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Graphic Novels: A Brain Workout

Filed under: Uncategorized | July 1, 2022

I didn’t grow up reading comics. I am a new lover of the comic medium. When I found stories AND informational books in comic form, I fell in love.

But it wasn’t super easy to read at first. My brain was used to reading prose, so it took me a minute each time I opened a graphic novel to recalibrate to this form of reading. Kids seem to read comics so effortlessly, but my adult brain can tell you that there’s a lot going on up there when you read a graphic novel!

Have you (grown ups) tried one yet? I’m telling you – it’s a great brain workout!

And I’m not just making this stuff up…

“Traditional text is limited to presenting the same information sequentially. But when we read comics, we simultaneously interpret a multitude of visual information such as setting, mood, time, emotion, dialogue, and action.” (Read the full article here.)

My Favorite Informational Comics:

My Favorite Story Comics:

Grownups, I hope you’ll try a graphic a graphic novel THIS summer! If you do, you’ll appear much cooler (than you already are) to the kids in your life!

If you are already a reader of graphic novels, what’s YOUR favorite one to date? Comment below! I’d love to know.

Join me for a special story time at the Computer Museum of America
July 1st, 1PM

Filed under: Uncategorized | June 27, 2022

Computer Museum of America
5000 Commerce Pkwy
Roswell, GA 30076

Tech Tales – Storytime for Young Explorers.

Each week, children will hear stories about computing, technology, creative problem solving, space, robots or famous people in tech. Following the story, children will dive into a fun (and shhhh…educational) hands-on activity. Plan to arrive earlier or stay later and visit the museum exhibits. Consider a membership and bring the kids for multiple Fridays. For group reservations from daycare centers, please email info@computermuseumofamerica.org in advance. Tech Tales, free with admission, starts at 1 PM and runs from June 17th through July 30th. Recommended for ages 5 – 10.

July 1, 2022
Doll-E 1.0 and T-Bone the Drone
Guest Reader: Shanda 
McCloskey, Author of Doll-E 1.0 and T-Bone the Drone
Author and illustrator of Doll-E 1.0 and T-Bone the Drone Shanda McCloskey will read her books and lead the activity this weekProblem-solving and technology go hand-in-hand as these protagonists save the day. This is Shanda’s second year reading at Tech Tales. She will teach youngsters how to draw her characters and then fly a drone. Participants will also fly mini indoor drones. (Shanda will have books available for sale.)

July 8, 2022
Computer Decoders
This week we are learning about ‘Hidden Figure,’ Dorothy Vaughn, who loved all things numbers! Computer Decoders delves into the life of a fascinating woman who was a highly respected mathematician. This story describes how Dorothy had to overcome many challenges with grace and perseverance. After the story, Children will learn how to convert a special date into binary code.

July 15, 2022
What Do You Do with A Problem?
Today’s book is What Do You Do With a Problem? This story is a heartwarming tale for anyone who has ever dealt with a problem. No one is too young to learn the importance of courage and persistence. Children will put on their engineering hats after the story and solve for how to grab something just out of reach.

July 22, 2022
One Giant Leap
One Giant Leap is this week’s selection and we’ll be reading near the Lunar Module replica in the Tribute to Apollo exhibit on the moon floorChildren will learn more about the 1969 moon landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. After the story, participants will create their very own moon rover.

July 29, 2022
Rosie Revere Engineer
We are wrapping up this summer series reading Rosie Revere Engineer. This story follows a young girl who has aspirations to one day become an engineer. Where some see rubbish, Rosie sees inspiration to create something great. After the story, children will become engineers for the day by building and then testing their own structures. Just how much weight can their creations bear?

My new backyard studio shed!

Filed under: Uncategorized | March 8, 2022

Over my girls’ February break from school, our family worked our tushies off rearranging the rooms in our house.

The master bedroom got moved upstairs and my daughters FINALLY got their own rooms downstairs which left me without a workspace. Soooooo…. I got a shed! My husband gets all the credit for this. He gave up his little woodworking space and fixed it up for me!

Check it out…



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

Filed under: Uncategorized | March 8, 2022

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.

Shanda’s Books + Toys Holiday Gift Guide

Filed under: Uncategorized | October 21, 2021

Click here for the PDF with links to buy!

Thank you to everyone who has ever read/purchased one of my books, left a review, or invited me for an author visit!

Happy shopping!

Storytelling in a box … or rather… in a blog post!

Filed under: Uncategorized | March 6, 2021

I’m still beating out the story of the young graphic novel chapter book that I’m working on. I’m pretty sure I told you guys about it before… the one about the rock who is constantly trampled and turns into a mean tough guy but finally figures out how to be tough and friendly when he joins a floral punk bandPunk Rock? Well, I got as far as sketching out the first chapter (50 pages!) and sharing it with my online comics critique group. They loved the character, the art, and the premise of this odd little punk story, BUUUUUT the story and the way I begin the story still need work.

So… I have committed to going back to the basics of good storytelling to relearn how to make it sing! And I’ve put together this email full of what I’m reading and what I’m watching so that it might help others. Enjoy!


What I’m Reading:

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder is a CLASSIC storytelling book for grownups. I’m reading it for the first time and although there are some chapters that only apply to writing movies, this book has been eye opening!


