Mixing Skin Tones for Stylised Characters Using Watercolours | Arielle Li | Skillshare

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Mixing Skin Tones for Stylised Characters Using Watercolours

teacher avatar Arielle Li, Illustrator

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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

13 Lessons (1h 5m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Materials Needed & Some Tips

    • 4. The Palette - Which Colours to Use?

    • 5. Sketching and Stylising Characters From Photo References

    • 6. Colour Mixing & Painting Demo 1

    • 7. Colour Mixing & Painting Demo 2

    • 8. Colour Mixing & Painting Demo 3

    • 9. Colour Mixing & Painting Demo 4

    • 10. Creating a Simple Family/Group Portrait

    • 11. Summary & Tips for the Project

    • 12. Bonus Video - How to Transfer Sketches onto Watercolour Paper

    • 13. Thank You :)

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About This Class

If you struggle with figuring out what colours to use for mixing skin tones, then this class is for you.

This class goes through the basics of watercolours, aiming at simplifying portrait painting, and sharing techniques that are suitable for stylised characters.

Arielle will be sharing the techniques she had learnt from experimenting with watercolours. She will show you the tips and tricks that she uses to paint people.

In this class you will learn:

  • How to select the colours for mixing skin tones
  • Watercolour layering techniques to build portrait paintings
  • Watercolour effects for skin textures and vibrant hair
  • Tips for creating a portrait with multiple people
  • How to transfer sketches onto watercolour paper

For the class project, you will demonstrate the skills you have learnt in the class, as well as creating a whimsical group portrait that can be a gift for someone, too.

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Meet Your Teacher

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Arielle Li





Hello, I'm Arielle. I'm an illustrator based in Adelaide, Australia.

I was born in Taichung, Taiwan, although my family and I emigrated to Australia in 2010. After recently graduating from University (though I was studying business), I decided to pursue a career in illustration.

I'm really inspired by nature and animals, and I especially love to create dreamy and magical illustrations. Recently, I've been taking on custom portraits commissions from private clients and working on growing an audience via painting videos on YouTube. 

