Sharpie Silhouette Drawings

I'm a computer programmer and I'm interested in both Photography and more traditional art forms such as drawing and painting. In December of 2012 I got interested in Sharpie marker art. Here are three of the images that I've created.

I'm not particularly good at either photography or traditional art and although I enjoy both, I have limited time for them. Because of that, I've come up with several ways that I can meld my programming profession with my photography and art hobbies. I recently built and released my first web app, Shadow Trace, which is an example of that. Shadow Trace takes a digital photo (sometimes even a bad one) and converts it to a black and white silhouette. It then generates an outline of that silhouette that can be printed, colored, traced, or otherwise transferred. The result is similar to the color-by-number pages you might find in activity books.

Start with a Digital Photo

I start the process with an original photo. For my own work, I prefer photo's I took myself, but you can use any image. Here, I'm using a public domain image I found on the Internet.

I take a lot of snapshots. Most of my photos are taken with my mobile phone and are not particularly high resolution. Often, I'll crop or rotate to get the image that I want. For this Sharpie process, I've even pulled snapshots from video footage.

Create a Silhouette

Once I've got my photo, I use the Shadow Trace web app to create a silhouette of the image. The process works best with images that have a lot of contrast between the background and the main subject that you're trying to capture. I use the finished silhouette primarily as a reference for what the finished drawing should look like.

Save the Outline

Shadow Trace also creates an outline of the silhouette. I save that and print it. From there, I've done several things. Sometimes, I'll print the outline directly on a 4×6 index card and then hand color it. In other cases, I'll print the outline mirrored, trace it with pencil, and then flip it over and rub the other side in order to transfer the outline to another sheet. I've also considered buying an LCD projector so that I could project the outline onto a larger canvas, a wall, or any other object.


Try Shadow Trace (Broken Link)

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sharpie_drawings.txt · Last modified: 2020/06/01 22:53 (external edit)