Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lost in Translations (or Silhouettes to the rest of the world.)

Ok, so to most people, these are silhouettes, but in design school we worked on something very similar that our profession called "graphic translations" not silhouettes. It turned out to be one of my favorite projects that year and I went on to work with them on my own.

For most of last year I was obsessed with silhouettes, we had them cut of the kids in the spring and they have been a favorite of mine. I just love them.

These are the real deal - hand cut, from live models, not from a photo, not painted, not on the computer. Such a talent!!!

I've taken advantage of these by turning them into Christmas Ornaments this year. The obsession hasn't gone away. In fact it has gotten worse. I'm a woman obsessed.

And I do believe I've found a way to channel that obsession. By feeding it.

My girlfriend Kim has an amazing lovely, amazingly talented daughter. (Well actually, she has 3 of them, so much talent in one family - She and her husband know how to nurture these girls so their abilities shine.) Their oldest girl is who inspired me with this project, she is a dancer.

I took this photo that Kim had of her:

(The girl takes my breath away...)

And I imported that picture into illustrator where I outlined it.

With this I wanted to remain true to the art of hand cut Silhouettes by not piecing it together, I kept a continuous line so that when cut, it would be 1 piece. That involved a bit of trouble shooting but I got it work.

I then took the outlines into a 12x12 illustrator document and sized them to a variety of sizes.

I exported this file as an SVG that I opened in SCAL and cut on my Cricut on black paper. Finally I mounted them on white paper... and forgive my AWFUL picture, I should be ashamed of showing such an amazing project with such an awful picture but I'm impatient like that. I promise better photos soon.

So now I've got a file that I can use cut silhouettes of this amazing dancer at pretty much any size, on any material.

This project has brought me such joy, it is the blend of so many of my passions, design (using illustrator), crafting (using the circut & finishing the pieces), kids and celebrating them...

I'm really hoping this is going to open the door for something new, custom silhouettes.

Linking up to "Make Your Monday" at Twice Remembered and Saturday Nite Special at Funky Junk Interiors. 


  1. Wow! Those are great! Come by and link up:

  2. Silhouettes are amazing. There are so many ways to do them too. I love these. Thanks for sharing!

  3. wow! great job! i have been wanting a ballerina silhouette to use for gifts! i have a cricut and love it but i am not sure how to do what you did. is it hard? i joined the party too with a twist on a silhouette! thanks for sharing!

  4. oh I love it so much, and the sihouettes are amazing

  5. I took photos at Thanskgiving to do silhouettes and haven't done them yet, I love love love this.

  6. I recall my kindergarten teacher sitting each of us in front of projector light and tracing the shadow that was cast on black construction paper she had taped on the chalk board. We then crudely cut each out with safety scissors. Times have changed! Thank you for sharing. You are very talented.


  7. WOW ! How do you do that I have a cricut but wouldn't know how to do this. Is there a special progam?


  8. I'm so happy you all like these!

    For me, there is a special program, 2 of them actually.

    #1 - Adobe Illustrator, it a program I use professionally and also in creating these sihlouettes.

    #2 - Sure Cuts A Lot, or SCAL for short. It allows you to cut any shape you can create on your Cricut without having to use a cart.

    I'm going to have a give away starting tonight - make sure you enter for a custom Sihlouette!


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