Here on my Skillshare channel, I hope to share with you my experience and lessons I've learnt from my endeavours, as well as painting tips and techniques. I'll be ... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Ariel. I'm an illustrator based in Adelaide, South Australia. I work with a mixture of traditional and digital media to create dreamy and whimsical illustrations. I love watercolor, I love the texture it creates and the versatility of the medium. You can paint delicate flower petals, but also thick and fluffy fur. I loved painting people, but when I first began using watercolors, it was really frustrating to me because I never knew what colors to use and how to mix the colors I want without them getting muddy. After some trial and error, I managed to work out a way to paint skin tones with watercolors that suit my drawing style. That's why for my first Skillshare class, I will be showing you how I mix colors and layer them to paint stylized characters. Specifically, we will begin with some brief color theory, then sketching out the characters. We will then move on to the practice paintings where we will learn techniques to create the color we want. Throughout the class, we will go through the full practice paintings together. I will guide you step by step during the process explaining the colors I've used, why I use them, and also how to add some cool effects. Hopefully by the end of the class, you'll be able to create a whimsical family portrait or a portrait of yourself with your friends. This class is for anyone from hobbies to creative professionals. Basically anyone who wants to learn how to paint different skin tones using watercolors or are just looking for some inspiration. This class, however, is not geared towards those who wish to paint realism and life-like portraits. Thanks for watching and I hope you will join me in class, bye. 2. Class Project: Hi again, thank you for joining me. Let's start with the class project first. I want to take you through the class project that you will be completing during the class and another one which you can do after watching the class.The first part of the project is a simple portrait of these four different people.This is where you will practice your watercolor painting techniques. I will go through each of them in the demo section of the class. I have included the line drawings for these four sample paintings in the class resource section so you can download them and paint along with me in class or if you prefer, you can use your own drawings for the practice illustrations too, I'd love to see what you create. All the class projects are very flexible, you can choose to do all four or if you don't have time, you can choose one and paint along with me. If you choose to use the provided illustrations but don't know how to transfer them onto your water color paper, I will also show you how to do that at the very end in a bonus video and the second part of the project is to create a group portrait. Here is where you will create your very own piece of painting. It can be a picture of yourself and your friends, a family portrait, or anything you can think of. The purpose of this project is to use the skills you have learned towards the end of the class and create a unique painting, but most importantly, the purpose is to have fun. Here's where you can get creative and anything is possible. I will give you more information and tips during the class, so don't worry if you didn't catch everything just now. Let's look at the materials needed in the next video. 3. Materials Needed & Some Tips: Here's where I will talk a bit about the materials needed and give you some tips on selecting them. I will try to get through this as quick as possible, but I still need to mention a bit about what you need in order to work on a project. Feel free to skip this section if you already know and have what you need. Firstly, you'll need good-quality watercolor paper. I have a little tip here. I learned from my past mistakes that it can actually be, there was a color paper that ruins an illustration. Cheap paper can be easily damaged with many layers of washes. It'll be a good idea to find one that's an artist grade. I can promise it'll be worth the investment.[MUSIC] However, don't feel pressure to get new watercolor paper, just use what you have. It may be a good idea to practice on water color paper that has a lesser quality first to build confidence before moving onto the nice papers. Secondly, you'll also need watercolors, also another tip, it would be a good idea to use watercolors that has at least a reasonably good quality. This is because I've found that it's being more cost effective for me to buy less colors from a good quality brand than it is to buy lots of different colors from student quality water colors. The reason is you can mix a lot of colors with just a few like 13 colors I have here. I find that it's really worth the investment. Plus it really goes a long way and also something to take note of, student grade watercolors are not as vibrant and some of them are not like fast, meaning that they may fade over time. Keep this in mind, if you're using it to paint a gift for someone. You don't want the gift to fade over time with the exposure to daylight. Thirdly, you need brushes. Here's something that I have been doing and you can do so too, if you want to save costs. The quality of brushes doesn't matter too much for me. I've been getting along fine with just cheap brushes. Although I've heard that really good ones are worth the investment.If you prefer, you can use a better brush. The reason I never buy expensive brushes is that my cats love them too and they steal them all the time. That's why I'll go through brushes really quickly, and they always disappear or end up giving frayed and damaged. Fourthly, you need a container to hold water. You can use anything worth it, I just use these glass jam jars. I use two since theoretically you're supposed to use one for clean water and one for rinsing off. I've been noticing that when I'm painting and ended up using both for rinsing, it didn't seem to matter too much, though. However, is a good idea if you'd like to keep them separate. You also need a pencil and an eraser. Lastly, here are some optional materials you can choose to get if you want. A ceramic mixing well. I like these, especially because I can see the colors that mix clearly on the palate and the double eraser. And this special eraser pen, it's so useful for erasing small corners. Okay, Let's move on to the next section where I will talk about color mixing both skin tones. 