|Skin tones airbrushed on a resin figurine using Gaianotes lacquer paints|
In keeping with the subject matter being painted, I sought to recreate a fair East Asian skin tone for the atlier iT HQ12-02 Race Queen. Paints used were Gaianotes lacquer ones that I previously experimented with on plastic spoons. Ranging from shadows to midtones to highlights, they comprised Gaiacolor No.53 Notes Flesh Pink, No.51 Notes Flesh, Ex-05 Ex-Flesh and No.52 Notes Flesh White (see below) mixed with Gaiacolor T-06h thinner at a ratio of one part paint to slightly more than one part thinner. My aim? To slowly build up the skin tone with thin layers of paint.
|Gaianotes flesh colored lacquer paints ranging from shadows (right) to highlights (left)|
In my very first skin tone airbrushing session I had already experienced the limitations of working with just one airbrush. When trying to blend smooth skin tone transitions, there is sometimes a need for constant back-and-forth between two shades of flesh color e.g. shadows and mid-tone. Having only one airbrush makes for a disruptive painting experience. This is because it takes time to properly clean/rinse an airbrush before loading it with a different colored paint in order to prevent color contamination. It's doable but I've begun the process of saving for a second airbrush.
|Frontal view of both the Race Queen's legs|
|Side view (from the left side) of both the Race Queen's legs|
Taking photographs of skin tone can be tricky especially when considering the subtlety of color transitions involved between the shadows, midtones and highlights. If the lighting is too harsh or the ISO settings are set too high, then the skin tone takes on a washed out monotone look. Moreover when you factor in the fact that most electronic displays aren't color accurate i.e. they aren't 100% sRGB or Adobe RGB, then you face the issue of viewers not seeing hues as how they were intended to be by the painter. All things considered, the naked eye remains the best judge of colors.
|Back view of both the Race Queen's legs|
|Side view (from the right side) of both the Race Queen's legs|
Results on the face, arms and hands weren't as satisfactory but it was to be expected. They all have smaller nooks and crannies which will require good old fashioned hand-powered brush strokes to reach. Details like the Race Queen's eyes, lips, cheek blush, teeth, nail, veins, etc. will have to be brought out using paint and/or pastels. Meanwhile on a more macro level, the overall skin tone currently has a semi-glossy to glossy sheen to it. This I may yet flatten with a matte clear coat later.
|Arms and hands of the Race Queen with flesh shadow hues emphasizing contrast on the elbow joints|
|Her hands in particular will require additional work with traditional hand brush methods using paints and maybe pastels|
|Contrast was least pronounced on her face but it won't be a problem seeing a lot more work is to be done|
Silly as this may sound, skin tones are the main reason why I continue to invest so much time in this hobby. Or course, I still find painting other textures such as cloth, hair, metal, wood, etc. rewarding. But none of them feels as satisfying as layering on flesh hues. Because for me, human skin color is the veritable definition of the realism that I try to recreate through art. No matter how well you paint or draw something, it all falls apart if you get the skin tones wrong. Anyway, enough of my platitudes about skin tone. There's a lot still to be done on the skin. But it has been a promising start. Cheers!