Posts Tagged ‘Southern Breeze’

Local Authors & Illustrators Excited to Visit Students!

Filed under: Illustration,SCBWI Southen Breeze | January 9, 2013


SCBWI Southern Breeze PAL Postcard front 2013 designed by Shanda McCloskey


SCBWI Southern Breeze PAL Postcard back 2013


Hello! It’s a new year, and I was glad to have a project to do right away to get me warmed up to illustrating and writing in 2013! I’m excited for this new year, wondering what surprises (and hopefully lovely surprises) this year may have in store for me and my family. As I reflected on the past year, I am so very proud to be a part of the SCBWI community, my local SCBWI chapter: Southern Breeze, and my amazing, wonderful, how did I ever live without, local critique group of 7 incredibly creative folks!

So when I was asked by Southern Breeze to create a postcard for the published (PAL) members of our chapter I of course said yes! A chance to give back to one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of!

This postcard is for sending and handing out to schools and libraries in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. Basically, it’s a quick list of the published authors and illustrators living locally that are available to come speak to kids about reading, writing, and illustrating books. This list includes picture book authors/illustrators, middle grade authors/illustrators, and young adult novelists. And not ALL of them out there are on this postcard. More can be found at then click on Find A SpeakerIf you are a teacher, media specialist, or parent, please consider organizing a visit from a local published author or illustrator. I would have really benefited from a visit like this when I was in school. For most of my life, I assumed successful illustrators only lived in New York City or something – but that is NOT the case!

Until asked to design this postcard I didn’t realize Southern Breeze produced a promotion like this to reach out to schools and libraries. I think it’s amazing, and it just impressed me that much more!

Happy New Year, y’all! May it be filled with creativity and joy!


P.S.) After I created this postcard and sent it in, I realized that the young illustration may not be the best type of image to encompass all the different children’s genres. It’s okay for picture book folks and decent for some young middle grade/early chapter bookers, but I might have missed the boat on representing books for older children. And for that, I apologize. No one said anything to me to make me think this. It’s an observation of my own. Hey, I’m still learning :) If asked to do this project another year, I will definitely approach it with a more all-encompassing image. I DO hope I get to asked to do more stuff like this. I really enjoyed it!

Recap of Illustrator’s Day 2012

Filed under: Shanda's Journey | September 7, 2012


As I said in my previous post, Southern Breeze Illustrator’s Day 2012 was just awesome! We had award-winning illustrator and artist, R. Gregory Christie (pictured above) there urging us to take chances and get our work out there. He said- That’s the great thing about art. It keeps advertising for you no matter where it is. You never know who might see it in a public place, someone’s home, etc. (A chef bought a painting from him in a night club and it ended up in Oprah’s magazine one day :) Greg offerred very wise advice such as reminding us illustrators that we are responsible for the imagery in our books for young eyes. Kids don’t have the filters of experience; it hits them pretty literally. Also, how important it is to find a passion- a niche, and how important librarians are to kids, us, and the book market. Greg also has an entrepreneurial spirit – he said we are Americans- you can make your own book store if you want to. It was also comforting to me as an artist, that he has a hard time visualizing what his art will look like until it’s done. I know from my own experience that it can be scary sometimes how much of an “accident” art-making can feel. I know it’s not an accident, but I feel that out-of-control at times.

Then we got silly/funny/cool Peter Brown! Illustrator of “Children Make Terrible Pets” and “Creepy Carrots”. He’s a picture book super star, and it was such a privilege to hear him talk to us as fellow artists about finding our “style” or “artistic voice”. It was just nice to hear that this amazing illustrator once had all the same questions as I do now. I especially loved his method of making a list of all the art you love, then try to find patterns or any similar strings in this list. And then figure out how you can incorporate all those attributes that move you most into one style that is undeniably YOU. He ended his talk with us saying, “You definitely won’t get published if you give up.”



The last speaker was Kelly Barrales-Saylor, Editorial Director for Albert Whitman & Company. She gave sound business advice from her side of the industry about getting noticed and hired. She voiced her fondness of working with artists and said that we are, by far, the funnest part of her job :) She said illustrations should take the a manuscript farther than the writer could’ve ever imagined; to elevate the book to a level that simply wasn’t there before. She spoke on the importance of making a personal connection with industry people like herself (crap- that means I can’t let being shy get in my way anymore), platform, a current website, and a portfolio that shows published and unpublished work (so she can see what we art we choose to do for ourselves which reveals our passions). “Persistence pays off”, she said, “and be flexible.” “Try new things, but stay true to yourself. Never stop learning and growing.” Something I thought was especially interesting was that she said many publishers are asking for layered artwork from all artists (even traditional, non-digital artists) for the sake of ebooks and apps. So for example, an artist like me who works with paints may want to paint the background as one painting and the characters on a separate painting so they can be digitally layered together so scenes can be moved around if needed to fit standard book dimensions as well as ipad and e-reader dimensions (which are all different!) Kelly also encouraged using agents, because it usually just goes smoother when negotiating etc. etc. This woman really appreciates artists and presented the business side of things with truth and grace. I would love to work with her someday.

At the VERY end of the day, I finally got up the courage to go say hello to Kelly. I’m so glad I did, because she handed me her card! She didn’t provide her contact info to everyone at the event. I think she purposefully gave cards only to those who approached her. I learned my lesson right then and there, because I could’ve missed that opportunity altogether. Please Lord, heal me of my shyness! In all seriousness, I pray that prayer. I’m so outgoing and comfortable with my friends and family- I am! But the more I attend SCBWI events, the more they become like a family to me, and the more comfortable and open and un-shy I will become too. Thank you, Lord, for Southern-Breeze and SCBWI!

At the end of this educational day, my husband took me to P.F. Changs to eat. Here were our fortunes- a relevant ending to my day!

So that’s the run down of Illustrator’s Day 2012! Hope you enjoyed it.

Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author