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November 29, 2009
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SKIN: a tutorial - Part 2 by navate SKIN: a tutorial - Part 2 by navate
Whew… okay. This section is very long, and a little intense. I realize I am simultaneously telling you to choose a unified palette, AND throw color all over the place. It’s definitely the most difficult and advanced section of the entire tutorial.

:spotlight-left: DOWNLOAD THE SUPPLEMENT CHART HERE :spotlight-right:
Import it into a program with a color picker, and go nuts. Compare the swatches, look at how the colors, saturation, and values changes. It will help, promise.

:star: IN THIS SECTION: :star:
Skin tones: how to achieve a range of skin tones (light, medium, dark, and fantasy) using the basic formula laid out in Section I.

This tutorial is very extensive and will be publish in four parts. If you just found it, please be sure to start with Section I!

:bulletblue: SECTION I: Skin Basics. Expanding beyond the usual shadow-midtone-highlight formula, and how to use each tonal range most effectively.

: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.

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: You can find color theory resources here in my journal.

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

Given 2012-09-13
SKIN: a tutorial - Part 2 by ~navate One of the most comprehensive tutorials I've seen on DA - don't forget to check out the first part as well! ( Featured by Elandria )
jezreelian10 Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Student Digital Artist
This tutorial really helps me a lot! thank you so much!! :D

I used it here :D…
differnt Featured By Owner 5 days ago
i dont know how to thank you for ur work , i think this is the best skin tut i found! 
but im still cant do it :( pfff sad thing  
the skins i made either muddy or artificial! mayb i do something wrong in blending or placing the colors!  can u explain please a lil more about where to place exactly colors? 
navate Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Professional Digital Artist
It's going to take a lot of practice.  Just keep trying.  There is no formula for where to place the colors.
be0711 Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014
Zardi Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014
This reference is awesome, well-organized, and you clearly know what you are talking about!
Bronzewinged Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist
Thank you very much for actually showing different types instead of just the common light skin.
I'll need some time to digest this and later make use of it (I'm quite sure that I already use some of it).

When I do simpler "skin detailing" I usually use only a single shadow and highlight colour. Often blending heavily to create new tones. The reason for it is that I then can add to it even more if I later feel like it. It would propably be hard to go backwards an simplify a multi colour thing (unless drawn again). 

How many different faces did you draw in total for this (even if they might have doubled as another project)? I can see several different ones in the "showing the base colour" where you show a small sliver of the artwork. 

Is it a good idea to keep a characters basetone and perhaps a few shadow and hightlight colours in a sheet of some sort? Since this makes you able to make a palette that can be varied depending on light and what ever other things you want to change/draw. A certain good basecolour or sometimes colour in general can be hard to find sometimes. Atleast if you ask me. 
navate Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Everyone's coloring style is different and that is ok.  But if you stick to only one highlight and shadow color, you will get flatter color.  I find it much easier to blob in the color variation before I start to blend.  It's actually easy to tone it down if you feel it got too crazy--either over-blend or use low opacity of a neutral color on top to tone it down.

I forget how many faces, sorry.  It was a really long time ago and I'm still working on repainting the existing + some new skin tones for the updated version of this tutorial.

I do not keep reference sheets but if it helps, go for it!
triangulor Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
WOW this is really great! You certainly know your stuff. One issue I always have with using advice like this is its often really hard to know where to put the variation in value on a face. I end up putting it in randomly just trying to get the skin tone to look varied and interesting but it usually ends up looking strange and as I work on balancing out the skin colour, blending things that look wrong, I find myself completely erasing all the colour variation completely and ending up with something flat and single valued. You have obviously worked really hard on this and I doubt there is one simple answer but do you have any advice on how I can start? Or an exercise that will help me improve? I have tried just looking at references but often it is really hard to see this effect in real photos or perhaps I am not used to seeing it.
navate Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Hmm, there isn't a formula but try to think of plane changes in terms of hue instead of value.  Does that make sense at all?  I mean planes as in, the way the surface of the skin curves away from the viewer.  Try to throw in color variation in these areas instead of thinking you need to make it darker.  This will help you get much more structural definition without making the skin look unevenly lit or over rendered. 
triangulor Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah that makes sense, I will give it a try! At least it will be a start for me. Thanks so much :)
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