View Full Version : Skin tones

Tony Williams
09-27-1999, 04:44 PM
Hello pastel fans, I need to pick your brains. I would like to know if anyone has any recipes for skin tones. For the last couple of years I've been drawing nudes with pencil and charcoal. Now I've started using pastels I would be very grateful for any suggestions. I use soft Rembrandts and hard CarbOthello pastel pencils.


09-27-1999, 05:03 PM
there's no good recipe, though you'll get hints here. one skin color on a warm painting won't work on a cool one. rembrandt has portrait pastels that at least keep you in the ball park. even if you got a formula,,,your application of pastels may differ from another so the skin may STILL come out different.....this probably was no help to you at all. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif ,,,,,milt

"he who thinks he know all and knows nothing is king in a kingdom of one,,,,,or a critic" - the kobe

Drew Davis
09-27-1999, 08:41 PM
Unfortunately, I'd have to agree with bruin. Skin tones are perhaps the least amenable to set recipes of any object. They're just different for every person in every environment, and from place to place even on one person.

Having said that, I'll offer some suggestions anyway. I find Rembrandt's gold ochre range useful for the basic hues, along with the burnt and raw sienna, umber, yellow ochre, caput mortuum red, and light oxide red. You'll also need a bit of blue and/or green for some of the shadows, and other colors here and there. Their pre-packaged portrait sets aren't a bad place to start.

My technique involves a lot of blending, dropping in bits of color from the above list (light to dark). I just tend to start in the neighborhood, and work my way toward where the color needs to be. So, the results don't wind up exactly like anything on that list, nor do I need a whole lot of different sticks. (30 is okay, 60 seems like plenty, 90 would be a lot, and 525 is insane http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif)

If you feel like splurging, try some Sennelier pastels. It's interesting to see how much richer they can be than the Rembrandts, particularly in the more muted colors. And they're so soft, drawing is like petting a kitten.

10-18-1999, 10:09 PM
I don't know the names of colors, as while mixing them I "feel" what color is a match. If we refer to oil paiting, the palette may be like this: Cadmium Red Dark (English Red), Cadmium Yellow (Indian Yellow - it's even darker)(sometimes you may use Lemon Yellow - to show the light on the figure), Burnt Sienna, Burnt or Raw Umber, Cadmium Blue (for shadows) and Titanium White. Actually I've been using pastelle a lot, but usually i go from the darkest and coldest tones to the warmest and brightest. That's it.

10-19-1999, 04:58 AM
I just love to paint faces in pastel. The main thing I discovered (when I first started) was that there are just so many colours in skin that you can't pinpoint it.There could be all the traditional skin tones but then some reflected blue or green in the skin. It depends on the person you are painting, if its an african, an asian person or European, you may end up using most of the colours on your pallette! I would say that it comes with experimenting and seeing which works best for you, buy a set of cheap pastels with which to practise before purchasing anything expensive, that way you know what to buy. Hope its helpful.