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Shading & Highlighting w/ Red

Discussion in 'Just starting...' started by Showlen, May 12, 2011.

  1. Showlen Active Member

    This is one I'm struggling with a bit. Using acrylics, I'm trying to find the best way to achieve highlights and shadows using basic red color. Obviously, if white is added that is not the ideal color and pink is the end result. What acrylic colors work best to mix with red for highlights? Flesh colors?

    I've been adding a touch of black for the shadows, which seems ok. Not sure if there's something better to be used to mix for shadows.

    As always, I appreciate all the help and feedback.


  2. billyturnip A Fixture

    Ronnie, for shading red I add a touch of dark green to the base red colour. For highlighting you can experiment with adding flesh like you suggest or yellow to make an orangey highlight.

  3. pmfs A Fixture


    Andrea Red paint set are the solution.
    You can try Sunny skintone for HL and Dark green for shadows like Roger tip.
  4. gothicgeek A Fixture

    Also Burnt umber or Burnt Cadmium red for shadows.

    Oranges and yellows for highlighting



  5. Showlen Active Member

    Thank you for the feedback... much appreciated!

    I have the Andrea flesh paint set, which I like well, and I think I might try the others.

  6. housecarl Moderator

  7. Einion Well-Known Member

    Yes, often people use something like that.

    With some red paints using white only won't result in something truly pink - it depends on the pigment(s) used, not that the paint is red in colour - but where it does occur you can always try adding in a touch of yellow. Same basic method works well for oranges and greens incidentally.

    When painting reds, sometimes people don't highlight much at all but rather use the red itself as the main highlight colour (with perhaps a few lightened touches here and there, just as final highlights).

    If you like how it works then don't worry about whether you 'should', there are no rules about what you can and can't do when it comes to paint mixing.

    For shading you'll often find that the best mixing complement to a red is actually a blue, but greens works well enough. Using greys to lower the intensity of colours is also well worth trying.

    I used to use black a lot, went away from it when I was experimenting with mixing complements, then came back to it. I wouldn't normally use black by itself to mix shadow colours, but it can be the best thing for colours that are already dark; for this reason I'll often now add black in for the darkest mixes on nearly all colours, including yellows (not by adding just black to the midtone colour, adding it to the darkest previous shadow mixture).


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