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silo week

Thank you for all your sweet congratulations on our recent news. We used a family tree made of silhouettes to announce we were pregnant, so now that I have silhouettes drawn for everyone in my family, I've found they come in handy for lots of things. So I've decided this week should be "Silo Week" and each day I'll be sharing something new I've made with the silhouettes.

Today I'll share the valentines I made this year for my husband (above) and my kids (below is my son C). Draw or print the letter "I" (the font I used is American Typewriter) and a big red heart, and then add a silhouette.

Many of you have asked how I made my silhouettes, and I used Adobe Illustrator to draw mine. The first step is to take side profile shots of the people in your family. I did this when we were all gathered together last summer during a family reunion. A few tips:

-Pick a simple background, like a light colored wall, and have each person stand sideways, looking straight ahead. Babies can be held up (it helps to have someone they can stare at a few feet in front of them).

-Watch for shadows. I prefer shooting silos outside, in a shady spot so you don't get harsh shadows which make the shape of the head hard to see.

-Have girls put their hair up. Ponytails, pigtails, buns, etc. all make for a more interesting silhouette than long hair. Include as much of the texture of the hair as you see fit. (Sometimes I simplify the shape of a ponytail or a bun when I'm drawing it so it's a bit more polished.)

-Have your subject smile. You can see the expression more than you might think, and smiling silhouettes are better than sad, moping ones.

-Include the top of the shoulders. It's nice to see the shape of a collar, or the neckline of a t-shirt. I often use the neckline to draw a nice curving bottom to the silhouette rather than just cutting the neck off in a straight line.

-Add an eyelash where it's appropriate. Eyelashes usually do not naturally extend beyond someone's nose so technically you shouldn't see them in a silhouette, but I think it's nice to see where the eye falls and it helps to add in a little eyelash.

Here is the side shot I did of my nephew, and the resulting silo.

I realize that not everyone has access to Illustrator or other vector based drawing programs. Here's a good tutorial from the talented folks at Three Potato Four where you trace a photo using tracing paper and then cut your silhouette out of paper.

Stay tuned this week for a new silhouette posting each day!

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Reader Comments (20)

Your silhouette artwork is fabulous! Thanks for sharing this.

03.22.2010 | Unregistered Commentersandra s

Adding the eyelash really does add something more personal and special!

03.22.2010 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

Ooh. thank you! I've been wanting to do this for a while.

03.22.2010 | Unregistered Commenterandrea

brook, thanks for the detailed instructions and tips. can i just say that your nephew's chin is ADORABLE. what isn't there to love about babies? {{{gush}}} and very much congratulations to you and your family! i can't think of more delightful people to bring a baby being into this world.

03.22.2010 | Unregistered Commenterstephanie tabb

So simple and LOVELY! Can see it framed. C

03.23.2010 | Unregistered Commentercornel

I think it's genius and I need to get trained on Illutrator immediately!

03.23.2010 | Unregistered CommenterKrafty Fox

I've been inspired by a tutorial in my new Martha Stewart Craft Encyclopedia in which you print out the picture and actually paint on top of it--painting the background and the silhouette in different colors. I think this is a good non-computer option for some of us!

03.23.2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannah

Fun! I went with this type of theme (based on your friend's baby shower, We <3 Emily) for my friend's bridal shower, to be held in April, and my shower invites have a similar aesthetic since I went with the black, white and red. I wish I'd seen this! Having her silhouette would have been such a unique detail.

03.23.2010 | Unregistered CommenterAutumn

I'm LOVING your week of silhouettes. Thanks for bringing more attention to this classic art. I've been a fan since first having mine handcut as a child at Disneyland and now spend everyday making them. I always enjoy seeing what others do with them.

03.23.2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Flynn

i love this! thanks so much, brooke xo

03.24.2010 | Unregistered Commenterjoanna goddard

Thank you! I love having all this silhouette-making/using info! I'll be trying my hand at it all day tomorrow, I'm sure.

03.24.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

I am glad to see that people are creating their own silhouettes of loved ones. It keeps this 18th century art form alive. Originally they were cut freehand using scissors without the aid of drawing or tracing, just by cuttting what they saw. This died out with the invention of photography, but there is a small band of silhouette cutters left. You can see some examples at: http://bit.ly/alYpxG

03.29.2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Goddard

I think this is a good non-computer option for some of us!

04.3.2010 | Unregistered CommenterBaby Bedding

Thank you for the silhouette inspiration. I ended up created one to use on my daughter's birth announcement (pictured in this post: http://wilkefamily.wordpress.com/2010/04/11/week-14-apr-2-8/)

04.12.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLucia

I've been inspired by a tutorial in my new Martha Stewart Craft Encyclopedia in which you print out the picture and actually paint on top of it-

06.10.2010 | Unregistered CommenterTrailers for Sale

This is very neat stuff! Bravo!

07.12.2010 | Unregistered Commentertrailers for sale

Some of those are spooky yet cute. :)

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09.12.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLukas

Would you consider a tutorial on how you did this on your computer? I'm struggling with it.

12.8.2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Summer is literally killing us with all this heat around. I don’t say we didn’t have hot summers before, but this time it seems like more persistent and more devastating. So what could we possibly do in such cases? If you have the option of installing a window (or wall) unit, a portable air conditioner is usually the wrong choice. But in a few cases, a portable AC is actually the best (or only) option, and using one is more comfortable than not having an air conditioner or quietest portable air conditioner.

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