Brian Neher

Painting Portraits: Skin Tone, Age & Gender

Brian Neher
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Duration:   12  mins

Every human being has a unique visual likeness and character—the ability to capture these particularities is an essential skill for any portrait artist. However, there are common themes of individual distinction and variation that emerge when looking across the range of skin tones and different age groups as well as between male and female portraits. In this lesson, artist and instructor Brian Neher will show you how to observe and apply these variations in your portrait paintings. Brian is working in oil paints for this lesson, but the principals apply to any medium an artist prefers to work with.

First, learn how to depict a wide range of skin tones as Brian explains how to mix paints that create a spectrum of rich, warm, or cool hues for different ethnicities. Brian shows you his step-by-step method for using different pigments to mix for these colors. Next, Brian talks about the typical differences between the face of a younger person and the portrait of an older person and the challenges that accompany these differences. He’ll show you concrete examples as well as specific ways of using your paint and brushstrokes to help define the age and gender of your subject.

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