Monday, 5 June 2017

Street Art Portraits with the Trace Tool

Hello! Marie-Clare here with something a little bit trendy. We've all seen those "mystery" street art pieces that pop up around the world by artists like Banksy. The Trace function can help you to create your very own version!

Now, I don't want any major celebrities beating a path to Glasgow to pull me up for using their image, so you're stuck with a photo of my wee boy. Sorry!

You will need:

Photograph editing software or an online photo editing tool
A photo of your choice
Silhouette Studio

Step 1

Edit your photograph so that it is black and white, and then use the exposure, brightness and contrast tools to emphasise the shadows and highlights. It will look grainy and odd, but this will help add to the effect. I use a photo editing software, but there are free online tools available.

If you can, erase as much of the background from your photograph as possible.

Step 2

Bring your edited photograph into Silhouette Studio, and open the Trace panel.

Step 3

Using the "Select Trace Area" tool, drag a rectangle over your photograph. Using the Threshold slider bar, adjust so that the major features of your photograph are picked up. You can also play with the High Pass Filter slider bar to get a better effect, but at this stage, trial and error is always the best bet!

Step 4

Trace. Then, drag the trace away from your image.

Step 5

Using the fill colour and line colour tools, make your outline blank, and your fill one solid colour. At this stage, you can stop, and either cut your image in vinyl or print it out at your desired size. Or, you can add more layers and colours...

Step 6

Repeat Step 3, and use a different combination of the Threshold and High Pass Filter values to get a different kind of trace. Repeat Steps 4 and 5, but position the second trace over your first for a Pop Art effect!

This is a great effect for creating stencils, unusual Banksy style prints, or even Warhol style artwork, depending on whether you use a single layer or multiple. It looks great in shades of one colour, or lots of retro multicolours!


  1. No problem Sharon! Thank you for visiting and commenting :) xx