DIY Pet Silhouette Art

Our loveable pup Zulu is coming up on 2 years old next week. It is hard to believe that we’ve had him for a year and a half already! Going through some of my old pictures of him, it is crazy to see how much he’s grown. At 6 months old, he weighed in at about 55 pounds, and at 2 years old, he is nearing 100 pounds. I can’t believe he was once small enough to sleep in his cage like this.

Small Zulu Sleeping in cage

He’s had his naughty moments like when he ate his bed and when he devoured his way through two aluminum cans when we forgot to lock his cage, but we love him anyways.  He’s lucky he is cute.

Zulu chewed up his bed

Zulu with cans

This is one of my favorite pictures of him because he looks so tiny, but it isn’t a very good picture. I’ve seen a lot of pet silhouette art ideas on pinterest, so I decided to give it a try. I used adobe illustrator, but I’ve seen many other tutorials for different methods out there. Also, I’m lucky Zu is black and white, because it sure made it easy on me. Otherwise, you could probably up the contrast to get a cleaner silhouette.

Zulu with ball

I started by “placing” my picture in illustrator. (File > Place > Choose your image file)

zulu print 1

Next, I hit the “live trace” button. The default settings actually worked pretty well, but I thought I could get some more detail by changing the threshold.

zulu print 2

 I’ve circled the button I use to bring up the custom settings menu. Once I had the menu up, I checked the “preview” box so I could see what effects my actions were having. I also wanted to check the “ignore white” box to ignore the white in the background. Adjusting my threshold down helped get rid of some of the unnecessary detail in the background and brought out more detail in my pup.

zulu print 3

Once I had it how I wanted it, I hit “trace.” You can see this resulted in a lot of nodes and outlines.

zulu print 4

I zoomed in and started deleting the background details that I didn’t want using the direct selection tool. Then, I started using the “delete anchor point” tool under the pen tool to clean up Zulu’s outline. There were only a few problem areas, so it only took a minute.

zulu print 5

Here’s my finished silhouette. But I wasn’t done yet. I wanted to do the same thing with his red ball, so I repeated my steps using the live trace color option to capture the reds in his ball.

zulu print 7

I dug up an IKEA frame I had laying around, and printed out my silhouette. When I print in illustrator, I like to print with the printer’s marks on so I have a cutting guide.

Sihoutte Close Up

I love having some new artwork for my desk, and it was fun to be reminded of how little our dog once was.  I’m thinking that my next project will be creating some silhouette art of Jerm and I.

Framed silhouette print

Have you tried any silhouette art lately? If so, what method did you use.

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