Create more interesting skin tones with acrylics

Acrylic painted portrait

Being synthetic, acrylic paints can tend towards a somewhat plastic texture and feeling – especially if you attempt to emulate oil paint by applying the pigment thickly. Things can quickly become glue-like and frustrating. I work around this by treating the acrylic as the water-based medium it is, building up many thin layers of subtle colours. It requires patience, but the results can be gorgeous, and you can achieve much more lively and compelling skin tones.

The key to this painting technique is to keep the pigment very thin on the brush – barely there at all. I mix the paint very thinly as well, and often wipe everything from the brush. A wet palette is vital when mixing, but even though this is a wet effect, I call it 'dusting', because the final result can have a soft, powder-like texture.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Dave is an illustrator and graphic designer who has recently created cover and interior artwork for Sweden's Riotminds Games.