Sunday, July 18, 2010

Skin Tone

Here's a little chart that I found on google image search. The words used to describe the range of colors is very generic and sort of blah. How many other ways can we describe skin tone?

Pasty--looks pale and not very healthy

Peaches and Cream--creamy-white skin (and sometimes, but not always, freckles)




light brown

milk chocolate
dark chocolate

There is also:
florid--a florid face is reddish in color
jaundiced--looking sick and slightly yellow
pallid--very pale in a way that does not look natural or good
rosy--pink and healthy looking, perhaps from physical exertion
ruddy--red and looking healthy
sallow--yellowish, not healthy looking
Strawberries and Cream--I've never heard of this one, but think it would be like peaches and cream with pink undertones or light sunburn?

We can't leave out the curse of many teens and tweens the world over--pimpled, zit face

What other descriptors can you think of? Please leave a comment and I'll add them to the post.


  1. Light brown

  2. I can't think of any but this covers pretty much everything...

  3. This is fun!

    Sanguine, pock-marked...I don't know. But I love the site!

  4. Strawberries-and-cream is the way I usually describe the complexion unique to redheads. I would also say some people with albinism might be described with that phrase.

    There's also the olive undertone to Mediterranean skin of any shade, which can look sallow, but is more greenish than that. I've never found another descriptor other than olive/olive-tone. Sometimes this is a skin tone that ends up looking 'porcelain' in certain conditions (quite pale Italians can look exceedingly, almost translucently, porcelain when wearing medium to dark olive green, since they don't tend to have the rosy undertones/cheeks of other Europeans).

    There's also translucence of skin around the eyes in some people, which lends a 'bruised' look to the eyes (see also: allergy shiners), though it can also look like eye-shadow.

    I'd like to recommend Majnouna/Cedarseed's tutorials on illustrating different races. She crowdsourced information, and the free versions are quite informative, though the updated ones in her drawing instruction books have, I'm told, even more information. You can find them on DeviantART.

    One of the other things I use to try and help describe people is looking up other physical traits that occur in that race, along with cultural ideas of beauty at the time in which I'm writing. Again, Majnouna's guides have a lot of information on this. I always try and think about more than colouration when designing a character, because bone structure is a huge factor, as well as things like where fat gathers, how muscle is gained, how deep a filtrum is, the shape of a smile, etc. Those sort of details, I learned from animation, are what really cements a character's look--not just colour.

    I hope I've been able to give something helpful in this ramble. <3

  5. "
    milk chocolate
    dark chocolate"

    Please do not suggest food words as descriptors for dark skin, especially foods that have been heavily involved with the slave trade throughout history.


Comments are off now that there is no new content going up on this site.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.