Silhouette carving starts with a simple design that would work well as a silhouette. One thing that I've found that works particularly well are stencils because they are designed to create the design using painted and unpainted areas. As with the other projects I began by transferring the design and cutting it with the swivel knife. You then bevel in as if you are doing inverted carving. The above picture shows the design at the point where I've beveled the left half of it.
The next step is to flatten the entire design with backgrounding tools. The goal is to get all of the design evenly tamped down, which takes a bit of work. After the backgrounding is done the piece is allowed to dry.
There are two recommended methods of coloring silhouette carving. The first is to either paint or dye the silhouette in a dark color and leave the rest of the leather unfinished or lightly colored. The second is to dye the piece a dark color and paint the silhouette in white. Because I like to be contrary I decided to color this pieces following the second method, for the most part. I dyed the piece with black dye and painted the butterfly silhouette with light purple acrylic paint and then applied an acrylic finish.