What does a Silhouette Artist do?

An outline of a subject’s shape with the interior filled in is known as a silhouette. The profile of a person’s face cut out of black paper is the most common type of silhouette art. The person who creates this likeness of a person’s profile is known as a silhouette artist.

Traditionally, the silhouette artist works freehand and can quickly cut out a person’s image simply looking at their profile. The artist usually cuts the shape out of French silhouette paper, which is a thin black cardboard. The silhouette is frequently mounted on a lighter colored background after that.

While some silhouette artists still work freehand, others use a photograph of a person’s profile to create their work. Others place their subject in front of a brightly lit backdrop and trace the shadow of the profile to make a pattern. The silhouette can be finished in a variety of colors and materials. It could also be drawn or painted rather than cut from paper. Purists believe that silhouettes should be drawn on French silhouette paper and that a portrait should be completed in under 90 seconds.

The word silhouette comes from Etienne de Silhouette, the French finance minister under Louis XV in 1759 and possibly the first silhouette artist in the world. He loved paper art, especially cutting out paper portraits. Prior to the invention of photography, these portraits served as a less expensive alternative to sculptures and paintings, as well as a more practical means of capturing a person’s likeness. His name became associated with the images on paper. The term “a la Silhouette” came to mean any kind of shoddy art.

In the second half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century, silhouettes were very popular. The invention of the camera, in some ways, put an end to the widespread appeal of silhouettes. Silhouettes were no longer considered necessary as photography became more accessible. Many silhouette artists continued to work at fairs and carnivals, providing visitors with quick works of art.

Mementos for weddings, birthdays, and nostalgic portraits of children may be created modern silhouette artists. Amusement parks and fairs are popular places for silhouette artists to work. Disneyland®, Disney® World, Tokyo Disney®, and Euro Disney® employ the greatest number of silhouette artists.

To become a silhouette artist, no formal training is required. Many people learn the skill on their own or with the help of a family member. A person can often learn the craft working as an apprentice with an experienced silhouette artist.