Skin Painting Help
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    Skin Painting Help

    Thought it'd be fun to try doing a self portrait, but I'm finding myself struggling a lot with the skin. I did some reading on skin painting and it's helped me fix a lot of problems, but I think it still looks weird. I'm not extremely concerned with the outline shape of the arm at the moment, just the colours. I'm also trying to not be a slave to the reference since the photo is pretty poor quality.

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    Remember that colors are defined by light and shadow. Trying to achieve skin tone on a plain white background
    is a chore as you have no environmental factors to base it on.

    Why is your face all yellow?

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    I'm a tad jaundiced, and I'd prefer it if you didn't call attention to it.

    Anyways, sounds good. I wanted to paint myself first and then add in the background later so I wouldn't get distracted, but I suppose that doesn't really make any sense if colour is effected by environment.

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    I find that when my skin colors aren't working, it's because I'm not using blues and greys in the right places. When painting, it's easy to forget that much of the skin we see is dead and coated in grease. Also, there is plenty of blue blooded veins right under the surface. Most of the time, a little color balance shift does wonders.

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    I'm not extremely concerned with the outline shape of the arm at the moment, just the colours. I'm also trying to not be a slave to the reference since the photo is pretty poor quality.
    Sounds to me like you're making this more complicated than it needs to be. Since you're not very comfortable with painting skin then wouldn't it be wise to find a better photo, either of yourself or someone else? Not being a slave to your reference is one thing, but it's more a matter of knowing what it is you see and choosing what to exaggerate/ignore. And also, you really should make sure to get the drawing down first. Especially since you're obviosly unsure about the color aspect of things, not having to worry about the drawing aspects of the painting while you're working will make it a lot easier.

    There is some good information in the photo though, which you shouldn't ignore, like the way the arm is in shadow and the color in that shadow.

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    Use the photo as a rough outline. Look at yourself to see how skin reacts because your eyes will pick up more than what the photo shows.

    http://navate.deviantart.com/art/SKI...rt-2-145159387

    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...92#post3206792

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    Thanks for the advice everyone.

    @tobbA, unfortunately my camera isn't very good and this about the best it can do. Drawing things out first is a good suggestion, and I'm honestly not entirely sure why I skipped it. As for the colour in the shadow, I assumed that was incorrect based on how blown out the rest of the photo is, so I tried going my own way with it.

    @Arshes Nei, that's actually the reason I took this photo in this position. I have a fairly long mirror mounted on the door of my cabinet where I can easily look at myself sitting at the computer. I was trying to look at myself and copy those colours down, but I think I veered off too much on my own path. Thanks for the links! That skin tutorial is what I looked at before posting this thread. Really great advice that helped me out a lot.

    I did some more work unrelated to the skin before I saw everyone else's advice. I'm unsure what to do about the background since it's pretty distracting. I think I might just go for a plain wall with a window or two.

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    And you are still using a white background.

    Color works in context. A color that is a good skin tone in one painting would be wildly off the spot in another.

    Establish the overall color scheme of your painting, eliminate the white background, THEN figure out skin tone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    Color works in context. A color that is a good skin tone in one painting would be wildly off the spot in another.
    ^this

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    Wow, didn't realize it could be such a drastic change. Thanks for that example, sone_one.

    I filled in a background (too bright/minimal?) and then completely drew the portrait out in my sketchbook with some rough values so I'd have a better guide. Hopefully will start the colour over again tomorrow.

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    Edit: D'oh, just realized I forgot pants! Wouldn't be the first time that's happened.

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    I'd suggest you to not try to copy from photos yet. You need to learn to think in context of volume and structure; your latest posted drawing shows you're only trying to copy the color spots. That's not going to take you where you want to be. Instead, get some practice in structural drawing and seeing the form.

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    Yeah, that makes sense. Do you suggest I try and finish this project anyways or leave it for a later date when my skills have improved?

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