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DIY Silhouettes
Make a silhouette in six easy steps
DIY: Silhouettes

In Profile
We love a good DIY art project, especially one that helps us celebrate the unique form and personality of each individual dog. Kathryn Flocken (paperportraits.com), professional silhouette artist, gives us a sneak peek at the process behind cutting a profile silhouette of your dog and shares samples of her very special results.

Materials
Sharp scissors
Silhouette paper (or black construction paper) cut to 5 x 4"
White construction paper cut to 5 x 7"
Rubber cement
A profile photo of your dog
5 x 7" frame

1. Prop a photo of your dog about three feet in front of you. You may also pull it up on your computer monitor, if you prefer.

2. With the scissors in your dominant hand and the silhouette paper in the other, use the scissors as your drawing tool instead of a pencil, pen or paintbrush. It’s best to keep the scissors nearly stationary, while guiding the silhouette paper to make precision cuts that reflect what you see.

3. Begin in the bottom corner that shows the chest area of the pet. Start cutting, going up the dog’s body, making small snips as you go along. Be sure to include the texture of the fur, while following the contours of the body carefully to get an accurate likeness. Make your way up the profile, looking at each shape, one by one, and then cutting out that shape. You may want to follow this sequence: the chest, moving upwards to the lower part of the snout/chin area, the bottom lip, the muzzle area, then the nose. The next areas you will draw with your scissors are the eye area, eyebrows, the forehead and the top of the ears.

4. Stop at the top of the black paper, and now move to the opposite lower corner. Cut an s-curve along the bottom of the dog’s neck toward the left edge of the paper. This is the traditional cameo shape at the bottom of a silhouette.

5. Then focus on drawing the back of the dog. Work with the same approach, cutting up the back of the body of the pet, following the contours of the body. If you have measured correctly, the cut will meet perfectly at the top of the 5 x 4" paper.

6. Apply rubber cement to the back of the portrait, then center on the white paper and glue it down. Place silhouette in frame and you’re done!

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This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 69: Mar/Apr/May 2012

Silhouettes courtesy of Kathryn Flocken, photograph of dog by Amanda Jones.

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