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Site Design and Illustrations by Lorian Tu-Dean (c) 2016

First Look at SWEET SUCCESS by Liz and Jimmy Reed

October 11, 2017

Liz and Jimmy read are local pals who make picture books for kids and create hilarious comics for adults. Their debut picture book contained conjoined twin cherries pitted against one another in a team challenge to create the best dessert. 

I mean, who doesn't love a good sibling rivalry story? And when the rivalry is against a sibling you literally can't avoid, tension will rise and the competition will be satisfying. Liz and Jimmy joined me on the podcast to talk about the book, and they even made this super cute book trailer for it.

I seriously watched this trailer 5+ times in a row because I enjoy the music so much.


Liz and Jimmy have been working on a sequel entitled Sweet Success and they're giving you a first look at the cover, plus a whole lot of other cool behind-the-scenes stuff.

Here's the description of the story:


Nothing makes Scoops happier than starting a sweet new project. She just isn’t the best at completing them. So when Scoops realizes that the Cherry Twins’ surprise birthday bash is today and that she never finished making their special present, she waffles about whether to go. Will Scoops play it cool and figure something out…or will she have a complete meltdown?


Okay, first can we talk about this productive ice cream cone named Scoops? Because not that I'm promoting eating your protagonists, but I totally get more work done after ice cream. Just sayin'.


The cover went through a few different iterations before it's final design. Here's one of the original designs:

Liz Reed walked me through the cover design process and has graciously offered to share.  I'll let her take it from here!


LIZ: We knew we wanted to have Scoops, our main character, on top of a hill to symbolize her uphill journey in the book. We played with a few options for what she should be holding. 

Scoops loves to create so the craft ribbon and scissors version shows her creative side. 

The blue ribbon sketch hints more to her success. Working closely with our awesome art director Erin Fitzsimmons, we landed on the blue ribbon design and added a race sign to prepare the reader for the journey their about to enter. 

The sign also ties into to our previous book in the "Sweet" series Sweet Competition. 


Scoops was made out of polymer clay, wire, foil, and acrylics. Here's Scoops in actual size to give you a sense of scale. (Photo credit: Laurie Keith)

The ribbon created using hand cut paper, glue and tweezers. It's only .5"! We used styrofoam covered in miniature grass for the hill, and blue scrapbooking paper for the background. The race sign was made using bristol board with a toothpick. With all of our creations, we try to use materials easily found around the house. It makes for a fun challenge and adds a personal touch.

We try to limit the amount of touch up needed for each image. In this scene, we used Photoshop to brighten the color, hide background paper lines, and round out the hill. Also, Scoops has a little bit of post work. If you look closely at her mouth in the gif, you'll see a slight circle around her smile. In order to avoid sculpting a new head for every scene, we designed Scoops with a little gap for her mouth that we could fill with clay. This allowed us to sculpt new expressions as needed. You will also notice the race sign was left blank in camera. Throughout the book we have loads of fun signs. We wanted a lot of freedom with the text so we added the words in post. We try to always shoot our dioramas with flexibility in mind. Reshoots can be a time suck, so if it is something small, like text, then we do it in post!




And just like that we have a cover! Here's a first look at the cover of Sweet Success, Liz and Jimmy Reed's sequel to Sweet Competition, coming soon from HarperCollins.

Will Scoops make it to the surprise birthday bash? Will she play it cool or have a complete meltdown? And what is with that amazing sprinkle-encrusted collar?! Love that!


I also love how these two books look side-by-side:

Thank you Liz and Jimmy for stopping by with such a sweet treat!


 Watch for Sweet Success coming in 2018!


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