | October 11, 2022

NUBBY (written by Dan Richards) is my next illustrated book! It comes out January 3, 2023. It’s about an under appreciated stuffed bunny who sets out on a long journey (just around the culdesac) to find a better life. It’s a sweet story about home and family (even though they can be maddening at times).

I related well to this story because my family (especially my kids) drive me insane half the time, but there’s really no where else I’d rather be! Truth be told, I drive them nuts too :) And I’m so grateful they take me back after I lose my marbles, over and over again.

or these illustrations, I drew the line art on Procreate on my iPad.

Then, I printed the line art onto watercolor paper and traditionally painted the values (lights and darks) using only black.

Last, I scanned in the black and white painting and brought it back into Procreate on my iPad to colorize the brush strokes using a “color” layer. Finishing touches were added in Photoshop.

I think this book might be my prettiest yet. I really enjoyed drawing and coloring digitally while still being able to do some traditional painting too. The lines seems sharper and the colors less “muddy” than some of my illustrations in previous books.

Wow, 10 years makes a difference!

It’s so true.

Yesterday, my husband (Ben) texted me the image (below left) and said “You’ve come a long way in 10 years”.

side by side old work and new work

These postcard images were created by the same artist (me) and had the same theme (little red riding hood) with a frizzy red-haired character. The difference is 10 years.

That first image is odd, right? Not very kid friendly and extremely stiff. It humbles me to look back at this, because now I remember what a beginning beginner I was!

Sometimes I forget. But looking back at this reminds me how patient and kind other creators and industry professionals were with me at conferences or other bookish events. They didn’t dismiss me and say “you just don’t get it”. Thankfully, they found tidbits of good in my work and praised those things while also giving me gentle nudges to improve over and over and over again.

My dreams were never crushed, and I’m so grateful for that.

Little Red and the Big Bad Editor cover

Just 2 weeks until Little Red hits shelves!

Preorder below!

Read It Again Bookstore (Suwanee, GA) Request a “signed by Shanda” copy in the order comments.

Little Shop of Stories (Decatur, GA) Order 2+ books for free shipping!

Bookshop.org

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Book Depository (International)

I invite you and your family to join me at Read It Again Bookstore in Suwanee, GA on Oct 8, 2022, 12-2pm. This in-person event is perfect for Kindergarteners, 1st graders, 2nd graders, and their teachers. We’ll be reading, drawing, coloring, and writing a thank you letter just like Little Red!

Everyone will get a bookmark and stickers, and of course I’d love to sign a book for you or your class :)

Teachers: I’ll be giving away one FREE in-person writing workshop for students! All attending (K-5) teachers will be eligible.

Read It Again Bookstore
3630 peachtree pkwy, suite 314
Suwanee, GA 30024

Thanks so much for reading!
Love, Shanda

My Daughter Did Something Brave

Art by Harvey McCloskey
Today, my 12 year old opened her first online business with RedBubble to sell her art designs on various merch! She has one design so far, but buyers can get it on shirts, bags, pillows, phone cases, etc. She hopes the sales will help her to start saving for a car (which she will need in 5 years).

But as any creative soul knows all too well, putting your art (aka your heart) out there in the world is a very vulnerable and brave thing to do. And the very first response she got from a friend this morning was, “why is everything so expensive?”. That little comment from a particularly close friend crushed her. She immediately felt dumb for even trying.

Man, it flew all over me as a parent and an artist. No wonder living a creative life is so hard. You have to believe in yourself. Be near others that believe in you too. Hugs, my creative friends!Check out her store for yourself and feel free to comment and send some words of encouragement for her. I’ll read her every one!
Check out Harvey’s Store!

A First Look at Little Red and the Big Bad Editor!


Little Red and the Big Bad Editor written by Rebecca Kraft Rector, illustrated by Shanda McCloskey (me!) and published by Aladdin, will be published September 6.

I’m just giddy about this book! It’s a book-smart vs. street-smart kind of story, and it was a blast to illustrate. Not only is it packed with fun and action, but also full of learning how to craft a proper letter— finger spaces between words, when to use capital letters, a greeting, and a closing. (Truth be told, my 11-year-old could benefit from this book :)

In this clever and playful fractured fairy tale picture book, the Big Bad Wolf is so distracted by Little Red’s poorly written thank you note to her grandmother that he keeps missing the chance to eat her!

Here’s a peek inside the book!













I hope you enjoyed this peek into the book!

LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR will swoop into stores on September 6, 2022.

Mark as Want-to-Read on Goodreads, or pre-order now from your local bookstoreBarnes & Noble, or on Amazon.

The Little, Brown Picture Book Event!

Filed under: Events,Illustration,Shanda's Journey | February 28, 2018

Before the details of this awesome trip to NYC slips my mind, I wanted to write about it here.

Every year, Little, Brown hosts a Picture Book Event where they invite media, book stores, and librarians, etc. to see original art from their upcoming Spring books. They also get to meet 2 author-illustrators tat are a part of that Spring list. Caldecott Medalist, Sophie Blackall, was the main attraction as she spoke about her beautiful upcoming book HELLO LIGHTHOUSE. And the other author-illustrator was ME! I spoke about myself as a new kid on the block and my debut book, DOLL-E 1.0. (My anxiety meds work well, because I wasn’t nervous!) Let’s just say, the attendees got to know the real Shanda – southern accent, tripping up on several words, a few tears and everything when I shared about my eye struggles. Why not? This is me :)

The space where the event was held was decorated with my characters and Sophie’s too! Each place setting had Doll-E and Lighthouse Valentines, sweet hearts candy, and a magnifying glass to find clues in the presentations. It was the cutest! And I finally got to meet the team I’ve been working remotely with in person: Andrea Spooner (my editor), Hallie Tibbetts (Andrea’s assistant), Jen Keenan (my art director), and Saho Fuji (art director) among others! I felt so welcomed and celebrated. It was a breakfast (and lunch) I’ll never forget, because I know this doesn’t happen to everybody, and it may never feel like this again … but that’s why this blog post is here … to document this wonderful moment in my journey!

Shanda “like panda” slide sketch in my presentation.

 

Me and Sophie

Office of fun!

Signed my very first book!

The COVER of Doll-E 1.0 is out! (and some SCARY failed attempts).

Ta-da!!! The final cover:

 

 

I’m really proud of this cover … my FIRST cover! We (me, Andrea Spooner, Jen Keenan, and Saho Fuji) experimented with several cover ideas before we came to this perfect conclusion! Since this was my first book, I was really intrigued by the process of working with a team that wanted the cover to look cool as much as I did. I am very lucky an honored to have worked with these women who knew much more than I did about great cover design.

Here’s a few of our ideas that didn’t pan out, looked too busy, or worse – looked a bit SCARY …

 

 

Doll-E 1.0 comes out May 1, 2018 and is available for preorder now!

I sincerely thank each of you who are cheering me on and reading this post! I hope you’ll join me in the countdown to book release day by signing up for my email newsletter (at the bottom of my website), so you’ll be sure to know where I’m doing story-times and book signings to celebrate next spring!

With love and excitement,

Shanda

P.S. What do you think of the cover? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author