When it comes to painting portraits, one of the questions that I’m asked most often is “How do you paint skin tones?”. The answer to this often involves not only a verbal explanation, but also a visual demonstration to go along with it. Because of this, a simple email or phone call is not always the best solution and, in some cases, leaves a student even more confused than when they started. Instead, a classroom setting which would provide an artist with both the verbal and visual information that they’re looking for would be the ideal situation. This way, the student has the opportunity to not only see the visuals up close, but can also ask the instructor questions and get help on their own projects along the way. In addition, an art community develops among other students in the class, providing feedback, encouragement and inspiration.


CraftsyLogoIt sounds like a great idea, but not everyone has the time and resources that are needed to make a steady commitment to this way of studying, especially if you have other family and work responsibilities that take priority. This is where Craftsy comes in. Not only can you take the class that you want, but you can take it whenever and wherever you want to on your own schedule. So, whether you’re at home, in the studio, out on location painting from life or traveling on vacation, you can access the class anytime you want to and at your own pace.

Having said all of that, I’m excited to be an instructor in one of Craftsy’s upcoming classes, Paint Better Portraits: Realistic Skin Tones. Not only do I get to share the principles and techniques that have helped me as a commissioned portrait painter over the past 20 years, but I also get to connect with other artists in a unique way like never before. Students will have the opportunity to ask me questions, post their work and get feedback from me and other students in the class.

Since skin tone colors can vary greatly, I’ve included a lesson on Variations in this class. I talk about both the similarities and differences in painting various ethnic groups and some things to look for when adjusting the value relationships and temperature changes for each. So, whether your subject has light or dark skin tones, the principles behind both remain the same. Here’s one of the examples from this lesson:

Brian Neher Craftsy Paint Better Portraits

I’ll be posting more information and images from the class over the next couple of weeks, so be sure to take a look before the class goes live. In the meantime, you can learn more about Craftsy on their website and don’t forget that there are only a couple of more days to enter the giveaway for your chance to win this class for FREE!

Brian Neher Craftsy Paint Better Portraits Realistic Skin Tones