About this Site

Purpose of this Blog is to become a tool and a place where artist that collect and paint flat figures can find interesting links and news about flats, painting techniques, history and various related articles.English speaking related sites are very few but hopefully this blog will provide the collector and the painter with interesting and valuable information about the Art of the Flat Figure and everything related to it.
During the next days I will post any related info I have collected for a long time about various aspects of Flats. Techniques, photos, links, historic articles, anything that is related. Wherever possible I will including the author of the original article. I apologise if sometimes the author's name is not included. It's not intentional but it is lost through time.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Ethnic Skintones

Ethnic Skintones by Chrispy

Okay, before I even begin with any info on this delicate article, let me say a few things:
I have no intention to seem racially insensitive, so I’ve lightened up on any kind of humorous remark.
If I unintentionally offend someone, please excuse my ignorance and let me change the offending remark.
We are all one people of this earth, let’s try to get along!!


Okay, so here’s how this is going to work, I can’t make a mini for every ethnicity I cover here (mostly because there are none.. let’s get some more ethnic minis manufacturers!!). So, what I’ve done is scour the web for pictures of a typical person of that particular ethnicity. I’ve given a picture of a man and a woman, because in pretty much every culture, women are lighter skinned than men are. Below the pictures, I’ve made some color swatches. I’ll try and convert them to Vallejo mixes (sorry, GW people can’t come up with these with only around 6 flesh colors!!), but you can also just compare and contrast. Also, I’ve tried to give enough swatches so that you can select three consecutive swatches to choose your own range, because variations in skin color can be seen even in families.
Now, you may wonder why different people’s skin is different colors. Well, there are only certain factors that control skin color. Everyone’s skin is basically the same, but what colors it is a black pigment called melanin. Again, everyone has melanin in his or her skin (except those who suffer from Albinism) but genetically people are born with more or less. Melanin is released by exposure to the sun and hormones, and it is concentrated in freckles and moles. Obviously, if you were to look at a map of the world with color swatches in certain areas you’d see people in cloudy climates have lighter skin, and people in sunny areas have darker skin. This is because more melanin helps absorb the sun, so it should come as no surprise that people with dark skin have less of a chance of getting skin cancer (or Melanoma, see how it all fits?). Blood also has a factor in skin color, it is the black melanin and red blood that gives us the slightly brown skin color we’re all used to.
As I said before, genetics is also a big factor and it gets really complicated but here’s a little anthropology for you: Back when there wasn’t a lot of people on the earth, people didn’t travel much once they figured out how to farm. Even those who did move a round a lot tended to stick to one area. Tribes usually consisted of several families who lived together, so you get all these areas of people being isolated for the longest time. It stands to reason these groups would all have similar features, so I’ll pop in now and then to give you the historical anthropological reasons on some of these. I’ve tried to go from the darkest to lightest colors, along with area. Right, Let’s get crackin’!!

Here we have two members of one of the most famous African Tribe, the Masaai. As you can see, the picture of the man caught a little glare but the color progression came out looking really cool. You might use this for a more natural Drow, but I am planning a fantasy skin tones article. Africans tend to have dark brown eyes and black hair.

Man: Black Brown #822, Chocolate Brown #872,50/50 Chocolate Brown #872 and US Tan Earth # 874, US Tan Earth # 874, 25/75 Brown Rose #803 and Cork Brown #843, Basic Skintone #815
Woman: Flat Brown #984, Mahogany Brown #846, Orange Brown #981,Cork Brown #843, Brown Sand #876

Australian Aborigines
Native Australians are a mystery. While their skin resembles Africans somewhat, their hair grows more like Indian Farkirs. The sun in Australian has a lot to do with this, but as you can see their skin tends to be more ochre looking. Speaking of Ochre, as part of their religion Aborigines go to places in the desert and grind ochre one rocks, making a type of body paint. Since they don’t wash it off for weeks or even months, you may want to add this to your minis by using earthtones in simple patterns. You can find many examples of their art online, but some symbols are a bit too complicated to go over them all here (a line may mean a stick, snake, or man lying down).

Swatches: Black Red #859, Burnt Cad. Red #814, Cavalry Brown #982, Red Leather #818, Orange Brown #981, Brown Rose #803, Basic Skin Tone #815, Light Skin #928

African American
I put African Americans in a separate category, mostly because their skintone is lighter than African-Africans... This is due to the fact many African Americans and Carribeans share both African and Caucasian ancestry. While I won’t get into a whole social discussion, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and the Narratives by Harriet Jacobs are good material on this subject. Hair and eyes can also be lighter, depending on the person. (PS, I just chose these celebrities because they’re easier to get pics of )

Man: Flat Brown #984, USA Tan-Earth #874, Orange Brown #981, Cork Brown #843, Basic Skintone #815
Woman: Mahogany Brown #846, 75% Red Leather #818/ 25% Mahogany Brown #846, Ochre Brown #856, Dark Sand #847, 80% Iraqi Sand #819/ 20% Ivory #918

Middle Eastern
Arabians and other tribes around the Egypt/Saudi area are right between Africa and Asia, and once again they exhibit characteristics of both. This skintone would also be good for Ancient Egyptians as well as modern ones.

Man: Flat Brown #984, USA Tan-Earth #874, Light Brown #929, 90% Flat Flesh #955/ 10% Orange Brown #981, Sunny Skintone #845
Woman: Hull Red # 985, Mahogany Brown #846, 70% Mahogany Brown #846/ 30% Cork Brown #843, 50/50 Mahogany Brown #846 and Basic Skintone #815

Yeah, as you can see I mean Indians from India, and not Native Americans, they’ll be coming up later. India is one of the southern most regions on the Asian continent, so in stands that they have darker skin than those in northern regions. Also, scientists theorize all culture came from India and then spread to Mesopotamia.

