Digital Art : Painting Realistic Skin | Margarita Bourkova | Skillshare

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Digital Art : Painting Realistic Skin

teacher avatar Margarita Bourkova, artist | dreamer | infp

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Skin Colors - Palette

    • 3. Skin Colors - Exercise

    • 4. Skin Textures - Texture Brush (Long)

    • 5. Skin Textures - Texture Brush (Short)

    • 6. Skin Textures - Grainy Texture

    • 7. Detailing The Skin - Freckles, Moles, etc

    • 8. Final Color Effects

    • 9. Outro

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About This Class

Hi everyone! Welcome to this class about painting realistic skin.

If you'd like to improve your digital art skills for portraits and characters in general, this is the class for you! I'll share with you my favorite techniques for painting skin : choosing a color palette, adding different textures, freckles, moles, ... and editing your paintings. 


Meet Your Teacher

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Margarita Bourkova

artist | dreamer | infp


I'm margaw, a freelance artist based in rainy Belgium. I'm self-taught, and i really believe anyone can draw if they really want to! I created this channel to share my drawing techniques, my personal tips and tricks, and to support others on their creative journey. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if there's a particular technique you'd like me to teach -- i'm always interested in your feedback!

Ballpoint pens are one of my all time favorite art supplies, i really enjoy using them for almost anything : rough sketches, stylized drawings or even photorealistic illustrations. They are easy to find, cheap and, once you've got the hang of it, really fun to use. Sadly, most people aren't familiar with them... that's why i teach several... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hi, everyone. Welcome to this class about fainting. Realistic skin. If you'd like to improve your digital art skills by working on some material studies, or if you simply enjoy painting people, you'll probably end up hating skin a lot in this class. All share review My favorite techniques for bathing skin from choosing a collar palette to adding different textures. Because, as you probably know, the human skin isn't always moved, and perfect realistic skin will have a realistic texture, maybe some freckles, some wrinkles or a few moles here and there. First, I'll walk you through my process of selecting a color palette. And then I'll show you how it used this color palette to block in the colors for my painting and how I add shadows and lighting to the skin. Next, we'll talk about skin textures. I wish every three of my favorite techniques for adding texture on top of your sketches for paintings, each technique having its own pros and comes finally, I'll show you how I add small details to the skin like freckles and moles to make it look as realistic as possible. And I also share a personal trick for editing your colors and creating more fantasy looking skin with neon colors. After you watched his videos, you'll be able to practice painting realistic skin with the exercises and re sources of put together, especially for discuss. So without further ado, let's get started. 2. Skin Colors - Palette: before anything else, it's important to spend a few minutes thinking about your color palette. What's out of Kahlo's you'd like to use for your painting? You can pick as many colors as you like, but I recommend selecting a mystery. That way you have one base color and then one for the highlights and another one for the shadows. Here's how I select my colors. I use the color preset the color top here on the right on one. Choosing one color. I try to stay somewhere in the middle of the tunnel range. On the left. I have all the grayscale variations, so a very de saturated range between black and white, on and on the right side of the collar to there are all these very saturated colors. They are way too saturated for human skin, so I'll try to avoid D's and I'll just stay in the middle. I'm going to create a few small color palettes just to show you some examples. As I explained earlier, I like to have a lighter color for the highlights and the doctor collar for the shadows. That way it will be easier for me to create the illusion of volume later on into painting. Skin color can be anything between very light yellows and very dark reds and browns. An elected makes different colors in each palettes. So instead of having a padded with just a bunch of different brown's, for example, I'm picking. Want own in the yellows? Another in the reds etcetera. Because mixing all these different colors will give a very realistic look to the skin. Remember that the skin, just like anything else in the natural world, is never just one color. It's always a combination of a lot of different hues. You could, of course, also use for the references to choose your color palette. It's very easy to create your own color library and Pinteresque, for example, or simply by Googling keywords like skin tones. Now that we have a few different color palettes, ID like to show you how you can make this colors and how lighter and darker tones can help you create death. Involve you in your painting, no matter your subject. Whether it's just a portrait or a whole character, the skin will never be a flat surface. This