For Every Airbrush Artist!

Ready to get involved? Register for free and you won't see any google advertising!

Register

Skin tones

Discussion in 'Color the World!' started by Jimmyfingerz, Feb 2, 2018.


  1. Jimmyfingerz

    Jimmyfingerz Elite Member! Elite Member! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    704
    Likes Received:
    965
    Trophy Points:
    91
    Location:
    UK
    No its not another how to skin tone thread.
    I had a go tonight at making a skin tone starting with violet, adding white to lighten then some yellow/red and more white.
    The first pic is the paints as I added although there is a missing sheet with three steps on with just a little more red and white I think then the second pic is what i came up with.
    Using the tips on here I’m quite happy for my first attempt.

    So here is my question if you wanted a darker tone for shadowy areas how would you add say a low mid grey?
    Would you just add some whate and then black into the cup and mix or would you reach for a pre made grey?
    I’m understand about black to darken and white to tint, but its just the grey part that is alluding me at the moment.
    Just after tips how people go about it when creating different shades using greys.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
    ilzeairbrushing and doc1 like this.
  2. Mr.Micron

    Mr.Micron Royal pain in the air hose Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Messages:
    16,445
    Likes Received:
    12,675
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Bloomington,Indiana
    Never use black in a skin tone.
    I start with burnt Umber or Burnt sepia then add white until I get the lightest shade I want ,
    on the darkest shadows say if I am using Burnt Umber I will at some ultramarine blue .
    Black take the life out of a skin tone.
    Mainly use the opposite color on the color wheel to darken a color more naturally ,
  3. haasje dutchairbrush

    haasje dutchairbrush Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,875
    Likes Received:
    5,372
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Netherlands
    It's something you'll need to get "a feel" for and it's also largly dependant on the brand of paint you are using.

    Unless you want to go realy dark (as in near black) I'd never use black to darken a skinn tone (caucasian) as it just won't work for a natural looking darker color (in my experience with E'tac, schmincke, createx illustration).

    When making an opaque darker I tend to start out with sepia or burnt umber (sepia for a bit "colder" feel) and generaly need to add a tad of red ocher and blue. When going by theory, blue being the oposite color of the range skintone belongs to should sufice (it hardly ever will :p).

    When I need to "desaturate" the color I'll mix the greyscale the color matches and just add that, it will desaturate without making the color darker or lighter.


    When using transparants I generaly start with a highly reduced sepia and adjust with what ever color I need afterward (this is realy down to experience and pratice with the brand of paint you are using)


    or what mr micron said while I was typing :whistling:
  4. Jimmyfingerz

    Jimmyfingerz Elite Member! Elite Member! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    704
    Likes Received:
    965
    Trophy Points:
    91
    Location:
    UK
    Thanks guys i’ll have another play around.
    Last question, when mixing in your cup do you just create room by dumping a little paint..........i’m typing that thinking it’s a real dumb question but i’ve read plenty of theory but not seen much working practice so understanding the basics of someone’s workflow would be great.
  5. haasje dutchairbrush

    haasje dutchairbrush Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,875
    Likes Received:
    5,372
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Use a pipette it makes mixing easier and you can take a bit of paint out of the cup an set it aside (incase you need to go back a bit color wise just add a tad of the paint you took out). Easier still is an airbrush with a side cup just use serveral cups and transfer some to a new cup and mix the color you want in that one.
  6. Jimmyfingerz

    Jimmyfingerz Elite Member! Elite Member! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    704
    Likes Received:
    965
    Trophy Points:
    91
    Location:
    UK
    Thanks bud thats awesome tips, thats helped massively.
    I’ve just bought the micron sb so will probablg buy extra side cups anyway.
    I’ll get some pipettes too.
    Is there some basic ratios for paint mixing or is it just about learning your brand and knowing what to reach for in your opinion?
    I’m pretty happy for my first attempt at a skin tone, i’m using com arts at the moment while i’m learning technique but have the createx illustration colour wheel set to play with after so i’ll just carry on as I am for now to get the basics down.
  7. haasje dutchairbrush

    haasje dutchairbrush Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,875
    Likes Received:
    5,372
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Netherlands
    As no skintone is the same (when working from a reference) there isn't realy a "default ratio" it's just down to getting to grips with the brand used and building some experience (that is if you have atleast the basics of color theory down, if not start with that before even attempting to mix colors :))

    ps there are plastic cups (lion art sells them) that come with a lid which are waaaaaaay cheaper than the metal iwata cups (and come in sets of 5). I use them when I need to premix paint I'll be using a lot of and to which I'll need to switch back (due to the lid they remain usuable for serveral weeks).

