Author-Illustrator Spotlight: Shanda McCloskey


© Shanda McCloskey

May 18, 2018

Today we're delighted to feature author-illustrator Shanda McCloskey and her debut picture book, DOLL-E 1.0 (Little Brown for Young Readers, May 1, 2018).

Be sure to enter the giveaway for a copy!




Tell us about your background and how you came to write and illustrate for children.

I wanted to be an Disney animator as a kid, then I became an art teacher as an adult. Neither were the right fit. But when I truly asked myself what I longed to do, I knew I wanted to make art and have a part in something pretty big. That's when I turned to my picture book collection and visualized this future!

© Shanda McCloskey


Congrats on your recent book, DOLL-E 1.0. Tell us about it and what inspired you.


Thank you! One day, I was playing dolls and stuffed animals with my 2-year-old daughter, who naturally liked books and movies with robots in them. While we played, she said her doll was a robot. And that idea just flew all over me! I ran to write it down, and the next few weeks I researched robot picture books to see if this idea had been played out before. To my surprise, it hadn’t. And not only that, but ALL the robot-themed books I found in that time were made with boy readers in mind. A robot book with a bit more girl-appeal was definitely needed.

© Shanda McCloskey


Was your road to publication long and windy, short and sweet, or something in between?

I traveled about 10 years to publication, getting to know the industry and getting to know myself as a storyteller.

© Shanda McCloskey


Tell us about your illustration process.

My process starts with a pencil drawing which I scan and clean up on the computer. Then, I print the drawing onto watercolor paper with a printer that prints on very thick paper with water resistant ink. After the print sits overnight, I paint with watercolor on top. If I ruin it, I just print and paint again until it's right.

© Shanda McCloskey

© Shanda McCloskey

What advice would you give to aspiring illustrators?


Just keep plugging along ... drawing, reading, writing, learning new things, experimenting, meeting people … and you WILL eventually see fruits from your labor :)

© Shanda McCloskey


What is one thing most people don't know about you?

Most people don't know that I struggled with vision health issues during the making of DOLL-E 1.0. It's a long story, but I DO NOT recommend LASIK. Just trust me.

© Shanda McCloskey


Where can people find you online?

Web: shandamc.com
Instagram: @shandamccloskeydraws
Twitter: @shandamccloskey


Shanda (rhymes with panda) comes from a whole family of different kinds of artists! She studied art in Atlanta and New York City. But before writing and illustrating kids books, she taught art to high-schoolers.
Shanda is the mama of two young girls and the wife of a cute web developer. DOLL-E 1.0 is her very first book about robots or anything for that matter!
DOLL-E 1.0 published May 1, 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

© Shanda McCloskey

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22 comments:

  1. I love DOLL-E 1.0 so much, and I think the tagging chicken has a great story to tell too! Congrats Shanda!

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  2. I love that your 2 year old inspires you! I have four children and they are my greatest inspirations and idea givers. Thank you for sharing!

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  3. I love the way movement is shown in this book!

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  4. Unique idea. Can’t wait to read!

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  5. What a great idea for a PB. Perfect title, too. Congrats, Shanda!

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  6. Thanks for bringing more robots to the PB world! I look forward to reading.

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  7. Thank you all!! I am so mad at myself for not talking about my critique group! (So I’ll do it here:) ... I highly recommend find a group of like-minded people to share the journey to publication with you. My group is a critique group, a support group, and a cheerleading squad for each other! I could NOT have navigated this ups and downs of this business without them and still be alive to tell my tale 🤪

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  8. This book looks fabulous - I bet my girls would love it!

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  9. Congratulations Shanda. It must be true your critique is fabulous as one of your partners, who is very dear to me, is also one of my critique partners and if you guys are all amazing like that, you are very blessed to have each other. Your story is so inspiring,and it truly makes me believe that at the end of the day, will power and heart will lead the way to one's dreams. I have been waiting to read Dolle-e for a long time and I might not win this rafflecopter, but rest assured your book will be on my shelf. I am so happy for you.

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  10. What a fun story and illustrations!

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  11. I love the story about how you got the idea for this inventive book. Thanks for sharing today!

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  12. This is such a great idea. Can't wait to read it.

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  13. Congratulations! Your book sounds wonderful.

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  14. Love the scenes you shared from Doll-e 1.0 & look forward to reading it. Congratulations!

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  15. This looks so fun! I can't wait to read it!

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  16. What a great idea for a picture book! Also, I've learned about several illustrators that use your printer/watercolor technique. I must try it! Thanks for sharing.

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  17. Engaging story and illustrations!

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  18. I really like the illustrations! Congrats on the book!

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  19. Delightful! Looks like fun! Congratulations!

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  20. This has definitely been a favorite of 2018. Thanks for sharing your journey!

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