Watercolor Skin Tone – simple skin tones with watercolor

Watercolor Skin Tone – simple skin tones with watercolor

Are you struggling with
mixing the right skin tone? Are you feeling frustrated because your mixture turns out dirty? Here’s the thing. Figure and portrait can be a
very tricky subject to paint. However, mixing the
right skin tone is not. In this video, I’m going to share with you the way I mix skin tone and
at the end of today’s video, you’ll probably be
surprised how simple it is. Hi, this is Eric from Cafe Watercolor. Painting a nice, clean skin tone in watercolor is quite easy. And here’s why. Watercolor doesn’t use white. Unlike oil, acrylic or even wash. Lighter value in watercolor is
dictated by its transparency. So right off the bat,
you have one less paint to worry about in your mixture. That being said, there are a few things I want to share with you
before we start to talk about the colors that I use. Number one, keep your mixture simple. The more colors you use in your mixture, the muddier the color will be. Now for me, that’s typically not an issue because when I’m painting
a scenery painting, I usually prefer more neutral
and muted color anyways. However, when it comes to the skin tone, the cleaner the better. It doesn’t matter the
skin color of the person. The mixture should always
be as clean as possible. So that means you should only be using two to three colors for your skin tone. Even if you are mixing
the shadow on the skin, it should still be clean. That brings us to our next point. Number two, keep your mixture transparent. Skin is actually translucent. So, if your mixture is too
opaque, it loses the light. This is actually an important concept when it comes to the
value on the skin tone. So, when you are trying
to mix a color of skin that’s under bright light,
you make it more transparent for the light to let through. And when it comes to
the shadow, think of it as lack of light rather
than add more darkness. That means you simply make
your mixture more opaque. One of the mistake I
often see students make is starting to add too much
dark colors, like burnt umber or cobalt blue and that ends
up making the skin look dirty. We’ll go over that in the demo later. Number three, keep your wash clean. The cleanness I’m talking
about here is not the color but the consistency of your wash. Sometimes, the issue is
not about the color you use but the wash you paint. If your wash is dirty with bad edges and too many layers or
scrubbing, the skin tone won’t look good no matter
what color you use. I talked about wet on wet in
making clean washes before. If you haven’t watched those video, I encourage you to watch those. I’ll put the link down
below and at the end. And number four, keep your color relative. If you think about it,
the color of your skin is pretty consistent throughout. There might be some areas
that’s a bit redder, lighter or darker, but the
overall color is the same. Any value and color changes is most likely due to the lighting. So once you figure out the
local color of your skin tone, you should use that as a base. From there, you can go lighter and darker, warmer and cooler, but since they are from the same base
color, the overall color of your portrait will look more harmonious rather than spotty. All right, so let’s continue
the lesson on the paper and see things in action. Before we do that though,
if you find this video helpful so far, please like and subscribe, that will help this channel out. Okay, I’m going to show
you the color I use and the way I mix the skin tone first, and then I will share my process
of painting this portrait. Let’s get started. So we’re gonna do drawing
with couple of heads. And I’m going to speed this
through very very quickly because they are not
the point of this video. It’s mostly about mixing skin tone. So, I’m not going to go through
all the drawing and stuff plus, these drawings are very very rough. If I’m going to paint a full portrait, I’m going to spend a lot
more time doing drawings. So, these drawings are very rough. And I don’t really have reference. So I’m just drawing those from my mind. So I’m going to try different
skin tone for each of them, and this is the palette
that I use for portrait. It’s a different palette. The color is more or less the same but I need to keep the
palette clean so I can have clean skin tone every single time I paint. So, this is carmine, cadmium red hue, cadmium orange hue, cadmium yellow medium. This is cerulean blue, cobalt
turquoise, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, burnt
umber, alizarin crimson, cobalt blue, ultramarine
blue and neutral tint. So the skin tone is
mostly going to be here where I use red, orange
and yellow as a base and it’s all about balancing
these three colors. So let’s start with red. If you look at red,
it’s the color of blood and that’s what I want you to think about. Since the skin is
translucent, we get to see a little bit of color of
blood underneath the skin. That’s why the skin is a
little bit reddish sometimes especially when you exercise
or when you’re blushing. So, we have red as a base
and if we add a little bit or orange here, it’s
going to turn into a base of the skin tone. So I’m trying to mix sort
