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A good way to mix flesh tones...



  • edited June 2013
    @Harrell I think that's a wonderful suggestion. Karin is a fabulous professional artist and has a very well established opinion on the matter. Look HERE at what she says about it on her blog. Maybe she would be willing to do a hang out with @Mark_Carder . Interestingly, she uses a big pizza pan as a palette and then throws it away when she is done.
  • Will see if it is something she would enjoy doing.
  • Beside Mark's palette, some of the others I like are also very simple. Marvin Mattelson uses a flesh palette made of a string of grays made from raw umber and ivory black (lightened with flake white), yellow ocher, venetian red, and Indian red. I learned and used a palette by Jose Pharamon that consisted of cad yellow medium, alizarin crimson, pthalo blue and white. For the last few years, I've been using a flesh palette of alizarin (or something very much like it), yellow ocher, burnt umber and a string of neutral grays made from one of the umbers and ivory black, lightened in steps with flake white. Simple works every time.
  • Well THAT was an interesting little read. Can we have an update, please? Would love to know the outcome. If this post has hit a nerve with anyone please ignore. 
  • Mark's palette is perfect for flesh tones. He made a video that is in the list on the Videos and Tutorials page. 
  • Thanks BOB73 Ive watched it and pretty much agree with everything shown on it. Are you saying this video is the outcome of the discussion on this thread with no come back from the opposition?

  • @mikenwales this was an old thread from 2013. There have been more recent discussions on the same topic and the video is more recent than the discussion. The opposition I assume you mean people that use a different set of colors on their palette. That's fine too. The video was also a reminder that the limited pallet can get you to the colors you need. Don't forget this whole Mark Carder method is simply a learning method and not a be all end all of painting. More advanced painters mix colors intuitively and chose different colors to start their palettes. This is just a good place to begin.
  • This is a great thread, never seen it before
  • Thanks, BOB73,  I've just been watching this on utube A completely different pallet and painting technique but from a Master. 3 hours on John Singer Sargent  Brilliant watch, educational and entertaining as well. 
  • Very good. No Doubt he's an expert and pretty good with giving instruction as he paints (that's a gift in itself) My point was that you can mix any of those colors from Carder's limited palette. It would take most of us here in the forum a very, very long time to get to his level. 2 or 3 months at least.
  • The term "limited palette" is misleading.  It's limited in terms of the number of colors.  It's not limited (much) in terms of the gamut.  In fact, the yellow is carefully chosen to be free of any green, the red chosen to be free of yellow or blue.  This gives the widest achievable gamut.  All fleshtones are well within the gamut of most palettes.  Mark is right.
  • When I was a kid, 17-18 years old I started doing portraits I started with charcoal on tinted paper then added pastels. For me at that time I would throw some colors down and then make them work, it was a game I enjoyed. I enjoyed broken colors it sets up an energy and /or mood. You can use additive and subtractive color theories together. It seems like Impressionist did this. If you are willing to go more Fauve  to experiment with color on an emotional level then having a wider color palette may be a way to prompt you to make decisions by feel that you would not have to makeup in your mind because they may not be there. I like making games out of drawing or painting it just keeps it interesting for me. Mark has this palette and his game is to use it. It is a good game too.
  • edited December 2018
    Mark is right, just treat skin like any other thing. Pay close attention to the warm and cool variations, oh and the grays too.
  • opnwyder said:
    Vincent, welcome to the forum. One thing Mark always says is that skin tones are just like any other colors. If you are working from a photo, laminate it, dab the paint you mix up right onto the photo, wipe it off, mix a bit and repeat until the color matches exactly. Then place that mixed color in the same spot on your painting that you just matched on your photo. Almost all of Mark's videos are free but there is one where he paints a portrait while explaining his processes. That video is a few hours of fantastic. It costs a paltry $20 and has taken many painters up a notch in the quality of their paintings. I recommend it just like all of his other videos.
    which video is that one i bought his first course , should i just purchase the portait course, i am gaving A HARD TIME mixing dark flesh tones  using the 5 colors we the HOW to Paint Realism course in the mixing colors he cuts the mixing colors out. would you mind sending that link that you are speaking of
  • It's startling how dark and low-chroma skintones can be when you see them in isolation.   Much of the natural world is darker, "grayer" and lower-chroma than we imagine in our mind's-eye.
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