5 TIPS for PAINTING SKIN | Digital art tutorial

5 TIPS for PAINTING SKIN | Digital art tutorial

September 2, 2019 16 By Peter Engel


Hey, what’s up? I’d like to share my top 5 quick tips when painting skin in digital art programs like Photoshop and Procreate! Tip number 1 My first tip is to vary the colors you use when painting skin. Skin isn’t just one color with different values. You can find many different hues in the skin, varying from blueish skin tones to more red skin tones. Adding color variation to the skin of your portrait will make it look more realistic. Tip number 2 A thing to keep in mind when painting skin is sub surface scattering. The skin is slightly translucent and light will pass through it, giving it a warm glow. You’ve probably seen this when holding a flash light behind your hand. Your hand will have a red glow, right? The same thing happens with the skin in the face, especially in the ears and nose because the light will easily pass through these surfaces. So be sure to add some red tones to these areas when the light is hitting it Tip number 3 If you want to make the skin of your subject extra realistic, you can add skin texture to the skin. A hint of skin pores, spots and freckles will add this extra bit of realism to your portraits. You can add skin texture either by painting it by hand or by using some texture brushes. When you’re using texture brushes, it is wise to build up the skin texture slowly. Paint the pores, skin spots or freckles on a separate layer and then add a layer mask you can either erase the unwanted parts by painting with black on a white layer mask or you can paint the texture back in by filling the layer mask with black first and then painting on it with white. You can build up the skin texture by adding multiple layers like this. Tip number 4 When painting different ethnicities, the trick is not to just change the color of the skin but look at the distribution of values on the skin Ebony skin like in this portrait, will have more dark values and less light values but the difference between the base skin value and the highlight value will be bigger. The skin seems to have some shine to it. The difference between the base skin value and the shadow areas on the other hand is smaller. So be sure to check the values of the skin, not just the hue. Tip number 5 Tip number 5 is all about values. Values are very important when painting realistic skin, so check your values! A good way to do this is by turning your reference photo to gray scale and do the same thing for your painting. In Photoshop you can add an adjustment layer on top of your other layers. You can turn this on every once in a while to keep an eye on your values. Compare them to the black and white version of your reference. You can make an adjustment layer like this in Procreate as well. Just add a new layer and fill it with a medium gray, then set the layer blending mode to saturation. Now you can easily switch to a gray scale view to check you values! I hope you found these tips about painting skin helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comment section, I’m here to help. And if you liked this video, you won’t forget to give it a thumbs up, right? I really appreciate it. Have a wonderful day and I will see you next time, for the next digital art tutorial!