Scissors fine art master, Cindi Rose discovered ten ways to determine great silhouette artists. First, the individual should be able to hand-cut a perfect likeness without the use of a shadow, light, or physiotrace machine. Second, they should use authentic silhouette paper, which is black on one side, and white on the other, it should be thin as wrapping paper. Third, wonderful silhouettes have interior details such as pearls, buttons, neck-ties, ribbons, earrings, and exact hair styles. Fourth, the world’s most talented silhouette artists can do groupings, where they cut one face into another—often as many as thirteen people together. Fifth, the cut-arts master work should be accurate in age. They should realize that this “lost art” was popular before the camera, and silhouette artists paved the way for photography. The silhouette artist had to capture the style of the era.
Sixth the proportions should be human and correct. Seventh, the silhouette art must have style. The silhouettes that last generations to come, have unique bust lines, and make a statement. Eighth, the work should not be too large. A true silhouette artist will try to keep the work miniature, within two and one half inches to six inches, never life-size—it should never look like it was Photoshopped or traced from a wall, which is not even a “poor cousin” to an authentic silhouette. Ninth, every silhouette should look different, like a finger-print. Good silhouette artists can see differences in triplets, and will capture them on paper. Tenth, speed is important. If a silhouette artist takes more than six minutes making a silhouette from scratch, that means that the artist does not have a gifted eye. Think of the athlete, the fast athlete is the great athlete. The fastest silhouette artists are the best silhouette artists.
Note, it does not matter if the silhouette artist came from generations of silhouette artists. What matters is that they were first a gifted portrait artist. The greatest silhouette artists drew portraits since they were a child, have natural talent, and are self-taught. Silhouette-cutting exact and flattering profiles is much harder than drawing portraits. That is why you can find thousands of portrait artists of different ability at all times, but only around 18 to 50 authentic living silhouette artists per generation. The Guild of American Papercutters mentions the best silhouette artists since the 1700’s to the current era. For a contemporary book about silhouettes, buy Kathryn Flocken’s remarkable guide to discover the lost art of silhouettes, where she discusses paper profile cutting in the treasured, old-fashioned way.