At the studio, we use silhouettes as a teaching tool for a variety of skills. Not only is this task simple enough for ages 5+, it is beautiful and teaches a lot. I’m going to give you the steps to make your own silhouette art and below I’ve outlined the skills you will acquire along the way!
Skill number 1: Simplifying an object. This sounds easy but it really can be difficult. You want to focus on the bare basics of your subject. Start by analyzing what are the most important and identifiable details about the subject. Once you have recognized those, you can start there. Not focusing on too much small detail. See the big picture.
Skill number 2: Drawing what you actually see. Most people have a set image in their head when they think of the item they are drawing. The key to a successful silhouette is erasing all preconceived notions of the object you are portraying. You need to be able to draw what you are actually seeing in front of your eyes. This way, your drawing will be easily identified after you have turned it into a silhouette.
Skill number 3: Lighting. Learning how to paint a silhouette and about the illusion you are creating can give insight into how you can use lighting to create a realistic work of art. By painting your image in complete black with an illuminated background this will give you a clue about where your light source is located and how that relates to shadows and colors.
Now you know the why, here is the what —->
STEP ONE: Think about your silhouette and come up with a sketch. Maybe it is something you can see in the room or something you have designed yourself. Sketch Sketch Sketch
STEP TWO: After you have your sketch complete you need to create a colorful background. Think about the silhouette you are making. What type of background would make sense? It is important that you pick a color scheme that makes sense and is appealing. *Use acrylic or watercolor paints for the background* LET DRY
Above: Gracie being awesome 🙂
STEP THREE: Lightly sketch your silhouette over your dried background. Begin to use the black paint to color the silhouette image. Be sure to paint a ground and don’t be afraid of creative flare!
Your finished product should be colorful and make a cool illusion, just like Gracie’s.
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