of a Caucasian-looking skin. If I add more orange and
yellow, I’m going to turn the skin a little bit more yellow. So I’m going to add quite a bit of water. The first wash should be
very transparent and light. ‘Cause we are painting
the light of the skin. I also use a clean, damp
brush to pick up some paint. So, it can have a little bit of the light. But overall, should be very clean and there shouldn’t be any hard edges. And now, I’m adding a
little bit burnt sienna to darken the skin tone a little bit. Now I’m going to pain a little bit of darker skin color here. Keep the skin to the warm side so still, need to add a little bit of the red. And we’re doing the same thing. But here, I’m going to do
a little bit of wet on wet. So a little bit of burnt
sienna and do some wet on wet so I can get a little bit
of value difference here. Even though the skin tone is darker, we still want to keep it
relatively light and transparent. Now on to the third head,
I’m making the skin tone a little bit more to the yellow side. So adding a little bit of cadmium yellow. But try to be careful when you are putting yellow on the skin tone. Too much yellow, the skin
doesn’t look healthy. Actually start to look like zombie. And you definitely don’t want that. So that should be the first
wash of the skin tone. And notice, none of the skin tone I use more than three colors to mix. And they’re mostly pretty wet, make sure. So, keep those clean and transparent. We can add a little bit more
color later and add more value. Now, red, a little bit orange and a little bit of burnt sienna. I’m going to make slightly
opaque and darker tone for the middle head here. I also grab a little but of cerulean blue just to cool the color down a little bit. So, it’s not red all over the place. From the eye socket,
connect shape to the nose. I use a little bit of
Carmine for the cheek to give it a little bit of blush. And a little bit of wet on wet if you need a little bit more value. And again, keep the color
relatively transparent and keep the wash clean. By just adding another layer,
we’re already starting to see some value contrast, some light and dark. Now the dark on the face,
like I said, is lack of light. So don’t start to add a lot of dark colors and make the face dirty. The darker part of the skin is simply a little bit more opaque, less light going through. I’m painting the side
of the hair and I just bring that value into the right eye. It is a very very rough
painting, like a sketch. So while at it, I’m
just painting some hair. And I’m mixing a slightly
thicker paint for the right eye, which is in the shadow. So I want to keep the eye relatively soft and kind of lost in the shadow so I’m not gonna define it that much. And always remember to soften
the edges if you need to by using a damp, clean brush. Now I’m adding more burnt
sienna to darken the color and I’m using that for a
darker skin tone on the left. Again, adding some cerulean blue. Get a little bit of cool color. But overall, we’re going
to paint the shadow shape of the face on the left,
so it is a bit darker, it’s a little bit more brown. However, don’t start to
add a lot of dirty colors. It’s the same concept,
we’re simply making it less transparent so it
will naturally look darker. In here, I’m adding
some red to the mixture so I will paint the nose
a little bit redder. That will help the nose project. And here the cheekbone, just adding a little bit more form to it. That will soften some of the edges. But I don’t mind keeping hard
edges in some of the area especially area that needs a little bit more suggestion of structure. If it’s soft edge all over the place, then the whole face is
going to look like a mush. We want a little bit of hard edge to describe the structure of the face. Now onto the head on the right. So, since we’re simply
mixing a little bit darker, more opaque mixture. Now this one, a little
bit more to the orange and the yellow side. So it’s all balancing act. How red and how yellow you
want your skin tone to be. How dark and how bright. It’s all about balance. Adding more burnt sienna’s
going to make the skin a little bit darker. Adding more red going to
make it a little bit redder. Adding more orange going to
make it more orange and yellow. So it’s all about balancing your mixture. And since the colors
all from the same base, it’s always going to look harmonious. So that’s why you see me keep going back to the mixture on the palette. I’m just adding different
color to shift the balance. But because they are all
from the same base skin tone, the color that I end up
with is always going to look relative to the base skin tone. Adding some more dark tone to the nostril and the shadow of the nose. And notice that I actually
didn’t darken my mixture is the same value for the eye socket. But because it is a certain layer, it’s going to look darker on the paper. So we’re simply picking out
the transparency on the face. So again, think about
shadow as lack of light rather than add more darkness. And now is the time I’m
finally starting to add some real dark tone for places
like corner of the mouth and corner of the eyes. That’s the pawrt I’m starting
