Friday, April 30, 2010

Yoda cake in progress

I am working on a Yoda cake for a Star Wars themed birthday party for my youngest son's best friend. Here is a quick pic. of the head "in progress". It is a bit freaky and well...creepy, without the eyes fully painted. Ha Ha Ha
I made the hands, legs, and head out of rice krispies, as they are lighter and easier to mold into complex shapes. Then I covered them with modeling paste, which is kinda like a combination of gum paste and fondant. I made the body out of chocolate cake, but I still need to cover it with fondant. No pic. of it yet, it looks like a big white mass so far, that vaguely resembles a little Buddha. Thank goodness Yoda is short and squat, so hopefully my cake won't topple over.
I am really liking how the wrinkly face turned out.
Fingers crossed nothing starts to slide around! At least he's old and wizened so even if the modeling past starts to droop a bit, it won't ruin it.
I will post a pic. once the cake is complete :)
Have a happy day....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cake Topper

One of my good friends is having a baby shower for her sister this weekend. She is having her first child, how exciting!  I was asked to make a custom cake for the event. One of my other fun-to-do things!  After all, gumpaste and fondant are very similar to plasticine.  I thought it would be really fun to make a custom cake topper in polymer clay to go on the top, especially since her sis has a really great, funky style. She wore this outfit to another party, so I managed to get a photo to use as reference. She totally rocked those striped socks and cool hat! I hope she likes it (fingers crossed). :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Email is now safe!

Hi Everyone,
After much anxiety and panic, I have resolved my email issue and it is now protected and activated again-yeah!! What a brutal headache. Feel free to use any of my emails to correspond. And again, I do apologize to everyone that received any messages from the phishing scammers.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Hi Everyone,
I just wanted to let you all know that I have had one of my emails hacked or phished. So if you received a strange email message about me being stranded in Scotland PLEASE DISREGARD!!!!!!
This message went out to ALL of my contacts. If you received it, I do apologize, and ask that you use my other email address on the right, for now.
Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Teacher "Thank-You" Gifts

Since my oldest child was in SK, I have made my own "thank-you" gifts for the wonderful teachers of our local elementary school. I have 3 children in school now, so I have to start thinking, sketching, and planning a little earlier every year. I don't mind though, because I really appreciate these fabulous teachers, and all that they do. And it is nice to give them a heartfelt gift that, I think, shows them how much I truely appreciate them.
Above you can see one plasticine illustration I did for my middle son's SK teacher last year. He really loved the ocean unit they did, so I thought I'd do a little illo. depicting him (orange shirt nearest the teacher), and his classmates listening to a story about oceans and the wonderous imagination that unfolds through her story-telling.
It was fun to do, now to get going on this year's ideas.....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Busy Little Fingers

The other day I decided to try to get some artwork done while my guys were all outside playing in the backyard....riiiiiiight...just when I thought I had the kitchen table to myself, thinking I could work and watch the kiddies at the same time, my 6 year old son comes flying through the sliding door " Whatcha doin' Mom, ohhhh...can I do plasticine too??" Sure I said. So I now had one little apprentice quietly working away next to me, trying to make camouflage after a quick demo. in colour mixing.  He created a great soldier (see above)  and had enough camouflage left over for some funky boots. Funny how all boys this age (and his brothers) are very interested in anything army related right now...well better a soldier than a weapon for once(geeesh)!

But wait... then there were two! About one minute later there was another little voice from beyond the screen door....."Mommy.....ummmm...can I play too?" This time it was my 4 year old son, not wanting to miss out on anything, and hoping to play too. Well, the more the merrier right? He pulled up his chair and got down to business pulling and kneading with fierce concentration. He was very proud to hold up his Seadoo (see above) half an hour later. He has had our cottage "on-the-brain" and can't wait to get up north once the warm weather is here to stay. Good job boys! Yup...another proud mommy moment.
Luckily my daughter, who is two, was very preoccupied in the sand-box and my oldest son, who is eight, was out with his Daddy for some "Daddy and me" time.  It could have been pretty cramped and crazy around the kitchen table!
And to top it off, I actually got a bit of my artwork completed too... yippee!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Plasticine Illustration Part 1-My Process

