Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Disney Silhouettes

"I don't know if it's art, but I know I like it" - Walt Disney

This project was for one of my best friends. Danielle and I have known each other since 2002. Through high school, college, distance, marriage, and now these awkward 20s we have made it through. One of the big similarities that we share is our love of Disney. You will never meet any other women that fangirl over meeting Disney characters or basically run through the entrance of Disney world, in full costume I might add, more than the two of us. For a combination birthday and Christmas present in 2013 I made her a set of four Disney Silhouette paintings.

Canvas of any shape or size. I used a size that would fit basic printer paper. 
Computer/printer access (if you are feeling adventurous you can free hand. I took the easier route)
Acrylic paint (desired colors. I used black, red, lime green, yellow, turquoise, purple, and gold) (desired texture. The black I used was a gloss but the colors were matte)
Paint brushes
Clear coat (optional)

Step 1: Choosing an image
Deciding what images to use is a task in itself. There are a few characteristics that need to be kept in mind while choosing the image...
1- How will it look on the canvas? Make sure it is one that is recognizable and will fill the entire area you want filled.
2- What color could be used? There are so many options for silhouette colors. I chose to use highlighted elements already in the image. There is also the option of a solid color for the entire image or multiple colors including the background.
3- How will the images look together? When choosing my images I knew that Snow White and Ariel/Eric would be with red accent. So when choosing the other images I wanted to use multiple colors in both. 
4- What is the layout of the image? I messed up when picking my images and didn't realize that three were horizontal with one vertical. The symmetry is off. I have an IOU for another vertical image to make the set more rounded in the layout department ;) 

Step 2: Tracing the image
This step can be done one of two ways. I chose to trace printed images. This saved time and created accuracy in the representation. There is also the option of hand drawing the image. This would be helpful if you wanted to do a larger size and couldn't print it.

I cut out the part of the image I wanted (make sure to be thorough with hands, feet, eyelashes, anything you want to be on the canvas) and laid it out making sure it was aligned how I wanted it to look. Once the image was correct I lightly traced the outside with pencil.

Here are the images I selected. I only had a black and white printer but I had the original images pulled up on my computer screen in order to know the colors for later.

Here are the images once they have been outlined (with the exception of Belle in the bottom that I had already drawn in the details to the image).

Step 3: Drawing the details
After you have finished tracing the images it is time to draw in the accent that you would like to use. This again is optional if you find you would rather do a solid color. Anything in the image can be highlighted. These are usually things that are particular to the character. Ariel's red hair for instance or Snow White's apple. If you want to highlight in all one color you can do all the red in the scene. This is what I did for The Little Mermaid. There is also the option of using colors that go together well or are closely related. This is why I chose to do both the yellow for Belle and the lime green of the mirror. Again, lightly draw the area that is to be highlighted.

 Here are the images with all the details drawn into the image

Step 4: Painting the solid color
For this step you will paint everything in the image that you do not want to highlight a solid color. I went with black but any color would be nice.

 Step 5: Paint the highlights
This is only relevant if you want to do highlights of course. If you wanted to do the background a color then this would apply to that.

When doing the highlights you have some options. You can either do a solid color like you will see with the reds or you can do something a little more intricate like in the Aladdin painting. The choice for how detailed really depends on both the image itself and how you would like them to look. Minimalist is just as nice as elaborate sometimes. For me, the Jasmine and Aladdin image needed more colors and details in order to really see the image. But the Snow White just needed the simple red to do it justice. Use your own judgement. You can never go wrong with your gut instinct. Most of the time it is even better than you think. As a helpful tip, I would try the less detailed version first. See how you like it and if you don't then you can add more color. You can always add but it is harder to cover up or take away.

Here are the final images with all colors finished

Step 6: Clear coat
This step is totally up to you. I did not have time to clear coat these before giving them to Danielle but she didn't mind.

When doing a clear coat there are different textures and mediums. There is a spray on clear coat that is in a spray paint style can. This comes in both gloss and matte depending on how you would like the final coat to look. Another option is to use Mod Podge which is gods gift to crafts. Right up there with glue guns. haha. Mod Podge can be used for basically anything. I used it in my previous blog when I decorated my cell phone case. It is a glue substance that goes on white and dries clear. This also comes in both gloss and matte. You would just paint it on and let it dry. 

Here again is the final image of the four silhouettes. They really took no time at all and are the perfect more elegant looking Disney decoration for grown up children like Danielle and Me :)

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