to add more burnt umber and alizarin crimson. And I’m starting to paint the hair. I like to play with the color
a little bit more for the hair so I’m adding some blue. But I’m also going to darken
some of the area for the hair so the face will pop
out a little bit more. As soon as you start to add the hair, of course it just looks
a lot more complete and the face feels like it anchors down. Rather than just floating around. And soften some of the edge for the hair just so that it transition to the face. Avoid filling cut out whenever
you are painting the face. So try to connect the shadow
of the nose to the lip and things like that. So again, mixing darker skin tone here. Adding a little bit burnt
sienna to the mixture. And add maybe a tiny
little bit of burnt umber if you feel it’s not dark enough. But still, try to keep
it as clean as possible without dirty up your mixture. Even though you’re painting
a darker skinned person, doesn’t mean you start to
add a lot of dirty color. So same thing, I started out a little bit alizarin crimson for some darker area like corner of the mouth
and the eye, the pupil. Soften some of the edges to
connect the shape together. Add some cerulean blue
underneath the chin. Just to cool the color down a little bit. Also separate the neck
and the chin and jaw. So I’m painting the hair here. I’m thinking to give it
a little bit some sort of a frill hairstyle just for fun. So I do like a basic shape
and now I do a lot of wet onto wet, adding some more colors. Some blue, some red, it
doesn’t really matter as long as the value is there,
it doesn’t really matter. And again, once the hair is in, it start to look a lot more finished. And because the hair is actually darker, the dark on the face especially doesn’t look that dark anymore. Now onto the face on the right. Starting to mix more color. So, imagine this is like an Asian person. So, the structure of the
face is not as distinct. So the eye socket is not as dark. But still, we need to paint the nose out so I give it a little
bit of shadow underneath in the shadow of the lip. So for the lip, I like to use carmine with a little bit of orange. So it’ll be a little
bit on the redder side but it’s not going to be too red. At this point, you know the drill. I’m basically using the same
colors on top of each other. So whenever I’m painting the next layer, I’m basically using the same color. Maybe I’ll add a little bit darker color, maybe I’ll make it a little
bit cooler or warmer. But again, it’s about the same color. So here, I’m painting
the hair of this girl, trying to paint around the face. That helps the silhouette
of the face tremendously. So that’s the basic of the skin tone. Remember to keep it simple and clean. Don’t overcomplicate it,
don’t use too many colors. And keep it transparent. This is watercolor. Transparency is everything. This is a special painting. I did it for my wife last
year for our anniversary. So this is her pregnant
with our third kid. Anyway, start with the drawing. This drawing, I need to
spend a lot more time to do. So this is not a sketch by any mean. I want to make it a
nice and finish drawing. And because this is not just the head, it’s the head all the
way down to her thighs. So there are a lot going on here. Plus there are hands. Hands and face are probably
the most difficult things to draw and to paint. So, painting like this, I
definitely need to spend a lot more time doing the drawing. I am not a natural when
it comes to drawing so you’ll see me do
quiet a bit of erasing. And it’s very important
that you understand the anatomy of the figure. Now that doesn’t mean that
you need to make everything super accurate, like a
medical illustration. However, if you understand
how anatomy works for human figure, then you can
deliberately break the rule and make it into your own style. So, a good stylized figure
drawing and painting is till based on reality. It’s still based on understanding
of the human anatomy and proportion, but with artistic choice. So, things looks more intentional rather than look like a mistake. So I’m speeding up this
drawing process quite a bit. In reality, I actually
spent quite a bit of time doing this drawing but
I don’t wanna bore you so I’m going to speed up quite a bit. Now here I am drawing the hand. Hand is a little bit of pain. But you usually start with your paw and then you draw the finger out. And make sure you indicate the joint. My wife have a very interesting
pinky, as you can see. So that wasn’t a mistake. Her pinky really does look like that. Pretty much starting to
finish out the drawing. Making sure everything
is looking correctly. A good solid drawing
is very very important especially for figure and portrait. If you don’t have a good, solid drawing, you are setting yourself up for failure. And you’re going to be
a lot less confident when you’re starting to paint. Because once you start to
paint, there’s no going back and no erasing, so make sure you have a good, solid drawing underneath. And here comes the first wash. Now I’m trying to keep
her skin relatively more to the yellow side, a little bit orange. I’m adding some cerulean blue wet on wet, just to cool some color off. And I apologize in advance
for the color difference of two camera, I haven’t really
