Blog: @silhouettist

A modern-day silhouettist tells his story.
Charles Burns writes about his explorations into the art and history of silhouette. His mission is to bring this often-overlooked art to a wider, appreciative audience.

The Time Travelling Silhouettist

The Time Travelling Silhouettist

The time-travelling silhouettist sounds like a character from a steam-punk extravaganza. I'd love to imagine I could be that man! Sadly, none of us can really travel in time. Yet curiously, the quirky craft I practice is beginning to make me feel like I'm doing just that. (more…)

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Capturing Likeness in Caricature

Capturing Likeness in Caricature

Is it possible to make a caricature likeness in silhouette? This question vexed me for many years. (more…)

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En Grisaille Portrait Silhouettes

En Grisaille Portrait Silhouettes

I began playing with an en grisaille portrait many years ago. At the time, I was experimenting with traditional techniques for adding gold details (known as embellishing) and began scribbling pencil notes on my white copies. I began to find these white copies more interesting than the finished silhouettes! (more…)

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A face-on silhouette or two  (you mean, not in profile?)

A face-on silhouette or two (you mean, not in profile?)

“Can you cut a face-on silhouette?  What happens if I'm not in profile?”   For years, like most silhouettists, I tended to avoid these questions.    (more…)

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A Paper Anniversary silhouette

A Paper Anniversary silhouette

One year on falls the paper anniversary. A little over a year ago I was booked to attend a wedding at the Savoy, London. It was a wonderful event and I cut some memorable silhouettes, including a three-minute cutting of one of the most complicated hats I've ever seen. (more…)

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The Importance of Silhouette Repertoire

How many ways cut I cut a silhouette? To be honest, I've let count. Soon after I cut my 50,000th silhouette I realised repertoire was everything. Since then, I've made it my ambition to cut or paint every kind of silhouette I can imagine. Here are some of them.

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 Mixed-media Building Silhouettes

 Mixed-media Building Silhouettes

Today, the making of silhouettes is synonymous with paper cutting.  However, this was not always so.  Silhouettists of the past were intent on the capturing of shadows, the medium was secondary to this end. (more…)

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Radio shades

Radio shades

Whenever I feel I've exhausted all the challenges silhouette cutting has to offer, a new one always opens itself up to me.  A week or so ago I was asked to cut a single silhouette. The subject was Tony Blackburn and the challenge was to cut it live on the radio! (more…)

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