Paper Art: Create a Cut Paper Self-Portrait | Sara Barnes | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Paper Art: Create a Cut Paper Self-Portrait

teacher avatar Sara Barnes

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (17m)
    • 1. Welcome to the class!

    • 2. We're going to make a cut paper portrait!

    • 3. What makes a good reference photo?

    • 4. Look at all those scraps!

    • 5. How we'll make our project

    • 6. Creating our roadmap

    • 7. What makes a visually interesting portrait?

    • 8. Technique demo

    • 9. Learn a transfer technique

    • 10. Have fun!

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Who needs a photograph of yourself when you have art supplies? This class will show you how to create a cut-paper self portrait. You’ll learn how draw a portrait that looks like you, as well as different collage techniques to make sure your personality shine through.

Afterwards, replace your social media avatars with your awesome cut paper portrait, like I did for my blog, Brown Paper Bag.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Sara Barnes


Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Welcome to the class!: Hey there. My name is Sara Barnes, and I wanna walking me to my class about creating cut paper Portrait's before we dive in. Here's a little bit about me. I'm a writer, illustrator and desert enthusiast living in Baltimore, Maryland. I worked for several our websites, including my modern Met illusion. Plus I run my own bloke called Brown Paper Bag. There I celebrate beautiful and clever illustrations on a daily basis. So although I read a lot, my illustration practice is really important to me. I love working the collage because it offers so many freedoms You can use any sort of materials you like. You can use paper, clay, embroidery, thread, whatever you want to do in collage. You can do it. It looks great for portraiture, and it's exactly what we'll be doing in this class. So before we dive into our project, I want to tell you how important the cut paper portrait is. To me, it's become a tradition for me over the past three years, the beginning of every year to create my own self portrait. It's been awesome to see how my looks have changed and my artistic Saleh, strange as well, some hoping it'll become a tradition of yours, too. 2. We're going to make a cut paper portrait! : in this video, we're gonna go over a class project which is creating a self portrait out of cut paper. So that means that we're gonna create a picture. Using mostly paper doesn't mean you can't draw or paint. You totally can. It just means that that's gonna be our primary material. We're gonna piece the picture together using glue, and you could make it is larger, small issue, like so to do all this, I'm gonna break it down into a few simple steps. First, we're going to find a great reference photo, and we're going to create a sketch. Based on that, that sketch will be our road back for our entire artwork process. Then we're going to gather materials like paper, scissors blue, discussed them and then figure out the best way to go about creating your portrait. Finally, you get to work, and before you know, you have a great looking piece of artwork to give you an idea of what these look like. Here are a couple of my passport trips. You can see that I use a combination of card stock, hand painted papers and even threat to create a unique portrait. It's so much fun. So you notice in these portrait's I have longer hair. I've got glasses at an extra piercing on my face. I think it's time that I create a portrait that more accurately flex how I look now. And so along with you, I'm gonna be creating my own portrait. I'm gonna started in this class and then after you've all turned in your portrait, I'm gonna reveal minus well, so just an added been a 50 creating cut paper. Portrait is its versatility. I actually use my new social media. I tend not to use photos. So right now, if you go on my twitter at brown paper back, you can see that one of these cut paper Portis is my avatar. 3. What makes a good reference photo?: the key to making a great self portrait as to have a good likeness. And the way you do that is to have a good reference photo. So let's go over what a good reference vote it looks like. So this is my photo that I'm gonna use for my cut paper portrait. You can see that it's a straightforward view, definitely something I'd recommend, especially if it's your first cut paper portrait. And it's got good, clear biting. You can see my facial features perfectly, and what we're gonna do is we're actually gonna trace over this picture, so we're gonna go over that in another video. But for now, make sure you have your photo in the same scale that you want your final piece to be. It's That means if you want a portrait that's five by seven, make sure you print out your photo. That's also five price up in the next video, we're going to gather materials, so it's time to bust out all those papers you've been saving three years because we're getting ready to use them 4. Look at all those scraps!: As you can see, my desk is a total mess. I have baton of different types of papers I've collected over the years. E don't normally work this way, but I did it to kind of illustrate the different types of papers you want. You know, the more official variety that you have in your portrait, the better. It's gonna be a more interesting porter to look at. So why don't we go over some different types of papers that you can use now one type of paper that you want to use our hand painted papers He's had prepared a surface, and I painted on top, mimicking the look of a Children's book illustrator, Eric Carle, another type of paper. I use his card, stock or colored paper that you might find in the scrapbooking section of a craft store, one of my favorite papers to use his craft paper. Also like cardboard. I love the texture that corrugated cardboard has once you peel away the top surface. In addition