How to Easily Color Skin Tones with Blending and Layering

Fantasy and manga characters come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Humans can be pale or dark. Mythical beings can be all sorts of colors including blue, purple or green! You can really make your character whatever color you want. It’s all up to you and your imagination.

Got your character’s style and skin tone picked out? Having trouble getting the color just right? Don’t worry, today’s step-by-step demonstration should help! Today we’re looking at Shojo Wonder Manga Art School by Supittha “Annie” Bunyapen. She includes more in-depth instructions for light and dark skin, but we’ll start with the basics.

DEMONSTRATION: PAINTING SKIN TONES 

Blending Style

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Step One: Paint the deepest shadows. Consider where the light source is hitting the skin and paint the deep shadows first.

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Step Two: Add the middle tone. Let the middle color blend where it overlaps the dark shadows you already painted.

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Step Three: Coat the whole area with the lightest shade. Add the lightest shade to wash out the shadows and blend all the colors together smoothly like watercolor. Here, I added the eye colors last.

Layering Style

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Step One: Paint the entire figure. Coat the entire skin of your character with the lightest color.

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Step Two: Add the middle shadows. Once the basecoat dries, paint the middle tone as your second layer. The middle tone will start creating dimension on the face – here it has helped shape the eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth and neck shadow.

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Step Three: Give a final touch with the deepest shadow. Consider what needs to be painted with the darkest shadow, such as under the neck, under the nose and the corners of the eyes. The darkest shadow will not fade like it does in the blending style; instead, it remains its original color.

 

What way do you prefer to make skin tones? Comment below. You save this handy image with the steps for quick reference then check out our other tutorials about coloring skin, drawing hands and drawing hair for all your character needs!

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For more manga tips and tricks, read Shojo Wonder Manga Art School.

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