Online Class

Paint Better Portraits: Realistic Skin Tones

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Mix, blend and paint true-to-life skin tones for more realistic portraits.

Skill Level


What You Get

  • 7 Streaming HD video lessons with anytime, anywhere access
  • Downloadable class resources, including a printable supply list, value scale, color wheels and reference images
  • Hours of close-up instruction
  • Answers from fellow classmates in our virtual classroom
  • Closed captioning available (web only)

How it works

  • Once you purchase, find your class in your class library.
  • Watch on any device anytime.
  • Find downloadable class resources in the class viewer.


Learn how to paint skin tones in oil alongside artist Brian Neher. Start by taking reference photos that complement your subject, and set your palette up for success. Next, build the skills to identify and mix warm and cool skin tones. You'll also mix a variety of grays that will bring depth to your work. Watch your canvas come to life as you block in major shapes and master brush control techniques that will help you apply paint with confidence. Then, enhance the clarity and richness of your work as Brian walks you through blending skin tones, building contrast and finishing your portrait with lifelike details. Plus, explore brushstroke methods that will help you define the age and gender of your subject.

Lesson Breakdown

1. Selecting a Reference Photo
Meet your instructor, portrait artist Brian Neher, and learn how to identify the difference between warm and cool lighting. Next, practice Brian's methods for setting up and shooting a reference photo that captures daylight beautifully and depicts your subject in the most flattering way possible.
2. Mixing Warm & Cool Colors
3. Gray Matters
4. Application to Canvas
5. Blending on Canvas
6. Finishing Your Portrait
7. Variations: Skin Tone, Age & Gender

Recommended with this class

  • Oil paint, brushes, canvas or board

Taught by

Brian Neher
Brian Neher
Brian Neher is an award-winning artist who has captured the likenesses of clients of all ages. His work has been shown at the Portrait Institute in New York City, as well as in American Artist, Portrait and Figure Painting Highlights, Artists on Art and other art publications. Brian founded the international You Be the Judge art contest to help others reach their artistic goals. He also shares his knowledge through the Neher Signature Training Series, as well as on Craftsy.

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