By Tina Pankuch
Creating the perfect skin tone can be frustrating! You have to pick the right colors, worry about blending, be careful not to get a wax build up…. It’s all very time consuming! Although there are several YouTube videos on how to accomplish this, (and some very talented artists) if you’re like me, sometimes you just want to sit down and color…. now. Inktense can be a quick and fun way to achieve your goal. You will still need a basecoat of pencil to be able to work the Inktense, but trust me… you won’t need hours to do this process!
Card Stock Paper 110lb/92bright (recommended)
Prismacolor Premier Pencil #PC927 Light Peach
Prismacolor Premier Pencil #PC1027 Peacock Blue or Verithin #740 ½ Peacock Blue
Prismacolor Premier Pencil #PC937 Tuscan Red
Prismacolor Premier Pencil #PC938 White
Prismacolor Premier Pencil #PC939 Peach
Derwent Inktense #0700 Fuchsia
Scrap piece of paper for blotting and working Inktense
Color all of the skin area of the picture you’re working on with your Light Peach pencil. Keep it a light, even layer.
Using your Peacock Blue pencil, start creating shadowing around hairline, nose, ears, neck, arms, etc. Don’t go too crazy at first. You can go a little darker around hairline, neck, or anywhere shadowing would be heavy, but use a light touch in places like around eyes, nose, or mouth.
Now using the Tuscan Red pencil, go over all of the Peacock Blue you just colored in. This process does not have to be perfect, and if you’re following along with my pictures right now you’re probably thinking OMG…. this looks HORRIBLE! Unless you have an extremely heavy hand with that pencil, it will be okay.
Grab up your White pencil and go over everything you just did again. This time you’re going to work on blending in that Peacock Blue and Tuscan Red so it’s nice and even. As before, this does not have to be a time consuming process. I basically just go in small circles and blend the blue, red and light peach together. You can pull some of the color into the light peach areas you did not shadow, but you don’t want to take away what you’re trying to achieve by doing too much. If you’re following along with my pictures, you see she looks almost ghostly. Maybe that’s another tutorial for Halloween?
This is the last prep stage before you can use the Inktense. Using the Peach pencil, go in and add back some color to the areas around where you’ve created the shadowing. Your goal is to use the peach to transition the light peach into the darker areas. Make sure not to color in any areas where you want it to look like light is hitting the skin. If you’re following along with my pictures, you can see she looks a little more human. These five steps sound like a lot, but with practice it goes very quick. It takes me 20 minutes tops to complete this process.
Color in the rest of your picture how you like before going any further with the skin tone. Do not color eyes, mouth, tattoos, or do any line work with pens yet. Pens may smear with the water you’ll be using, and if you make any small mistakes they can be covered over after your work dries. Another reason I always finish the rest of my picture before finishing the skin tone is because your skin tone may look darker with no other color on the page, and then you find out after that the color seems faded against all the surrounding work. It’s easier to gauge how dark you want to take the skin tone once the rest of the picture is complete.
Now the fun begins! Take your scrap piece of paper and scribble a nice big section of it with your Fuchsia Inktense pencil. Keeping your water brush as dry as possible (just wet enough to pick up some color) use the Inktense to start painting on the color over the shadowed areas you previously created. If you’re following along with my pictures you can see it starts out looking like a big blob of pink (Step #7), but the trick is to work it outwards, going lighter as you move away from the shadowing (Step #8). Because you’ve taken the time to lay down a nice coat of pencil beforehand, you have a nice waxy area to move the color around. You can dab more color with the water brush where you want the shadowing to be darker, and blot out the water brush to soften and pull color out where you want it lighter. It takes a little bit of practice to get the hang of it, but the more you work with it, the easier it becomes. Make sure to work in small areas until you feel comfortable with it. You can work the Inktense around the pencil base, but if you let it completely dry, it becomes impossible to correct.
Steps Eight and Nine
If you have access to the pictures, picture #8 and #9 show examples of what you’re going for. It also shows how using your Peacock Blue and Tuscan Red give more depth to your shadowing than just using the Fuchsia Inktense alone. There are so many possibilities with this process. Try going darker with your Peacock blue for more of an effect. Try a different color blue, or experiment with entirely different colors for unique effects in your skin tones! One of the greatest things about using this process is how well it shows up in photos, and if you’re lucky enough to have access to a scanner you’ll notice how the skin tone color really pops! (I’ve included both a camera photo and scanned version for example) If you try this tutorial and come up with something different and fun, let me know! I would love to see it!