Silhouette Ladies Using Tape Resist

Today I’m going to show you how to use a technique called “tape-resist” to create silhouettes with watercolor backgrounds! Afterwards, you can add details with ink if that strikes your fancy.


Materials You’ll Need:

  • Pencil
  • Watercolor Paper or Sketchbook
  • Watercolor Brush and Paint
  • Fine Felt Tip Pen (I used Micron)
  • Artist’s Tape or Painter’s Paper Tape (Please note that I am an affiliate of Blick Art Materials.)

Step One: Drawing the Silhouette

To begin, use a pencil to draw a simple profile onto your piece of tape. You might find it easier to stick the tape onto a flat surface instead of drawing directly on the roll.

I used strips of 2″ wide painter’s tape.

Step Two: Prepping to Paint

Once you’re happy with your drawing, carefully cut out the profile with scissors or an X-Acto knife, and stick the profile to your watercolor paper.

Make sure to press the tape down securely, so that no paint will seep underneath it.


Step Three: Painting

Now it’s time to paint! I went for a simple vignette background, but the beauty of this technique is that you can splatter and dab watercolor to your hearts content without worrying about getting paint where you don’t want it.


Step Four: Adding Ink

After making sure the paint has fully dried, slowly pull up the tape. (If your tape silhouette doesn’t rip, you can reuse it. Mine was sticky enough to be used four times!)

Now you have a lovely blank lady ready to be drawn or painted! I kept mine simple by drawing the features with a black micron pen.


I hope you have fun with this technique! If you’d like to share your results, I’d love to see them! Please feel free to link to your work in the comments, or use the hashtag #paperfrosttutorial on Instagram, where I’ll be sure to see it!

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