calibrated the color yet. But it’s also interesting
because even though the color looks different
between the two camera, but it still works, whichever
camera you’re looking at. So that proves the point
that colors are relative. So the first wash, I’m
painting the skin area. I’m trying to finish in one go, do this on wet on wet if I need to add a little bit of cool color and so on. But I definitely need to make
some nice, clean first wash. And now the first wash is dry, I’m starting to mix a little
bit darker and warmer color. And start to paint some
of the shadow area. Now the tricky part for
this painting is that she is almost completely back lit. So we got this pretty
bright rim light around her while most of her is in the shadow. But that doesn’t make her very dark. Actually, she is still
in a lot of ambient light that’s why you still see
her face very clearly. So again, keep the mixture
relatively simple and clean. Again, we’re simply taking
out the transparency, we’re taking out the light rather than trying to paint anything dark. That’s the key to keep the skin
tone clean and translucent. With just some subtle change in value, you can already start to
read the form of the face. And now I’m going to
mix quite a bit of color because I have a big area to cover. So, I am going to paint her
arm, her shoulder and her arm. I’m leaving out the
highlights on the left. As you can see, as soon
as I put in the value, the form start to read. So it’s not flat anymore. Now the elbow area has some core shadow up on her upper arm. So I’m going to paint some of that in. And here, I decided to
connect her hand value to her belly, so I pre-wet the area and I start to add the value in. Because I want the
transition to be mostly soft because her belly is pretty round. So I need to pre-wet the area. In here, I’m using a clean, damp brush and pick up a little
bit of the paint here. Because there is some
bounced light on the floor, so underneath her belly,
it got a little bit of bounced light underneath, which is what makes the belly looks very round and full. There’s a baby inside after all. So here, I decided to take a break and mix a sort of a neutral gray color and star tot give it a first wash to her clothes, to her bra. Her bra is white, but it is in the shadow, so we need to give it a
little bit of the tone. So that’s the first wash on her clothes. I’m just gonna leave it be for now. And then I move down to her jean and also give it a first wash. Just a flat, blue color. And while we’re working on other part, the face is dry again
so I’m going to go in and start to add a third wash of the face. Adding some more value to the face and make the form read a lot better. And as you can see, it’s
actually not that dark. I simply take out a little
bit of transparency, take out a little bit of light. So pretty much it go back to the original local tone of the skin. So you don’t see me
starting to add burnt umber and some of the dark color
just to make it darker. You don’t have to make it darker, just to make it more opaque. That’s all you need to do. On the places like pupil
or eyebrow, where I need to start to add some darker color. Other than that, the skin
itself really doesn’t need a lot of darkness there. A little bit of red and
burnt sienna for the lip. I also paint the corner of the lip and have that extend out as a shadow. Make sure you soften some edges when you are doing
things like lip or nose. You don’t want it to be like a cut out. You want it to belong to the face. And now I’m starting to
make some darker color and I want to do the hair. So for the hair, like
I said, I like to play with the color a little bit more, so I add some cerulean
blue, (mumbles) gold, because I really like that blue. And I also add alizarin
crimson and other dark colors. The important part is
the shape of the hair. So I’m leaving a little
bit of light on the left where the hair is facing up. It’s receiving some light from the above. And this is a very important part, I slow down and I paint around her face. That makes her face pop
and just jump off the page. So, painting hair is always
a very exciting stage. So again, keep the wash
clean as much as possible. Now use the tip of the brush and I paint some delicate details, some hair strand. Now I do need the hair to be darker but I need to wait for it to dry in order to do that cleanly. So the face is looking
a little bit of flat so I’m looking another layer of value just to make the form
pop a little bit more. And be sure to do it cleanly,
so make sure it is dry. And I soften the edges where it’s needed. So darken the neck area again. The neck and her chest area. Which is mostly in the shadow. So I’m painting the contact
shadow where the hair touches her shoulder and it
comes out to the light, it gets a little bit lighter. This transition add a lot more depth and makes things more dimensional. So I’m going to work on her clothes. We need to add more value
so it doesn’t look flat. So start from the shoulder
strap, we come down, leave some light because
there’s some wrinkles and fold. And I do some wet on
wet where it’s needed. So, I soften the edge
so there’s a transition from light dark. I’m adding some skin color
