Lesson 10. Sensational Silhouettes

Materials needed:
  • Paints: Water colour and acrylic
  • Black, or dark coloured paper
  • Optional – a small canvas
  • Glue
  • Magazines/ newspaper
  • Thread
  • Wax crayons

1. Begin by painting a variety of backgrounds on a variety of sized papers (it’s best to use good quality water colour paper).

Choose colours to contrast well with silhouettes – You could have beautiful sunset or sunrise colours, grey stormy conditions, or multi coloured background. Use wet on wet method. Wet paper all over with clean water then your chosen colours. Let colours flow into each other.

2. When your background is dry, begin to develop your silhouettes in the foreground. I have used a mixture of water colour paint, felt pens, and biro. You could use shades of dark brown or black. Mix black using a variety of colours e.g. brown, blue, green, red etc putting more blue for a blue black or red and yellow for a browny black. Some examples to help you have your own designs:

3. Make yourself a stencil of mountains or buildings. Then paint your outlines onto one of your backgrounds.


4. This is a small canvas. I have stuck bundles of thread onto it splayed out to look like trees. I used acrylic paint for the background and to colour the threads.

5. Here’s another idea – I used good quality water colour paper.
I coloured it all over with bright colours using wax crayons pressing hard.

Go to a sink and wet the paper back and front.

Now, take the paper and scrunch it up into a tight ball in your hand. Open up and flatten then repeat making it into a ball again.

Flatten out and with either black or brown brusho or acrylic paint paint over the paper press hard with your brush.

Dab with kitchen paper. Your paint will go into the creases you made when scrunched up. Each time will be a surprise – rather like batik work.


6. You could also make your silhouettes from cut out designs from black or dark coloured paper. They look very effective when stuck onto your backgrounds.

Thanks to those who have sent over pictures – they are fantastic, you should be so proud of yourselves! Keep it up, and please do email over more pictures of your work to make an art gallery for us all to see [email protected]

Julie x