4. The Palette - Which Colours to Use?: I want to start this section by sharing with you a project created by Angelica Dass called the Humanae Project. I highly encourage you to check out the video of her TED Talk. It's really eye-opening and educational and personally, I found it really touching. I'll link a video in the class resource for you to look at if you're interested. You may find her talk inspiring too. To summarize her project, Angelica took photographs of many people. She matched her skin tone to a corresponding Pantone swatch. She traveled to many different countries. She'd take photographs of volunteers who are from all corners of the world. They are from different cultures and backgrounds; people of different gender and ages, etc. She collected everything together and shared their findings. It was truly eye-opening. It shows us how unique and diverse we all are. But quite surprisingly, it also shows us how alike we can be in skin tones despite many differences in features. Take Pantone 58-7C, for example, these six people don't look much like each other yet they were measured with the same Pantone color. The whole point of me showing you this is not to make things even more complicated to paint but quite the contrary, knowing that there is no right or wrong skin tones to pick for a character and no exact formula you need to remember makes a process all the more enjoyable. I hope this knowledge gives you the confidence and freedom to explore. Here we're not going to worry too much about accuracy when painting a portrait since we're stylizing the characters after all. So we're not aiming for realistic skin tones. Moreover skin tones are complicated in real life. They are not all the same color throughout the whole face. They may change throughout the seasons and plus to add to the difficulty they can ever show up as other unusual colors under different lighting situations. So what Angelica Dass for her project assigning a Pantone swatch to each photo volunteer. We'll be doing something similar in class for our full practice characters and for a class project painting, skin tones no matter how warm, how cool, how light, how dark can all be mixed using the three primary colors, red, yellow, and blue. Personally, I am only using colors that I have already in my palette, main ones I'll be using for mixing skin tones are Venetian red, yellow ocher and cobalt blue light. I'll be listing all the colors I've used here in the class resource PDF. However, I will say that they are the only possible colors or only brand that will work for the painting techniques I'm going to be showing you. If you already have the colors that work well for you, then just use what you have. Although it's useful to know about some watercolor properties in order to know which colors you want to use, especially if you have multiple reds, yellows and blues. Lets look at this art material catalog here. Firstly, you want to look for this round symbol. We ideally want transparent colors. This means that the colors will be less heavy and blend better. This will make too much of a difference when painting almost all the colors in my palette are opaque or semi-opaque. But it just means that I will need to work quickly while the paint is still wet in order to avoid over brushing and also working many layers. Otherwise because the opaque painter heavier the brushstrokes will be visible and the painting won't look as smooth. I'll talk more specifically about how to do this later when we get to the actual painting part. See here, the lemon yellow and phthalo green seems to need less brushstrokes for them to flow and mixed together. While a Venetian red and olive green requires more pushing around with the brush. This is because Phthalo green and lemon yellow are both semi-transparent and the other two colors are opaque and semi-opaque. Secondly, we would normally want non-granulating colors because granulation means that are colors will form some texture. Ultramarine blue is usually a granulating color. That's why it's not the blue I would use. However, you can still see here that I use Venetian red for mixing skin tones and Venetian red is also a granulating color. However, I'm okay with having some texture in my painting and it's not too visible, so that's why I still use it. But you may choose other reds you prefer. So to recap, the three main colors you will need to make skin tones are red, yellow and blue. Transparent water colors are best for smooth mixing. But if you don't have transparent colors in your palette, you can use any red, yellow, or blues that you have like I did here. Most reds, yellows, and blues will work, but it's still best to experiment with them first on another piece of paper before starting your painting. By experimenting, you may even find unique color combinations that suit yourself and create the effects you want. So now in terms of mixing skin tones, here's how I create a range of skin tones using the colors I have selected, because they're red and yellow I'm using here are already slightly muted and not as bright as the red and yellow is up there. I would normally start with just mixing these cool colors for light skin tones. Depending on the red and yellow you are using, you may need to add blue so that the colors do not look orange-y. Then if I want the colors to be darker, I gradually add more blues to the mixture and if I want to mix warmer skin tones, I will add more red, coolest skin tones more yellow. The key here is to work in layers. This is how I get the colors I want with opaque water colors, that are heavier. I work with light washes and build them up to a more saturated colors. This might be clear as I get to the actual painting demo. 5. Sketching and Stylising Characters From Photo References: We're going to begin by learning ways to sketch characters from the photo references, stylizing them, but maintain a certain level of likeness. If you're using the sketches that are already provided in the class resource, you have this part done already. But you still need to create your own stylized group [inaudible] at the end. Hopefully, this class will still be relevant to you. Let's start here. I'm using a photo of this woman I found on Pinterest. By the way, I chose all these references randomly. If you have another reference picture you want to use, please use it. I start all my sketches with oval so I get an idea of where the head should be positioned. I draw a line through to mark the point where the eyebrows go and then another through the center of the face where the nose will be. Then I move onto the neck