Oil Portrait Painting Tips

Oil Portrait Painting Tips 2


Skin Color


Skin color is not enough to convey a person's ethnicity. While well-painted skin color is important, it needs to be coupled with other key visual clues in order to show someone's ethnicity such as hair color and shape and placement of the features.  in this book is limited to four skin color groups: Caucasian, Asian, Black! African American and Hispanic.

The following color charts are in oil using my standard palette. Use the medium of your choice to replicate the colors you see


Caucasians represent the greatest range in skin color and value. The range is further extended because of the varieties of hair color and texture that are represented.


Skin is generally light to middle-light. It contains less melanin, so it's also relatively more translucent, giving you wonderful opportunities to incorporate the light blues, violets and greens that lie beneath the skin. The orange in redheads' skin can be either to the red or yellow side. Red hair ranges in value from middle-dark to light and in color from a dark red-orange, grayed down with blue to a light yellow-orange


Skin contains more melanin and is more subject to changing value and color with sun exposure. In value, brunette skin can be as light as redheads' skin or as dark as that of some Black skin. Hair falls into the range of middle to very dark values, and in color from brown/black to light brown, with either yellow or red influences, often grayed down with green.


Skin. Skin color in blondes ranges from light to middle in value. The color range is somewhat broad and can include easy ­to-tan orange, red-orange, olive or light­ yellow oranges, similar to the fairest of redheads. A good starting point for fair skin is white mixed with yellow ochre, while burnt sienna is more appropriate for darker skins. Naples yellow is also useful, although many artists prefer to mix skin tones from white with a good yellow such as cadmium yellow or aureolin and a red, adding blue for cooler tones.

Blonde hair ranges from light brown with a yellow component to very light ­almost white-warm or cool yellows. Almost all blonde hair contains some amount of green. Blonde hair comes in a full range of textures.


Skin color group covers a very broad range of color and value. The value range runs from light to middle dark. Asian skin tends to have relatively less red and more yellow than Caucasian groups. Asian hair falls into a very narrow value range-very dark to dark-and is black to black/brown.


Black skin falls into a large range of value, ranging from middle-light to dark. In color, it ranges from a yellow ­orange to a deep, grayed-down version of red-orange and may be grayed down with greens and blues. Black hair also falls into a rather narrow range, from very dark black and black/brown to middle browns with a yellow influence.


Skin generally ranges from middle-light to middle­ dark. In the orange continuum, it has slightly more red and slightly less yellow influences. Hispanic hair ranges in value from very dark to middle-dark.




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