Home > Painting, Uncategorized > Basic Information: Four Skin Tone Recipes

Basic Information: Four Skin Tone Recipes

July 22, 2011

I found a Jerry’s Artarama video by Christine Maclellan with four different methods to mix different skin tones; but the video is deeply flawed, so I went through the process of getting the information shared in the video straightened out and clear.  It’s kind of hard to find easy ways to blend a variety of skin tones.  The color mixing video is problematic because the colors used are not correctly listed in the beginning of the video, the information is given too quickly and you don’t get a very good look at what the mixed colors look like.  I went through the video and paused repeatedly to write down the colors used and in what combination, then I mixed them at home to show here. 

The correct colors used for the four color mixes are: Ultramarine Blue, Pthalo [Pthalocyanine] Green, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red Light, Lemon Yellow [Arylide Yellow], Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna and Titanium White.

Yellow Ochre is listed, but it was never used in the video.  This is a good color to experiment with in mixing skin tone hues.  From my experience, you can underpaint pale skin tones with blues, greens or blueish or greenish grays to tone the hue down to something less like cooked shrimp and more realistic.  I have used warm violet and bluish purples in African American skin tones to make the colors richer.

Here are the blends from the video, which can be adjusted to be warmer or cooler, pinker or more neutral or used in combination with each other.  This is a quick version I mixed in acrylics:





Recipe 1: Burnt Umber, Cadmium Red Light, Raw Sienna and Titanium White.  This is a warm, pale skin tone.






Recipe 2: Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Lemon Yellow and Titanium White.  This is a cool, pale skin tone; it can have more red mixed in to look pinker.





Recipe 3: Pthalo Green, Alizarin Crimson, Lemon Yellow and Titanium White.  This is a brown to olive skin tone.






Recipe 4: Cadmium Red Light, Pthalo Green [very little], Lemon Yellow and Titanium White.  This is a warm, brown skin tone.

Categories: Painting, Uncategorized
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