I MADE A PORTRAIT OUT OF PAPER AND IT LOOKS LIKE THIS

MAKING PORTRAITS

Some of my favorite pictures to make have been portraits–specifically portraits for couples and families. I love being able to create something meaningful for a specific person, or group of people. Knowing that my picture was created for and given to a single person for a special occasion makes the picture a very intimate experience and I love that.

FAMILY PORTRAIT

I was recently commissioned by a friend to make a 16×20″ paper cut-out portrait of his family (him, wife, daughter, and baby-to-come). He shared a bunch of photos with me so that I could get familiar with what everybody looked like and what their interests were. It was easy to see right away that the family has a great sense of humor, loves to have a good time, and enjoys fantasy, gaming and spending time together. After coming up with several designs, I finally stuck with something that resembles a Frank Frazetta or Boris Vallejo painting. Anybody recognize the wife’s outfit?

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Not the best photos, but here are a few detail shots. I love finding ways to tuck one paper under another, or run it through the opening of a shape. It’s always fun to draw on top of the paper, once it’s all put together just right. 2

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THE HAPPY FAMILY

The icing on the cake is hearing back from the families about their portraits. I can’t help but wonder if the family liked their picture, or if they found a special spot for it in their home. In this case, a happy wife messaged me with a very kind email:

“I have got to tell you THANK YOU for the incredible anniversary present you created for us! I am absolutely in love with it and am excited to get it framed so we can display it in our home for everyone to see! I really enjoy your unique style and am proud to have had an original, hand-made family portrait done! I hope you go far in your art career, doing what you love and continuing to spread happiness to others through your talent! Again, thank you!!”

How thoughtful is that?! A large part of my purpose in drawing pictures comes from my love for the way that they affect people. It’s so exciting, the way a drawing or a painting can can speak to us. I count myself lucky to be able to work at what I love on a daily basis, and to share it with people who appreciate it.

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WANT ONE?

If you’re interested in getting a paper cut-out portrait of you, your family, or a loved one, then get in touch with me at jess.smiley [at] gmail.com. We can talk about what you’d like to do and make it happen!

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Comments
8 Responses to “I MADE A PORTRAIT OUT OF PAPER AND IT LOOKS LIKE THIS”
    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Thanks! (They are a super-cute family, though, so it made my job a little easier. Our little secret.)

  1. RoosterTree says:

    I love the detail photos you provided – gives a better sense of what it looks like. I wonder what it’d look like if, instead of a black line (thinking of the sleeve overlapping her hip, & her legs), you made it a cut, then put a ‘wedge’ of the same paper underneath it to make the sleeve & legs protrude & cast shadows.

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Yes! I’ve done a few overlapping pieces in the past that have made shadows, but there’s something about keeping everything mostly flat that I just love. I’ll have to keep messing with overlaying papers, though, and see what comes of it. Thanks!

  2. Tasha Turner says:

    Great portraits. Love what you did. These are the kinds of gifts that mean the most to people.

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Awwww. Thank you, Tasha. The husband just laughed when he saw it: “It looks just like me, muscles and all!”

  3. Shelby Martin says:

    I am proud to be the mother in this work of art! Don’t think this is the last piece we’ll be commissioning you for, Jess! (Literally, the very first words out of my mouth when this was presented to me were, Oh. My. Gosh. I LOVE IT!!!)

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