Mixing Skin Tones in Watercolor | Lisa Marie SketchingScarlet | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

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

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

5 Lessons (13m)
    • 1. Introduction to the Class

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Creating Light Sking Tones

    • 4. Creating Mid Skin Tones

    • 5. Creating Dark Skin Tones

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Many beginners and even more advanced watercolor artists struggle with mixing their own and realistic skin tones, they will turn out too orange, too flashy or just feel off or flat.

By following this class to make an array of skin tone cards you'll be able to recreate what you learned in your future illustrations and be able to easily mix skin tones!


The class includes:

- Me sharing my materials and prefered colors for the easy possibility to paint along

- A tips and tricks and how-to section of:

            - light skin tones

            - medium skin tones

            - dark skin tones


After taking this class you will be able to easily mix skin tones and apply what you learned to your personal style and color schemes, may that be a more realistic or very stylized approach!

Get your watercolors out and let's start painting :)

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Lisa Marie SketchingScarlet

Artist and Illustrator


Hello, I'm Lisa Marie! You may know me as SketchingScarlet from my Instagram or Youtube channel! :)

I am a freelance and social media artist working in watercolor, gouache and whatever falls into my hands and gets me creative :)

I post videos with tips and tricks as well as insights on my creative process on my youtube channel but I am using Skillshare for more in depth and carefully made classes since it allows me to invest more time into each class and really give you my all!

