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Fantasy Art Tutorials in the FARP Section


Skin Tones - Page 1 of 6

By :-) Stephanie Shimerdla

Hello there! The processes described in this tutorial should be applicable for just about any colored medium, digital or traditional. However, everything shown here was painted in Photoshop CS with the aid of a Wacom Intuos graphics tablet.

Let's get started!

1. The first thing that I do is sketch out what I'll be painting. Occasionally, I may start painting in the shape of the face right away, but usually I like to sketch it out first. This way is easier to illustrate for the purposes of a tutorial, as well.

So, here's the basic sketch:

(Feel free to use this sketch for your own experimentation as we go... but experimentation only, please.)

2. Next, I'll block in the basic colors that I'm going to want to be using. (In Photoshop, I make the skin its own layer underneath the 'outline' layer, so that I can keep the original sketch there or make it transparent whenever I'm not referencing it.) For the skin base tone, it can range from quite pink to darker and with a bit more yellow/orange in it, to give it that 'tanned' look. I went with a fairly pink one, this time.

Notice the color palette up in the left hand corner? I do that so that I can be consistent. In digital painting, it's very tempting to just use your eyedropper tool and pick and choose colors from a reference photo. This almost never works. Digital images are made up of thousands of small pixels, as most of you know. That can make the color that you choose with your eyedropper tool nothing like what the color appears to be as a whole. Additionally, if
you just eyeball the colors that you're using for shading and highlighting each time you go back to paint with them, you may change the color slightly each time. This could very well make the skintones across the figure extremely different. So, just like in traditional painting, let's make ourselves a palette!

How did I choose those colors, you ask? Well, to explain that, it's time for some color theory. I'll keep it short, I promise.

NEXT ----->

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FARP Article Guestbook

21 Mar 200745 Anonymous
I've been two hours looking for a good portrait tut. This one was very good. Would like to see more from the author.
9 May 2007:-) Tiffanie L. Gray
A very good overview tutorial on the tones and colors for skin and hair.

Perhaps in your next one, you can add more about actual tools and techniques you use in photoshop to achieve such glorious, smooth results!

Beautiful picture.
2 Sep 2007:-) Sophie Eriksson
Amazing tutorial and pic! I would like to see more tutorials from you, especially one about the technique you use for drawing hair in photoshop because I find that very tricky.
10 Dec 200745 Quazzie
Many many thanks for taking the time to help those of us who still suck =-]
6 Dec 200845 Chris
That is so beautiful. Beautiful picture also very real looking
6 Dec 200845 Chris
agree w/ Irrelevant, that it would be more helpful to add that information. Still a good tutorial though : )1
8 Jan 201045 MzHades
Hi. I really liked this tutorial, it was well done. However, I just have a question. What do you do when faced with darker skin tones? How does shading work when you’re drawing something like a drow elf? Just wondering.
26 Jun 2010:-) Eden Halt
wow this picture is beautiful, but i din’t really get the whole tutorial thing. it was really confusing... like why would your paint turquoise on her face? maybe i’m just stupid but... i didn’t get it
17 Aug 2010:-) Erica Lynn Wilkinson
Epic! Nice tutorial!
19 Sep 201045 DragonReine
@ Rachel Eden
Can’t say if this is why the original uploader of the tutorial used it, but this is from personal experience working with color.

The turquoise tone was picked for fair skintones because the presence of the cold color strengthens the warmth of the overall skin color, and it gives the skin that ’natural’ look (because in real life, color is rarely completely warm or completely cool).

In order for the turquoise to work, however, three things must be remembered:

1) Generally it works better for very fair, pinkish ’cool’ skintones, the kind you’d find on ’Nordic’ skin.

2) The turquoise should be quite light, not completely saturated ’pure’ turquoise.

3) Use it sparingly and blend it well.

Hope that answers your question.
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