- Rendering realistic human skin
- Mastering the Airbrush
- Understanding of Light and Composition
- Applying Color Theory and the use of Limited Palette
Abstract: Painting the subtleties of human skin can seem daunting at first, but with the right tools and techniques, the whole workflow get a lot easier. I will walk you through the process of painting a head, from zero to finish, using a technique which will make even the beginner able to conquer very realistic effects on his/her skin tones.
Introduction: Painting realistic skin is not easy. Its many subltle tone and colour transitions make the task really challenging for artists of all levels. Many times what we see are very well rendered tones, but colours poorly chosen and the end result lacks that vibrant softness skin possesses, and the figure ends up with a skin resembling plastic or wood. The process I'm presenting here will certainly add a lot to those seeking the mastering of painting realistic skin. I hope you enjoy and learn a few tricks along the way.
1- The idea: When I first thought of producing this workshop the first thing that came to my mind was: It's gotta be a human figure! With this in mind I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try to paint a slightly exagerated Fairy portrait (or a caricature if you will), but a pleasing and realistic one. I believe painting something I'm not used to would make me much more aware of the steps in the process, so bear with me!
2- Tools: For this painting I only used one brush: the Airbrush. Yep, the dreadful airbrush! Not favoured by many digital painters I decided to give it a try and use it exclusively, which seemed the perfect choice to achieve the softness and transparent layering found on human skin.
3- Drawing: After filling the background with a middle gray I start with a very economic drawing on a Multiply layer, using the Airbrush at 100% Opacity and Flow. And this will be the only instance over the whole painting that Opacity and Flow will be at full strength. At this stage I carefully place the features and proportions.
4- Blocking Colours: At this stage I start blocking some local colours with the Airbrush with 50% Opacity and around 70% Flow. Everything is very flat and muted, slightly dark, since the background shows through a little, which is a good thing and provides a nice base to paint upon.