and shoulders. Then the next part we're going to be working on is the hair. Because I want to figure out where her fringe will be, and that will be where I will place her eyebrows and next, I drew the eyebrows, and now I'm moving onto her features. Here's a tip for drawing East Asian features that I think might be helpful to you too. I'm Taiwanese, and from observing myself and my family, I learn how to stylize Asian characters. The key is in a bone structures and the shape of the eyes. See here, I've placed this finished sketch into Photoshop. I'm going to turn our features slightly more Caucasian with these steps to show you how the bone structures differ. Firstly, observe this distance between her eye and eyebrows. I'm moving her eye further away from the eyebrows to indicate a deeper eye socket, and I'm also resizing her eyes. Now here, I'm moving the nose closer to the eye, which is further away from the viewer to indicate a higher nose bridge. I'm also moving the mouth further out as to align with the nose. Lastly, I'm changing the shape of her nose so that her nose bridge looks to be at the more natural place and realign her eyes to round out the shape slightly. Now, let's have a look at the comparison here. I hope you can tell the difference. Let's get back to the sketching time-lapse. You can see I've made a lot of mistakes and reworked many areas. Don't worry if you find yourself grabbing the erase every now and then. It always takes me plenty of tries and fixes before I get the results I want. 6. Colour Mixing & Painting Demo 1: Now, to the painting part, I'm going to show you a time lapse of the entire process, and try my best to describe the color mixing, the painting process, and the reasons for the decisions. The first step, of course, is to use a kneadable eraser to dab onto this sketch, erasing the line slightly so that it won't be too visible, but also just enough so that you can still see where to paint. Now, the first layer. I start by applying water throughout the areas that I want to paint within. Then I mix an equal mixture of red and yellow, and apply it all over the skin areas. The reason I paint over with water first is so that the color wouldn't dry too fast. I'm also working quickly as the way it's really hot and dry. If the paint is dried for too long, it will leave patches if I re-wet the area. Now, moving on to the second layer. Here, it's really important that you wait till a layer is completely dry before applying the next layer. This is because if you don't wait for it to dry, the new layer will activate the previous layer and end up blending with each other. Since opaque watercolors become mud like in texture when blended, any attempts to blend it with a paint brush would just leave visible brushstrokes. Again, I'm using the same mixture of red and yellow as before and covering the area in their second layer. Now, the third layer. Watercolor almost always dries a shader to light it than it was when the original wash was laid down. This is why you can see here that the color has gone lighter. It's important to keep this in mind when painting, because you may find you need to lay on more layers than you thought you need. Now, I've lifted to the last layer before adding some blue, but this is just a personal preference because it doesn't make much of a difference if your layer is wash with blue added first or last. Now, to recap what I mentioned before adding blue or darken the color. This color has a slightly cooler base skin tone. Therefore, I would normally add more yellow. However, in this case, the blue will cool down the skin tone here. So for this layer isn't even ratio of red, yellow, and blue. Again, leave it to dry, and try not to leave it anywhere where you're cat might sit on it. Okay. So after everything is dried we're going to lay here some red on her cheeks. I wanted to make it easier to blend, so I'm laying down wash of water before dabbing in the red. Then I'm blending a color around her cheeks so the edges won't be too harsh. Now it's just a matter of adding the details of the features. I have a very thin brush, it was easier to paint these small areas, but you can use a marker pen. I sometimes do that too. Then I'm using a red to paint in her nose and blend out the edges like I did to with her cheeks. Also I'm painting her lips with the same red. Lining the top of the eyelids of her eyes with a brown. I'm using a dark brown that I have to color in her pupils. By the way, the dark brown is a color I have it my palette called sepia brown. It's a coolish brown. Also coloring her eyebrows with a light wash of the same gray recipient brown. This is because the brown has a grayish tone, but still has enough brown to maintain a neutral color. But you can use a gray too if you prefer. So yes, that's about it for the features moving onto the hair. Let's go back to the reference photo first in observe her hair. It seems like a her is just black. But if I just take some black watercolor or even a dark brown, and lay it directly on their hair, it would look like hair, but we won't be as vibrant and maybe a bit flat. The results are looking to achieve is hair that has some undertones to, I want the hair to look semi realistic, but not completely realistic. I hope you get what I mean. We'll start by observing the highlights of her hair. The color is a bit of a light brown, a warm brown. This is why I decided to use red as an undertone. But basically any warmish color you have will do. They are cool. Layering down the color looks like she's got pink hair. Now you see that I'm moving back to paint the skin again. This is because the color doesn't seem vibrant enough. So I'm going over the cheeks and nose again. By now the hair is dried already, so it's time for the last step, which is to block in the dark brown. Now I'm applying two layers of an even mixture of yellow and red to paint in the shadows. I want more dimensions for the hair that's why I'm adding an extra layer of red and brown mixture over the top of it. The area over here that's supposed to be on the inside. I'm also applying some blue to indicate shadows. That's it. All done. 7. Colour Mixing & Painting Demo 2: Here we're going to move onto the next practice painting. This is the reference photo we're going to be looking at. Like with the previous painting, I'm starting by painting over the skin area with clear water. Then I'm mixing an equal mixture of red, yellow and blue for the first skin tone layer and applying it evenly over the face and neck, taking care to avoid painting over the eyes. Now wait for the first layer to dry, then