- Arts and Design
How to Paint Realistic Skin tones in Oils and Acrylics
How to Paint Realistic Skintones
Today we are going to learn how to paint realistic skintones in oil paints, which can also be applied to acrylics and gouache.
Painting skin tones is a little difficult at first but with practice it will become second nature just as picking up a brush.
First off there are many variable in painting skin i.e. if a person is fair, mid skin or dark, but then again it depends on many factor i.e. the lighting if a person is in broad sunlight there will be warm highlights "yellowish reddish" and if the same person is in indoor cool light or in a cloudy day will have cool highlights " Bluish" these things need to be taken into consideration.
Painting fair skinned people.
Fair skinned women usually have pinkish greyish tone, while men usually have little more yellow or golden tone and children usually have reddish cheek, nose, and ears because of the increase of blood blow in these areas
Painting Fair Skinned People
Painting Fair Skinned People
Warm Highlight: Yellow Ochre, little Cadmium Red Light and a lot of White.
Cool Highlight: same as the warm highlight with little Ultramarine Blue added as well.
Then again there is no rule, as you can even use Indian Yellow, Indian Red and White for highlights or even Yellow Ochre and Red Ochre and white.
For reddish pinkish highlights you can even use touch alizarin crimson, yellow ochre and white.
Substitute Yellow Ochre for Raw Sienna for little darken skin.
In highlights where skin appears to be little greyish add touch raw umber and white.
If it is warmer add Cadmium Red Light or touch Alizarin Crimson "just a touch of Alizarin Crimson as it is a very strong color”.
For Middle tones use the same base mixture as above with less white and more ultramarine blue.
Or you can add Raw Umber if the middle tone is little cooler or Burnt Umber if it’s warmer.
You will rarely use the above mixture as it is, you will need to grey it down a notch by adding greys.
Use a mixture of Raw Umber and White, or Ivory Black and White, to slightly knock the intensity down
For Shadows: Raw Sienna, touch Cadmium Red Light and Ultramarine blue, no White. Adjust slightly if its warmer add more Raw Sienna if its cooler more Ultramarine Blue, in small quantities.
Or you can even use Burnt Sienna and viridian.
Darkest dark in the face: Ultramarine blue and Burnt Umber. Never use pure black as it tends to kill the color even if in your painting where an area appears to be black use the above mixture.
You might even see receding planes in faces which appears to be greenish add little Raw Umber to light or middle tone mixture.
Some People have more reddish skin, use little more Cadmium Red light and some people have more yellow skin use more Yellow Ochre.
For natural reddish lips you can use: Yellow Ochre, White and a lot of cadmium red light or vermillion.
To darken add Alizarin Crimson.
For men add Raw Umber to Cadmium Red Light, Yellow Ochre and White.
My Portrait Pallete
Cadmium Red Light
Cadmium Yellow Med
Difference between warm and cool colors in Portraiture.
As you might already know warm colors are "red, orange and yellow", while cool colors are "blue, green, violet and greys", so how does this applies to colors being cool and warm in portraiture, well color is only warm and cool in comparison to other colors, i.e. a warm color Alizarin Crimson is cooler in comparison to Cadmium Red light or Vermilion because Alizarin Crimson has a little blue in it, whereas Ultramarine Blue is a cool color but is warmer in comparison to other blues because it has red in it.
So what this means in portraiture is that if a color is cool, it is cool in comparison to other colors on that canvas i.e. a warm highlight on a subject cast a cool shadow that is it has blue in it.
You might not see bright blue or green in portraiture but that cool color in skin tones will be little greenish or bluish in comparison to other colors.
Color is relative a warm color will seem cooler when placed next to an even warmer color.
A mid tone grey will appear very dark next to white and very light next to black, so if you want to darken a color you can do use by making the surrounding colors lighter and vice versa.
The so called Flesh Tint Tubes on the market are just a mixture or Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red Light and White.
This Page will be updated on a regular basis, i will be adding more tips and technique on how to paint.