A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a silhouette might just be worth a thousand pictures.
Silhouettes have a beautiful vintage feel and capture all the sweet characteristics of a child’s face. “I enjoy bringing out the detail that someone might miss in a photograph—eyelashes, rounded noses, chubby chins, crazy curls,” says Betsy Robinson, a Chicago-based graphic designer who creates silhouettes through her own Fineline Studios.
Robinson, mom to an 11-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter, first learned the art about six years ago. Her kids were riding a seesaw together at the park, a perfect Kodak moment. “I took a picture, but then it occurred to me it wasn’t the scene I wanted to remember as much as their profiles—the sweet curve of their noses, curls in their hair, expression in their chins—so happy and innocent,” Robinson says. So she taught herself to cut silhouettes, and that one moment on a seesaw spurred her new career.
To take advantage of Robinson’s services, email her two to three photos of the child or children, taken against a simple background from about three feet away that features their head and shoulders. The child should be looking straight ahead with a relaxed expression (no smiling, laughing, frowning). If you live in the city of Chicago, Robinson will also take the photos herself. She uses the photos as reference to freehand cut the silhouettes from archival black paper (colors are now also available) and mounts them on an acid-free white mat boards.
Prices are $50 for a 5” by 7”, $60 for an 8” by 10”, and $75 for an 11” by 14”. Copies are available for $20 off original price if you want to get the grandparents in on the fun.