paint the second layer. See here that the colored dried much lighter than it looked before when the paint was wet. For the second layer, I'm mixing the same colors but with less blue. I want the colors to be layered on more smoothly. That's why for this painting, I'm also adding water first and the second layer before applying the mixture of paint. I'm also taking off some paint from the mouth areas, because I'm worried that I applied too much paint, and the lips seems to be the best place to remove color because there's a complete shaped by itself where I will be applying thick opaque layers of paint later. Again, the pain has dried to a lighter color. I'm also repeating what I did for the previous two layers by adding a wash of water before applying the color. The reason I'm doing this for all three layers this time is because remember what I mentioned before about the opaque watercolors? About how we will sometimes become muddy when blended to mesh with a brush. I know that I'm going to be applying more layers to achieve the shade of this girl's skin tones. But if I messed up any of the layers by overworking it with a brush, the whole painting will be ruined. So to make the colors easier to blend, I added water first so that the colors will flow better. You can see I'm having some difficulty controlling the flow of the water as the papers buckling because of my multiple washes. But luckily, I could still take some excess paint off from the mouth area. Here I noticed in a reference photo that this girl has a nose piercing as well, and I want to include that in the portrait.That's why I'm taking some paint off around the area where the jewelry is supposed to be. Now, moving on to the fourth layer, I noticed the color dried a bit dull and the color does not look very vibrant. That's why for the next layer, I'm not going to be adding any more blue. In fact, I'm also going to add more red then yellow for this mixture because looking at the reference photo, I notice that her skin tones are more warm than cool. The good thing about working in layers is because you can make adjustments as you go. Now, moving on to the features, I started by painting her lips pink. Then painting her eyes, and eyebrows. Now after painting the features, I decided to add another layer to her skin. Now I'm mixing red and yellow, then laying down a wash. Then I'm adding more colors to the lips. Now moving onto her hair, and this is my favorite part of the painting, I want to create hair that is curly and fluffy, like the reference photo. Let's have a look at the reference photo again. Look at the edges of the hair, there are no hash lines and it appears to fuzz out into the background. Here's how I'd recreate this effect. I'm starting with outlining the edges of her hair by applying a wash of water. Then choosing the colors you want her hair undertones to be, and in my case I decided to use their red again, apply it to the hair. Look at how the hair blends out and creates a gradual fade. Then while the paint is still wet, I'm also applying sepia brown and blending out with a paintbrush. I'm applying some blue paint to the hair area closest to the neck to place the shadows. Now wait for the paint to dry before moving on to the next layer of hair. While waiting, I'm going to layer another wash of color onto the nose. I want the color to show up better on her face, so I'm dabbling in some blue to darken the color. And blending out the edges of the nose. I also want the mouth to be a bit more vibrant, so I'm applying some red. Note that I'm also fixing a mistake where the paint has bled out to the edges. I have detailed instructions on how to fix mistakes like that later on in the video called "Summary and some tips" on the project. I'm also going over the eyebrows again, and the nose again. Moving back to the mouth again for the second layer. Now moving onto the cheeks, I'm applying a wash of water, then dabbing in the red, then blending out the edges. Next I'm going to be painting the shadows using a mixture of red, yellow, and a dab of blue. By now, the hair is definitely dry. So I'm applying a thick layer of brown paint through her hair. I'm blocking in the color first and taking care not to get too close to the edges, otherwise they'll leave no room to blend out later on. Now wash the brush around the paint, or grab another one. Blend out the edges. I'm also applying a second layer to the cast shadow I painted earlier, and using the same color, applying it to the edges of the forehead and blending it out. Now I'm going back to the cheeks again to apply second layer. Again, starting with a wash of plain water, then dabbing in the red and blending out the edges. Back to her nose again, applying a third layer. Then I'm applying more blue to the inside of her hair. Ending with some finishing touches like using the same mixture of red, yellow and blue to apply some shadows to her lips. Also adding some shadows to the jewelry. That's it. You're done. 8. Colour Mixing & Painting Demo 3: Okay, we are off to our third demo now. I think by now you have a pretty good idea of the process, so I'll be going through a bit faster. Think of the next two demos as videos to refresh your memory. I promise there won't be too repetitive. Here for this painting we are going to be using this photo as a reference. I'm starting with erasing the line slightly. Then mixing a mixture of red and yellow and paint the first layer using the same method as before, where we apply a wash of water first, then applying the mixture of paint. Remember to allow it to dry first and repeat the process for layer 2 using the same mixture. For layer 3, we're going to be applying a wash of clear water first because we're going to be adding blue to the mixture. I find that when blue is added, the mixture becomes heavier and harder to blend this is why I decided to apply a wash of water first. Then while the paint is still wet, I'm dabbling in a bit of red to the ears, this is because the ears are normally warmer in color than the rest of your face. Now the color has dried lighter than it was before. I could have added another layer here, but I'm moving on to the facial features first. Here I have to admit that for this painting I didn't really think things through. It would have been better to add another layer. Now instead of waiting towards the end after I finished painting all the features, you'll see a footage of that step much later. In total, I actually have four layers. I'm just going to say here that if you're following along at home, it'll be a good idea to add the fourth layer now instead