gonna always have highlights and shadows like any other three dimensional objects. So for each pallet, I'm going to pick the base color or the mid tone if you wish the town between the highlights and the shadows. For now, this is ovary flat, so using the lighter colors of each pallet, I'm going to add some highlights. It's very subtle. I don't want to overdo it. So I create just a settled radiant, using the soft from brush, which is a brush with soft edges. It's really great for creating Grady ins like days after finishing the highlights. I do the same with the darker colors, and I add shadows. You can already see how. Adding this to additional colors in each rectangle makes him look less flat and smooth. And this is exactly what we're going to do when painting skin. Now, if you've already watched some of my classes, you probably know that I love messing around with the blending modes in photo shop, especially when adding highlights and shadows to my paintings. As a side note, the blending modes are available in many other digital bending software's, some of which are even free to use, so if you feel like it, you can add highlights and shadows by using blending modes. Here I used overlay, and this will make your colors pop. You can also use blending modes toe add textures to your painting into the skin, but we'll talk more about this in the next videos. For now, just remember that the skin, like any other object, has highlights and shadows, and that when choosing your color palette, you can come by in many different colors instead of sticking to shades of the same color. 3. Skin Colors - Exercise: Now that we've seen how to choose a color palette and have to add highlights and shadows to the skin, it's time for a small exercise. You can find the source files for this exercise in the resource is for this class, so feel free to paint along with me or do the exercise at your own pace. As you can see, I've already selected my base color for this exercise, and now all I have to do is use my palate to give some volume to this painting. I start with the highlights. I used them to define the muscle here, as well as the shoulder and the palm of the hand. The fingertips I usually slightly red or pink, so I blocking these colors and now for the shadows. I imagine that the lighting is coming from above, so the shadows will be here in the armpits and under the muscle. Of course, this is not always the case. The lighting can come from any direction, but since we don't have a reference for, this will stick with the most common type of lighting, with shadows being mostly on the lower part of the arm. I also used the darker color to underline some details of the skin like the palm lines. After that, it's all about creating. Dig radiant. We talked about between lighter and darker tones. Using further references will be very helpful, especially if you're new to realism and painting the human body. In general, I really encourage you to practice with small scale exercises like this one, so it doesn't become a chore. 4. Skin Textures - Texture Brush (Long): just like the skin isn't just one flat color, but a combination of different tones in hues. It Elsa isn't a perfectly smooth surface. Just take a look in the mirror and you see your skin pores, freckles, moles, wrinkles. Bending realistic skin also means being able to paint a really sick skin texture. This is something I often see in Portrait's by inexperienced painters. The skin more often look flat and to smooth. You can master proportions and facial features and all that. But if you're going for realism unit to know how to give your characters lifelike skin texture in this class, I'll show you three different techniques for adding texture to portray its. They're not the only techniques, of course, but they're some of my favorites, and they all require a different amount of work, and we'll give a different feel to your painting. The 1st 1 is by far the most complex one and is the one that we require the most time and work. But it's also the prettiest in my opinion. The 2nd 1 requires less time and effort, but it's also slightly less realistic than the 1st 1 and the third technique Onley requires a few minutes of your time. It's more of a special effect, really, but it can give a nice, gritty texture to your portrait. It's so let's get started. I'll be using this portrait I'm working on to show you all three techniques. I've just finished rocking into different colors, adding highlights and shadows. But the painting isn't finished. It's still very rough, And the good thing is that the techniques I'm going to show you can be used both after you finish your painting and just want to add some final textures and why you're still in the process of painting at any time. You can add a layer of texture and then continue painting on top. That's what I did here with this catch. I think adding layers of texture in between layers of paint can create really interesting effects. The first thing I do is create a new layer on top of my painting. It's very important to keep your layers separated every time you decided to paint something new on top of your painting, it's best to do it on a different layer. That way, you can then easily added Disney layer or even erase it without changing your painting. I didn't select a texture brush. It can be any type of brush, one that you've created yourself or that you found online. It can be