Drawing Tips | The Story Elves - Help with writing, editing, illustrating and designing your own stories

- Tip -

The Real Colors of Skin Part II


In the first part of this tip, Part I, we took an honest look at skin color. Even though we would like to make it easy on ourselves and pick up a single colored pencil (say, pink or brown), that’s not very accurate  (You can see Part I here:  colors-of-skin )



Orange is just too orange and no one really has yellow skin unless, of course, someone spilled a bucket of paint over their head as a prank.  So what can we do instead?

In this tip, we are going to look at how to create more convincing skin colors for your drawings.  You will need paper and colored pencils. This can be any type of colored pencils.  Personally, I like Derwent Colored Pencils.  Joble gets them for me from The City.  But, that’s just a matter of taste!

The challenge is in mixing the colors.  Take another, closer look at what I did here…


For the Caucasian boy, I used five different colored pencils:  red, orange, white, pink and yellow!

I started out with orange, coloring softly, and then went over again softly with pink. Then I grabbed a white pencil and “painted” on top.  I can press harder with the white pencil.  I am actually using the white pencil to blend the other colors together.  I then mixed in a little yellow on the forehead and some red for the cheeks and ears.

As you layer these colors, remember to use that soft hand, and only press harder with the white pencil.

I keep building up layers of different colors in this way until I have a tone that truly resembles skin. I use the white pencil frequently for blending.

For the Asian girl, I worked in exactly the same way but with slightly different colors. For her skin, I used a dark brown, white, yellow, red, light brown and pink.

For the Afro-american boy, I used white, pink, red, brown and dark brown. (It looks like the pencil might be black in the picture, but it’s a very dark brown.)  Even with the dark brown tones, using white will help you mix the colors together to look more natural.

How about trying this out for yourself?  Here’s a sheet you can print out and practice on!


—By Valkiri

Print Friendly
The Story Elves - Help with writing, editing, illustrating and designing your own stories