Please enjoy

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction to the Class: Hi, guys. My name is Lisa, and I'm a part time freelance illustrator. In this class, I'm gonna be teaching your about mixing water, cooler skin tones. I'm going to talk about the tools I use and tell you the exact Collins that I use and also give you some alternatives. If you don't have those exact colors, then I'm gonna be splitting it up into lighter skin tones, medium skin tones and dark skin tones. They're gonna be in different sections so that you can easily skip back and redo something if you didn't quite catch it or if you want to just restart it in the tool section, I'm gonna be telling you everything you need to paint along with me. So let's get right into it. 2. Supplies: the tools I'm using are my custom water call Appellate. You can see all the colors inside here, but I will show you the ones that I specifically use later on. My possible in pellet form, mixing a watercolor brush and size eight. It's a punch roamed, but feel free to use any. Brush your like a paper towels adept brush on before cleaning it. It will help keep the water clean. Two glasses off water. I use one for cleaning out the brush and one for picking up clean water before I paint pieces off. Watercolor paper. Cheap watercolor paper will do here, but it's up to you minor, fairly small, and I recommend a smaller or medium size. I recommend drawing a square onto each piece and leaving some space in the bottom two. Right on the color names that you're using for mixing that color, you can even write down mixing percentages. It will help you recreate this color later on in an actual illustration. A waterproof pen. I'm personally using a steadier pigment liner in 0.1, but you can use any pen that you want or pencil as long as you pay attention that It doesn't much with water, since we're going to use it on the cards that were painting on a little spray bottle. I use it to excavate pains quickly or to dilute pains on my palette, but it's not actually necessary if you don't have one. Now, the colors that I will be using to mix the skin tones are the lemon yellow, permanent red transparency Anna van Dyke brown, cerulean blue and I also be using the stark purple. Many people use the doctor Call off the base color for Shadow's use a blue color, a gray color or anything they like, really. But I prefer using purple, since it seems really cool and really good shadow tone, and it just gives the drawing a nice I mentioned to it also are really think that a cool shadow color gives the skin tone that is usually more of an orange or brownish color. A really nice contrast. You probably have a lemon yellow or something similar if you paint with watercolors at all . But if you don't have a lemon yellow, I kind of recommend getting one. Since it's a very universal and neutral color, permanent red can be replaced by any red. Really try even playing around with different kinds of reds to achieve different skin tones . Transparency. Anna is one of my go to colors when I make skin tones, then dyed brown is a really wonderful dark and Kulish brown tone. It can be replaced by any similar color to achieve a slightly different skin tone. I have found cerulean blue to be the perfect blue to make skin tones with. I've tried a bunch of different ones like Prussian blue, but serially and blue just really seems to do the trick for me if you choose to replace any of the color speech sure to remember that some colors have certain qualities them, for example, some Calzaghe regulating. So I don't recommend replacing this rule you in blue with, for example, an ultra Marine blue. Since I tore Marine blue is heavily granulated, and that's going to give you a little skin Apache Look to it. Skin is naturally something smooth to paint, so just be sure to remember if that's the look you're going for. That's perfectly fine, of course. Furthermore, I don't recommend replacing the lemon yellow with a Naples yellow or something like that, even though I know Naples, yellow or even Naples Yellow reddish look very similar to a light skin tone, and it can be really tempting to use them for painting. But be warned because Naples yellow is one off the colors that actually contains white pigments. And using white pigments to mix a color can make it look very muddy really easily. Now, in the following sections were gonna be painting the actual skin tones. I decided to paint squares with you and not portrait's, because I want you guys to fully focus on mixing the colors and not worrying about whether you illustration turns out or not. If you want to paint a portrait for each skin tone anyways, then feel free to do so. But remember that it's gonna be a lot more work. Don't stress yourself out too much. You can always paint portraits and different skin tones after he finished the class. Or just come back to it later and paint portrait's instead of squares 3. Creating Light Sking Tones: for mixing the lighter skin tones we're gonna use our primary colors. So are yellow, are blue and are red for me that Islam in yellow, cerulean blue and permanent red. Remember, we're not using white pigments, so we're gonna be diluting those paints with a lot off water. Sends a watercolor instead of white, used the natural white off the paper. When you have a lead, allowed your colors with water, you simulate a lighter color because the white of the paper shows through more than it would with a color mix with more pigment and less water. Typically for me, a lighter skin tone consists off about equal amounts of yellow and red, with just the tiniest amount of blue mixed into it. Since blues the complementary color to orange, it helps turning the intense and saturated orange into a more muted orange, which is almost a very, very light brown. While you're mixing, feel free to swatch your mix on a scrap piece of watercolor paper. It helps you see if you got your color exactly what you want now for the sake of those experience, don't go for that one skin tone that you like, but try out different amounts of yellow, different amounts off red and different amounts of blue. Even if you think that your skin tone might look to yellow or to read. Still, swatch it on card because and might come in handy later When you paint on your square, don't feel the need to just paint the flat skin tone. You can take a little bit off that red and dab it into the wet pains to simulate a blush area. When you're drawing blush on your actual portrait illustration, be sure to either dab the blush into the pain while it's still completely read. Or wait until the pain is completely dry. To then take Clearwater and re wet it. If you put the blush into an area that is half dry, half wit, it's going to make it look really weird and going to give you some weird borders that you don't want. We want that blush to blend into the skin tone perfectly now. I didn't paint any shadows onto the skin tone cards, but feel free to do that as well. If you have a particular color that you think it looks good with that color as shading when you paint shadows onto your portrait is really up to you how intense they are, how dark they are, where they are and also how you make them look. I personally like to let my pain dry completely and then draw a very sharp and clean shadow area. But just like with the blush, you can do it however you want, and you can even blend it into the rest of the color by either putting it in while the paint is still completely wet or letting the paint dry and then using Clearwater to re wet it. Don't forget to write on the color names in the bottom. I personally on Lee Road the color names and not the mixing percentages because I always test the mixtures before a paint onto a portrait, which I highly suggest. But feel free to write down how much pains and how much water you used. When you use a lot of water, your skin tone may dry much lighter than it looks like when you're putting it down when it's wet. Now get experimental and switch out colors. I picked those particular colors because they can create the most realistic skin tones and my personal opinion, but you're free to even use purple, the reds or neon pings to mix a skin tone. It's not gonna be as realistic, but they can be really interesting. These are the cars I made for the light skin tones, but make us many as you wish and then continue with the next section. 4. Creating Mid Skin Tones: for the mid skin tone. I primarily use transparency in a, which is pretty much burnt Sienna. You could pretty much achieve any color with your primary colors, but it's just really nice to have that transparency in a handy because it's a really good starting off point. Along with that, I also use permanent red Andi cerulean blue. There are a lot of undertones toe a skin colors that you wouldn't necessarily think would be there like blues, or it's just painting a plain brown would make the skin appear flat and un interesting. Also, most lighter brown's just our way to warm and saturated and go way too much into the yellow area for actual realistic skin tones. So I definitely recommend always mixing in a little bit of the cerulean blue, just like with our lighter skin tone. It's just gonna be the tiniest amount, so be careful with that, or the skin tone could look really green. A common mistake with darker skin tones is to water them down too much. I know it can be intimidating to use such a dark color on your sketch, since some sketch lines might vanish, but it's important to not dilute your doctor skin tones too much, since they're just gonna look really washed out and unrealistic. A dark skin color is really bold and beautiful and can give your illustration a great contrast. So instead of being intimidated by using a color that is very intense, try to instead think which collars will go well with us. An illustration in my personal opinion. Pastel colors and lighter values in general. Suit dark skin tones Really well, just like with the lighter skin tone. Get experimental very how much of each color use and see what's happening. Always switch on a scrap piece of watercolor paper and see what you can achieve. Even try a different paints, for example, trying Oakar instead of the Sienna and mix it with more of the red and the blue. Honestly, just go crazy and see what happens and never forget to write down the color names on each swatch card. When you feel like you're done playing with the mid tones, if you're free to move on to the next section, 5. Creating Dark Skin Tones: the colors are used for dark skin. Tones are primarily even Dik Browne, but also cerulean blue, some transparent sienna and even violets. Now the interesting thing about the doc skin color mixed with blue is not only that it becomes more dimensional and more interesting, but also that the blue can significantly darkened the brown. Even if you think you have a really dark brown as a base color, some of that blue can still dark in it immensely. The mixing percentages are not the same as with light skin tones or mid skin with anymore. You can use a lot of blue here, same with a violet. Mixing the brown with the violet can dark in it and make it much more intense while mixing in blue or purple will de citrate and dark in the brown. Mixing and transparent sienna will lighten it up and make it look more saturated and warmer . How much of which color you need to use depends on the skins on we're going for. The only thing I don't recommend is either using a straight brown or mixing in yellow because that's going to make your brown look really dirty and probably make it almost green . In a finished illustration, I recommend not only using one off your mixtures off brown but actually using different kinds of mixtures in different areas. As long as you have the same brown as a base color, they're still gonna look who, he said. For example, in a cheek area, you could use a brown that contains more red or purple, while in the shadow area you could use a brown that contains more blue. When you finish the section, you've officially finished those costs. Congratulations. I hope you learned something that you can apply to your future illustrations. What to do with the cards is up to you, but I recommend putting them into an envelope or making a little booklet out of it, for example, by punching a hole in each card and tying them together with a thread. If you have any questions regarding the topic, feel free to ask limiting the Commons. I'll be sure to check them regularly. You can also leave any feedback regarding the class or suggestions for future classes in the Commons. I hope you have a great day and I'll see you in the next class