On My Mind

A Tree… Always reaching. Always changing colors!

Filed under: Illustration,On My Mind | November 16, 2012
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Okay, so I’m trying to fit in an Illustration Friday sketch. The theme is tree. I know. It’s a stretch. But then again, not so much- I tried something new tonight. I’m reaching a little further into my artistic unknown. It might work out. It might not. Bare with me :)

I was admiring the work of LeUyen Pham tonight. I just checked out “Vamperina Ballerina” from the library. She’s amazing. I love how her characters have this retro-ness to them. Does anyone else see that? It’s marvelous. So I was inspired to play around with my own ballet character. She looks a little caricature-ish, but not as much as the first 10 I tried. I just need to work with her some more, but I wonder if this kind of stylistic character could ever be a part of my art? Maybe. I’m going to have to flow with the wind on this one, work with her some more and follow my branches, and see what the season has in store for me!

Happy Fall Y’all! (had to say it :)

Little Miss Muffet!

Filed under: Growing Up Artsy,Illustration,On My Mind | November 9, 2012

I can’t believe it… I did a painting just for ME! I enjoy doing portraits, and it was high time I painted Sweet Pea :) This painting was inspired by all the bazillions of spiders that this kid draws. I mimicked them as best as I could on this plywood.

And from all the children’s book studying I’ve done lately, I’ve become wondrously fascinated with childhood. It’s an interesting thing… a precious, fleeting thing. The best description I can give it is ‘the world that I believed I lived in before I grew up’. Hmmm… I think I’d like to do a few more of these paintings… with other cool kids and their drawings!

Sitting and Wading

Filed under: Illustration,On My Mind,Shanda's Journey | October 18, 2012


These past few weeks I haven’t felt much like drawing. No particular reason, but every time I sat down to draw- I ruined it. So I didn’t draw at all for several days. This was a good experiment for me. For the first few days it was freeing, like a burden lifted from my shoulders. The next couple days I started to get snappy and feeling like getting published traditionally was a mountain too high for me to ever climb. Self-doubt can consume me. I heard a few success stories of others that brought me down … from jealousy I’m embarrassed to say. Sometimes I think that unless you live in New York City, just forget it. And then that just makes me mad, because there is so much beautiful culture in this country beyond what is found in one or two cities. The Southern culture is incredibly interesting and brave with a code of its own. Maybe I should think about incorporating the South into my work more! But I’m sure it’s like an accent. Other’s can hear it even when you don’t think you have an accent at all :) And so I ramble…

The moon has been incredible lately. I can talk best to the Lord when I look at the moon. I know He is working on me. I know this. So why do I grow impatient? I know that God has a plan just for me that no one else can have… a path paved JUST FOR ME. So why in the world, do I feel sad when others around me seem to jump ahead of me? I know I really don’t want my dreams to come true unless it’s in God’s plan for me. At a time when He is ready for me to have it. The reason is because I’m human. My spirit is willing to wait, but my body and mind is weak when it comes to actually enduring that wait. I am wise enough to know that I can’t do it alone, and I don’t  want to. When I draw for myself, I stink at it. But when I draw while leaning on Him, I’m always amazed!

I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23

When I can shut-up the other voices in my head, and let the part of me that knows Christ best speak, it reminds me that God loves me so much! Even more than my mom! And that little feeling inside my heart that just knows I’m going to be used in a big way was placed there by God to get me through this season of waiting.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Psalm 37: 4-7 

Writing this post has helped me sort through some thoughts… thanks for listening. I’m left with the notion of how special this waiting season is. It gives me time to spend with my two-year-old and husband. This is not a season to be sad about. I want to enjoy it, and I can just give my worries, dreams, and burdens to the Lord and have a truly joyful heart – now! My Lord is “on it!” So, I’m about to go enjoy dinner with my sweet family … thank you, Lord, for the times you give us to simply sit and wade.

 

For All the Teachers

Filed under: Favorite Picture Books,On My Mind | August 3, 2012

Here is a very special teacher from The Dot by Peter Reynolds. Great book! One of my all-time favorites!

Image from “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds

School is back, and I still get this nervous excitement in my gut. It’s the same feeling I always had as a kid starting a brand new school year. Even as a teacher I felt that way before meeting my new classes. But I’m not going to school and my daughter isn’t old enough either. I guess I’m just excited about a brand new season for me, my work, and Fall!

Image from “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds

Image from “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds

I’ve been thinking a lot about the teachers I’ve had and the things they taught me that still stick! Theres a lot. I’m sure there’s more, but this is who sticks out in my mind…

Mrs. Satterfield (3rd grade) was like a ray of sunshine when I was a new student.
Mrs. Raynor (4th grade) was cool to read the Wizard of Oz to us aloud- the movie was different from the book! And I can still sing the states in alphabetical order.
Mrs. Miserri (5th grade) made history pretty neat.
Mrs. Cheek (6th grade) was funny and made her own quirky worksheets.
Ms. Driver (7th grade) scared me into being organized!
Hugh McMillan (Sunday school) showed me that the Bible is a history book.
Mrs. C (high school art) saw something special in me and pushed me on to accomplish some cool things.
Robert Sherer (college painting) told me I didn’t belong in the art education program (that was his way of saying I should be a painting major) I was flattered and frustrated at the same time.
Joe Remillard (college drawing) really taught me to draw the best I’ve ever drawn before.
Monica Wellington (SVA teacher) showed me that you can be kind, simple, quiet, AND successful even in a place as harsh as New York City. Amazing illustrator/author example!
Elizabeth Dulemba (Southern Breeze SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator) is a fantastic author/illustrator to watch and learn from. She shares industry nitty gritty all the time whether it be on her website, in conversation, or email. She doesn’t know it, but she’s a mentor of mine :)

Image from “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds

Image from “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds

Vashti’s teacher never hears “thanks”, but you later see Vashti using the same encouraging technique the teacher used on her on a fellow student who claims he “can’t ” just like she did. So this post is for ALL the teachers out there. You definitely made a mark on me by daring me to make mine. Have a fabulous year!

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Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author