Wax Bloom

S.G. Chipman's Drawing Blog

Wax Bloom

My Color Palette

February 4th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Jeanette Jobson asked about the color palette I used on Nate & Hannah. I replied in the comments with the palette, but thought I’d make a post about the palette I use for portraits with a bit more detail since the colors are generally the same in all of the portraits I do – what varies are the intensities depending on complexion.

The base color I use for medium Caucasian and Asian complexions.
Used for rosiness in cheeks and as a preliminary layer for shadows.
Salmon Pink
Used as a secondary layer for shadows.
When used on colored paper, preliminary layer color for highlights. On white paper, strictly for burnishing.
Light Peach
Alternate base color for lighter complexions.
Copenhagen Blue
I use this color for very dark shadows, and always in conjunction with Dark Umber.
Blue Slate
Used for light shadows as well as highlights. I use this color a lot.
Warm Gray 10 & 20%
Shadows in eyes, stubble.
Sienna Brown
Used in shadow layers after applications of Peach and Blue Slate.
Terra Cotta
For warming up shadows over Sienna Brown.
Light Umber
For brown hair.
Deco Pink
This color is perfect to blend flesh tones into highlights. Unfortunately, its been discontinued by Prismacolor. I have a half inch stub left that I use sparingly.
Rosy Beige
This is a purplish/grayish color that works well for cool shadows.
Dark Green
For very dark shadows. Often combined with Scarlet Lake.
Pink Rose
Cheeks and transitions into shadow.
Blush Pink
Another heavily used color. Used as the second layer of color over Beige.
Used for transitions between flesh tones and bright highlights.
For hair, as well as the base color for very dark complexions, such as in this one.
Parma Violet
Used for cool shadows on light complexions.
Dark Umber
For shadows, often coupled with Copenhagen Blue.
Grayed Lavender
Cool shadows on light complexions.
Scarlet Lake
For warming up shadows.

Of course, your milage may vary and there may be colors in your subject that aren’t in this list and vice-versa. The main thing to remember – use more than the preconceived colors you believe make up a skin tone. If you’re only using peaches and pinks, you’ll end up with a drawing that feels flat. Play around with subtle additions of color in many layers and you’ll be pleased with this results.

Tags: Colored Pencil · Thinking Out Loud

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kasie@~The Art of Life~ // Feb 5, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Hi! I didn’t realize you had a blog. Thank you so much for adding me to your links. I’ll be glad to do the same. :)

  • 2 S.G. Chipman // Feb 5, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Its brand new – I’ve been tinkering it with for a few months, but only made it live a few weeks ago. :)

  • 3 My Palette for Portraits // Jan 23, 2011 at 12:35 am

    [...] than twice the recommended dosage spread across it. My palette has grown substantially since the last time I posted about it, so I thought it might be useful to update that [...]

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