Sunday, January 19, 2014

Silhouette Painting Tutorial


For Christmas I gave my dad a couple small paintings and a couple weeks later my mom was asking me how I painted them. Since they are a pretty simple painting project, I thought I would bumble my way through a tutorial for her.

1. Pick your Canvas. Normally, I do these paintings on square canvases, but all I had on had were some rectangular ones. Since they look good on either or, I chose one that was a 8"x10".

2. Pick your Colors/Paint.  Start with what you want your main outside color to be and what color you want your center to be.   For this painting I used three different color greens, black for the corners, and yellow for the center. For the type of paint, I used acrylic as it dries quickly.

3. Distribute Paint on Canvas.   Squeeze your paint onto the canvas in loose circles, with the darkest colors on the outer corners and the lightest in the center.  Remember not to let it sit too long between this step and the next or the paint will start to dry.

4.  Swirl your Paint! Honestly, this step is the most fun. Grab a big brush (the one I used was 3/4") and start swirling the paint outwards, starting from the center in a circular motion. After the first time around it should look something like this:

5. Smooth the Lines.  This is the most difficult part, getting the transition from light to dark to look smooth and gradual without any obvious lines.  The best way I have found, is to repeat the motion in step 4. Remember to constantly wash your brush to avoid streaks and obvious lines, especially when transitioning colors. You can work from the outside and go in (depending on if you want more of the green) or from the center outwards again (if you want the center part larger).

6. Let it dry!

7. Sketch on the Silhouette.  Once your background is completely dry, take a regular pencil and sketch out the shape you want for a silhouette.

8. Fill in the silhouette with Black Paint.  Time to paint over your lines and fill them in with black paint. It doesn't have to follow the lines exactly (you can erase those at the end) but its a good basis for your silhouette.

 9.  Erase your pencil lines.  Once your painting is dry, simply erase the leftover pencil lines with a basic white eraser and presto! your painting is finished.


  1. This is very cool! Thanks for the tutorial. I was trying to paint the other day, and it didn't work out in my favor. Now, I will take these tips and try again. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You are very welcome! I hope it turns out!

  2. That is very pretty. Did you use oil or acrylic?

    1. Ha! Thats a good point, I should add that. I used Acrylic.