Friday, January 21, 2011

Skin Tones

Recently I decided to work on my rendering of skin. So, I got out Ann Kullberg's book on portraits. She uses around 20 different Prismacolor pencils to recreate the full range of skin tones. I prefer a different make of pencil, so I decided to try and recreate her idea with different pencils.

As you might guess, you can't just swap brands of pencil and find exact matches of colors. So, in the end, after an investigation through my pencils, I came up with a grouping of 20 of my pencils. I made the above chart and bar. I am using a combination of the Lyra skin tone pencils and some Polychromos. The Lyra range does not have much on the light end of the value spectrum and thankfully the Polychromos do.

So, I'm going with this for now. No doubt I'll tweak it as I use it for actual drawings, but it's a start.

Other points of learning:

  • careful blending takes time and patience
  • skin is actually multicolored - so it probably does require several different colors to portray it in a reasonable way.
  • I don't think I'd ever use all 20 pencils in one portrait, but it's possible and now I have an idea of how it might look if I did it.
  • just using your pencils like this is a great way to familarize yourself with them. That seems so obvious, but it is so easy to just say "tell me what to use" - it seems like you are going to jump ahead and save yourself a few steps. I'm all for learning efficiently, but sometimes it isn't efficient in the short term, only the long term.
Have a great weekend everyone. For those that aren't signed up, I sent out my monthly newsletter this past week. I had a section on origami that generated some interest. There's a signup in the sidebar so you don't miss out next time!


S.G. Chipman said...

Only twenty? I must be crazy, because I use way more than that in my portraits.

I'm going to go count them right now, I think ...

Rose Welty said...

Steve wrote a great post on his colors...go read it if you haven't yet. He renders beautiful skin tones: