Browns; Coloring People
Using Earth-Tones to Color Human Skin + Hair
Today’s Feature: How to Color People
In this blog, we’ll be combining all that we’ve learned in the past 5 blogs into this final lesson on how to color people! For the sake of time, however, we’ll only be using 9 different face shapes and hairstyles included in the worksheet below. However, if you want a blank template to create your own faces and hair, click here. If you’d like a template with only the faces drawn in so you can add your own hairstyles, click here. Once you’ve printed the template of your desire on a sheet of marker paper, let’s get started!
The first thing we always recommend doing before you start coloring any project is to make your color swatches. A great tool for checking which colors you have, and how good they’d look next to one another, is the Copic Color Swatch Cards. On a blank sheet of marker paper or cardstock, make swatches of the color combinations you think you’d want to use for skin and hair. By planning your color palettes on a separate piece of paper, you won’t have to worry about messing up on the final version!
The next thing you’ll want to do is start coloring each person! In this blog, we’ll be working from our darkest colors to our lightest, and we recommend doing this because the lighter colors can more easily mix with the darker ones after the darker color has been applied. With that being said, we will be alternating from coloring the skin and hair throughout the entire blog – but if you want to color the skin entirely and then go back and color the hair, that is perfectly fine too!
Let’s get started coloring with the skin! Each of the skin-tone combinations above is different from the last, but all of them have begun to be colored with their darkest value first. Use the Super Brush nib to delicately add the darkest color to where the shadows would be, like under the chin, lips, and around the eyes.
*Note: The above example has been colored using a light source coming from the front of each person. This is the most basic way to color, with direct lighting. The reason we mention this is because your shading will change depending on where your light source is coming from.
Next, we’re going to repeat the same thing, but with the hair! Keep in mind that each hair texture above will require darks in different areas – the wavy hair will have it in the crevices of each wave and framing the face, the hair in the buns will be the darkest in the areas closest to the head, and afro hair will typically be darkest closest to the head as well.
Now that the darkest color has been applied to both the skin and hair, we move on to the mid-tone color! Using the Super Brush nib, flick the pigment towards the center of each face and shoulder area, making sure to leave some white space for the final light color.
Rinse and repeat for the hair! Using your mid-tone color, flick the pigment out from the darkest color. For wavy hair, this means both above and below the darkest color. For the braids, the buns, and the afro hair, this means only pushing the mid-tone away from the dark color in one direction, making sure to overlap the darkest color just a little bit to re-activate the dry ink so the two colors can mix better together!
Last but not least, we add our lightest colors, starting with the skin! Fill in the rest of the skin, including the ears if they’re shown. You can continue using the flicking technique here, or you can color in small circles to really scrub in the pigment and get a smooth blend. However, if the skin you’ve colored doesn’t look completely blended, that’s okay! Pause for now as we move on to finish the hair, but we will be going over everything one final time to make the blends as soft and smooth as possible. :)
As we just did with the skin, add your lightest color to the hair as well, filling in any whites of the paper that are left. We’re nearing the finish, but before these people can be complete, we need to add eye and lip colors!
Under each person, we’ve updated the swatches with what was used to color the eyes and the lips. These are simply recommendations, so if you want to use other colors, be our guest! However, the lip colors used here are E04 and RV32, the eye colors are all different, being B32, BV29, G24, BG53, G16, E11, E57, E55, and E49 respectively from top left to bottom right.
*Note: This template is printed at 8.5 x 11 inches, so the spaces for the eyes and lips are really small, so not a whole lot of blending and layering can be done. But do your best! And if you want to make your lips stand out more, use 2 or 3 layers of the color for the bottom lip to make it darker than the top.
The FINAL step is to go back in to repeat your dark, mid-tone, and light colors for both the skin and the hair. This additional layer of every color will make it all a bit darker, but it will also soften any blends that look choppy or unfinished.
In this final layering and detailing step as well, we added N2 under each eyelid (so that the whites of the eyes don’t look so drastic), and used darker colors to emphasize the eyebrows and eyelids (kind of like adding eyeliner or mascara). Feel free to add any other details, perhaps a necklace or a cute nose ring, if you want in this final step!
And with that, we wrap up this blog on how to color faces! Print out the sheet above at home on marker paper or premium cardstock and practice with as many color combinations as you’d like!
Be sure to share your colored version of this template with us on social media using the hashtag #copicwithus and tag us @copic_official_us. We’d love to see your work!
This concludes our blog series on how to color human facial features.
Our next series of blogs will focus on nature elements, starting off with a fan-favorite: how to draw and color flowers! Until next time :)
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