It’s #MakerMonday, and our art activity is all about making silhouette portraits! Before photography was invented, an affordable alternative to having your portrait painted was to have your silhouette made.
Questions for Engagement
- Look at the artwork Man’s Silhouette. What do you see? How do you know?
- Can you recognize a person’s face just by the shape or outline?
- What is a silhouette? A silhouette is the dark shape and outline of someone or something visible against a lighter background.
- How is a silhouette or shadow made?
Materials for Silhouette Portrait (Activity 1)
- Large sheet of black construction paper, card stock, or poster board
- Large sheet of white paper, card stock, or poster board
- Light-colored crayon or pencil
- Glue or glue stick
- Bright desk lamp or floor lamp
Activity 1: Silhouette Portrait
- Tape the black piece of paper on a wall. Hang the paper at about the same height of the head and shoulders of the person whose silhouette portrait you’re making (friend or family member).
- Have your friend/family member stand or sit sideways in front of the black paper, a few inches away from the wall. You should only see one side of your friend/family member’s face (or profile).
- Position a lamp so that it shines light on your friend/family member and casts a shadow of their head, neck, and shoulders onto the black paper behind them.
- Use the crayon or pencil to trace the outline of the shadow onto the paper.
- Remove the paper from the wall. Following your crayon or pencil outline, use scissors to cut out your friend/family member’s silhouette.
- Glue the cut-out silhouette onto the white piece of paper.
Materials for Shadow Drawing (Activity 2)
- Colored construction paper or white paper
- Markers, crayons, or colored pencils
- Bright, direct sunlight
- Objects (toys, figurines, action figures, small dolls, etc.)
Activity 2: Shadow Drawing
- Do this activity outside on a bright, sunny day when you notice the sun making lots of shadows.
- Find some objects with interesting shapes. Toy dinosaurs, animals, and action figures work well.
- Place a piece of construction paper on a smooth surface like a sidewalk, driveway, or porch, where the sun is shining.
- Place a toy along one edge of the construction paper so that the shadow of the toy is visible on the paper.
- Use a marker, crayon, or colored pencil to trace the shadow.
- Add more objects, arrange them in different ways, and trace their shadows to tell a story!
Share your creations with us! Tag your social media posts #MakerMonday and #AshevilleArtMuseum.