Since we are going to Anime Expo this week I am going to be covering some topics that are really important not just to stampers, but for the manga artists. The most common question
I get asked all the time- What is the best skin color?
The easy answer: E00, Skin White
The hard answer: It depends on what you consider a skin color. If you haven't noticed, people all over the world have different skin colors. E00 is our most popular skin color in America, since this is a generic pale Caucasian skin. The Natural Blending family for E00 would be E0000 + E00 + E02
These examples I'm showing today are from a special color chart I made last year for Anime Expo. At comic shows like this skin tones are VERY important, so it helps to compare and see what feel you want for your artwork. Just a word of caution, these colors look different on your screen than they do in real life. It is nearly impossible to get accurate skin colors on the computer from marker drawings because the skin colors are so subtle.
The first color groups are in pairs, so you can see that a good skin image has a highlight and a shadow.
Rule of thumb: The trick is to pick a base color, usually ending in 0 or 1, like E00. For a subtle shadow, keep the letter and first digit the same, but go about 2 digits higher, like E02. There are lots of "skin" colors, but here are the most common:
The first image shows the sequence E0000 to E04- basic Caucasian skin. See how each combination is just a hair darker than the one before? The pale colors look a little yellow on my screen, but the darker combo, E02 and E04 looks more correct. IRL, I consider these a hair too pink for adult skin, but otherwise, not a bad, all-purpose match for skin colors.
The next group are the E11 thru E15. I personally love the E11 as a shadow (see the 3 color combos at the end of this post), but as you can see, it makes a great base color too. It's a little darker than most Caucasians, and it has a bit more deep red, but as you get into the darker combos it looks authentic for Native Americans.
This next group includes E21, another good, all-purpose skin color. E25 is the next in the group, which is a large color jump (I really want a E23 someday!) E50 thru E53 are a close match for adult, slightly olive-skinned people. Another sequence I didn't show is the E53 + E55, a good, darker Eastern skin color combo. The E93-E95 group is very pink, so I probably would use these as shadows to other colors, not as skin by itself. They would also make good blush colors that are more earthy than R20 or R30.
The last group includes the YR's. The pale YR000 is a great, very light base skin color, but once you get up to YR02 it starts to get orange real quick. R000 also is a great super pale skin color (with the pink tone it almost looks unhealthy, transparent skin colored). Ro2, Flesh, is way too pink to use as a base skin color, though as a shadow, it's not bad. R02 is really close to flesh- not skin, but the flesh underneath.
These aren't bad as a quick representation of basic skin color groups, however, many of these look a little flat. To really punch up the dynamic colors in skin it helps to add a 3rd level if marker. This last bunch of faces show how 3 colors make skin really "Pop"
Look at the first two faces closely. The first color combo is my current favorite. However, by adding an R20 to the second face instead of the E11 it gives it just a hint of healthy pink, instead of deeper earthy shadows.
Look at the E11 + E13 + E15 face and compare it to the E11 + E13 and the E13 + E15 face above. See how using 3 colors makes it more exciting than just 2?
E25 + E27 + E29 is a great, deep African skin combo. Compared to the E13/E15 it has much less red. The olive-skinned E50's are really a lot more dynamic when you make a 3 color sequence by skipping one of the shades (E53). Do you see how using darker shadows makes the light seem brighter? Working with your own colors see what combos you can create.
So a quick rundown of each color:
Light Skin colors (these tend to end in 0 or 1)
E0000 (almost clear)
E50 (good neutral skin color)
Darker skin shadows
Dark African Skin
E25 base, E27 shadows
Dark Native American Skin
E13 + E15 + E17
E51 + E53 + E55
Pale Western Skin
E50 + E51
Light, Pinkish Baby skin
E0000 + E00
E000 + E01
E00 + E02 (note how these three combos get a hair darker each time)
R000 + R01
overlay R20 or R30
Tomorrow I'll show different ways of coloring faces, from smooth to crisp, faded to sharp. Have a great week!