Renee Rivas

"Old Fashioned Candy Shoppe"
by Renee Rivas


  1. Nice focal point in a wonderfully busy scene! Are you doing this for a book or a particular story? It would be fun to see more from the same project!

  2. My first thought is that I love all the colors. They scream candy. Also I am impressed that you were able to bang out a new illustration so quickly after the conference. I like the concept too. What kid doesn't love a candy shop?

    It looks like in this piece you are moving away from a "trade" style and more of a mass market or Highlights style. Which is groovy if that is your target. A friend of mine has published over 300 hidden pictures illustrations for Highlights and he LOVEs working for them. So it sounds like they are a great company and this style is right up their alley.

    I like that you have you included two different ethnicities. However, I think you could push it further on the whole inclusive angle. In this most recent copy of the SCBWI bulletin there is a great article about not just making ethnicly inclusive art and stories. You can read it online at: http://coloringbetween.blogspot.com/ . Giving the African American girl the same eyes and nose as the other girls makes it feel a little like – ‘ “coloring in” faces with varied skin tones, but all Caucasian features’. Then again you want to avoid – “portraying people of color in stereotypical ways”. So that is a tough tight rope to walk. The African American girl does not seem to be “doing” anything. She just sort of seems to be admiring the red heads lollipop. It would be nice if the composition were a little more opened up so that we see more of what she is doing or holding. Or… Maybe move the African American girl to the front and have her buying something. You could get away with the blonde girl sitting in the back better I think. This would address two do not dos listed in the SCBWI article 1. “adding background children and adults of color, none as significant characters” 2. “always situating white children front and center”.

    On the opening it up bit… I think you could add even more depth by pushing back the shelves behind the girls. Ya know maybe see the actual layout of the store. The back row feels a little too dead parallel which makes it compete more with the fore ground than it should .

    Having said that. I think this illustration has so much potential. It is just begging to be made into a hidden picture. You must have driven yourself crazy drawing all those caramel wrappers. I totally want to steal that pink lollipop right out of the picture. I think kids would have a great time looking at all the detailed candy.

  3. Hi Y'all,

    Thanks for the comments... I am going to check out that article, Lauren! You gave me some great things to think about that I haven't really before.

    The initial concept for this illo was for Illustration Friday, the topic "Old Fashioned." I was thinking about candy stores I used to go into as a kid, particularly Cracker Barrel's (although I know the colors were a big deviation from the topic-- I wanted something a little contemporary and fun). I didn't quite make the deadline to post it on IF (just finished it last night).

  4. I think it is a great idea for old fashioned. I think the colors work because old fashioned candy shops are colorful. :)

    I find illustration Friday so challenging. I think I am a slow worker and I have a tendency to over think things. Ergo I have a super hard time conceptualizing and executing an illustration in one week from a single word. I wish they would post prompt sentences instead of words.

    I just sent a concept sketch to Elizabeth to post. I would love your input on the: 1. Composition 2. Expressions 3. Anything else that strikes you at this pre-paint phase. Working with Mark Brought pre-portfolio day made me realize that I can sometimes get so wrapped up in the paint, rendering, and concept that my composition suffers. So I am trying to slow it down and focus on my compositions.


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