Visiting a Silhouette Artist

A Silhouette Artist

Visiting a silhouette artist is really fun! A silhouette artist is a person who cuts out the shape of your profile from a special piece of paper. It is black on one side and white on the other. The artist folds the paper before cutting. After the cutting is complete, the customer will have two silhouettes to take home right away. A left and a right one. This is customary so that you’ll have one to keep and one to give away. The subject (child or adult or pet) sits across from the artist and using hand eye coordination (no drawing or tracing), the artist looks at the white side of the paper and imagines the same face on that blank paper. The artist carefully cuts the shape of their profile. *HINT: (This actually happens.) Don’t accidentally tell your kids they are going to visit an artist who will “cut their face out.” Let’s say instead, “The artist will make a portrait of your shadow.” (Way less scary!)

Visiting a silhouette artist in person is truly a stress free process and so much fun.

The subject

Whether it’s a baby, toddler, squirmy child or teen or an anxious adult, the subject does not have to be as still as a statue. The artist only needs the occasional glance of just the right pose. This is literally, the “stress-free” portrait! It is a unique, dying art form and there are only a dozen or so of us in the United States. This method involves no drawing or tracing. It originated in France in the late 18th century. Silhouettes were the snapshot before the camera came along! People used to visit a silhouette artist when they wanted to give their lover an image to bring along on their next voyage.

In this day and age, we expect instant gratification.

How many things in art, can you watch created before your eyes from start to finish in such a short time – and the likeness you see from such a simple black “blob” of a paper, is amazing! Visit my Frequently Asked Questions Page for More info. And remember, if you can’t make it to an event, I do silhouettes by email!

Silhouette just completed by Patti Rishforth

Seven Years of Silhouettes (& counting)

I love that my art allows me to see so many sweet children – from all over. Many of them return for new silhouettes annually! After all, children change so much those first years and all through school. One of my regular customers was kind enough to send me photographs of her daughter’s silhouettes that we have done so far.

The first seven years in silhouettes.

She gives them each year as a Father’s Day gift. I thought it would be fun to post them so people could see an example of one child’s profile as it progresses over seven years (and counting). I’ve done hers in person each year until just this past month –  sadly, the shop I where I usually see her closed.

Source pictures for creating her most recent profile

(By the way – I’m on the hunt for a new shop near Charlotte, NC who might like to have a silhouette artist visit once or twice a year.)

We did this year’s silhouette by email. I do silhouettes in person by visiting shops or meeting people in my studio or coming to playgroups…But I also do silhouettes by email!

Silhouettes at Italian Theme Party

Last night I did silhouettes at a party complete with Gladiators, girls in togas and even a “live” gold statue! I did head and shoulder cameos of the guests but as the evening was wrapping up, I did full figure silhouettes live of a father in Gladiator costume and his daughter who had just arrived. Won’t this be fun hanging on the wall at home.

Silhouette Stamp

We are loving the creative way this bride used her silhouette from Heart Paper Scissors. What a charming way to add a personal touch!

Kind regards,
Patti Rishforth

Sent from my iPad

Gatsby Party Silhouettes

I had the pleasure of doing silhouettes of people dressed up in Gatsby attire at a party last weekend. It was so much fun adding hats, feathers, head pieces and beads to the profiles!

Celebrating babies…

In honor of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynold’s new addition, here are some silhouette images focusing on babies! So many fun ideas!

Celebrating babies…

In honor of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynold’s newest addition, here are some baby silhouette images! So many fun ideas

Silhouette Theme Birthday Party

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Petting Zoo Field Trip

I went with my 4 year old on his first field trip last week with his preschool class. All the kids loved the petting zoo! I couldn’t help but be inspired watching them scamper around to pet or hug each animal while trying to stop goats from chewing their shirts! I’ve been wanting to upgrade my illustration page so, here’s a new one for the portfolio (and my journal). Parks is the one in the boots. He loves to wear his rain boots if there is even one cloud in the sky.

Watercolor on bristol board vellum surface


Wedding in New York

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I had the pleasure of doing another wedding event in New York a couple weeks ago. I brought Ben along to assist me and he was a great help so I could let him mount and package the silhouettes while I cut. We saw fireworks, met new friends, enjoyed delicious food and worked all night. So happy to be a small part of another person’s most special day.