How to make a Portrait Silhouette with Illustrator // Tutorial

how to make a portrait using Illustrator

There’s something special about personal or DIY’d decor. No one else has anything just like it and it can really reflect who you are. I originally started playing around with personal silhouettes when I was trying to make our wedding cake topper, but that didn’t go down so well and instead we got AMAZING wooden cake toppers from Ladies & Gentlemen. I didn’t want the silhouettes to go to waste though, so with a little tweaking, they are now decor. Why not try make your own?

Silhouette portrait cut out DIY // Pure Sweet Joy

If you would like a personalised silhouette, but you’d like me to do it for you, then email deborah {at} puresweetjoy {dot} com and we’ll make it work!Wooden Wedding Cake Toppers // Pure Sweet Joy

I used Adobe Illustrator for ours. Although there are other methods, this way works for me and you come out with a scalable vector at the end. (Who knows how big you may want to print out your face? 🙂 )

I’ve finally made the dive into doing a video tutorial. There a a few steps which are definitely easier to explain with video than text, so check it out. It’s totally weird hearing your own voice though. That’s not how I sound in my head!

For those who prefer the pictures, here they are.

  1. Start out with a side on photo,  open it up in Illustrator and select your “Pen Tool”.

Silhouette Portrait How To // Tutorial

2) Start near the bottom. Click at your starting point. While still clicking/holding move the mouse a little to the side (this will allow you to move the handles later and change the curve is needed if needed). Click again at the first point of curving (for me this is the top of the T-shirt) and again move the mouse a little while clicking/holding. This time move the mouse in such a way that the line (roughly) matches the curve in your photo. Keep doing this, clicking close to each new point of curving. Note: This is much easier to explain in the video, so be sure to check that out.

Silhouette Portrait How To // Tutorial

Silhouette Portrait How To // Tutorial

3) Keep going the whole way around, roughly following the shape of the photo. End off by clicking back on your first point. You can then go through and adjust any points that look strange. To do this, select the second arrow, “Direct Selection Tool” (command-A) and click the anchor point that looks out of place. This should bring up two little lines from the points, called handles. By clicking on these you can drag them to adjust the curve of your lines until it better matches your photo.

Silhouette Portrait How To // Tutorial

4) Select “Color” and change the fill to black (or the colour of your choice).

Silhouette Portrait How To // Tutorial

5) You can then delete your photo from behind. Export your new silhouette (FileExport) in whatever format you want (JPEG, PNG etc). If you are just wanting a black silhouette then, well done, you are finished. Just print it out.

Silhouette Portrait How To // Tutorial

6) If you are wanting to cut out your portraits with your Silhouette Portrait/Cameo then open your saved JPEG/PNG and select the trace area over your silhouettes and select Trace Outer Edge.

Silhouette Portrait How To // Tutorial

7) You should be left with a cut line for your silhouettes. Simply choose your paper and cut.

Silhouette Portrait How To // Tutorial

Map paper from old atlases is just beautiful. At least now it can be seen on our wall, rather than hidden away in a never to be looked at old book. That being said, it was quite difficult to cut out the first page…

Silhouette Cut Out Face Portrait // Pure Sweet Joy

I’d love to see your lovely version so tag me on Instagram @puresweetjoy with #puresweetjoyblog or on Facebook.

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