Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Multi-Talented and Multi-Dimensional Suzanne Del Rizzo

Suzanne Del Rizzo does wonderful dimensional illustration.  She works in "plasticine and sometimes polymer clay and mixed media". I fell in love with her images in first sight. Who wouldn't? Suzanne has won many awards for her book. I'm so glad she could come on and share her process! There is a wonderful process video at the bottom of this posts that I'm sure you will love.

Suzanne's first illustrations for picture books:
 "Skink on the Brink" (written by Lisa Dalrymple) is available now!

Suzanne's second book that she's illustrated: "Gerbil, Uncurled" (written by Alison Hughes) is available for pre-order now!


Dani: Why dimensional art?

Suzanne: I have always been drawn to dimensional artwork in both children’s books and in other art forms. Whether the medium is plasticine, cut paper or mixed media, I love it all. There is something special and captivating about 3 dimensional illustration- it draws you in and makes you want to touch or explore the image over and over again.

Dani: How is your dummy process different than someone working in 2D?

Suzanne: My dummy process really isn’t all that different than someone working in 2D- I do thumbnails, lots of thumbnails to get the pacing just right, then I blow these up to create tighter sketches. Once I am happy with these I then put together the book dummy along with a few final illustrations. The only major difference comes when I take a few sketches and work them up to final art. These final illustrations, are photographed and brought into Photoshop to resize accordingly, then placed in the book dummy.

Dani: Has your career changed since getting the Crystal Kite Award?

Suzanne: Winning the 2014 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for Canada for Skink on the Brink( a tie with my SCBWI CANEasters Lisa Dalrymple, author of Skink on the Brink, and Helene Boudreau for I Dare You Not To Yawn) was a huge thrill and honour. To win this peer given award for my first picture book, as the illustrator, was immensely rewarding and encouraging. I have been fortunate to work with a variety of Canadian publishers, editors and art directors so far in my career. Winning this award has helped get my name “out there”, among the immense talent of my kidlit peers, which I greatly appreciate. In this industry I feel it is so important to make meaningful connections with publishers and editors and continue to learn, collaborate, and push forward to improve my craft. I am excited to be celebrating the launch of my latest picture book Gerbil, Uncurled, written by Alison Hughes, published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside, due out Sept 1st! I am presently working on a new picture book tentatively called Sky Pig, written by Jan Coates, published by Pajama Press, due out in Spring of 2016.

Dani: What got you started in illustration?

Suzanne: I have been compelled to make stuff all of my life. I was the type of kid who was always examining things, drawing, painting or making something. In high school my favorite subjects were art, phys.ed and science, but I decided to go the science route and went on to university, earning a H.B.Sc in Life Science. I worked in a medical research lab for a few years after university until I had my first child. After being home with my 4 little ones, and carving out little snippets of “me time” when I could, I realized how much I had missed making art. I decided it was now or never and made the leap to become an illustrator. I joined SCBWI, and CANSCAIP, studied the kidlit industry, and made lots of art. When I felt ready, I joined a few online critique groups. After a few years of researching and making art, I put a portfolio together of my best pieces, made promo mailers and sent them out – with fingers and toes crossed! Christie Harkin, then publisher at Fitzhenry and Whiteside, liked my mailer and hired me on to illustrate Skink on the Brink, written by Lisa Dalrymple.

Dani: What do you think is the most important thing illustrators should know?

Suzanne: Gosh, I still consider myself a newbie in this field and don’t pretend for a second to have any sage snippets of wisdom. All I know is what has worked for me so far. Although I took a circuitous/unconventional route to become an illustrator and didn’t go to art school, it might be the right choice for some. But regardless, you must work on your art to keep it fresh and the best it can be. Work hard! Always, ALWAYS keep pushing forward to learn, experiment and improve. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and lots of crappy art. Sometimes a happy accident will take you in new exciting direction. I also think it’s important to cultivate your connections with other kidlit creators: writers, illustrators, publishing people, editors, art directors. Making children’s books is not only a fantastic collaborative process but the children’s book industry is so wonderfully supportive, you never know what bits of wisdom you may glean- be open to opportunity, be a sponge. Join SCBWI and CANSCAIP (if you are Canadian), and attend meetings or conferences. I know it can been intimidating especially for the shy types(hello, that’s me!) but these are golden opportunities to connect and share ideas. Also, you should definitely join a critique group. The feedback from my Writer’s group has helped me grow as a new writer, and the brainstorming sessions from either my writing group or my illustrator critique groups always helps me tighten, refine and improve my work.

Follow Suzanne:

Skink on the Brink, written by Lisa Dalrymple (Fitzhenry & Whiteside 2013)
Gerbil, Uncurled, written by Alison Hughes (Fitzhenry & Whiteside 2015)-coming soon!

Website: http://suzannedelrizzo.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suzanne-Del-Rizzo-Studios-127478827323564/timeline/Twitter: https://twitter.com/SuzanneDelRizzo


  1. Thank you for sharing. The video was very interesting. Thank you for posting it. That made me realize there are many different ways to do this.

  2. Love this 3D art. Also all your comments on how you approach work.
    Thanks for sharing.