a brush made specifically the pain skin texture, or it can be just a random texture brush. It doesn't really matter. These types of brushes are very easy to find online. The only important thing is to use any type of spatter. Brush with this randomized little dots everywhere and now starts the long process of adding texture to the skin. With this texture brush, I keep it on low opacity and just like before, I add highlights and shadows to the skin. Using a father reference for disperses can be very helpful, so I really recommend it. I also like to add light, a texture to darker skin tones and darker textures to lighter skin tones to make the contrast of the skin pores pop. Don't overdo it, though it still has to look realistic. Don't forget that at any time you can simply lower the rapacity off the whole layer you're working on. That can be really helpful if you feel like the skin pores and the overall texture is too noticeable, and finally, you can also try different lending modes to see if one of them isn't creating an interesting effect. So to summarize, always create a new layer when adding textures to your painting. Follow the previous patterns of highlights and shadows, but don't be afraid to add light extras to dock areas advice for So take your time. This is the slowest technique, but also the most realistic one. 5. Skin Textures - Texture Brush (Short): Let's get back to the earlier version of my painting and try a different technique. I'll be using another texture brush with, even rougher at Just this time, I create a new layer and start adding the texture. But this time I don't care about highlights or shadows. I create an even texture that who cover my whole painting. The only thing I do is switch between different colors from time to time to make it look more realistic. So I select random colors from my painting, at least one color from the shadows and another from the highlights. And I just kept going until the whole painting is covered with the simple texture. Once it's done, I erase the texture in the spots where I don't need it. Like in the eyes and the mouth. These elements don't need to have the same texture as the skin and then using the razor at a very low capacity, I start softening the texture here and there, making it look more random and less sharp. And here you're free to decide how much of it you'd like to soften and how much should be visible. It's a mother of personal taste But in any case, it creates a different effect than when you lower the capacity of the whole layer altogether. Once you're happy with the results, you can create another layer on top of this one and do the whole thing one more time for an additional layer of texture. If you feel like the 1st 1 is invisible enough, once again, I encourage it. Experiment with the blending modes and with different colors. As you can see, the sexual ER is easier and quicker to make, but it's also less precise and realistic than the 1st 1 Just a few final tips, the smaller the brush and the texture the better. It will look more like skin pores this way, and don't forget to switch between different colors for more realism. 6. Skin Textures - Grainy Texture: this picture is by far the easiest to create. First, I create a new layer on top of my painting, and I feel this layer were flat color. Any color would dio, depending on the effect, would like to create, But I usually go with a neutral Great I didn't add a huge amount of noise to the layer, usually have the choice between monochromatic and color noise. Both create interesting textures, but let's have a look at the colored one. It creates this really weird pattern of colors, and now I simply change the blaming mode of this layer to overlay. And then I love with the capacity a little bit so it's not too saturated. You can see that it created a very subtle and color texture that looks really good on my painting. As I said earlier, you can add this textures wants your painting is finished or you're gonna add them while you paint. Whatever feels more natural to you, you are also free to use any combination of techniques you like. I often makes at least two of these techniques I showed you, and I also encourage it, experiment and create your own work process with all the small tips and drinks you've blown from other artists. This will help you develop your own style and workflow. 7. Detailing The Skin - Freckles, Moles, etc: So now we have a nice conjecture, but that's not enough to make the skin look even more realistic. You can add all sorts of small details, like freckles, moles, wrinkles, etcetera. It's better to add all these small details after you're finished painting the skin. I usually add them on separate layers on top of my painting. So whether you're working on a sketch or a full digital painting, it's not time to finish it. I decided to work on my sketch a little bit more because the way I see it, the more detailed your painting is, the greater the impact of these final touches will be. I added a couple more layers of detail, but you can still see the textures I created earlier, both with a textured brush and with the noise effect. Let's start with the freckles. I created a special brush and fodder shop. I did this by creating a new document on messing around with some brush strokes. I like to have a few different per sizes for capacity hard and soft edges, etcetera, so I randomize it a little bit, and then I select