there because there’s some bounced light, bounce off
from her arm to the clothes. That’s why we see a little
bit of orange there. So wet onto wet, add some soft details for the wrinkle and the fold. Just to make it more dimensional. This is actually her
second maternity painting. I really enjoy this subject. I think being pregnant is a
very beautiful stage of a woman. This transformation from
inside out is just unbelievable and very very feminine. Because only a woman can
have that transformation. And it’s only nine
months, so it’s actually very short period of time. And I feel we don’t celebrate
this special moment enough. My wife and I, we often look
at our kids’ past photo. When they’re babies,
when they’re very little, things like that, but we rarely
look at her maternity photo. But I really want to
make this stage special and what better way to make it special than doing a painting? So now this painting is on the
wall and it will constantly remind us this beautiful
transformation of her life. Anyway, so I just darken the armpit and I painted some contact shadow so that it looks like the
bra is touching her body and we add more depths and dimensionality to her form, her torso. Now I’m adding more dark to her elbow area and to her arm just to give
it a full range of value. So from the bright
backlight, bright rim light to the core shadow and
to the local skin tone. And now I’m starting to paint her hand. I don’t want to do too much to her hand. I want it to be suggestive and as long as it (mumbles) as a hand, it’s good. I don’t want to take the attention away from her face and her belly. So I’m just giving some emphasis
on the joint of her finger. Adding some contact
shadow from her finger. So it feels like her hand is
actually touching her waist. And I’ll bring that value
out underneath her belly so it feels like there’s more volume. So that really makes her belly
look round and dimensional. Now, it’s pretty much just
finishing up the whole painting. And it’s much easier now that
we have a reference point. So if you look at the face,
look at the arm and the hand, we know how dark things should be. So we make similar value and
color and we’re good to go. So the other hand wrap around her belly. Again, emphasize on the tip and the joint and a little bit of the contact shadow. So I feel like the belly need
to be a little bit darker so I re-wet the surface because again, I want that nice and smooth transition. It’s really important you
know where you need soft shape and where you need to hard edge. Even on the skin and human figure. You don’t want everything
to be soft again, because everything will look like a mush but you also don’t want
everything to be hard edge because it’s going to
look harsh and TOO busy. So in this case, the belly
is definitely a place that you want a lot of
soft shape and soft edges. Now, we’re gonna finish the painting by filling the dark blue on her jean. You wanna keep that part
loose so it doesn’t take away the attention for what’s really important. As long as the value is
right, you’re good to go. So I’m just adding some more colors, some more value changes
and so it feels like the thigh is round as well. But again, keep mostly very loose. Here’s a little bit of stripe
going on on the waist band so I’m loosely indicate those in. Now the hair is dry, so I can
paint another layer on top. And this time, I’m really
going to make it dark. So now, we paint the dark hair in. I still leave a little bit
of the light on the hair, but mostly, we’re going to paint a lot of the area of the hair darker. So once we paint another
layer of the hair, we can see that the portrait
just looks a lot more complete. And the face start to look lighter too, because the hair started
to give it some contrast. So by painting some dark,
the light feels lighter. So I’m starting to give some
areas some darker stark. Some contact shadows, some transition6s. Not to make everything
dark, just a few areas. So now, I feel the core
shadow on her upper arm is not dark enough so
I give it another go. And this definitely makes
the rim light a lot brighter. And with that, the figure is finished. I’m cleaning up some of the pencil lines and it’s time to give it a
little bit of a background. Now, I don’t want to make
the background too dark. The background serves the
purpose to make the silhouette more clear and to make the light brighter. So now the figure is
separated from the background but we still have that
backlight blooming field to it. And here’s the finished painting. I really like how it turns out and I hope you enjoyed this as well. So I hope this is helpful for you. Of course, there’s a lot
more than just mixing the right skin tone when
it comes to painting a good portrait, but I certainly hope this is helpful for you. I have a playlist of
portrait painting demo. Now might be a good time for
you to check them out again. You might pick up something new from them. If you enjoyed this video
and find it helpful, please like and subscribe. Any other question, leave
a comment down below. If you haven’t, be sure
to check out my website for new paintings and sign
up to get my fast track watercolor PDF guide. I’m Eric from Cafe
Watercolor, see you next week.