What I’m Watching:

THIS video series is truly awesome! It’s called “PIXAR in a Box” and it’s on the Khan Academy website. There are 6 lessons, but you only need the first 3 (unless you are an animator). I got so much out of this as an adult, but I can see it being phenomenally useful in the classroom too! (Probably best for ages 3rd grade and up.)


Storytelling Kit For Students:

I made these graphic organizers with teachers and students in mind! Feel free to download them here and have fun writing your own stories.

Happy writing!

-Shanda

How-to-draw A Rose (step by step)

Filed under: Uncategorized | January 20, 2021

It’s the second day since BEDTIME BALLET has been out in the world! Will you celebrate by drawing a rose with me? And PLEASE share YOUR rose drawing by tagging me on Instagram.

Click the image below for the printable page.

Bring Ballet Into Your Classroom!

Filed under: Uncategorized | January 18, 2021

Tomorrow is the official birthday (release day) of my new book, BEDTIME BALLET, written by Kallie George and illustrated by me! To celebrate, Im sharing lots of ways for educators and homeschool families to bring the art and practice of ballet straight into their classrooms…

In this post, you’ll find:

  • Kid-friendly, ballet exercise videos to get you and your students moving while learning basic ballet moves and terms.
  • A video to inspire boys
  • Video replay (available until Feb 1, 2021) of mine and Kallie’s book launch which includes an inspiration conversation, read aloud, and a drawing tutorial!
  • A collection of my favorite picture books, chapter books, and non-fiction books that twirl around ballet
  • Printable student activities

Videos to move and inspire:

Replay of book launch, read aloud, and drawing lesson (Available until Feb 1, 2021): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hmXNheDUPI&t=74s

More great ballet books for kids:

Welcome To Ballet School, a kid-friendly, technical picture book written by Ashley Bouder, illustrated by Julia Bereciartu

Brave Ballerina, a picture book biography written by Michelle Meadows, illustrated by Ebony Glenn

Dear Ballerina, a picture book by Monica Wellington

Pippa By Design, an educational fiction chapter book written by Claudia Logan, illustrated by Chesley McLaren

Vampirina Ballerina, a picture book written by Anne Marie Pace, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Bunheads, an autobiography picture book written by by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Setor Fiadzigbey

Here’s an affiliate link to all the ballet books recommended in this email: https://bookshop.org/lists/my-favorite-ballet-books-for-kids

Printable activities to celebrate BEDTIME BALLET:

Thanks for reading this post and welcoming my new book into the world with me! I’d love to know if any of these activities or videos were useful and all the ways YOU brought ballet or dance into your classroom.

Curtsey,

Shanda

My illustration process for “Little Red Writing Hood and the Big Bad Editor”

Filed under: Uncategorized | December 1, 2020

Happy December! My family just got back from visiting family in Franklin, TN, but before we traveled we got our Christmas tree put up! It was so nice to come home to it :) But now I’ve got to get to serious illustrating business, because my February 1st deadline will be here so fast!

For this post, I wanted to share a little of my process (which changes with every book)… Enjoy!


SKETCH: I started sketching out the characters and thumbnails back in February for this book – pre-covid. When I had the whole book roughly sketched out with pencil, I scanned each spread and assembled the drawings into a multi-page PDF, which I sent to the editor and art director at Aladdin/Simon&Shuster. Then, the pandemic hit and I didn’t hear back about the sketches until August! Good thing they liked the direction I was headed in and didn’t have too many notes/changes. Here’s one example of a spread that DID require changes…



FINAL DRAWING (just the lines): According to the notes the editor and art director gave me, they felt that we needed to compress several panels into one full spread. So I came up with this new composition…



They loved it! So I pulled the sketch into Procreate on my iPad and traced over it- “inking” it so to speak into crisper line work…




COLOR STUDY: After the drawing is finalized, I print it out small (4 times) on one sheet of 300lb Arches hotpress watercolor paper so I can experiment with colors. This step is SO IMPORTANT to my work not looking “clowny” using all the colors. A color study really is a game changer – believe me I’ve done both (with and without)!



None of the color studies (above) are perfect, but it gets me far enough to be able to confidently paint the real thing larger. I think the top left sample comes closest to what I’m aiming for.

I was inspired by the colors in these books. Do you recognize them?




FINAL PAINTING: Now, I paint bigger, life-sized, about 90%. I work at this size so it comfortable fits back onto the scanner when the painting is complete.




PHOTOSHOP TOUCHES: You lose a lot of umph and color in the scanning process, so I use Photoshop to pump up the color saturation and I can also add in little details that I may not have thought of beforehand. Can you see the little fish I added nibbling on the upside-down muffin?



Ta-da! Here’s where I ended up (after a little back and forth with the art director first). This could go through a few more changes depending on feedback from my art director, but I think it’s pretty close. To know for sure, you’ll have to compare this email/post to the final book when it comes out in Spring of 2022!


I hope you enjoyed this look into how I work! And keep an eye out for Little Red Writing Hood and the Big Bad Editor (written by Rebecca Kraft Rector) in Spring 2022!

All my very best!

-Shanda

A Book That Fits In A Stocking!

Filed under: Uncategorized | November 23, 2020

What gift fits in a stocking but arrives after the holidays??

Bedtime Ballet of course!

I hope you’ll consider pre-ordering Bedtime Ballet written by Kallie George and illustrated by me (Shanda McCloskey) as a gift for your little dancers :)

BONUS: Print out the foldable card above to slip it into a gift bag or stocking!

Warmest wishes!

-Shanda

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Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author