This is how you can get a base flesh tone for oil painting in just 4 steps.
Quick and Fast.
OK, it isn’t an “old master” how to painting technique but just a “recipe” to make a roughly base skin oil color very useful if you’re a beginner.
Now you’ll say it isn’t quick and fast but
Quick and Dirty :~)
Why is that? Because every human being has a different color skin shade and more, different shades on the same portrait.
In order to get a realist oil painting portrait, you have to analyze the particularity of your character skin shades.
There is when knowing how to mix colors to get the right flesh tone is coming handy.
You need this oil colors:
White – any kind of white : titan white, zinc white, mix of these two whites
and finally and the best looking white for portraits which was used by the old masters, lead white
(I know it’s labeled as toxic yet I didn’t see any ill painter because of using it. This was maybe in the past when a large number of the painter’s color palette was made of toxic pigments)
I wouldn’t use Titanium white on a commissioned oil painting portrait because it gives skin a chalky look, something like the portrait would be whitewashed.
Yellow – any kind o yellow, from yellow ocher (which I most often use) to Neaple yellow (light pale yellow)
Red – any kind of red – from earth red colors to various cadmium red types
Green or Blue – any kind of them depending on which skin shade you may want to get and also, on how warm or cool you want it to be.
Just make experiments with small amounts of different colors.
You’ll be amazed of so many flesh tones you can get.
So, mixing oil colors for a base skin tone is simple as 1 2 3 4:
- put a big pile of white on the palette.
- add a little bit of red to the white pile and mix them up together very well. Add as much red as it’s needed to get a light pink.
- add yellow almost the same amount as you added red then mix them well.
- put now the smallest amount of green into the mix. Better less then much because you can add more color anytime but never draw out.
That’s it. You just made a nice base skin tone.
- It’s better to get a more neutral skin shade. It can be toned then locally on the portrait.
You can add to this base flesh tone small amounts of different other colors to get different tones. I like to use for this violet of any kind.
- It’s good to know that human skin color is not pink or white or black or whatever. it’s BROWN. Different shades of brown.
- Pay attention to the background color! A reddish background will make the portrait to fade greenish and also, a greenish background makes portrait looks more reddish.This can be in your advantage if you think your portrait looks either too greenish or reddish. Instead of fixing the colors of the portrait , you can simply change the background color. It’s a lot easier than fixing the portrait!
We are artists so that more visual learners so, if you like this tutorial, watch this video in which I make the skin color recipe I’ve just wrote down.