of doing what I did, adding it at the end, but luckily it still works, just takes more maneuvering that all. You'll see that later. Now I'm using the brown to paint the eyes. I thought to mention it here now as I didn't think I mentioned that before, but how someone paints the facial features of the characters plays an important part in the illustration style. If we observe different artists, they will have different ways of painting eyes ears and nose. I like to paint things this way, so I am showing you how I do it. But if you have your own way of drawing eyes, nose, and ears, feel free to change things around. You don't have to follow exactly what I do. You may even take bits of what you learn here today and alter it to suit your style better. Now moving on to the beard. I'm mixing red, yellow and blue but with more blue and their ratio and also adding lots of water so that the color is more of a light gray. This is going to be the shadow for the beard. Then I painted over the areas where the beard would be. As I'm waiting for it to dry, I'm moving on to the hair. Let's have a look at the reference photo. This guy has thick and curly hair, and I'm going to try and recreate that effect. I'm starting by laying down a wash of water, then adding brown paint to it and blending it out. While waiting for that to dry, we're moving back to the beard using the same brown as the hair and painting a beard in small vertical strokes. Now that the hair and beard is painted onto the face, I realized that the lips are slightly to vibrant. At first I tried to take the color off a bit, but then I thought it would be easier to just dial down the color by applying a light wash of blue over it. I did the same for their nose too. Then moving back to the beard, I started painting the mustache. The next part is pretty important. I want the beard to blend in seamlessly, so I mix red, yellow, and a bit of blue, and using it to blend out the edges of the strokes. I'm also blending out the edges of the hair line. Now you see every thing has dried lighter so I'm applying a second layer of dark brown to the hair and also the beard. I'm applying some color back to the nose, lips and ears using a mixture of red, yellow, and blue. Then I'm using the same mixture to paint in the shadows. Now here's the fourth layer I mentioned before. I noticed the color dried a bit too light and I decided to add a fourth layer. Mixing red, yellow and a bit of blue, I apply the fourth layer, taking care not to paint onto the features, in case the color bleeds out. That's it, done. 9. Colour Mixing & Painting Demo 4: Now finally we're up to the last practice painting. So we're going to be using this as a reference photo. Notice how this person is wearing glasses. We're going to be keeping this in mind as we paint. The first step is mixing red and yellow. But for this, make sure I'm going to be adding slightly more red. This is because I want the undertones to be a bit warmer. I'm also adding more water in the mixture to dilute the paints. So that's why there's no need to lay down a wash of water first. Now we're lucky that the glasses he's wearing is a dark color, so there's no need to paint around the glasses. It'll be something that you might need to take an oath off if you're going to give him light colored glasses. Okay, moving on to the second layer. For this layer I'm adding more yellow to the mixture. Note that this guy has light colored beard, so that's why I'm using my brush to remove paint from the beard area. I could've just painted it around and avoided the beard area, but I forgot to do that and only just remembered halfway through. However, I think it gives it a more of a natural gradient as you'll see in the end, so I'm glad I did it this way. You'll notice that for this layer, I didn't paint the face area inside the glasses. It's partly because I forgot, but I also realized that glasses normally have some light reflection to them like a glare. So keeping the face area covered by the glass is slightly lighter would help get the effect of lenses. I skipped painting it and left until later to add color. Next time adding some warmth to the cheeks. So I'm using the same method as before, using clear water first and then paint and then blending them out. I'm also adding some paint to the ears in here, lime and blending it out. Now I'm painting is that layer starting with the glasses area first. Note that I'm taking care not to paint over the beard area in this layer. Now, moving on to the facial features, I'm starting with painting the eyes using the Prussian blue that I have in my palette. Then I'm mixing a muted yellow. I mixed it using yellow, a bit of red and some blue, and using it to paint the mustache. Then I'm painting the mouth with a muted orange mixed using red, yellow and blue again, but with less blue. You can see me taking some color off from the painting. This is because I realized that the color was too vibrant. I'm using a paper towel, a brush loaded with water to wipe the color off. Next I'm outlining the top of the eyes with brown and painting in the pupils. Now using red by itself, I'm painting the nose and the second layer of the cheeks and blending the color out. Using the muted yellow that was mixed before I'm outlining the mustache again and the beard. Notice that from the reference photo some area of his beard are gray, but some other same muted yellow as is here. So that's the effect I'm trying to create here. Now I'm applying the same color to his hair by taking some color off because I want the color to be light first so that later I can add that darker strokes. Now I'm moving back to the nose, and notice that the forehead is lighter than the rest of the face, so I applied another layer to the forehead. Using the same muted yellow I'm painting the eyebrows, and the hair. Note that I'm painting around the areas of gray here, avoiding them. Next I'm adding more blue to the muted yellow. I'm painting more strokes in here that gives it more dimension. Next, I'm mixing red, yellow, and blue to create more strokes to the hair. Now I'm mixing blue and brown to create black and using it to outline a glasses frame. Next, I'm mixing red, yellow and blue to create more strokes to the hair. I'm also using it to paint in the cast shadows. Now I'm going to create more wrinkles using the same mixture. Here, I realized that the color dried a bit too light, so I added another layer, and that's it all done. 10. Creating a Simple Family/Group Portrait: Now, we're going to briefly go through the process of creating a family portrait. There are many ways to