June 18, 2009

Profile Picture

As I may have mentioned, I am not the greatest artist. I like being creative, but it's not like I was getting A's in art class. (The blog is called creative dribble, not artistic dribble.)

Once, I sketched a sculpture of a woman at the Art Institute in Chicago. Everything was basically fine until I got to the feet. Picture a 6 foot tall lady with size 3 feet. Proportions are tough!

That's why I love technology, which allows even the worst freehand drawer to achieve a level of accuracy on nose size, eye placement, and lip fullness that may have been completely out of reach before.

This week's project is a project for my guest bathroom. Again, I got my inspiration from that same Martha Stewart Living article that inspired my bench project. There was a small picture above a couch with their silhouettes cut out. A very cute way to illustrate their small family tree:

I loved the idea of the "love sihouette," so I decided to make one of myself and Chris for our guest bathroom. You start by taking a digital picture of your profile against a light background, like so:

Then, I took the intermediate next step of importing the image into MS Paint so I could color in the body of the photo and white out the background to get a preliminary read on what the silhouette would look like. I think that this step is a little unnecessary if you are confident in your profile decisions, but it was helpful for me in order to get the details of exactly how a chin or nose should look, or how the strands of hair should stand on the head.

Then, in order to get the cutout details just right, I cut out a smaller model of the silhouette so I could figure out exactly how the details would cut prior to the final version. Again, probably an extraneous step, but for those who lack confidence, it works pretty well:

Then, I used my scanner and powerpoint to blow up the image to the actual size I wanted:

Finally, I taped the silhouette to a black sheet of paper (from Paper Source, of course) and traced the silhouette to the back of the paper with a pencil. I had to be careful here to make sure the faces would be facing each other when I traced the picture, so I had to tape the sihouette on backwards for one of the images because we were both facing the same way when I took the picture.

I determined the size in part by the space I wanted to fill on the wall. It was tough to imagine life-sized floating heads on the wall, but anything smaller just didn't take up enough room. I found these great 12" x 12" LP album frames at CB2 that were just the right size and simple profile for what I wanted. They also had the advantage of having a glass back so I could have a floating image if I wanted it.

Now, for the mounting. I originally wanted to use a white or very light colored background for the backing, but when I got to the store, a lot of the papers I found were too "cute" or modern. I was looking for a bit more of a retro modern (modernized Victorian?) feel to the bathroom to match the bedroom. I finally found this cool transparent film with a silver damask-like pattern that provided the right feel, and would even let the pink wall behind it show through.

I glued the silhouette to the front of the transparent paper, and here is the final result:

Voila! Silhouette for the drawing challenged. They're no longer just the domain of the artists at Disney. It's a much easier project than I imagined. Give it a try if you have the chance!

Materials used for this project:

  • A willing participant
  • Digital camera
  • Small craft scissors - sharp ones!
  • Pencil
  • Scanner
  • Crate and Barrel LP Album Frame
  • 8.5" x 11" text weight black paper from Paper Source
  • 12" x 12" background paper - transparent with brocade design
  • Glue

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