define brush, preset the safeties brush in my brush library. I named his brush freckles, too, and you see how it immediately appeared in my library here and it's ready to be used. So I create a new layer on using my brand new brush. I start adding freckles on the skin. I use one of the doctor colors from my skin color palette. Since freckles usually are slightly darker than the skin tone of the person. You can, of course, create multiple freckle brushes with different layouts and switch between them so the freckles look as random as possible. Once I've added a first layer or freckles, I'm going to do the same thing I did with the skin texture using to your razor. I'm going to soften freckles a little bit because they are standing out a little bit too much for my taste. This is also another good way to make the Franco slick random, especially if you're using only one brush to paint. Um, I didn't create a new layer under the same with a slightly different color and a slightly different brush size, and then I saw from the freckles with the razor, this technique creating multiple layers of detail on top of one another will make the overall look of the skin more lifelike. Now, if you're not happy with the way the freckles end up being arranged on the face, you can easily edit the whole layer. Simply choose at it transform, and it can choose one of the different options here I just Q and edited the freckles that way. And this is also possible because I paint into freckles on a separate layer. So there you have another good reason to do so. Finally, if you'd like to add a few larger freckles, you can do this by painting them one by one using a soft, round brush. And you can, of course, experiment with different colors and burst sizes for more realism. This is also a good way to add moles because it will make them stand out more than if you just painted them using a pre made brush. - Finally , keeping your layers separated also makes it easier to edit the colors of each layer off records. So if you decide that your freckles are too dark or too red, for example, you can simply select the whole layer and added the color story liking. And now Let's have a look at how I paint the lines under the eyes and, more generally, how I like to paint wrinkles. I like to paint two lines on the D. I, so I start by sketching them with a dark color. And once it's done, I select a lighter color. This time probably one of the colors I used for the highlights on the portrait, and they use it to add some volume to the lines, so this one is very simple. You just have to add a darker line next to a lighter one, and it makes it look like a small bump on the skin. You can, of course, do the same in the more darker parts of the skin. Simply use a darker color for the lines, and it will look good as well for the lines around the mouth. I tend to use Onley lighter lines as do not make it too visible. But that's up to you. Of course, it really depends on your preference or on the character you're painting. So this one, my tips for adding additional details on the skin. Remember that you can use multiple colors when painting freckles or moles. You can also switch between different brushes for a more random effect, and you can edit these details however you like, as long as you keep your layers separated. 8. Final Color Effects: In this last video lesson, I'd like to talk a little bit more about colors, because the human skin, just like any other object, isn't always illuminated by natural light. Depending on the type of light you're dealing with, you can have your skin color is being in the blues, the greens, the burbles and is make for beautiful artworks. Using blending modes can be very helpful when trying to edit your colors after you're finished Painting. The blending mode I used for this is called Divide, and the way it works is it creates this very vibrant ins for the thing to remember here is that it kind of works with complementary colors. So if I pick a bright yellow, for example, Andi, I apply it on my painting. You see that it created this bride blue purple tint, which is in green, for example. We're creating or red etcetera. So after you finished a painting, if you ever feel like the colors are a bit though, or the character just isn't interesting enough, you can always out a few additional colors on top of it and create these beautiful effects 9. Outro: Thank you so much for watching this class. I hope my tips will be useful to you. Don't hesitate to ask any questions you might have in the community section. Under this video, you can also share your sketches and drawings with the class by publishing a new class project. I'd love to see your creations for this class project. You can practice painting skin by completing the exercises I shared with you or by reworking an old painting of yours. Don't forget to have a look at the resource is I've put together for this class. You'll find all the exercises there as well as some reference pictures you can use. If you'd like to learn how I paint realistic hair like in this portrait, feel free to have a look at my class digital art, painting realistic hair and discuss. I share all my trips for painting different hairstyles, grading your own hair brush, adding highlights to the hair and much more. Don't forget to follow me So you want me to my next glasses and you can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram. See you soon