to paper, I've also got tracing paper and a pencil to draw my sketch, which will discuss soon, and things used to cut a pair of scissors. Exacto knife and a cutting mat. Plus, I have things to tack down your pieces. I like using glue sticks and especially like using this craft bond glue, because it's easy to reposition shapes if you don't like, or something sitting on your paper. Once you find papers you'd like, I'd recommend adding them to a box. I do this, and whenever I need inspiration, I just sift through the boxes. For a while, I had two boxes which were warming cual colors, and now I just have boxes that are small and large scraps. This helps streamline my process and make scraps easier to find. 5. How we'll make our project: in this video, we're going to discuss how we're actually gonna builder portrait once the time comes. The best way to do this is by working in layers. Think of it like going from general to specific, cutting out the large basic shapes first than building the finer details. On top of that, I'll explain why this is important in a minute. But first, let's go over one of my passport, Ritz, to give you an idea of how I worked. First, I started with the basic shape of the head. From there, I added the cheek highlights and then the glasses, because they're going to sit on top of my cheek boats. After pasting the glasses down, I added the strip of the nose, since the foreshortening causes it to appear closer to us. After that was done, I then out of the eyeballs. So the eyeball the pupils highlights and then the eyelashes on top of that is again for shortening is going to make them appear closer to us. The last element was the hair hair is often covering at least part of the forehead, so it makes sense that that's the last thing I created. Once the head was done, including the hair I worked on the neck and attached to my rest of the body, the chin being pasted on top of the neck and then added other details, such as the important re stitching on both my shirt and my nose piercing and my mineral piercing working in layers. It's the easiest and most forgiving way to build your portrait. Let's say, for instance, I didn't like that cheek highlight that I made in my last collage, but I already had my glasses. On top of that, what it have to do is that first have to remove my glasses to repair the cheek. Highlight. And I've probably ruined the glasses in the process because once you go down paper, taking it back up is often is often not good. It's not gonna end well. So what? The best thing to do is to work general to specific, really be confident on something when she paced it down. That way, you won't make the same mistakes that I have countless times and you'll be happier with your portrait overall. So how do we get to those shapes, though? How did I know to make the knows that particular shape. How did I know how toe form the lips? Well, in the next video, we're gonna go over creating our blueprint, creating our sketch. That will be a road map for the rest of the project. 6. Creating our roadmap: as I've mentioned before, we're going to create a road map that will take us from the sketch Phase two, our final portrait. But how do we do that exactly? I'm gonna show you my way of creating a portrait that looks like me but doesn't cause me a lot of stress. Having a great portrait means you have a great likeness that comes easier for some than others and doesn't come very easily for me. I've always struggled, creating a likeness of someone. So to get around that I've actually taken up a tracing method. It's not the most popular thing, but for collage were abstracting shapes anyways. So it doesn't really matter if we are tracing something or not, because at the end it's not gonna look like we traced it. Just gonna look like a lot of awesome shapes and a lot of cool paper stacked on top of each other that resembles you. In an earlier video, we talked about having good reference photo so you can see here that this is a high quality photo. It's got clear, easy way to read my facial features, and it's also printed to size, So I'm working at a little lighter, a little less than 8.5 by 11. But if you wanted to work smaller or larger, that's OK to, For instance, if you wanted to work in a five by seven scale, that's fine. Just make sure you print out your portrait accordingly. So basically, what we're gonna do is we're gonna abstract the face. We're going to turn some of these facial features into simple shapes that we can cut out easily with an Exacto knife or a pair of scissors. So how you do that is up to you. I like using a lot of different rounded shapes in my portrait. So my nose, for instance, and my cheeks they're all gonna be kind of circular, really rounded, but you can do whatever you want. So here is the process. Basically, you're just putting a piece of tracing paper over your portrait and at going from there. I did the general outline of my face, and then I chose to make my nose less detailed. Very simple. Five saying with my eyes, just make an almond shaped eye. It's up to you. How detailed you want to get. I'd encourage you if It's your first time making a collage portrait to air on the side of less detailed so simpler shapes, ones that have less cuts in them in less detail. In general, the hair is something that contract a lot of people. For that I'd recommend starting at the entire shape of the hair, then picking out the highlights and accenting those you're not gonna want to get every strand or even mimic every strand of your hair. But you can pick out highlights, and that will give you the the illusion of dimension and depth. And that's kind of all you're looking for and collage portrait to give yourself the illusion of depth. You just want to add, like one or two pieces of paper that will highlight some of your best attributes. I really like my hair. So I'm adding some details with that. And then I did my shoulders down. Um, not too much, but I did add that I'm not gonna do the patterning