Make a Cut-Out with Cécile McLorin Salvant | Summary and Q&A

June 11, 2020
The Art Assignment
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Make a Cut-Out with Cécile McLorin Salvant


Jazz singer and visual artist, Cécile McLorin Salvant, shares her process for creating silhouette art and discusses the intersection of her music and drawings.

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Key Insights

  • 🖐️ Cécile McLorin Salvant finds inspiration in playing with the proportions and limbs of simple outline figures.
  • 🧑‍🎨 She is gradually becoming more comfortable with identifying as a visual artist, even though she still struggles with the label.
  • 👩‍🦲 Cécile's art often revolves around silhouettes, particularly of women with bald, fat-shaped bodies, but she is now exploring different shapes and stick figure-like forms.
  • 🥋 Ogresse represents the melding of Cécile's drawings and music, allowing her to explore the relationship between the visual and auditory art forms.
  • 🫷 Cécile is interested in pushing the boundaries of her music and creating abstract variations on familiar songs.
  • 🥰 When creating cutout art, Cécile recommends focusing on general lines and working with larger sizes for a more dramatic effect.
  • 🥰 Social distancing has influenced Cécile's recent art, as she explores the idea of distance and interactions between individuals in her drawings.


Hello. I'm Cécile McLorin Salvant, I'm a jazz singer and a visual artist. Your assignment is to draw a simple outline of a human body. Keep doing that until you find one that you really like. Then, draw variations of that outline playing with the limbs and proportions. Pick four of your favorite outlines and copy those onto some stiff paper. It can... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is Cécile McLorin Salvant's preferred method for creating art?

Cécile starts by drawing numerous simple outlines of a human body and then selects a few favorites to transform into embroidered or cutout art pieces for display.

Q: How does Cécile frame her artmaking for others?

Cécile admits to being shy about presenting her visual art but feels more comfortable sharing it on platforms like Instagram. She emphasizes that she dedicates most of her time to creating visual art.

Q: What types of characters does Cécile often depict in her art?

Cécile frequently draws silhouettes of bald, fat-shaped women, which she finds herself continuously drawn to. However, she has recently been experimenting with different shapes and stick figure-like figures.

Q: Can you tell us about Cécile's project, Ogresse?

Ogresse is a musical fairytale where Cécile sings and portrays all the characters. She combines her drawings with her music for the first time in this project, allowing her visuals to influence the musical compositions.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Cécile McLorin Salvant suggests drawing multiple simple outlines of a human body and experimenting with variations of the outline.

  • She discusses her preference for silhouettes and how she decides which drawings to transform into embroidered art.

  • Cécile expresses her hesitations about identifying as a visual artist and explains her attraction to graphic and minimalist designs.

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