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The creation of the first silhouette has a tragic yet beautiful story behind it.

Legend has it that a young Greek maiden was grief stricken when her lover was forced to go to war. Therefore, during their last encounter she remorsefully traced the outline of his shadow on wet mud as a way to remember his image. To alleviate her grief, the maidens father filled the outline with clay and gifted it to her. Thus, the first Silhouette was created.

A silhouette is a two dimensional representation of the outline of a person or thing that is filled in a solid colour usually black against a brighter background. It leaves the viewer curious and portrays a sense of mystery. It lets the viewer's imagination run wild filling in the details of what might have been thus leaving them with a feeling of euphoria.

Over the years the concept of the silhouette has flourished with great artists of the 16th, 17th and 18th century advocating for it. It became a multisectoral fad with graphic designers, photographers and also musicians like The Pussycat Dolls and Michael Jackson using the concept to enhance their music videos.

Movie makers also used it to arouse a sense of mystery in their work. Popular examples of this are the opening sequences of the James Bond series and The tale of the three brothers in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows- Part 1.

Do you have a couple of blank walls at home that you are eager to fill up? How about filling it with silhouette portraits of your loved ones? Silhouettes are easy to create but extremely beautiful and sophisticated to look at. Create your very own silhouette portrait with the instructions below!

Materials required:

  1. Side profile photo of your loved one

  2. Tracing paper (preferably white colour)

  3. Black chart paper/card paper

  4. White chart paper/card paper/A4 size paper

  5. Scissors

  6. Glue


Step 1- Click a side profile picture of the person who will be the subject of the silhouette portrait.

Step 2- Print this picture on regular printer paper.

Step 3- Use the tracing paper to trace the picture from the print out onto a black chart paper.

Step 4- Use scissors to cut out the tracing.

Step 5- Use glue to stick the cutout on the white paper.

Step 6- Voila! Your silhouette portrait is ready. Frame it. Put it up on the wall. Marvel at your creation! I hope the mystery and beauty of the silhouette fills you with awe and inspiration just as it does to me.

Happy Silhouette-ing!!


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