    When doing skintones I generaly pre mix 4 or 5 shades in those cups
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
    MarcosD and Jimmyfingerz like this.
  8. Jimmyfingerz

    Jimmyfingerz Elite Member! Elite Member! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    704
    Likes Received:
    965
    Trophy Points:
    91
    Location:
    UK
    If you mean the basics I understand the basic wheel with the primaries,secondaries and tertiary colours. I have been using graphite so understand about tones,shadows and highlights.......
    Would you say this is enough to start or could you point me in the direction of more fundamentals I should know and understand please?
  9. Jimmyfingerz

    Jimmyfingerz Elite Member! Elite Member! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    704
    Likes Received:
    965
    Trophy Points:
    91
    Location:
    UK
    To be honest i’m not trying to master skin tones, I just want a basic grasp on what to mix with what to get in certain directions. This was more a basic entry level question, i’m expecting to be stumped for a long time but am willing to practice daily to get my understanding. I want to paint portraits so starting practicing with my own tones and getting the 3D look to my paintings using tone tints and shades is all I want for now. I understand the realism will come with practice, i’m under no illusion there’s a quick route at all.
    I’ll do as much theory as it takes until I drum it in, i’m not the sharpest tool in the box but i’m persistent :D
    basepaint likes this.
  10. haasje dutchairbrush

    haasje dutchairbrush Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,875
    Likes Received:
    5,372
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Netherlands
    From what you write I think you have the basics of the theory down. A nice and simple movie I always recomend is, for practical purpose that is (close to) all you'll need to know I think:



    (thanks to the original poster of that movie)
  11. Jimmyfingerz

    Jimmyfingerz Elite Member! Elite Member! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    704
    Likes Received:
    965
    Trophy Points:
    91
    Location:
    UK
    I’ve watched it about 6 times lol Really informative video in all honesty, broke down so simple for simple folk like me.
  12. Jurien72

    Jurien72 Have Airbrush - Will Travel!

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    2,824
    Likes Received:
    2,775
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Somewhere in the U.S.
    I wouldn't take this as gospel, but for me personally I prefer to mix outside of the AB. It helps me to see what exact colors Im getting. You can get little hobby mixing cups or a pack of Dixie cups really cheap.
    ilzeairbrushing and Jimmyfingerz like this.
  13. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2017
    Messages:
    3,282
    Likes Received:
    3,118
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Jacksonville, NC
    Adding black or white is fine with pure color. Adding grey makes dull colors. Same goes for having black and white in the same mix. Which is like adding grey.

    Add a little orange to blue to make near black. Test it into white to be sure its not leaning a certain color. Congrats you've got primary grey. Use it in place of black.
    Jimmyfingerz likes this.
  14. musicmacd

    musicmacd The Createx Bandit Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    12,785
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I make my colours in plastic shot cups,
    I wouldn’t add black to a skin tone either, sepia Red Violet and blue Violet make amazing shadow tones but have to be used sparingly.
    Practice is the only thing that will help you as you have to build “eye to brain” experience ie if I add 1 drop of this it will lead me here, it’s not always apparent where the colour will go! Then there’s adding colour and subtracting colours ! I usually subtract what I don’t want.
    Also I find most skin tones look very pale when sprayed on white,
    Jimmyfingerz likes this.
  15. Jimmyfingerz

    Jimmyfingerz Elite Member! Elite Member! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    704
    Likes Received:
    965
    Trophy Points:
    91
    Location:
    UK
    Subtracting colours?
    Can you give an example please of what you mean and maybe how and what you would use to subtract a colour from the mix.
  16. musicmacd

    musicmacd The Createx Bandit Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    12,785
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Brisbane
    There’s a great free video on Coast by Steve driscol that gives you a good idea

    Basically it’s using the colour wheel to find the Complimentary colour of the colour you don’t want to see - ie skin is too red - a light dusting of Green would help diffuse it,
    Sky too blue and light layer of orange would kill that....
    It can get deep and I love it!
  17. Jimmyfingerz

    Jimmyfingerz Elite Member! Elite Member! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    704
    Likes Received:
    965
    Trophy Points:
    91
    Location:
    UK

    Ok mate, I will take a look after work today.
    42 bearings to change in a machine today :cry:
    musicmacd likes this.
  18. musicmacd

    musicmacd The Createx Bandit Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    12,785
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Brisbane
    It may take some playing around before the penny drops but when it does you can become a colour professor!!! I have just created a few different tones that I find I use a lot, and the one thing they all have in common is that they are not at full saturation, on there own they look muted but in the context of photo realism there is not much saturated colour.
    Jimmyfingerz likes this.
  19. Jimmyfingerz

    Jimmyfingerz Elite Member! Elite Member! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    704
    Likes Received:
    965
    Trophy Points:
    91
    Location:
    UK
    I can’t wait to understand what you just said lol
    I’m going to paint a nose and some lips tonight so I will play with two different colours.
    I found some plastic shot glasses online and will get some wooden sticks to stir.
    Thanks for all the input guys, 8 bearings now in the machine.......quickest i’ve worked because I want to get home to play :cool:
    musicmacd likes this.
  20. musicmacd

    musicmacd The Createx Bandit Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    12,785
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Brisbane
    You have to make your paint transparent for this to work, I sometimes spray paint through the cup till empty then put reducer in the cup and use it to paint with :)

Share This Page