Charles Burns

Charles Burns, silhouette artist, aka Roving Artist. Author of Mastering Silhouettes and presenter of Silhouette Secrets

Tony Blackburn silhouette

Can I cut a silhouette on the radio?

WHENEVER I FEEL I’ve exhausted all the challenges silhouette cutting has to offer, a new one always opens itself up to me.  Can I cut a silhouette on the raidoi? A week or so ago I was invited into a BBC studio to cut a single silhouette. The subject was the well-known DJ Tony Blackburn and the challenge

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Speed-cutting preparation: a cup of Earl Grey tea and a biscuit

Some very fast Germans

AN INTERESTING CHALLENGE was set for us by a client in Germany. He wanted each of 250 conference delegates to receive a silhouette – cut from their own corporate-blue paper – during a conference dinner.  My initial proposal (based on tried-and-tested advice to allow two minutes per person) was to book four artists.  He replied

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22 white frames of varying size and shape arranged on a white wall

The Empty Frames Project

THE IDEA OF HANGING EMPTY FRAMES on a gallery wall emerged from my work at events. Clients often suggest that it would be fun to arrange all the silhouettes on a wall and have people guess who they are. Doing this is easy enough (given an empty wall and a roll of sellotape). However, I

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Six silhouettes in various poses

Silhouette Workshops and other cutting-edge ideas

IVE BEEN RECIEVING a number of enquiries about dinner parties, or small meetings, for 20 people or less. One particular event organiser, who called after a client had asked her about silhouettes, was understandably skeptical: “They’re only expecting 12 guests” she said “I know how fast you are, you’ll only be there for 15 minutes

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Charles cutting the Queen's silhouette

A royal profile or three

IN THE YEAR of the DIAMOND JUBILEE I was invited to cut silhouettes over lunch at a marquee in Coworth Park. It was one of the only events I’ve attended where the toastmaster had to announce lunch by calling for “Your Majesties, Royal Highnesses, Highnesses, Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen… ” to take their seats. 

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iPhone Apple

iPhone Drawings

NOW THAT Mastering Silhouettes is out of my hands I have some time to return to the studio and do some painting.  My biggest inspiration so far this year has been the (very crowded) David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy, so I’ve been making iPhone drawings.

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Mastering Silhouettes book covers

The Book is Launched!

MY NEW BOOK, Mastering Silhouettes, was launched last month with a small party at the London Sketch Club.  We were fortunate enough to be sponsored by Hendricks Gin, after I worked at their “umbrella emporium” party last year. They supplied the drink, so it was a small but tasty party.  Thank you Hendricks! 

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Silhouette scissors in action

New silhouette scissors

ONE OF THE QUESTIONS people most often ask when they see me cutting is “How many pairs of silhouette scissors do you get through?” I get the impression they’re expecting to hear that I use at least six pairs a night! When I explain that I’ve been using the same pair of scissors for the

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Schmalcalder's physiognotrace

Sent to publisher

I MANAGED to FINISH the book! Lots of free silhouettes are going out in the post.  “Mastering Silhouettes”, full of silhouette ideas, is coming out in February and is available now for advance ordering on Amazon.

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Charles cutting a silhouette. after Edouart

Your profile needed!

I NEED TO ASK for a little help. I’ve been commissioned to write a silhouette book, which for me is very exciting.  The book is due to come out sometime in 2012. There’s only one real problem. I don’t know how to write! The book will feature a wide variety of silhouette portraits, both traditional

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Full-length regency silhouettes

Cutting Regency Silhouettes

SOME WEEKS ago I was lucky enough to be booked for the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, where I found myself cutting a whole series of regency silhouettes. This is one of those rare events that is obviously made for a silhouettist like myself, so I simply had to write and share some of the

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A wedding proposal in caricature

WORKING AS A SILHOUETTIST at events, I do get some odd requests. Such an occasion happened a few weeks ago, while I was cutting caricature silhouettes at a student ball. The event took place at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel near Heathrow in July 2010.

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