  • Michele Girard says:

    Exactly what I need! Thanks!

  • So Soap says:

    I love the way you teach!!! Thank you Sir!!

  • Café Watercolor - Eric Yi Lin says:

    Hope this video is helpful for you! Is it easier than you think? ☺️

  • sin king so says:


  • Mia L says:

    Enjoy all your videos. Thanks for sharing.

  • Greg Horsky says:

    Think of his advice in terms of monochromatic painting. With a monochromatic painting, it doesn't matter what color you paint with, even if it's a muddy mixture. If the values are right, then the painting looks good. Stick with the base colors and the color scheme won't get out of hand.

  • Sassy Cat says:

    Thank you so much. I have been wanting to try painting a portrait to try to work through holes in my watercolour knowledge but have been far to scared to even attempt it. I have taken a ton of notes and have bookmarked it so I can go back and refer to it. Now I have to make sure my drawing skills are even better to make sure I do not set myself up to make a big mess of it. Thank you again and for showing such a beautiful and much loved part of your life.

  • Barbra Joan says:

    Lol yes Eric , there IS a baby there. This is so beautiful. Your wife is lovely. A very informative video. Painting people can be so difficult and you make it look easy . I know it was not!

  • John Wolff Portraits says:


  • Gordon Pearcy says:

    How would you paint grey/silver hair water colour?

  • Catherine Levison says:

    Is that your “all the time” palette colors? Or your “skin tone” colors. Thanks for this—I’ve been doing a lot of portraits lately even though I’m not advanced yet.

  • Dina says:

    Thank you very much! Your painting turned out as beautiful as your wife.
    I already learned a lot in your videos.

  • Danilo Donato says:

    Another great video, just when I need to face something new and, above all, a really wonderful painting. Thank you, Eric 🤗

  • Erkin Yılmaz says:

    Talent and experience results this super awesome painting. Very helpful, thanks for sharing, what type and number brushes you used for this?

  • Lynn Reader says:


  • Jacqueline Harland says:

    Beautiful! Thank you very much.

  • Zoong Nguyen says:

    Thanks for teaching. I enjoy your voice and pace.

  • Fran Egui says:

    I will never tire of thanking you. Your videos are more than watercolor classes, they are professional mentoring. Here in the city of Maracay, Venezuela where I live there is no place to learn to paint watercolor. That is the reason why I feel so pleased with you. I can only wish that everything you have taught to me becomes wealth, health and happiness for you.

