Someone asked me about this, so I slapped together a very quick and dirty test of different pencils with skin tones. These pictures are very small (like the size of a matchbox in real life) and took like five-ten minutes each so don’t expect great art, just tested to see how these particular recipes work.
For skin tones, I prefer to work with blue to offset the pink in peachy tones but you can try purple and even green but it greatly depends on the tones you’re using, sometimes things just don’t work. I suggest do your own tests before committing to a great picture you’re loving, so you’ll see whether that cosmic purple and hot pink actually work as you’d like 🙂
So here goes. First off, Caran D’Ache Pablo:
Recipe: Bluish Pale, Indigo Blue, Granite Rose, Salmon, Brownish Orange, Salmon, Umber, Carmine.
For this and all the ones to come, I started with a light blue layer of shading, then went in with a darker blue to deepen the shadows and only then started working with peachy tones, doing layers of different shades and adding red to the cheeks cause the blue underpainting makes the peach lifeless so you’ll need to add some color back.
With Pablo, this particular recipe yields a very light and a bit purplish complexion. Since the lightest is very light (Granite Rose), I’d actually take it easier with the blue next time.
Second, Caran D’Ache Luminance:
Recipe: Burnt Ochre 10%, Burnt Sienna 10%, Burnt Sienna 50%, Light Cobalt Blue, Grey Blue, Alizarin Crimson
This I think I like the best, it was the easiest to get a natural look with. Don’t think I’d adjust.
Third, the loved-hated Prismacolor:
Recipe: Light Peach, Peach, Sepia, Cream, Cloud Blue, Indigo Blue, Crimson Lake
Uhm so.. yeah. I kind of like where it went but getting there was a nightmare cause well, enter cursewords. These pencils are a nightmare to work with. But as for skin, they work pretty well. Here, I also added Cream to the blue-peach spectrum of things for balance and I think it turned out okay. With tons more polishing and work, this could be very good.
And last, but not least, my trusted workhorse Faber-Castell Polychromos:
Recipe: Light Flesh, Cinnamon, Medium Flesh, Ivory, Dark Sepia, Light Phthalo Blue, Indigo Blue, Madder
Here I used Medium Flesh as a blush and then thought hell no, needs MOAR. So it’s listed but really, not needed. Ivory fills the same spot that Cream did with Prismas, to even things out a bit and add a bit of a balance. This blended together the easiest but maybe that’s because I’m most used to working with these, they’re my go-to pencils. In any case, easy to achieve a natural look (yeah cause we all have such MOAR cheeks, right? :D).
At some point soon I’ll be doing a bigger and better test and will take pictures as I progress through it so you’ll see the process, I realize this recipe-only thing doesn’t really cut it for a lot of people. But it’s a starting point I hope 🙂
Man, I need a scanner, this photographing thing simply does not work when aiming for color accuracy.