I'm painting on a set of sketch cards to test the oil paints I picked up last week. The paints themselves are awesome, miles away from the cheep discounter stuff I've been using every now and then. When it comes to mixing them, though, I'm beginning doubt myself.
I started with the girl, premixing the colors until they looked good on palette - still I feel her skin looks artificial, not convincing. So I thought, what the hay, this project was supposed to be for fun anyway. I got started on the guy with some really bright colors, the pinks and violetts and reds especially look cringeworthy on my palette, but now that I look at both, I feel his skin looks better than hers.
Are my eyes tricking me?
The skin colors aren’t your problem. The problem is that you aren’t showing form with light and shadow, and knowledge of anatomy. Work on showing form first. You can worry about skin color afterwards. The color of any object is subject to its environment and the type of light shining on it… so trying to figure out how to mix the perfect skin tone for later use is a waste of time and paint.
Thanks for your advice, form and lighting just ranked up on my todo list. Is there anything good way to practice these, besides (obviously) drawing from life until I get it? I looked through Color and Light by Mr. Gurney, but most of it went over my head
For now I'll just have fun with the colors on those cards and then return to studies. (There is so much to learn, I just need to shake it up with fun pics every now and then.)
Last edited by Steeljren; February 5th, 2012 at 12:16 PM.
Yea I'd agree that the bigger issue is form. The skin tones themselves aren't bad. There just isn't enough modeling going on in the face. Keep in mind that skin can get really desaturated when it's hit with a cool light or direct light, but usually the midtones will still retain some local color to tell the viewer what the natural skin tone actually looks like. Keep experimenting! Oil is a ton of fun.
Oil really is a lot of fun ... even more now that my colors aren't turning green when I mix red and blue.
The desaturating effect always amazes me, but I still have a hard time seeing it in real life.
Oh, and everyone please ignore my request for reading material. Loomis' "Successful Drawing" is making it's way through the printer.
According to what has been said, with better understanding for how form and light interact, you should also try to make harder edges. Many parts of the face throw hard edged shadows, like for example the nose and eyesockets, but then also depending on where light hits the surface.
About the color: You shouldn't use white to highlight. Skin in light just has its normal skin tone, basically in the purest color of itself, instead of loosing saturation (unless the light source is not common yellow light but some uncommon source like artficial/magic energy neon color light). It only loses intensity when it becomes darker (shadows). For this, you add more or less (depending on how strong shadows are) of the complementary color. As for the blues and violets you have there: Usually blues only in zone of reflected light (eventually add a bit to shadows too, but not so much the skin becomes violett!), if the surrounding space is the usual blue sky.
Thanks again for everybody's advice. You have given me some very valuable pointers, what to focus myself on.
I'm still reading up on those underpaintings. It looks very similar to a technique a former drawing teacher showed me (he called it Grisaille - I finally found out how to spell that xD). As far as my memory goes, it helped me a lot back then and I really have no excuse for not having carried on with it I guess ^^