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Submitted on
November 21, 2009
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SKIN: a tutorial - Part 1 by navate SKIN: a tutorial - Part 1 by navate
UPDATE 7/31/2011: I've uploaded a slightly revised version. Content is still the same. :)

This tutorial is very extensive and will be published in (at least) four parts.

:star: IN THIS SECTION: :star:
Skin basics: A simple but in-depth look that expands beyond the usual shadow-midtone-highlight formula, and how to use each tonal range most effectively.

:bulletblue: :new: SECTION II: Skin tones. how to apply the basic formula to light, medium, dark, and fantasy skin tones.

:bulletred: SECTION III: Background color and ambient light. How surrounding colors affect skin.
:bulletred: SECTION IV: Building a skin tone, blending and texturing. The technical section showing how to paint skin start to finish.

This tutorial uses mostly digital work as examples, but the theory behind it should apply to ALL mediums. But of course it goes without saying that this is hardly the end-all-be-all of skin painting tutorials. Just my way of thinking about it.

I tried to make this accessible for artists of all skill levels. Intermediate artists will probably benefit the most. Beginners will probably find some of the principles discussed difficult to put into practice. But don’t be frustrated! The only “secret” to being a good painter is practice. :heart: And hopefully even advanced painters will be able to glean something useful. :)

Also-- this should go without saying, but I will say it anyway: the ONLY WAY to learn how to paint/draw anything well, let alone realistically, is to STUDY COLOR THEORY AND FORM. All the stuff I blather on about in this tutorial is meaningless unless you take the initiative to learn the fundamentals of color and figure drawing.
:star: Color theory resources can be found HERE.

Please, any questions, concerns, criticisms, etc: comment below.

Thanks so much for the DD! :)
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Daily Deviation

Given 2009-12-01
The suggester writes: I've seen many a skin tutorial in my day, but I have to say that SKIN: a tutorial - Part 1 by *navate is the best! Not only does it cover the basics, but it also takes into consideration points about skin that most tutorials do not cover, such as the difference between normal highlights and peak highlights. There's so much subtlety in skin and this tutorial gets right to the heart of this challenging topic. This tutorial series is not even finished yet, I'm amazed and waiting for the rest with baited breath. Thank you for sharing! ( Suggested by AngelaSasser and Featured by znow-white )
Spasticat Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Super helpful, thank you very much for this!
Swirler7 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2014   Digital Artist
This is awesome!
without-ink Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014  Student General Artist
ohhh myyyy gooossshhh, this is gorgeous!!!!!!
<3333 definitely favouriting this for a rainy day!!! c:
OrtalShriki Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Amazing tut :) Thank you so much.
PureKitten Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
that seems pretty helpful, thank you.
Hopfield Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much for this, it's so clearly written and easy to follow.  I really struggle with colour and am happiest with just a graphite pencil, but you've inspired me to have another go at learning to use colour, thank you!
TrickstersShadow Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
sorry, I know this is a super stupid question, but do I need a graphic tablet to do these digital paintings? Do you use a tablet and if so, what is it?
quasihedron Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for sharing! :clap:
Well done! :D
pippyboy Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014
thank you for sharing
Da-4th Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014  Student Artist
Wow! This can really come in handy. =D
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