Blending and Layering Skin Tones

Apr 11, 2022
Blending skin tones

Getting a natural look when creating skin tones for our portraits can be quite tricky because every portrait is completely different. You have to blend and layer with your colored pencils to get the right skin tone.

In this blog you will learn more about blending and layering colored pencils and which colors to use.

Colored pencils don’t mix like paint, but they can still be mixed. The way we mix colored pencils is through layering. Layering colors build up depth and help you create richer colors. Keep in mind that you can’t just pick out 1 or 2 colored pencils and mix them to get the right skin tone. Instead, it's all about layering the right combination of colors to make the many different tones that you see on the skin.

Tips for layering and blending 

  • Start with your lightest color. Then the 2nd, 3rd and 4th. 
  • Always use light pressure when you color, to build up the layers gradually.
  • Make sure you have a nice gradient before you shade the next layers because it won’t be easy to correct. 
  • Layer over everything again with 3rd, 2nd and 1st colors to blend and smoothen the layers.
  • For each skin tone, layer the same way: from light to dark then back to light to blend and smoothen the layers.


Below are pictures of different skin tones with a list of the colors that are used to create them. The paper is Bristol Vellum and the colored pencils are Caran d'ache Luminance

 

Skin tone 1
 

Colors:
Buff Titanium
Burnt Ochre 10%
Burnt Ochre 50%
Ultramarine Violet
Grey Blue

 

Skin tone 2
 

Colors: 
Buff Titanium
Brown Ochre 10%
Brown Ochre 50%
Brown Ochre 
Burnt Sienna

 

Skin tone 3
 

Colors: 
Buff Titanium
Burnt Ochre 10%
Burnt Ochre 50%
Burnt Ochre 
Olive Brown

 

Skin tone 4
 

Colors:
Buff Titanium
Brown Ochre 10%
Brown Ochre 50%
Brown Ochre 
Raw Umber
Burnt Ochre 10%
Burnt Ochre 50%

 

Skin tone 5
 

Colors:
Buff Titanium
Burnt Ochre 10%
Burnt Ochre 50%
Burnt Ochre
Burnt Sienna 10%
Burnt Sienna 50%
Burnt Sienna 
Sepia

 

Skin tone 6
 

Colors:
Buff Titanium
Sepia 10%
Sepia 50%
Sepia 
Burnt Sienna 10%
Burnt Sienna 50%
Burnt Sienna 
Burnt Ochre 10%
Burnt Ochre 50%
Burnt Ochre

 

Practicing is the most important thing you can do to get better. When it comes to drawing it’s not only about talent, it’s about having the motivation to become better. Try to draw with your colored pencils every now and then, put on some music or maybe an audiobook, relax and draw. 

If you want to learn more about colored pencils have a look at the step by step video lessons in the membership covering everything from basics to portraits…

Or if you would like to share your drawing with others you can do that in the private art community in the membership. It’s really helpful to see what others are creating, you can also get feedback and it helps to stay motivated.

 

Read more details about the Artistic Journey membership here and join us today so you can start practicing.

Hope to see you there!

Emmy

 

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