I thought I'd do a little tutorial of my process of how I go about creating a plasticine illustration. Since it is a bas-relief, I start with the background and work forward. So to begin, I cover a piece of illustration board with a thin layer of plasticine. This gives the other layers of plasticine something to adhere to. I usually choose a colour close to my background, so in this instance it is a light blue for the sky, and brown for the dirt and ground. I basically press and rub the plasticine into the illustration board with my thumb and fingers. I leave a 1/2 inch gap or so, of illustration board around the artwork, so that it can be framed without loosing any of the edge detail. I also cover these edges with "Press-n-Seal" to keep the edges protected and clean until it is framed. 

Next, I smooth out the rough, rubbed-on plasticine with my fingers, and begin to add and blend-in more colours for the background sky. As you can see above, I have added some darker blue at the top, and blended it into the lighter blue. I also added some light yellow, which will be at the horizon-line. I then added  some distant clouds.

From this next image you can see that I have added green rolling hills in the background, to map out the horizon. I added some light texture by stippling with an old toothbrush, and added a bit of warm yellow to the hills in the middleground, to begin to develope some depth to the illustration.
This will serve as the background for my two little mice in rubber boots.  I posted the sketch a few days ago. I plan to have my little mice walking along a muddy, gravel/grassy path, so now I need to develope those elements.

Next, I added some longer grasses, intermixed with some grey gravel. Again I used a variety of tools to give the gravel the proper texture and movement to the grass. I plan to add more once my mice figures are in place, but it is easiest to lay down some ground elements first which will be just behind them, and fill in more as I go. So, you can see how the background is taking shape nicely, and we are slowly progressing to the foreground. Of course, there is always a chance I have to fix something, or something gets smooshed :( If this happens I basically need to tear off the layers on top and do my repairs and then repeat the process to get back to this point.

For this illustration I decided to start to work on my little mice seperately since they are right in the foreground of the piece. I either use tracing paper or a sheet of Press-n-Seal to cover my sketch and work on top to get the proper sizing and keep true to my sketch. In this image you can see that I have begun to work on the dress and head of the mouse on the right. This is the really fun part because I get to add lots of details and textures...which I just loooove!
Well...this is as far as I have gotten so far, so stay tuned for Part 2 when I have more to share! I hope you found this mini-tutorial  interesting, and have now gotten the urge to rummage through your craft cabinets to find some of your kid's plasticine and try it yourself!! 

So go...go now...and try it, I just know you'll luv it too! :) Happy squishing!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The lollipops saved the day

I did this plasticine series for a friend of mine who has 5 great kids.  I am sure anyone with one or more children close in age, can totally relate to this dilemma. Why is it, that once you focus a camera on a set of otherwise happy-go-lucky children, and yell "ok....everyone say ...stinky cheeeeese", suddenly, as if someone flicked an invisible switch, everyone goes bonkers.... arms and legs are flying in a tangled mess of hollering kids?? I just don't get it?? Thank goodness digital cameras were invented. Now, at least we can delete those 50-100 doozies and keep that one golden gem of a shot that makes you melt.
If you look closely you will see that in the first illo the hubby is waving a hand filled with red lollipops to use as bribery...heehee...haven't we all resorted to this sort of thing at one point?? At least we can all laugh and find comfort in the fact that we are not alone in our sweaty, migraine-inducing, frustrating quest for that perfect family photo.
I know my friend got a good chuckle, and it was a blast to create for her. She writes a hilarious blog that chronicles the daily life of a busy mom. If you get a chance, DO check it out at "Five All Mine".

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring Sketch

I did this quick little sketch the other night, with the thoughts of spring dancing in my head. I was outside a bunch this weekend playing in the backyard with my "little ones", as the weather was so great. Doesn't the smell of spring, and the teeny chirping birds put everyone is such a good mood? It works for me!! My daughter was the inspiration for this piece as she just loves to clomp around in her pink rubber boots, no matter what she's wearing. And she is a magnet to puddles, so I gladly support her footwear choice!!

