How To Paint a Silhouette

Silhouettes are always mesmerizing with their simplicity, beauty, and mystery. Painting silhouettes can be easy if you follow simple steps. You only have to trace shapes, paint them with a solid color, and then play with the background. You might be surprised of a beautiful masterpiece that you can make by painting a silhouette. The steps below are simple guides on how to paint a silhouette:

  • Think of a subject. Beautiful silhouette paintings use common figures that are have distinctive shapes like a flower, mountains, dead trees, and people. You can even make a silhouette painting of yourself or your favorite thing in the house.
  • Decide on how you want that subject be represented in silhouette. For this article, we will use a person’s facial feature as the subject. You may represent this subject in different ways. For instance, it can be on his side view, can be smoking a cigarette, or playing a flute.
  • Trace the silhouette. There are many ways to trace the silhouette of a subject. Trees, for instance, can be put under a tracing paper and then traced its boundaries. Facial features, on the other hand, can be flashed with flashlight so that shadows will be created. The shadow can create the needed silhouette. Put the shadow on a canvass and trace it.
  • Decide the colors for the silhouette. The subject should use a solid color. It’s okay to use a combination of colors but it will be better to use one color only. Most silhouette paintings use dark color for the subject and then light color for the background. It depends on your preference as long as the subject will still be a silhouette.
  • Decide on what type of paint you will use. Most painters will use oil paint while some would be happier with acrylic paint. It depends largely on your preference. But it is always okay to use different kinds of paints. A silhouette will be more effective if you will use a heavier paint for the silhouette and a lighter paint like watercolor for the background.
  • Trace the objects. Use a pencil to trace the objects on your silhouette painting. Use light colors like the gray charcoal or a pencil. Don’t worry because the trace will be covered with the paint.
  • Color the painting. Always start applying the light color. Usually, this means that you need to paint the background first. Well if that is the lighter color, then paint the background first. Follow it with the darker color. The darker color can easily hide imperfections from the lighter colors.
  • Let the paint to completely dry. The paint changes color when already dry. Look for any imperfection on the painting. Try to remedy the imperfections by covering them with paint. Let the covering paint to dry.

There is beauty on a canvass without frame but there is beauty on a framed canvass. Framing it will add beauty to the painting plus it will give protection for your piece. But for other people, keeping a painting bare is more beautiful. Again, this depends on your preference. The important thing is that you are satisfied with your painting.


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