Skin tones

I know that there are many difficult elements to creating a beautiful portrait. In this posts I am going to help you overcome one of the elements in a portrait: the skin tone. A good place to start is with two clean palettes.  Then what you need to do is squirt out your palette. I recommend that you have the follow colours : cold yellow, warm yellow, brown, cold red, warm red, blue and black.

Now you have your palette prepared it is time to start mixing the colours. Start with a bit of yellow then add a tiny bit of the red (use all cold or all warm don’t mix). Now set aside this orangey hue. To make the tone lighter add white and to darken add blue and black. A good way to prepare yourself is to mix a repertoire of skin tones and lay them out in order. Like this….



To experiment and develop your understand you could take pictures of skin and try to replicate the skin with your palette

Photo of my hand
Small painting of skin

After painting a few samples I went on to paint a portrait

Portrait focusing on skin tone

There are many artists you can look at for further development in the area. For example: Lucian Freud, Jenny Saville and Stanley Spencer are all relevant artists to this subject. Here is a painting I did based on the works of Stanley Spencer

I think that you can achieve great contrast with some palettes but with others the tones are quite similar. Experiment and have fun!!

Proportions of the face

It is very difficult to create a proportionally perfect portrait. In this post I want to inform you of how simple it can be to draw the facial proportions. These proportions are only a guideline though so there will be variations.

#1 start with the head. Draw a shape that fits that of the person you’re drawing. 

These are all samples from my sketchbook

#2 the eyes are half way down the face. Split the line across the Centre into five. From the side the eyes will fill the 2nd and 4th sections. Remember that the eyes aren’t as big as you think


#3 the bottom of the nose is halfway between the eyes and the chin.


#4 the mouth is halfway between the mouth and the chin. A tip to make the mouth more realistic is to only draw the upper lip and just draw the shadow beneath the mouth. Usually the sides of the mouth are between lines drawn down from the inside of the pupils.


#5 the ears will be between the level of the eyes and the mouth.

#6 the hair will extend above the head and on most people will reach down to the ears


I hope this has helped. Get creative and start sketching. Please like and comment if you like and please follow for frequent posts.

Thanks for reading I hope you found this useful


GCSE art annotations 

Annotations can be a great way to inform your examiner of what is on your page.

A great way to effectively annotate your work is to: describe, justify and explain. What this means is, you need to 

1-describe what you have done. 

2-Say why you have done it and 

3-expain how it will further your project

Also, you need to be using the correct vocabulary. He is a word bank you can use to create insightful annotations: 

Here is an example from my sketchbook

Sample from Agnes Cecile response

I hope this has been helpful. Thanks for reading!

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