Silhouettes are a lot of fun to use in your art. You can make them in any number of ways and they are a great chance to explore the use of negative space. You can do them in black and white, color, in multimedia, with collage, or use them as embellishments on other things if you’re more the crafty type. Pablo Picasso used to make cut paper silhouettes of animals when he was a boy. Silhouette work tends to look elegant and tied together. It also invites the imagination and can really engage the viewer.
If you’re looking for a new project, this is a fun theme to explore!
Ideas for projects involving silhouettes
Black and White – on a white background, draw the outline then carefully color it in. Try this reversed, too, so the silhouette is white and the surrounding black.
Black and White with Color – color either the surrounding of the black silhouette, or inside the white one. You could be realistic or abstract.
Shadow Play – photograph things that form an interesting silhouette. Or create one behind a white screen then photograph that.
Collage – cut silhouettes of people, animals or objects out of colored pictures. Place them alone on a plain background or make them into scenes. You could even use decoupage techniques to put them on an object, such as a box.
Resists – color a silhouette on watercolor paper with white crayon then paint over it. Or, use frisket or another form of masking fluid.
Papercutting – draw your silhouette onto paper then cut it out. Glue it onto a backdrop, adorned or not as you choose.
Painting – try something classic, like silhouettes in front of a blazing sunset, or perhaps someones shadow in a window.
A word about Sharpie markers: Though they are quite handy for silhouette work, I advise photographing or scanning whatever you make right away to preserve what you have done. They are not archival quality and can fade significantly in just a few years.
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