Sketchbook

Headed to NYC today!

Right now, I am sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting on my flight to New York City to attend my first SCBWI national conference.  I have my love, Ben, beside me, which is nice. He works in New York often, so it was awesome that we could travel together!

ny14scbwi

I have always dreamed of attending the NYC SCBWI conference, although now that I’m headed there today, things aren’t exactly as I imagined them being. Not a bad thing, just different, because (if you didn’t know already) I am 5 months pregnant with another precious girl! And I feel really great these days, so I knew I had to seize this opportunity before I have a newborn in my life again :)  I also got to experience a full body pat down for the first time at the airport! I didn’t want to walk through the x-ray scanner being pregnant and all. The lady really explored my maternity pants. I guess you could really hide some stuff in all that extra stretchy fabric!

February has been a busy, packed month preparing for this adventure. My to-do list looked almost impossible for the month of February (March will be the same way), but I did everything! It’s amazing what a little planning can do. Here’s a little bit of what I was working on for this trip:

 

Illustrating a mandatory assignment for the illustrator’s intensive…

Research:

snowwhite_research

Thumbnails:
snow_thumbnails
Character sketches:
snowwhite_sketch
Layout Sketches:
snowsketch
snow_sketch2
Value Study:
value
Color:Snow White by Shanda McCloskey

Preparing my portfolio for the Portfolio Showcase… (I am really looking forward to seeing other’s portfolios and how they crafted and organized them.)

portfolio

It also helped that my 3-year-old started a little preschool program this month. So, for 2 mornings each week I had work time to myself, and it was really fun to see HJ discover school, have a Valentine party, overcome some shyness and anxiety, learn about frogs, learn to write her name, choose a packed lunch or what the other kids were having, and be picked for a table cleaning job. This was all stuff she told me about when I pick her up after lunch.  I also can’t forget about the help and support I have from my mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law when it comes to HJ. She is one loved little girl, and I know she’ll be happy and safe all weekend (having 3 different slumber parties with them) while I’m gone.

supermanI miss her though! 5 days is the longest I have ever been apart from her. I know she’ll be just fine, but it feels really strange still. We found PINKY, the owl, in our bed this morning :)  So, I brought her with me!

pinky
Okay, here we go!

Honk! I Got A Gig!

Filed under: Illustration,Sketchbook | February 12, 2014

"Honk!" poster by Shanda McCloskey
Every now and then, an artist will get an opportunity that they just can’t pass up. That’s what happened when my friend, Anna in Brooklyn, emailed me about this job/project about a month ago. She is directing “Honk!”, a musical based on The Ugly Duckling story, and she needed a promo illustration, and 4 background illustrations (that felt like a vintage children’s story book) within 2 months. I didn’t really have time for it, but I felt in my heart it was worth squeezing into my schedule somehow. At this point, I’ve only completed 1 of 5 illustrations, but it’s a great start I think. The poster above is the completed promo piece.

thumbnail
Honk Sketch by Shanda McCloskey

I colored this sketch digitally with my Wacom tablet. A weakness I believe I have is color. So, I found a vintage book cover online (which happens to be an Ugly Ducking book) and selected its colors in Photoshop and used them to follow a color scheme on my own piece. I learned so much by doing that. Colors can be VERY deceiving. You may think you are seeing blue, but that’s only because of the colors around it. If you select it, it may actually be green or something.

photo

This was also a nice challenge for me as I need more illustrations with backgrounds in my portfolio. Backgrounds don’t come all that natural to me. I’m more of a character person, and find that I avoid backgrounds… too much. I’m definitely still a work-in-progress as an illustrator, but I’m very happy with the way this turned out.

Stay tuned for the other illustrations in this project. I hope I like them as much as this one :)

 

 

Playing with color schemes…

Filed under: Illustration,Shanda's Journey,Sketchbook | September 16, 2013

Should Charlie be blonde or black?

charlie_hugging_doll2charlie_gazing_atdoll2oops2

 

More Charlie…

Filed under: Illustration,Shanda's Journey,Sketchbook | September 6, 2013

oops by Shanda McCloskey

 

scientist by Shanda McCloskey

Consistency?

Filed under: Illustration,Shanda's Journey,Sketchbook | August 29, 2013

charlie_happy_withdoll

charlie_mad
charlie_headdownShe seems a little older in the two top ones. But which do I want … younger or older? What is most appealing to you? to kids? And should I make her hair black? Maybe that would lighten up the features?

sketchday2

Continuation of Character Studies & Technique Experiments

Filed under: Illustration,Shanda's Journey,Sketchbook | August 21, 2013

charlie_headdown
ch

 

This is another view of Charlie from a story I’m working on. I started this sketch in pencil. Scanned it. Painted it digitally with some things I’ve learned (from Will Terry) in combination with my gut feelings on how to move the digital paint around. It’s pretty cool how un-digital it looks! I mean, I think so :) Stayed tuned for more studies of Charlie!

-Shanda

Studying a character…

Filed under: Illustration,Sketchbook | August 7, 2013

charlie by Shanda McCloskey

Lesson #6: Draw More

charlie_sketch1

I was proud of myself this week. I drew almost every day. Drawing is just as important for an artist as exercise is to every body, and we KNOW this, yet we can slip into times where we don’t do it for days, weeks, and even months. After I had my little girl, I was so mad that I’d let 6 months pass by without making art. Now, to my defense, having a baby just about did me in, but it is what it is, and that’s no way for an aspiring illustrator to be.

I am feeling like I really have to make some choices that will define how I spend my time from now on. Some of those choices is to draw more, every day if I can. I found that when I spend more time drawing, I feel more prepared for an illustrative future (like I’m getting somewhere), which makes me feel happier and calmer, which allows me to be more “present” while playing with my daughter. They say, moms who take care of themselves, take better care of their kids. I can see now.

And each day that I drew, it felt progressively more natural, and even easier maybe. If that’s the case, can you imagine if we drew (almost) every day for years and years? I believe we’d actually get pretty good!

I am working on the look/feel of a girl character in a story I just completed the first draft on. Looking forward to the feedback I get at my critique group this Wednesday night! They are wonderful, and I know it will become a better story with their help.

Here’s my progression through this week…

charlie_sketch2

charlie_sketch3

charlie_sketch4

Illustration Friday: Robot!

Filed under: Illustration,Sketchbook | July 23, 2013

robot_book_character by Shanda McCloskey

This one has a little bit of digital details, but I’m not sure I like the color and contrast as much as the originals below.

photo 1
photo 2
photo 4

 

I love this one the most. I like the high contrast, and simplicity in the hair. These were brightened(exposure) on my iphone Photoshop app. Somewhere here is where I want to be.

-Shanda

 

Digital Painting Progress & A New Sketch

Filed under: Illustration,Shanda's Journey,Sketchbook | July 6, 2013

Gabby's Hair by Shanda McCloskey

So far, I am enjoying this process. The ability to take more risks with colors, strokes, and lines (because it is easily reversed if I don’t like the result) is priceless. It’s pretty freeing and liberating. I am so glad I decided to try this new digital territory. I feel like it’s going to be important in my journey to publication.

This morning I had the luxury of a quiet morning alone with a cup of coffee and my current favorite music :) I know I need to draw every day if I possibly can, even if just for a quick few minutes. So, I camped out in my yard and drew my neighbor’s house across the street. A single dad lives there. It is too cute that he hangs a wreath on his front door! 

 

Burt's House by Shanda McCloskey

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author