Easy Skin Painting Process!



I’m Shin and you’d probably know me as GoGoCrew previously. For this tutorial, I’ll be sharing my latest skin painting process.

Here are the topics I’ll be covering for this tutorial:

~ 5 basic skin steps
~ guide to pick skin colour palette
~ give life to your characters by adding these!
~ extra! Colour and lines for facial expression

5 Skin Painting Steps

To me, colouring skin is like applying makeup to your characters’ face. When you putting on makeup, you’d pay attention to bring out the focus to your face,adding blush to make yourself look more alive and contour for more defined look right? Same thing for your characters! So, by incorporating makeup steps, here are my simplified 5 skin colour process:

1. Base colour
2. Overall highlight( reverse contour)
3. Blush
4. Shadow
5. Highlight

Face Map

I made a simplified face map as the which parts of face I apply step 3 to step 5.

Blue line: Contour and shadow

Blue line represents contour and shadow. I like to apply it around the character’s face and creased areas such as eyelids.

Red line: Blush

Red line is for blushes. I find it most flattering when blush is applied to high cheek are below the eyes, upper tip of the ears and nose.
* For lips area, I tend to add blush on for feminine characters.

Yellow line: Highlight

Yellow line is highlight. I apply highlight at the prominent part of face like the nose for example. Lighting source also plays a part in the location of the highlight.

Guide To Pick Colour Palette

Before that, I’d like to share how I personally pick my skin colour palette.
The easiest for me is to categorise skin into fair, medium and brown.
Each skin types has different blush and contour/shadow colours.

For human skin, blushed or flushed face is due to increased blood flow. So, my favourite colour range is from pale red to deep orange depending on skin type.

As for the shadow, my general pick is either warm or cool colour. This may depend on the source of lighting as well.

Fair Skin Type

For fair skin, I like to lean more towards red and orange for blush and counteract with cool colour shadow like dull purple. The highlight is close to yellowish white.

Medium Skin Type

Next is medium skin. Orange range for the blush and cool colour for the shadow.

Brown Skin Type

As for brown, I commonly use deep orange as blush and warm colour as the shadow.

Skin Process Demonstration

I’ll be using my character to demonstrate how the steps are applied by using medium skin palette.

1. Base Colour

For quick work, fill the base colour in using fill bucket.

2. Overall Highlight

This is basically a reverse contour. By adding the highlight colour using soft airbrush at 60% density, it will create a focus to the center of the face.

3. Blush

As the face map shown, I add blush colour by using soft airbrush below the eyes, nose and tip of the ears. The intensity of the blush can be tweaked through the layer’s opacity or even the brush opacity.

* by using brush opacity, you’ll be able to build up the intensity as opposed to tweaking the layer’s opacity.

4. Shadow

For the shadow, I changed the layer’s opacity to 60% on a multiple mode. Depending on the light source,I apply the shadow on the left as the imaginary light source coming from upper right.

5. Highlight

Lastly, apply the highlight. Again, following the light source, I colour where the light would hit.

And we’re done! Here’s the other samples for other skin types.

Fair skin Type

Brown Skin Type I

Brown Skin Type II

If you’re having a hard time curating your own skin palette, I’d like to suggest these palettes as your guide!

They provide a large range of skin colours with blushes and shadows.

Give Life and Personalities To Your Character!

Moving on to next topic is giving personalities and live to your character!

Freckles, moles and joint blush! Adding freckles and moles can set as a hint to your characters’ trait, perhaps their birth land and race or even as beauty mark.

In my country, sometimes we associate moles with one’s behaviour. For example, mole near the eyes means high tendency to cry and near the mouth represents talkative.




Joint Blush

As for blush, it doesn’t restrict to face area only. I find adding blush to joints and edges of the body makes the character looks more interesting and vibrant.

Here’s the example. Blush at the shoulder, finger tip, elbow and knees to name a few.

Lines and Colour for Facial Expression

Last part for this tutorial, line and colours for facial expression.

Adding lines can drastically exaggerate the character’s facial expression and even their age.

As for colour, it can drastically tell the mood of your character. Warm colour such as red as excitement or anger. Cool colour like blue and purple to show anguish or sadness.

*My method is to colour on a new layer clipped to the skin layer, in multiple mode and the opacity ranging from 60% to 80%.

Red as excitement/ embarrassed

Red as anger

Blue/ purple as confused

Blue as horror

Sometimes simplistic colour choice like white and blue is more effective in bringing out the exaggerated mood.


That’s the end for today’s tutorial! I hope you find it helpful. Let me know if you have any questions. I’ll see you in the next video. Thank you for watching and good luck~



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