How do you actually mix skin tones? The road to my current range has been a long one – 12 years to be precise. Since I started painting faces until today. That implies that my palette is constantly changing – but it’s relatively solidified now.

How it all started: I somehow mixed up my first faces in terms of color purely intuitively and without much background knowledge. The finished color “skin color” played a large part in this. Otherwise, I’ve tried this and that. I was very astonished when I was pointed out in a painting course that purple and green are essential color components of a face. I hadn’t noticed that myself until then, but then discovered it for myself and worked for a while with various green and purple colored tubes.

The turning point: At some point I was told that the first thing I had to do was delete the color “skin color” from the range. I started mixing my skin color myself and found that the results looked much more natural. This opened up a whole new world for me and I began to deal more technically with mixing colors. I quickly realized that purple and green no longer had to land directly on the canvas from the tube, but only mixed or mixed in.

What is the advantage of mixing over the pure colors from the tube?Why should I mix a purple instead of buying a purple directly? Well, the crucial difference is that the mixed colors also get along much better with each other. If I take a certain shade of purple directly from the tube, it will only stay purple until it is blurred into another color, and then it usually suddenly looks completely different, sometimes even dirty. But if I mix a purple from blue and red and this blue is also part of my mixed brown or gray that I paint, then the transitions when painting become softer and more natural and do not look dirty. The originally mixed purple shade is retained even longer, at first it simply becomes lighter or darker. Also, I don’t always have to completely clean the brush every now and then,

My palette , which I am now presenting, is therefore always only the starting point for a painting session. As soon as the first brushstrokes are made, more and more colors are mixed wildly.

  • Colors straight from the tube come in very small blobs on the left edge – these colors are usually only mixed and rarely applied directly! They can (more rarely) either simply be mixed with titanium white or (more often) in the color mixtures suggested below: cadmium yellow light, cadmium orange, cadmium red light, alizarin madder, ultramarine blue, sap green, ocher yellow, permanent green dark.
  • At the very top, I press a very thick blob of titanium white onto the palette as this is an essential color that I need all the time.
  • Now the first colors are mixed and come to the right edge:
    • Titanium white + cadmium orange + ocher yellow> skin color
    • Cadmium orange + ultramarine blue> medium brown
    • Cadmium red light + ultramarine blue> brown
    • Cadmium red light + ultramarine blue + permanent green dark> dark brown
    • Cadmium red light + 2-3 parts ultramarine blue + permanent green dark> anthracite
    • Alizarin madder + ultramarine blue> violet
  • In the second row from the right I mix each of these color combinations from the very right row with a shot of titanium white in a lighter and more pastel variant.
  • As you can see, cadmium yellow and sap green are not directly mixed. I usually only use them sparingly later and for certain accentuations.
  • The colors ivory black, green umber and sienna brown at the bottom literally only lead a shadowy existence and can be used carefully here and there for shading. But they are often not necessary at all. Except: The ivory black always looks good in the pupils of the eyes.
  • Incidentally, the suggested mixtures are suitable for all skin types!