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Painting Skin Tone With Watercolors

​Learn how to mix, blend, and layer colors, everything you need to know about shading and highlights, and how to control the flow of color.

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In my experience, one of the most difficult things to color in any medium is skin tone, whether it's light or dark skin. And for many, watercolor is already a difficult medium to control. In this class, I’ll show you the different color combinations and techniques I use, as well as take you through my methods for mixing, blending, and layering colors, shading and highlighting, and controlling the flow of color.

Everyone is welcome, of course, but if you don't feel confident in your portrait drawing skills, I recommend taking my previous Skillshare classes on illustrating faces, as this is not a portrait drawing class and focuses solely on painting skin tones.

My hope is that by the end of this lesson, you’ll gain the understanding you'll need to come up with your own color combinations for skin tones, and overall, feel more confident in your ability to create realistically colored portraits.

What Students Are Saying

Skin tones have been something I've struggled with since I first picked up a 'skin tone' crayola pencil when I was five. I've always avoided painting people for this exact reason. This class has definitely helped me iron out some of that anxiety!

- Aaron Burrell

Such a useful class! I always have problems dealing with skintones but the exercises and the wonderful skintones charts that are attached to the project section are a blessing! I've improved a lot thanks to those!

- Isabel A. Cienfuegos

Great class for learning more about painting with darker skin tones.

- Ellen Gipson

I think this class does a great job of breaking down how to mix skin-tones with watercolor and how to color skin-tones in general. Before this class, I had no idea how to color skin, despite looking up several sources before this, but now it is starting to make sense to me :) It is not overly complicated at all and I think this class gives you a great tool-set to experiment and play with coloring your own skin-tones in your drawings :)

- Mikayla K.


Your Instructor


Melissa Lee
Melissa Lee

Hi! My name's Melissa Lee, and I'm a designer and online art teacher living in the forests of Northern California. I majored in Studio Art in college, but graduated with a continued thirst for learning and improving my artistic skills, but couldn't justify the high price of further brick-and-mortar education. Instead, I discovered myriads of more affordable avenues of art education online, which eventually inspired me to start teaching myself, and I haven't looked back.

I'm currently in the process of becoming a full-time freelancer and art licenser, but in the meantime, I'm cultivating my love of sharing what I know, and encouraging others to nourish their creative side. I love patterns and character art and watercolor paintings. And also bees. Always bees.


Class Curriculum


  Practice Exercises
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  Applying the Practice
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Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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