Caricature silhouettes cut with scissors

ONE OF THE FREEDOMS I enjoy while working at corporate events is the opportunity to make silhouette caricatures. We have a lot of fun with these lively and ridiculous cuttings. With their large heads and tiny bodies they poke fun at the guests but never cause offence.

Caricature silhouettes in colour
A set of caricature silhouettes cut freehand from coloured paper

If you’re thinking about booking a caricaturist for an event, but wondering if that’s been done too often before, then caricature silhouettes are a real alternative to think about. Each cutting takes no more than two minutes – often less – so I can cut large numbers in an evening.

Deceptively simple, cutting this way pushes me to my limits. Few, if any other silhouettists work regularly in full length.

What I most admire is that you come across as enjoying every minute of it and at the same time you take it so seriously”


Silhouette caricatures work well at student balls, Christmas parties and any standing event where guests are determined to have a good time. These paper-cuttings involve everybody.

Young woman holding a caricature silhouette
Delighted with her caricature, which she found unexpectedly flattering!

What is a caricature?

A caricature is an image which exaggerates part of the body and/or face to humorous affect.

My caricatures are cut freehand from black paper with scissors. They consist of a full-length body with an over-exaggerated head. Apart from being too large, the head is actually very similar to my usual bust-length silhouettes. I don’t generally exaggerate the noses and chins, it’s more about looking at the way people stand and move. The effect is both hilarious and slightly flattering, giving everybody a slightly child-like demeanour.

Thanks again, Roving Artist, you were an unexpected, wonderfully fun addition to our London visit!!”

I love to encourage the guests to challenge me by striking hard-to-cut poses. Sometimes the guests end up challenging themselves: each cutting only takes a couple of minutes but this can seem a long time if the chosen pose is hard to hold!

Caricatures at a student ball
Guests enjoy challenging Charles with hard-to-cut poses!

Deciding how to pose is an interactive experience for both artist and guest.

Are these a traditional form of silhouette?

No, silhouette caricatures are not traditional! Having been collecting silhouettes for many years, I’ve never seen the work of another artist who working with full-body caricatures. However, there a few odd artists who have used caricature in a different way. My favourite of these is Inger Eidem.

If traditional silhouettes are your thing, then these are not for you. Instead I’ll cut more traditional portrait cameos and full-length silhouettes.

Where do they come from?

In his short but brilliant career as a graphic artist Aubrey Beardsley seems to have made just one portrait silhouette. This caricatured self-portrait, possibly painted in a capricious moment, was the starting point for my search for a reliable method of cutting silhouette caricatures.

If you’ve had a caricature silhouette cut before I’d love to hear about it below.

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Sue Tingle
Sue Tingle
1 year ago

Charles came to our corporate event in 2000 I’ve just found the table of 10 silohette and framed it he was amazing!

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