How Do I Get A Likeness?

One of the common problems and questions I get about portraits is how do I get a likeness?  I discuss this and offer some tips on this challenging area. Of course there are many ways to tackle a portrait, here I give some tips based on how I would develop a portrait but if something else works for you, stick with it!

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How do I Mix a Flesh Tone?

The first thing I do when I mix a flesh tone is look at the complexion of the person I am painting.  Some people’s skin is yellow based (olive skins), some skin is pink based (very fair skin) and so on.

  1. Have a good look at the skin first of all.
  2. Mix some colours – experiment before you start painting
Try mixing some flesh tones first
Try mixing some flesh tones first in your sketchpad

The other thing to bear in mind is that there is not just one ‘flesh tone’ that will do the job.  You will need several tones and colours to make the skin look realistic.

I tend to use a light green as the base as it is neutral and build up brighter, lighter tones on top.  Here are some of the colours I use for flesh tones:

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