View Full Version : Portrait

12 December 2010, 09:55 PM
I'm working on a portrait I've made up. I've sketched it out and I'm applying colour, but it's looking a bit monochromatic and flat. Has anyone got any advice on colour theory or any idea of how to take it further?

I need to vary the tones and increase the contrast too, I think.

12 December 2010, 11:26 PM
I think what you want is more color in the face - skin is not really one color, it reflects all of the colors, depending on the light. You could start adding very small amounts of cool and warm colors to the skin.

It's not really color theory, as much as it's just basic rendering. Shadows will be cooler, so use blues, purples, highlight areas will be warmer, so use reds, pinks, yellows, with white as a highlight. Try not to use black, ever, use dark cool colors, like deep blues. It has to do with things like how thin skin is, if it has hair follicles (men generally have visible stubble on their chin and cheeks, so you can darken it a bit), if it has a lot of veins and arteries, like the nose and cheek, so you can go more red there, and even nationality, in that Italians, for instance will often have an olive cast, and have dark shadows around the eyes, nose, and mouth. The mouth could be more pinks and reds.

You have a great start, so start playing. Look at high res photos of faces, especially backlit ones, and study where the colors are, and how color is also reflected - if you wear a green sweater, for instance, you'll have greens reflecting from below on the bottom of the jaw and chin. The angles of the face will reflect the color of light as well, so you can play with different colors of light. A typical basic theater lighting scheme for humans is straw yellow on one side, a sky blue on the other - the two colors will contrast against each other, and "pop" the figure more, and will give you tones to color the shadows and highlights.

12 December 2010, 12:11 AM
I'd like to add to Billy's comment by noting that certain areas in the face are generally more red for caucasians due to blood like nose, ears, around the eyes en lips. And areas where bone is closer usually looks cooler overall, like the temples, forehead and such. And indeed, there's usually a lot of colour variations happening within areas and the colour of the light and bounced light also play their part. Looking at reference pictures is always a good idea when not entirely sure of something, like BillyWJ mentioned.

12 December 2010, 07:35 AM
Thanks guys, I'll give that a try.

12 December 2010, 04:53 PM
I've added colour to the light coming from different directions. A bit of yellow from underneath, blue across the right hand side for sky, and more red on the left.

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12 December 2010, 04:53 PM
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