Flesh Colours for Artists, a Flesh Tones colour mixing guide


Flesh Colours Mixing Palette

Getting flesh colours correct is notoriously difficult. This practical guide by De Gillett breaks it down into simple, visual terms for artists working with portraits & figures.

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Flesh Colours made easy

Getting flesh colours correct is notoriously difficult, and so we have developed this handy resource for use with those of our online workshops dealing with the face and figure.

This practical guide by De Gillett breaks it down into simple, visual terms and also offers a wealth of tips to assist with painting portraits, such as:-

Avoid flash photography & full frontal poses – side lighting & 3/4 views are more interesting. Paint your canvas a mid-toned flesh colour appropriate to your subject before drawing on it. Think in patches of tone rather than lines. The darker the tone & the stronger the line, the older your subject will look. You may need to add to your flesh colours – red for lips, cheeks and nose; Ochres for forehead: Blues/Greens/Purples for chinline (for males, particularly). Mixing down with Naples Yellow maintains warmth & life.

This double sided laminated A4 mixing guide shows you how to mix the right colours to paint the palest redhead, the swarthiest tradesman, and everyone of any age in between. Colourfast & laminated. Using Atelier Interactive colours from Chroma Australia, De has distilled the pointers given to her across many years by many of Australia’s greatest portrait painters.

The range of acrylic colours used is Cadmium Yellow, Sap Green, Permanent Alizarin, Naples Yellow, Titanium White, Napthol Red Light, Carbon Black, Raw Sienna Dark, Burnt Sienna, Arylamide Yellow Light, Quinacridone Red Violet. Oil colours can also be used, substituting appropriate replacements.

Starting with “mother” colours, you simply follow the chart to mix the ‘mother’ down with Titanium White, and/or Naples or Cadmium Yellow to lighten, and with a mix of Carbon black & Raw Sienna to darken. This gives you the large range of tints and shades required to show the shadows and highlights across the face, giving it form and character. Many ideas about mixing flesh colours include only Caucasian skin, but this guide gives you practical guidance to portray faces of many ethnicities, in many different lighting conditions.


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