Sketchbook

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.

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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.

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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?

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Continuation of Character Studies & Technique Experiments

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

charlie_headdown
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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.

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photo 2
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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

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

 

 

 

 

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Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author