  • Teri Carter says:

    Perfect timing –I needed this so much to begin a portrait of my granddaughter and her dog Your painting is so wonderful I know you and your wife —and children will appreciate it for many many yrs

  • Louise Weir says:

    beautiful painting! thank you for your teaching.

  • gunther744 says:

    Thank you my genius!

  • Elvira Macri says:

    Muito, muito bonito! Parabéns!

  • Susan Speidel says:

    Thank you very much! This was the most helpful video on skin tones and how to paint skin I have seen. Plus your commentary was awesome. I appreciate your comments on pregnancy paintings as well. Congratulations on a spectacular painting, teaching video and your little one.

  • Teresa Gray says:

    Very beautiful, and very informative. Thank you.

  • Israel Fortunato says:

    Very helpful tips!

  • Cosmo Queen says:

    Great skin tone tutorial, Eric! The pregnant woman came out gorgeous. Beautiful way to remember such a precious time.

  • Mahesh Mahesh says:

    So, wonderful 💐🙏👍

  • Jeff Hayes says:

    Thank you for another great tutorial Eric. You always make it look so easy. Watching how you choose and mix the colors is very helpful.

    Also how you approach the painting. 🙂

  • RN Kim says:

    Your wife's portrait was beautiful and i really enjoyed watching you paint this…Thank you!

  • Alicia Mersdorf says:

    Your wife is very beautiful. Skin tones make more sense to me now. Thank you.

  • Tzipora Ne'eman Feder says:

    Phenomenal ! Thanks!

  • Rownok Jahan says:


  • Colors Rebellion By Aiesh says:

    Very informative!!

  • Tiago D'Agostini says:

    Caucasian skin is one of those things that are absurdly easier to do in oils than in watercolor…

  • Surin Farmwest says:


    "Transparency is everything" I'm looking at my paintings and seeing where I have gone wrong. Pure gold, thank you.
    Brilliant video and thank you for sharing. Love to you and your family.

  • Gail Check says:

    Hi Eric. I am a new subscriber . The first video of yours that I viewed was your 2020 Watercolor Set-up, which I found very informative.
    This portrait video is perhaps the sweetest, most loving tutorial I have ever watched. Yes, it is professional and informative and intentional and engaging, as all good instruction should be. But it is so much more, as it unfolds to express a love and beauty that you feel and want to share. I learned a lot about skin tone technique, which is why I watched it. But I learned so much more.
    They say a pregnant woman has a “glow” about her. Your magic with watercolor expresses what words cannot. Thank you for sharing.

  • Kathy Smit says:

    Very helpful, Eric. I love portraits and you are making a lot of sense. I have experienced a muddy neck and chin for my mothers portrait by mixing too many colors, giving her a 5 o’clock shadow! I love that you showed how to use the same colors to darken. Using the same base color makes so much sense! Not dark black rims around eyes or purple around the nose. I will use that in the future portraits and not fight the concept.
    “Too many layers and too much scrubbing” – yup that’s me!
    Also I loved your sentiment about your wife’s pregnancy. You have melded your art with your heart and that also speaks my language. These techniques work the best when you care about what you paint. Such a great love and purpose shows through.

  • Miguel Codina says:

    Great! Thank you very much!

  • don at fair S says:

    A real knowledge of values. Beautiful painting.

  • don at fair S says:

    I think watercolor is the most unforgiving types of media to work with. You seem to have a all-around concept which really shows in your paintings.

  • John Van Camp says:

    My own portraits start much the same way but inexplicably somewhere in the third wash mine take on a distinctly clownish appearance. I’ve been fighting this for years and have become increasingly timid about using bold color at this stage. I secretly suspect that Red Skeleton’s work begin normally and become clowns quite by accident just like mine.

  • Barbara Gemin says:

    This is a video I've been waiting for for ages! Just what I needed. The background was useful to know too. Thanks Eric.

  • Vgudorf says:

    I’d be very interested in seeing how you would paint a person of South American, African, or South Asian descent. What base colors would you use, and which colors would you add to warm or cool the skin for light and shadow areas? Thanks for this very well explained tutorial on painting skin, Eric. Just subscribed and liked. Now I’m off to watch more of your beautifully filmed videos!