on my dress, so I'm gonna simplify that. So feel free to simplify whatever you find, you know too difficult, because the idea is that you're just cutting this out of paper, so it's not gonna be very detailed in general 7. What makes a visually interesting portrait?: never finished our sketch. It's time that we gather the papers that we want to use for a portrait. So here I've gathered the papers I'm gonna use in my new portrait, you can see I have a variety of colors, patterns and textures, something that you'll definitely want to focus on when you're selecting your path. Your paper. So I have screen printed papers. I have hand painted colored paper as tohave card stock of the same color. I've got water color washes here. I've got printmaking textures, and I even used brown craft paper, which is one of my favorite textures to use. My blawg called Brown Paper Bag, is actually a home Balash to this very versatile paper, and I've also painted my skin tone, So I like painting my skin tone because I want to accurately reflect how pale I am. You can use any kind of paper you want for your skin, but this is what I choose to use, so it's really important that you have a bunch of papers to choose from. You might not use all of them. I might not use all these blues, but it's good to have them on your table while you're working. You never know what kind of inspiration will hit, and you want to use that paper. It's good to narrow down your selections as well. I have so many pieces of paper it would be really stressful to have to sift through them while I'm working. So narrowing them down into the smaller pile makes working a lot easier. And having these different nuanced papers is really going to make your portrait pop. It's gonna make your portrait more interesting to look at. People are gonna want to see all the cool details you put in in all the different types of papers that you have, so I definitely recommend making your own paper possible. I hand pain a lot of papers, and I use those and in the next video, one actually going to show you how to do this. It's a really easy technique, something that you could do time and again. You only need a few materials 8. Technique demo: Mr Tutorial, we're going to go over how to make your own hand painted papers. It's a super easy technique only requires a few supplies, and it's something you can experiment with to truly make your own. These are the supplies you'll need. To complete this technique. You'll need a sheet of Bristol paper or some other paper that's in a heavyweight sponge brush and Matt Medium. We're gonna use acrylic paint afterwards to paint on top of the dried Matt medium. I don't have a particular preference on what kind of matt medium I use, but I always by the liquid text. But you can also use Golden, or you can even use much podge. It's the same thing. It's really easy to get started. Simply squirt some of your mat medium onto a blank sheet of paper. Like I said, Bristol works great but doesn't have to be Bristol. It could be any sort of heavyweight paper and use your spun brush to evenly coat the entire page. What this is doing is it's basically creating a seal so that when you put any sort of water based media, so that could be acrylic paint pen in ink Whatever you want to put on this, it's not gonna seep through and ruin and wrinkle the paper. It's essentially just suing a sheet of paper. It dries clear, so you don't have to worry about any sort of weird marks or altering your paint colors. And yes, so that's basically it. You're just putting a nice even coat and wait for two draft. Once you're at mediums dried, you can start painting on it. You can see that I've already started, but you don't just have to use acrylic paint you can also use. I think you could use colored pencils. You accuse Cran pencils. The possibilities are really endless with this technique, and it's something I really love. The surface is also hardy enough to take multiple layers of paint, so I like to create multifaceted, multilayered surfaces with glazing. But really, whatever you desire you can do with this technique, it also doesn't just lend itself to collage. If you wanted to create a conventional painting on it, you could do that too. In the next lesson, we're gonna learn how to transfer our sketch onto our painted papers. So that way we can really begin building our portrait 9. Learn a transfer technique: one of the last things we're gonna learn is how to transfer our sketch onto the pieces of paper that we want to use for a portrait. I've got my sketch, and now I want to transfer the shape of my head onto this piece of paper. So did you that it's really simple. It's probably something that you did when you were in elementary school. Here's the front of my sketch. So I'm gonna flip over my sketch. I'm gonna take a pencil, something that has soft lead. So it'll get a nice, dark line, and I'm gonna just shade over the line that I want to transfer. So this is basically just outlining the head. You can see you to see the back of my paper. I just get a real quick broke with marks. And now I am laying the paper, the back of my sketch, onto the paper. I want to transfer it onto, and I am simply retracing the lines from there. You have a pencil sketch that you can cut from, and you just do that on and on until you are done with your portrait. 10. Have fun!: in this class we've gone over. What a cut paper portrait ISS. How to find a reference and create a sketch. Custom techniques for making your portrait truly unique. But remember, there's no walls in collage, so feel free to supplement your paper with something like embroidery, thread or clay. Whatever you want to do, you can do it. And if you're stumped, feel free to reach out to me or others in the class. I'm really looking forward to seeing your project and remember to upload your reference photo along with your collage so we can see how you translated your photo into your Kalash and by the end of the class also upload the portrait I created to