Friday, January 16, 2015

How To: Paint Human Fleshtones and Faces

Hey everybody! In this tutorial I'll be explaining/showing how to paint faces, and more specifically female human flesh-tones. This tutorial will also go over "make up" effects to make your female model look more.....feminine lol. Look forward to a series of tutorials using this excellent model called "Riposte" from Pulp City including how to paint eyes, as well as red hair!

First things first, lets start with a list of the paints being used in this tutorial! I'm using the Reaper Master Series paint line specifically for this tutorial as I really like the many different fleshtones that they have available. This can allow me to end up with a much more "realistic" model in the end as it will allow me to have warm and cool tones in the flesh that you would see in real life. I also am quiet pleased with the dropper bottle design, as well as the paint texture as is reduces clogging and is quiet thin out of the pot, needing minimal thinning before general use.

All the paints used in this tutorial (in no general order) are as follows:

Linen White
Fair Skin
Golden Skin
Tanned Skin
Ashen Brown
Bright Skin Shadow
Bright Skin
Bright Skin Highlight
Brown Liner
Chestnut Brown
Brush-on Sealer

I start by priming the model with a medium/light grey color. This particular model will have a lot of white on it and so priming with a white or grey makes sense. Also, starting with a brighter undertone I've found helps keep your skintones looking bright and clean. So, I would always recommend using a lighter primer on models with a lot of skin. You could also use a zenithal priming technique if you prefer your model to have darker recesses. I will most likely be doing a tutorial on zenithal priming techniques in the near future!

Once the model is primed I basecoat the model with a 50/50 (roughly) mix of Fair Skin and Golden Skin. Be sure to thin this with water or Brush-on Sealer to about the consistency of milk or possibly more thin. As a general rule when basecoating flesh it will most likely take 2-3 good coats of paint to cover the primer completely. Don't rush this, and make sure each layer dries completely or else you'll end up with little partially dried up chunks of paint in your layers.

After 2-3 layers your model should look something like this:

Once you have a solid basecoat on the model you can begin with your first shade of Tanned Skin. This step will need to be thinned to the consistency of a glaze, and will be applied as such. Begin applying this to the outline of the nose, as well as the mid and lower parts of the cheeks. This color can also be applied to the upper side of the eye socket, as well as the middle of the brow-line or forehead if your model has a defined forehead such as the one I'm painting. You will once again need to glaze 2-3-4 times to get the correct coverage and tones in your flesh.

After this step the flesh should look something like this:

We can now begin our final shade which is a glaze of Ashen Brown onto the same parts of the figure, save for the brown/forehead. Be sure to glaze this color on a slightly smaller scale, leaving the mid tone of Tanned Skin still showing. You are trying to focus on the lowest parts of the cheeks/jaw line as well as the deepest parts on the sides of the nose. This color can also be applied into the eye sockets, specifically onto the upper half to create a shadowed look.

Once you have glazed this color sufficiently (between 2-4 times in most spots) your flesh should look something like this:

Now that we have sufficiently shaded the flesh, now we can begin highlighting. It's important to create a good amount of contrast on all your surfaces to really make your model pop! Our first highlight will be Bright Skin Highlight. This color will once again be thinned to a glazed consistency, but we will now be focusing on the high parts of the face, in contrast to the shading we have done earlier. The main areas to touch are the top/high parts of the cheek bones, the bridge of the nose, upper lip, as well as the high parts of the brow line (specifically above the eyes.) Once this color has been glazed 2-3 times over those areas your flesh should look something like this:

The face really starts to come together after this step! Just a few more touches to make it really stand out from here! We will now start our final highlight of Linen White glazed onto the same spots as our first highlight, this time focusing on a smaller area to leave our previous layers showing. We will hit only the tip of the nose, the very (extreme) top of the cheek bones, as well as small areas above the eyes on the brow line. Once you have completed this step your face should look something like this:

Now that the general shading and highlighting of the figure have been completed we can begin doing some extra touches to make the model look more feminine! These techniques can still be done on male figures, but I would suggest using more toned down colors so they are not mistaken for a "make-up" look as they still add nice tones to the face.

We will begin by adding a blush tone to the cheeks of the model, you can glaze on Bright Skin Shadow for this effect. Focus on the apple of the cheek, moving towards the crease at the nose. If this color comes out too intense, you can always glaze back over it with the thinned down basecoat mix.

You will also need to take Brown Liner and paint it in between the lower and upper lip of the model to give it a sense of depth and to outline the shape of the mouth more clearly (you can use thinned down black or dark brown paint for this step, I just prefer to use Brown Liner as it is the perfect consistency and opacity for this effect.) You can then apply Chestnut Brown to the upper and lower lip, leaving the Brown Liner in between to better define each lip. With female models it is important to try and create a "bow" effect on the upper lip as it adds to the "feminine" look.

With this done your model's face should look something like this:

Once this is done all you need to do is highlight the lower lip with Bright Skin Shadow, followed by Bright Skin Highlight. Be sure to not overdo the last highlight, only focusing on the high spot of the lower lip to create a "sun glare" type look where the light is focusing.

Your lower lip should now look something like this:

There you have it! With these steps you should be able to create nice smooth skintone transitions and realistic faces for your miniatures! Be sure to look out for my next 2 tutorials that will cover how to paint the eyes and hair, using this same mini!

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, and if you have any questions about any techniques or paints to use for this just comment below and I'll do my best to get back to you! Also, please check out my Facebook page and like it to get updates from me regarding different tutorials and showcase pictures of my latest commissions (I'd greatly appreciate it!)

If you have any interest in commissioning my studio to paint some models just send me an email at or check my Facebook page for my other contact info, thanks!

No comments:

Post a Comment