Creative Musings

8 Apr 2016

Making A Skin Tone Palette

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Producing your very own skin tone palette can seem daunting with a vast array of colours and so much possibility. This easy to follow guide should help remove the stress from a complex task.

Materials Needed

Canvas covered board 20 x 30 or bigger.

Pencil for marking board.

Selection of Palette knives & Brushes

Skin Tone Palette colours :-Ultramarine blue, Viridian or phthalo Green,  Cadmium Yellow, Naples Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Siena, Raw Umber, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red (light/hue) Cadmium orange or Vermilion, Lead White or Titanium & Ivory Black                

Mark the board, dividing into 8 equal columns and 3.5 rows with the ½ row being at the top. Just use a pencil no need for the blue tape as shown in photo.

CiArt Skintone 1

Fill in the top row starting in column 2 with ultramarine blue, C3 viridian /phtalo green, C4 cadmium yellow, C5 naples yellow, C6 yellow ochre, C7 burnt siena and finally C8 raw umber.CiArt Skintone top

Then complete the rows staring in row 2 with alizarin crimson R 3  cadmium red (light/hue) then R4 cadmium orange/vermilionVersion 2

Column 1 row 1 is your grey scale divide this in half lengthways and then divide top half  into 9 sections for your grey scale.  No 1 is white no 9 is black with 7 shades of grey ranging from white to black for column 2-8
CiArt Skintone 2

The bottom half is for your mid tone grey, this should be a mid grey that appeals to you. This grey is then used to mix all your colour variations on the skin tone palette. You will always be able to refer back to colour match this grey.

Each column along the row divide up into 5 rows. Top row whole and the bottom 4 rows divide again to make 2 columns.

CiArt Skintone columns

The top whole row of 5  is for your mixed base colour e.g Ultramarine blue mixed with Aliz Crim.

Skintone Pat P

There are a multitude of variations you can mix using these two colours just mix and stop when you feel you have a colour you like. Use your instincts. Once you have found a colour that pleases you then place this in the top whole row.

Divide this base colour in two, one half will be mixed with the mid tone grey and the other half mixed with white.

CiArt Skintone 4Mix the grey half  by taking your base (UB & AC) colour add a tiny flick of grey until you have a colour you like then place this colour into the top 1 of 4 rows under the base colour. Add a little more grey for row 2 and little more grey for row 3 and even more for row 4.

CiArt Skintone 8CiArt Skintone 6

Repeat this process with the second half of the base colour but use white instead adding more and more white as you progress filling in the 4 rows

Skintone Pat P 1

Repeat this process across your board making a base colour with your green and Aliz Crim then Cad Yellow & Aliz Crim ect ect ……………Aliz Crim & Umber.

Skintone Pat P 2

Move onto the next row mixing your Cad red with Ultra Blue, Cad red & Green, Cad red & Cad Yellow ect and repeating the progress across the row until complete.

CiArt Skintone 10CiArt Skintone 9








Your finished board should look something like this but will be your own unique palette for skin tones. You now have a handy reference tool for quick comparison and matching for future skin tones. You will  see clearly which colour you need to mix to achieve a certain skin tone range.

CiArt Skintone complete

Just bare in mind it is not an exact science but rather a reference tool to save you time on mixing skin tone values in the future. An invaluable exercise that will help build your colour theory knowledge and confidence with colour mixing any colour.

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