How To Make A Silhouette In Illustrator | How To Create Silhouette Portraits In Illustrator

Mandee Thomas

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How To Create Silhouette Portraits In Illustrator


Hi, everyone! I’m Andy from design for Miss Mandy, and today I’m going to show you how to create silhouette portraits. So this is what the finished product is going to look like, And I’m using the example of my two little boys, and I’m going to show you how I did it, so let’s get started first. I’m just going to move these out the airport for now and we’ll come back to that later. So the first thing you’re going to need is images of your subject or subjects that you’re going to be using and it’s close to profile form as you can to import these into illustrator the easiest way to do. It is just to take your image from wherever it’s saved and drag it into illustrator, and then from there, you can use your arrow tool to scale it down to whatever size you want anyway. Once you have your images in there, it’s helpful to lock your image layer and before you get started on the tracing. So the main tool that we’re going to be using is called the pen tool and it should just be over in your tool bar, and you can access it by clicking on it or by clicking the shortcut, which is just. P pretty easy to remember, so yeah, all we’re going to do. I’m just going to use the example of my older son, Davian. The baby is a little bit harder to do just because babies don’t really sit up super straight, and so I kind of had to improvise in the neck area. So this one is a little bit easier to see how I did it, so I like to start just down here on the neck, so you can start wherever you’d like, and we are just going to use the pen tool to kind of trace around our subject here and so with the pen tool as long as you’re just doing clicks, it’ll just do straight lines, which isn’t always what we want, because there’s a lot of curves on the person’s face, and so we want to be when you want to make a curved line. You hold the pen tool down and then with your mouse, you just drag it a little bit just like that, and then as you go along, the pen tool is going to automatically want to curve some more, but if it’s curving, it’s curving too much, not the quite the way you want to, you. See what I just did there? You can go back and click on your last anchor point, and it’ll change it back to just a regular anchor point set of a curvy anchor point, so the Pens will take some practice to use as I talked about before in a couple of my other videos, but once you get the hang of it, you can get pretty fast at it and the nice thing too. Is that if you don’t like the way some of your anchor points look like later on, you can come back and change them, and it’s not hard to do so this first time around. I’m just going to get kind of the basic shape, and then I’ll go back in and add more of the details of the hair later on and I’ll show you kind of why I like to do that. So yeah, for now. I’m just kind of getting his basic profile and head shape in there. And then once you get to the end, once you’ve gotten to the to the neck again, you can kind of improvise. How you want the body to look like if you ever mess up and you want to go back, You just hit command. Z, so this is one of my preferred shapes like go to shapes to use for profiles for silhouettes there. We go, okay, sounds just kind of a rough outline. You can always check how it’s going to look by switching from outlines to fill. So you can see right now. I don’t have any details of his hair and there, but I’ve got a pretty good outline of his body or his face. And if I wanted to come back in and kind of fix this area by his chin. Make it a little bit closer. You can use the white arrow tool to select anchor points and drag them to where you want them to go, and you can also select the handles of the anchor points to kind of adjust the curvature. Now you can tell. I made a little bit more smooth, and so as you can see my son also. Has these beautiful eyelashes that don’t come out in the profile very well, but I do want to add them in there, and so I’m going to just kind of trace a pretty generic eyelash shape, And then I can just add it on to his profile. Adjust it, maybe bring it down a little bit. And with these silhouettes, you kind of have to play around with it to see, sometimes because the form is so basic, you have to kind of see what actually looks normal, because sometimes just tracing it actually doesn’t look the most normal, surprisingly, so yeah, anyway, and then. I just went back in after. I did this and as you can see. I added more elements of hair and I can show you the finished product when I did it before you can see. It has all these different spikes, whereas messy, where I added in all those messy hair. Because that’s who he is, You know, you can give him a little bit more detail and make it look bit more fun. So now if we come back to our original silhouettes and what we’re going to do. I’m going to take both of these and just drag them over here on my art board. I want Davian. The older boys to be behind them. The babies to be in front and right now they’re not quite to scale, so I’m going to shrink his down just with the black arrow tool, so they’re a little bit closer to their actual relational sizes, And once I had that I’m going to position my Littler one’s profile over the top of his, but now you can see that all the details get lost and so what we’re going to do is we’re going to copy this one command C and then paste in back Command B, or you can always go to edit edit and then copy and then paste or paste it back and then with this one, we are going to change it to white. I’m just going to use the eyedropper tool for that and then expand it. Oh, yeah, sorry. I have to have to make sure that this is actually on top of this profile, and so you can see over in my layer’s panel. This one’s actually sitting on top, which is why we’re not seeing the white outline right now so that it’s a good thing to remember so over in your layers panel, you can always rearrange things, Bring it over the top now. You can see the white outline, and you can adjust it. Move it around, scale it to how you want it to look until you have it in place where you like it, so there you go, and if you’re going to be printing this or using it digitally, then you don’t have to do anything else, you’re completely done. If you do want to make this into a cup file then. I’m going to show you a couple extra steps. You can take to do so so to make it a cup file. You have to make everything into one compound path, and as you can see over here with all of these things selected, we have a whole two groups of elements, and we need to simplify these, basically, so the first things we’re going to do. I’m going to take Davian’s profile and I’m going to go to Pathfinder, and then I’m going to go to unite. And if you don’t have Pathfinder, you can go to window and then select Pathfinder, and then it’ll come up and then when you hit unite, you can watch all the anchor points of all. My little elements get merged into one shape. I’m going to do the same thing with this. Little guy. There you go so now you can see in the layer’s panel and I have all these selected now. We, oh, this one’s still a group. I’m going to need to unite this one too now. We’ve simplified it to three elements. We still need to get it down to just one compound path, though, and so to do that what we’re going to do is you can see we have these layers layered on top of this one, and we’re basically going to need to subtract it from this shape, so we’re going to start with our white layer. We’re going to select that, and then also select Davian’s profile and with those two things selected. You’re going to go to Pathfinder and then hit – back or subtract It’s kind of hard to see what it did there. Let me move it over here off of the artboard. Just so you can see better. What’s happening, so right now we have our white outline and we’re going to select both of these and hit that button and all of a sudden that disappears. It subtracted this shape from that one. So now all that’s left to do is to select both of our profiles and then hit unite and because we had elements touching. Now the whole thing is one shape. So if you were to cut this out on a piece of paper, it would all come out as one shape, if say you had. This white layer was bigger or something and you had it taking up more space For some reason the other step would be the same. You still do the minus back, but now because we don’t have these layers touching anymore, you wouldn’t hit unite because if you did, it would just turn it into a group and so what you would need to do whenever you don’t have layers touching, but you want it to be one cut file shape. You need to make it into a compound path by either hitting Command 8 or selecting both of them and going to object and then compound path and make anyway so anyway, so that’s what you need to do if you want to make it into a cup file and I personally liked it better. When it was just the smaller outline, but yeah, so there you have it. I hope you were able to follow along and I hope it all made sense to you and whether you’re going to use this digitally printed or as a cut file. It’s going to look super cute, so have fun.