compose a family portrait. But we're thinking to keep things simple and have the subject placed at the center of the painting and the background just plain white. Here's the completed sketch of a couple and their baby. I'm going to be coloring in this as a sample project, you can create something similar too. Using the same layering techniques as before, I built up the skin tones layer by layer. Then painted the facial features and details, and lastly the hair. Because we've gone through painting skin tones before in our last four demos, for this class project sample, I'm going to skip to specific pathway I want to draw your attention to. Firstly, we're going to look at the mum's hair. I want a free steady hair so I started by creating the fuzziness. Initially I started with a red undertone because I want over here to look warm. But soon I thought why not use a yellow instead? I blended the colors together. I then added some dark brown. The next step is painting the curly strands of hair using the same brown, but I like to wash with more water. I'm also painting the hair facing the inside darker. Then mixing some yellow with the brown and painting the ends of her hair, and adding some flyways. Next, adding some blue to the brown mixture, I'm painting the shadows. Adding it first to the inside of the hair, then outlining some of the curly strands to add some definition to the hair. Now, moving on to the dad's hair. I wanted to be a dark black, and I know that by mixing brown and blue together, the black will look more vibrant as opposed to directly using blackwater color. I started by blocking in the hair with a thick layer of blue. Then, finally, adding the brown and painting it in the direction of the hair. For the dad's face, I thought to give him a bit of a stable. I wanted to be really subtle, and the way to do that is to make some mixture of red, yellow, and blue, but with more blue in a ratio. Then dilute it with water and paint around the chin and mouth like where the beard with be, and that's it. Moving on. Painting babies is similar to painting adults. The process is basically the same just on a smaller surface, and like the adults, I layered one wash after another to build up the baby's skin tones. I gave the baby dark brown hair, starting with a light wash and building up the color. Now, I usually paint multiple areas together at once. While waiting for one area to dry, I get started on another. That's why the dad's hair has gone back to blue. This is because I skip back to the previous footage where I painted the baby's face when I was waiting for the dad's hair to dry. When you are creating a project, you can speed up the process by rotating through different areas, painting one area where another drys. To be honest, the process of painting is quite flexible. There's no exact formula and many of the decisions are intuitive and sometimes experimental too. A lot of decisions I make in my paintings, I'm not entirely sure how they'll turned out, but I now that I'll know once I've laid the color down, and this is why I prefer to build up my painting in light washes. I guess overall my suggestion is this. I am showing you my process for building up watercolor paintings and explain why I make the decisions I make. But in reality, anything is possible. The way I paint is not the only possible method, and it is definitely not the only correct method. You may experiment and find a method of painting that suits your style better and that's really good too. It's always best to learn from practicing. My advice for you would be just to start and don't worry about making mistakes too. I noticed that I learned the most from making mistakes, and although I did waste a lot of paper, I managed to work out what I shouldn't do, which in turn enables me to improve on my painting skills. If you don't like what you create, it's okay too. You don't need to show it to anyone. The truth is, I actually have a drawer full of everyone's paintings. I guess all in all, what I am trying to say is, don't be afraid to make some mistakes, and finally, I thought to give the babies blanket abit of colors, so I painted it a purple blue, and that's it. Done. Personally, I think a portrait like this would make a perfect gift for someone. Is really unique and meaningful. Next time you are invited to a wedding or a baby shower, you could even consider giving your friend a portrait as a gift. Here's an example of a gift I gave my grandma, featuring her, my mom, and all my aunts. I love creating the family portrait and painting my family members as stylized characters. This piece was a bit more complicated to paint than the example before, since it involved more people, and therefore the color of the clothing has to have a nice and older full painting to the cohesive. As this class is about mixing skin tones, I'll save this topic for future classes. Although if your painting has lots of people in it, just remember, you want to put light values against darker values and darker values against lighter values. This is so that no one gets lost in the painting. For example, here, my grandma's white hair, which is very light, is against the dark clothing of my aunties. For your project, you can choose to add colors to their clothing or leave it in white t-shirts , just like a previous family painting before. Now, it's your turn to create. I'm so excited to see your painting. Be sure to share them in a class project for me and all the other students to see or share them on Instagram and tag me so that I can see you and give you a shout out on Instagram stories. That's about it for now. In the next video, I will be summarizing everything that's covered so far, plus giving you some tips and tricks to help you with creating your class project. 