  • Ingeborg koltes says:

    I really like your clear instruction and am learning a lot from it! Thank you so much for sharing! And having had 8 pregnancies myself I appreciate your comments very much. All the best for your little family!!

  • Sherrill Taylor says:

    I’ve really enjoyed watching you work, your wife is lovely ! Great job !

  • Maria Elena says:

    Love this class! It made me feel relaxed, I learned a lot and you are an awesome teacher all over. Thank you!… Kindest… Maria Elena

  • Moonlight Gator says:

    Thank you for advice I will try to incorporate this ideas in my paintings.

  • Kate Flowers Art says:

    So beautiful

  • Crazy Cat says:

    Thank you. This is helpful.

  • June Mcdonald says:

    Thank you once again for all your help, you teach in such a quiet and gentle manner without rushing. A lovely painting for you to treasure, it’s beautiful ❤️

  • Moira Stevenson says:

    You are the very best artist and teacher of watercolour on YouTube. Thank you so much for this video. It is my ambition to paint portraits in your sort of style. This will help terrifically!

  • Dorota NM says:

    Hi Eric, thank you very much for your videos. It is very helpful for sure:) I'm just starting with watercolor and I've watched many videos but as for now your's are the best for several reasons:
    1. Because you describe what you are doing and why are you doing it in certain way.
    2. You're perfectly prepared for recording the movie, you have several cameras. I can see when you change colors and how you mix and check it before you put it on the picture. It is very helpful for beginners.
    3. Your pictures are fantastic!
    So – keep going and never lose motivation for it:))) Many thanks again!

  • Drumaier J says:

    This turned out absolutely perfect and the knowledge you share is very interesting to hear and watch as always.

  • Maria Kellner says:

    Hi Eric ,beautiful painting of your wife,you use many opaque pigments,can you explain how this works,I thought for transparent look ,I would need transparent pigments?

  • Cait Gaff says:

    What a breakthrough, wow! I've been struggling with flat dull skin and didn't know why. Thank you for this!

  • X He says:

    Good Job! The trick is you have washed many times with many layers to reach the final effect. To some oil painters, who tend to make one stroke of color to reach the final result, it could turn up the color dirty and thick, thus lose the transparency, and end up losing the nature of watercolor. Again, thank you so much for showing the process.

  • Trevor Owen says:

    That's really lovely , thank you

  • Stephanie Harlow says:

    Great demo, but I would love to see examples of a wider range of skin tones. Can you include dark skinned people in your future demos so we can see the pigments you would choose for them as well?

  • Sylvie Merieau says:

    Wahou ! Magnifique. Merci beaucoup

  • Robin J Mitchell says:

    Wonderful work and thanks

  • Judi Hopewell says:

    Very helpful and well explained. Thank you.

  • Tammy Langlois says:

    This was one of the best demonstrations I have seen on portrait paintings. Thank you so much! Also thank you for the kind words about pregnancy and women.

  • Rajiv k. says:

    Love the description dirty colour thanks I will remember this love your work

  • jasneskis says:

    Fantastic instructional video. Beautiful.

  • Sandy Greer says:

    Your love for your wife comes through in your painting ! Beautiful !

  • Ginger Buchanan says:

    This is invaluable instruction and I thank you so much for sharing! The thought behind your painting is as beautiful as the painting itself. Blessings to you and your family.

  • Rita123xyz says:

    you are really talented.

  • Rita123xyz says:

    subbed..painting of your wife is beautiful!

  • maria Pellegrino says:

    This has been the best tutorial and explanation I have come across. Thank you, you now have a new subscriber 👍👍👍👍👍 from Australia 🐨

  • Monika L says:

    Great demonstration on skin color. I was actually looking for a training on this. Thank you!

  • maria esther puentes says:

    I am enjoying your videos very very much, and your comments are spot on and very practical. Your wife's pregnancy painting is just beautiful, what a blessing!

  • JAsisterti says:

    wow, Eric, you're so great at explaining – thank you !

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