I made really quick tutorials full of swatches to send my mom who wants to take up watercolour painting for a hobby. I’ll share them here as I find time to type what I wrote her.

The first two pictures illustrate discoveries in mixing skin-tones. I try to find paints that make it faster/easier to mix skin colours - even if you’re adept at making these tones out of other colours, the right combo of purple and yellow can cut out a lot of time and money. The one I have most success with is “violet gray”, then “permanent magenta” for darker and wider ranges, and “purple lake” when I was cheap and it was on sale.

Mix these (sparingly) with raw sienna. The darker the purple the less you’ll need to add to your yellow (yellow ochre works as well). Ultimately, watercolour is tricky to mix so if you’re not confident right away make sure to paint swatches before putting a loaded brush to paper, otherwise be ready to mix with water on the paper.

For a lighter, paler, redder skin tone, raw sienna + brown madder is what I prefer, although as you can see in the first image (about half-way down the page on the left), “cadmium yellow pale hue” and “cadmium red deep hue” work just as well, and might be cheaper on you. With that combo, however, it’s easier to get stuck mixing a ton of orange. 

Back to permanent magenta, it’s great with browns to get darker tones, not just for darker skin but for shading. I keep three browns on my “skin” palette (last pic), “burnt umber”, “burnt sienna”, and “vandyke brown”. Mix it with some skin-tone, even just a little, to keep it from looking straight-out-of-the-tube.

So mix your skin tones, make a few test swatches to figure out how much water you need (every brush behaves differently), and lay down some washes.

In the middle of the first piece of paper is a gradation in a skin tone (violet gray + raw sienna) from really warm (“brown madder”) to really cool (“turquoise”). This was done wet in wet, to show what kinds of tones you get from adding warm and cool colours. 

To the left on the bottom are a couple light washes of colours painted over a skin tone (same ol’ raw sienna + violet gray) to show how different colours look on this mix when applied dry on dry. Blue (I used turquoise again) is great for some shadows, implied stubble, and veins close to the skin, reds and most browns for warmer shading, yellow for jaundice or boogers… you get it.

On the bottom right is an example of really warm vs. really cool shading on the same skin tone mix (just guess). The initial skin tone wash is a bit warm for the cool side, but the contrast makes the shadows really evident. Different colours in shading will have different effects that way. The only surprise here is the use of dark blue “indigo” which is great for coming close to black when mixed with other colours.

On the second page are two more noses, different skin tones, and just three extra passes with skin tone washes - although difficult to tell because I was lazy and didn’t wait long enough for them to dry after the 2nd pass. The extra passes aren’t particularly warm or cold leaning, but simply draw off of the initial tone I placed.

IMPORTANT: These little quick studies serve to be as economical as possible, using few colours but still not looking just like an awkward mix of red and yellow or brown and yellow. For a more detailed or accurate representation of skin tones, a ton more colours might be added - for instance the darker skin tone on the right would have more pinks, and of course different parts of the body appear to be tinted differently. Also never forget no matter what colour or how dark skin is, skin is shiny. Be mindful of even diffused light. At the same time - perfect representation of skin is hardly necessary. More expressive colour treatment rules.

But ultimately - colour in skin - who cares! Just play around with colours you like, build a base that’s easy for you to mix quickly for wet on wet or however you prefer to work. Play with colours on different planes or surfaces of the body, with light, and take everything I say as a tips - not rules - ‘cause watercolour is really unpredictable and that is often the best part.

Another note: I use pencil tins for palettes, it keeps things portable, easy to mix, minimal paint waste, and I can rearrange paints easily to make mixing easier. I usually have three but you could get away with one or two. If you try it out, keep the paints and empty space clean with jut a bit of water and the wipe of a cloth/kleenex.

The third picture shows a really quick, easy, natural black mix I make. It’s simply “Hooker’s Green, Dark” and “Dioxazine Violet” at almost equal quantities. You can mix it with a blue or red or yellow for a warmer or cooler black, depending on which you need. I included some gradation and overlapping swatches. Just keep in mind black can be very powerful in watercolour, or any opaque application of the paint, so use it sparingly and with a plan in mind.

Despite my shitty watercolour sketches up here, I spent a huge amount of being a child working at a cooperative gallery with some contemporary and purist watercolour painters alike so I picked up a lot. If anyone wants me to be more specific about something, or maybe produce a more specific guide or sketch for a problem you have, let me know and I can try to help out.

These were things my mum asked for and that I produced with her knowledge of the medium in mind, so if it really did interest you but you’re stuck on something, or found something I said vague and confusing, let me know.

EDIT: A tutorial I made to talk about paper. It’s important stuff. [link]

carryalaser replied to your post: We did not read enou…

I wish we did. I feel like I don’t know how to read or think about it.

I sort of do, but I also don’t respect it the way I should. We wrote a lot of poetry in elementary school, and I loved it, but the treatment of poetry in everyday life discourages me from writing it now. Plus, if you’re not reading it, it’s very difficult to write it. 

mieaou asked:

Hi! I just saw your watercolour tips, they're great. I have a hard time with skin tones especially so seeing the colour mixes like that is really nice. :) I was wondering if you might do some examples for darker skins, or maybe different ethnicities? I haven't been able to find much online and it would be really helpful.

Thanks pal.

Once you have a basic skin colour mix ready to go, and you’ve practised a few swatches, getting different skin tones for different ethnicities is actually pretty easy. I find the harder skin tone to be really pale Caucasian, because it’s much cooler than a darker or olive skin tone. Before I get into a tutorial, things to simply remember for darker skin is to build off a tan mix - I use violet gray and raw sienna to recap - adding burnt umber. It should be your go to colour for darker skin, and then some purples (I use permanent magenta mostly). To make it warmer, a redder dark skin, well just add some warm red (I use brown madder). 

I hesitate to make a very strict ethnicity tutorial because within ethnicities skin tones and features can vary wildly. I’m Italian/Greek, I have two sisters who are constantly asked if they’re Mexican, sometimes Morroccan. I get asked if I’m German or French, so I dunno how to even make a tutorial about that kinda thing without knowing in the back of my head that it’s probably wrong. Most of all, the trickiest part with skin tones isn’t going to be mixing the right skin tones, but what effect light and shadow is going to have on the skin.

But that’s a whole other can of worms, so I have a tutorial out of a quick sketch of three types of skin tones. Between them, you should be able to mix and paint whatever kind of skin you want.

It’s might sound broad, it only covers three vague skin tones but with a sturdy default, warm skin mix, doing some swatches with different pigments added opens up every skin tone for you. The differences between ethnicities aren’t as big that you need to mix wildly different pigments for each one. 

For darker skin, just make sure you’ve got burnt umber and some purple/ultramarine and you’re set. And give as much if not more attention to lighting.

for a higher res look at the finished drawings: [mediafire link]


school’s getting me down

My sister gave me this samurai/feudal Japanese martial arts book from her martial arts phase when we were kids. I mean I stole it from her on her birthday.

I just wanted to practise with black and white and make a comic without getting hung up on thinking too hard. So not much story-wise.

and I commit myself to being a deviant punk at school

just want to make what I want, maybe I’ll finally learn something that way