11. Summary & Tips for the Project: I'm going to end with a final note on painting skin tones. Like mentioned before in a classical the palette, the basics of mixing skin color is this. The neutral color that the skin tones are composed of is created using red, yellow, and blue. The skin tones that you want to create for the character can't usually be achieved from just one layer, and usually, it takes at least two. At least this is experience for me. For me, I find that this applies no matter how light the person's skin tones are. Even a lighter skin tones that I've ever painted before requires at least two washes. I guess this is because watercolor usually performs best when they are layered on, so the general rule is this. If you want to darken the skin color, add more blue. But because blue [inaudible] down the color, you need to add another layer of red and yellow paint mixed together. Then, if you want the skin tones to be warmer, add more red in your mixture, and if you want to skin tones to be cooler, add more yellow or add more blue. Here's a few quick tips to help you get started on your project. Tip number one, it can be a bit overwhelming composing and painting, which includes multiple people, where do you place all of them? For me, I found that it's a good idea to start with round ovals when sketching. These basketball-like heads as my sister names them, are helpful to establish a composition. Take the drawing I am doing right now, I started with playing around with where the heads would go, then work out the gestures later as I go. The sketch doesn't need to be perfect. Remember that it's just a guide to help you with the painting process. Also, it's okay to change things when you don't like them along the way, you may find that as you sketch some things work better than others, or you may come back to it later and realize that something is out of proportion. Remember the sketch doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to be there. If your painting composition is going to be more busy, it may be a good idea to start with an thumbnail sketches before sketching directly onto the water color paper. However, I sometimes skip this part if I know I won't be adding much in a composition. Tip number two, don't draw too big when you're just starting out, and this is true, especially for those who are working with opaque watercolors. This is because if you draw too big, it takes a lot of time to cover all the surfaces, and if you don't work fast enough, some areas may dry quicker than others, and you end up with patches on the watercolor surface. You will probably not have this problem if you are using transfer all the colors. Tip number three, if you make mistakes like painting outside the lines, it's fixable with watercolor. This is also the reason why I love this medium so much. First, use a clean brush and soak it in clean water, then wipe it dry but not too dry. You still want some water on the brush. Wait till the painting is semi-dry, for summer day in Australia, this means immediately. Then, gently paint over the areas that are outside lines, you want the brush to feel like it's pushing and grabbing up the paint. The brush is soaked up on paint, and as you soak up some, wipe it off on a hand towel. Repeat the process as necessary until all the paint comes off. Finally, tip number four, it's very important to wait until each layer is utterly and completely dry before you lay in the next wash. I've made this mistake countless of times due to impatience, and ended up with damaged paper that results in blotchy surfaces, and although the painting still looks okay from a distance, I will still need to fix it on Photoshop if I scan it. If this happens, here's how you can fix the mistake in Photoshop. Use the clone to stamp here, click Alt on your computer, and select the area where the painting is smooth, then brush over the damaged area, and that's it. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask me anything, I'll try my best to help. If you complete it a family or group portrait, please post it to the project gallery. I'm really excited to see what you create, and if you need help transferring your sketches onto watercolor paper, coming up next is the bonus video which hopefully will help with that. Otherwise, see you in the last video. 12. Bonus Video - How to Transfer Sketches onto Watercolour Paper: Okay, here I'm going to show you how the transfer sketches onto watercolor paper. [MUSIC] You can use this technique for your own sketches too if you don't want to draw directly onto watercolor paper. You will need tracing paper, a pencil, I'm using a mechanical pencil here because it's what I prefer but any pencil would do, and a fine line pen, but it's optional. Firstly, open up the file on your computer and print out the scanned sketches.Then once you've printed it out, place a piece of tracing paper on top and secure it with some tape, then trace over it. Now after you've finished tracing the sketch, flip your tracing paper over. You may see some things that needs to be adjusted. Here, I realized that I placed the neck in the wrong place and it looks a bit weird. This technique is also very good for uncovering some drawing mistakes and will allow you to make changes if you want. But don't worry, the sketch scan I gave you in the class resource already has this adjusted so you won't need to do this step. Now, for the next step, it's is essential you use a pencil to trace over the flip side of the tracing paper and press down hard on the pencil so that the lines are dark. This is because you will be using the carbon on this side to print onto the watercolor paper. Now turn over the tracing paper and place it where you want on a watercolor paper. You can stick some tape on it as well, but take care not to tape onto the watercolor paper as it will rip out some of the paper fibers when you take it off. Trace over the sketch, remove the tracing paper after you've finished, draw over the sketch and pencil in some areas that are too light, and you're done. 13. Thank You :): Now to summarize everything. We've been through the colors that you can use to make skin tones and what color properties you need to look out for, such as the transparency and granulation. We've looked at how to sketch a stylized character from photo references and how to pay attention to bone structures. We've gone through the four practice paintings. Now finally, you are going to do your family portrait or a group portrait. Congrats. You've made it until the end. I hope this class has been of value to you and your time. If there's one thing I hope you can take away from the class is this. Painting is an intuitive process. Don't stress too much about what color to use. If it looks right on the paper, it's good enough. If it doesn't, then you've learned something new. I truly believe that making mistakes is the best way to improve. Plus you never know, sometimes you might even discover some unexpected textures or effects. Please leave a review if you found this class helpful or if you have any feedback for me so that I can improve on my next class. Finally, if you love to see more classes for me, please give me a follow here on Skillshare, so you'll be notified when I'm publishing new classes or you can also find me on Instagram and Twitter where I share my projects and new work. Thank you so much for participating in the class. I hope to see you again soon. Bye.