 I thought I'd do a "work-in-progress" post to show my process of doing a plasticine illustration. So stay tuned in the days to come for that! I think I may use this as a new header for my blog. My daughter is busy playing with the playdoh, and making me playdoh hamburgers and spagetti...yum! Gotta go, our tea party and yummy imaginary feast is about to begin! ;)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Muskoka Boathouse

Muskoka Boathouse
Originally uploaded by sdelrizzo

OK ...Who ordered this crazy cold weather. Mother nature can be sooooo mean! After giving us that glorious spring-like weather all Easter weekend, my kids and I were very annoyed to have to search for mittins and winter hats again in the rush to get out the door to school. So, as I sit with my cup of hot tea, wishing wistfully for warm sunshine to toast me up a bit, I am thinking about warm summer days lounging on our dock at the cottage.
My mom aways has a count-down of sorts, that begins in late winter of how long it will be 'til we open up the cottage. Because of that I decided to do her a plasticine illustration of our cottage so she can hang it up in her house and have a piece of it with her all winter long.

Doesn't it look sooooo inviting and relaxing.....ahhhhh summer, I can't wait!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Logo Design

In my journey to cross over from artist-for-fun, to professional artist and illustrator, I thought I'd better get crackin' on a logo to use on my postcard mailers, stationary etc. So, since I am not a graphic designer, I thought I'd download the free trial version of Adobe Illustrator CS4 and give it a try. Wow....I have developed a bit of a love-hate relationship with that programme. What a huge learning curve! But I am proud to have stuck it out and persevered. Yeahhhh!! I now have even more respect and admiration for those of you out there who do digital illustration using Illustrator, or Indesign. :)
I have to say Illustrator is really cool and addictive too! And I just scratched the surface of it's capabilities. It is now on my wish list(my poor hubby just about fell over when he eye-balled the price).
I also had the best time finding funky fonts! I must tell you about a very talented hand lettering artist and font creator, whose fonts really capture a playful side that is truly unique. Crystal Kluge is one talented lady! She does the most exquisite wedding invitations and the most gorgeous hand-drawn maps. She has created some awesome fonts that she sells through Tart Workshop. I think her font really gives my logo the fun, fresh look I was going for. Thanks Crystal!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I finally did it! After lots of encouragement and advice from some amazing friends and illustrators that I greatly admire, I decided to be brave, get "out there", and enter the blogging world myself.

My name is Suzanne Del Rizzo, and the mommy to 4 great kiddies. What can I say, my kids are my life, it's amazing how four little sticky-fingered little people can make life feels so much more "full" and now I can't imagine how life was like before they came along:)

Pre-kids, I used to work in a cancer research laboratory. But when I became a mommy my perspective on life changed, and I realized that even though I do have a passion for science, my passion for art and connecting with children was greater. I have decided to follow my dream, leave the science behind, and be an artist and hopefully(fingers crossed) one day become a Children's Book illustrator.

I love all mediums, especially watercolour and acrylic, but lately I have been totally smitten with plasticine, polymer clay, anything that I can squish and mold. I am a very tactile person, as are my kiddies, so the Playdoh gets cracked out in our house almost on a daily basis:)

I decided to try my hand at plasticine illustration after becoming inspired by the amazing plasticine illustrations of Barbara Reid. Her fabulous books really resonate with me and my children and anything that makes them want to read and turn the page is golden.

Pheewww, this is a big leap, but with the support and advice from the few illustrators I have found within the online community of Children's Book illustrators, I am going to GO FOR IT!! It is for this reason I have decided to start this blog. It will chronicle my journey, and hopefully provide a fun outlet for me when all the kids are running in circles around me.

I hope to post some works in progress and completed artwork, and would absolutely be thrilled to bits if any illustrators out there would like to share with me share their thoughts and critiques. Many thanks to Roz Fulcher, for her great advice and encouragement, and to Rachelle Anne Miller for taking the time(with a little one too) for the support and feedback.

Let me know what you think of my blog background. I had a blast, and got a little carried away with all of the funky digital papers out there to chose from- heehee. My header was created using a favorite plasticine illustration I did of the view from my Aunt Sharon's dock in Muskoka. I hope to change it periodically to share new illustrations.

Happy Easter to get that turkey prepped and in the oven...



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