How to Mix Skin Tones in Watercolor
I got a request to explain how to paint skin color with watercolor.
Of course, there is not a skin color It just doesn’t exist. Everybody has a different color of skin or you know, probably it’s even more about value or tone, but I can at least explain how I use watercolors when I draw. First of all, people are not pink. Sometimes a cheek has a little bit of red or pinkish in it so you can add it later, but it should not be the basis for the face.
I usually start with burnt sienna, just use it straight from the pan and I dilute it with a lot of water. And the more water of course the paler the color. So you can play around a little bit with that. Sometimes I add a little bit of burnt umber and then you can create a darker color. You can also add more of an orange but you really need to be careful with that because it becomes red or orange very quickly.
And you can even drop in a little bit of sienna. But then as well, you need to be really careful so it doesn’t become like a very yellow mustardy color because nobody has a mustard face. And sometimes, I drop in just a little bit of quinacridone rose and that gives a bit of that pinkish shine and a little bit of a paler look to the color. So let’s do a quick one liner contour selfie, and then I can show you how I color that face I start with pure burnt sienna. And while I let that dry a little bit I will just paint the hair.
And then adding to that sienna, I pick a little bit of quinacridone rose- a tiny little bit, and add that to the cheeks, maybe to the nose and to the chin. And for the shadows, I could add a little bit of gray, but I’ll keep it in the browns for now. So I pick up a bit of burnt umber for the darker shadows. And that’s basically it. There are many ways.
Every artist does it in different ways. Some artists make certain colors and always get the same kind of tone or color for skin color I do it this way and I just, you know, try. And sometimes I get a very red face or a very yellow face and then I try to just fix it again. That happens and it’s fine.
You just need to see how much water you need to dilute it to get it a little bit more pale. How much red you can add before it’s too bright. You just really need to experiment a lot and try it out with your own watercolor set. So I hope this helps I hope you will try it.