Posts Tagged ‘illustration’

HONK! It’s Finished!

Filed under: Illustration,Shanda's Journey | May 7, 2014
Open book backdrop by Shanda McCloskey

Open book backdrop by Shanda McCloskey

I have been meaning to post this for a few weeks now. Things have been pretty crazy around here as we buckle down and get ready for baby girl #2 to arrive! She’s not due till July, but because we live in a pretty small house, we’ve had to really think and work out our space. My husband can’t work here at home anymore since we need his office for a baby room, and my office no longer exists either. I’m going to have to “think like a New Yorker” and separate a space in my living room or bedroom for a small studio area. Ben has rented an office elsewhere, but I’m going to need to be home most of the time caring for my small kiddos.

Anyway, I got off subject :) Here is the work I did for “Honk!”, a musical! You might remember my first post about this project here, when I completed the promo poster. This post is the rest of the work I did for the project.

Above, is a closeup of the open book backdrop that will stay on the stage the entire time. Then they had me add the bookshelf (below). Each book on this shelf is a Hans Christian Anderson story held together on the shelf by duckling book ends. The actors and actresses will enter and exit from behind the open book, and perform in front of this the entire performance as if the characters from the book have literally jumped off the page to tell the story. I’m not sure the example below is perfect to scale, but the stage will look something like this…

Honk backdrop by Shanda McCloskey

Honk backdrop by Shanda McCloskey

To vary some of the scenes, they had me do these next three back drops…

Cat lair backdrop by Shanda McCloskey

Cat lair backdrop by Shanda McCloskey

These images will be mounted onto 4 triangular columns that can separate and rotate to change to change scenes.

Farm and pond backdrop by Shanda McCloskey

Farm and pond backdrop by Shanda McCloskey

Marsh backdrop by Shanda McCloskey

Marsh backdrop by Shanda McCloskey

I learned a lot about scanning and printing resolution for a project of this size. The open book itself will be printed at 8×12 ft I think, and the the rest of these images at 8×8 ft.

I am so proud of this project, and I truly hope my work serves this production well! Can’t wait to see it all come to life :)

Honk the musical, background art by Shanda McCloskey


And here it is in action!

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.

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.


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 :)



More Charlie…

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

oops by Shanda McCloskey


scientist by Shanda McCloskey

It Feels A Lot Like Wrestling…

Filed under: Illustration,Shanda's Journey | August 30, 2013

…to write a story, create the best character in words (and then in art),

…then tweak the story, tweak the character (words and art),

…..then tweak the story, the character, question your purpose in writing… or life for that matter, etc. (repeat until you need therapy).

AND THEN ADD in drawing a character CONSISTENTLY!? I’m telling you- writing/illustrating picture books is so hard. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Here are 3 out of 6 views I’m trying to make of Charlie. There’s a 4th in there, but I’m undecided if that one looks similar enough. She started off very young and sweet in my earlier sketches on this blog, but the more I work on my story, hear feedback, and draw, this is who she has become- I hope I’ve made the right choices  :)

Some of you told me that you enjoyed seeing the sketches before they were colored so here you go…


Continuation of Character Studies & Technique Experiments

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



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!


Studying a character…

Filed under: Illustration,Sketchbook | August 7, 2013

charlie by Shanda McCloskey

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.



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

Illustration Friday: Liquid (and other art on the beach!)

Filed under: Growing Up Artsy,Illustration,Sketchbook | May 23, 2013

Abby on the Beach

Just got back last night from a wonderful beach getaway! We went with friends who also had a precious little girl :) These beach beauties were my muse this week! And perfectly fitting for the latest Illustration Friday prompt: liquid. We played in or beside liquid all week!

beach pic 1

HJ beach drawing

Beach pic 2

beach pic 3

HJ got really good at sand sculpting during our stay.

sand mermaid

And so did I… I present my greatest beach masterpiece: “The Princess and the Mermaid”!


Ha! -Shanda

Getting To Know A New Friend…

Filed under: Illustration,Shanda's Journey,Sketchbook | April 17, 2013

Shanda McCloskey Illustration

I’m not sure if we could be great friends, but I want to get to know her better! She seems interesting, artsy, kind, considerate, and curious. I think she wonders about her future, her purpose, how to use her talents. We have so much in common!

Shanda McCloskey Illustration

Today, we met for coffee.
Tomorrow, who knows?!

Shanda McCloskey Illustration




Ruta Scared by Shanda McCloskey




Ruta Sweet by Shanda McCloskey

I like her.
I hope she likes me too.


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Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author