Man: Chocolate Brown #872, Flat Brown #984, Orange Brown # 981, Beige Red #804, Cork Brown #843
Woman: Mahogany Brown #846, English Uniform #921, USA Tan-Earth #874, Beige Red #804, 50/50 Beige Red #804 and Basic Skintone #815

Southeast Asians
The Southeast Asian islands such as Singapore, Skri Lanka, and the Malaysia Thailand peninsulas have long been trading routes to and from India and China and so once again it stands to reason both cultures intermingle. And so, obviously these swatches are somewhat between the Indian and Chinese.

Man: Calvary Brown #982, 75% Red Leather #818/ 25% Mahogany Brown #846, Ochre Brown #856, Tan Yellow #912, Beige #917, 50/50 Dark Sand #847 and Ivory #918
Woman: Flat Brown #984, Cork Brown #843, 50/50 Cork Brown #843 and Basic Skintone #815, Light Flesh #928


Though it’s hard to get one skintone from such a large country with various regions, Chinese skintone is not that much different from some Caucasian skintones in some respects. All Asians are generally known to have straight black hair and dark eyes, supposedly with green eyes occurring rarely. (Once again, it was just easier to get a pic of Chow Yun Fat from Crouching Tiger)

Man: USA Tan-Earth #874, Cork Brown #843, Sunny Skintone #845, 50/50 Beige Red #804 and Basic Skintone#815, 50/50 Beige #917 and Ivory #918
Woman: Flat Brown #984, Us Field Drab #873, English Uniform #921, German Cam. Pale Brown #825, Dark Sand #847

Mongolians live in and around the Gobi Desert Region, and are subject to the extremes of hot and cold. This gives a slightly flushed appearance to the skin, which is almost similar to American Indians. (Note: White Scars should be Mongolian and not Indian... GW knows nothing about about history..)

Man: Red Leather #818, Old Rose #944, Basic Skintone #815, 80% Light Flesh #928/ 20% Brown Rose #803, Light Flesh #928, Ivory #918
Woman: 70% US Tan-Earth #874/ 30% Chocolate Brown #872, US Tan-Earth #874, Beige Red #804, 50/50 Basic Skintone #815 and Beige Red #804, Basic Skintone #815

Since Japan has a more temperate climate from being an island, their skin tends to be lighter than other Asian countries of the same area. Also, women with lighter skin are considered the standard of beauty, hence the advent of the white Geisha makeup in Japanese Culture. (No excuses for the model I chose )

Man: Chocolate Brown #872, USA Tan-Earth #874, Cork Brown # 843, 60% Beige Red #804/ 40% Basic Skintone #815, Basic Skintone#815
Woman: Medium Flesh #860, Iraqi Sand #819, 90% Light Flesh #928/ 10% Brown Rose #803, Light Flesh #928, Ivory #918

Pacific Islanders
The islands are very sunny, and the people usually come from people immigrating from other islands from Southeast Asia. Though I’d like to do one for every island since they’re all different, I do not have the time or patience to do so. And so, the man is Maori from New Zealand and the woman is Polynesian from Hawaii. Maori typically have those face tattoos, as it’s part of their way to remember their ancestry and culture.

Man: Mahogany Brown #846, Red Leather #818, 50/50 Red Leather #818 and Old Rose #944, Old Rose #944, Flat Flesh #955, Beige #917
Woman: Flat Brown #984, 50/50 Red Leather #818 and Beige Red #804, Beige Red #804,Brown Rose #803, Basic Skintone #815

Native Americans
Since to get here, the tribes had to cross over the Alaskan land bridge from Asian, many Natives still bear Asiatic traits close to Mongolians. Skintone will vary from lighter to darker going North to South. It should also be noted they do not usually have facial hair.

Man: Calvary Brown #982, Orange Brown #981, Goldbrown #877, Tan Yellow #912, Basic Skintone #815
Woman: Cam. Orange Ochre #824, USA Tan-Earth #874, Iraqi Sand #819, Basic Skintone #815, Light Flesh #928

Latin Americans
Many Latin American countries consist of a mix of the early Spanish Settlers and the Native Americans. Once more, the southern climate tans the skin a bit.. and once again, I have no comment on my choice of model..

Man: Chocolate Brown #872, Mahogany Brown #846, Orange Brown #981, Brown Rose #803, Beige Red #804
Woman: English Uniform #921, Cam. Orange Ochre #824, Cork Brown #843, Beige Red #804, Basic Skintone #815

Caucasian Ethnicities:
Now, I’ve chosen to divide up certain ethnicities of Europeans into different ethnicities, mainly because Europe’s geography has made all these different pockets of people. For any nondescript Caucasian skintone, I like using Cork Brown and adding Ivory.

The Celtic people of the Emerald Isle are usually inclined to have red hair and green eyes, although this is not true for 100% of the populace, red hair is found more in this group. Red hair is also found in Scotland, not surprisingly close to Ireland. There has been much discussion on CMON how to do red hair and since the gene for it is also linked to having fairer and a bit pinkish skin, I’ve given separate swatches for hair and skin.. As you see, I’ve tried to get a darker redhead and a strawberry blonde so you’ll know the two extremes.. and when searching for redheads, I mostly had women to choose from.... But I’m not complaining.
Since their skin is so fair, redheads seem to have freckles more than other people do. This is because the exposure to sun will screw with the melanin in people if their skin is lighter. If you want to try and mimic this, I suggest watering down a darker shade below and dabbing it on or making a 50/50 mix with the basecoat and applying tiny spots randomly.

Darker Redhead: Burnt Cad. Red # 814, Red Leather #818, Orange Brown #981, Beige Red #804
Skin: Calvary Brown #982, Red Leather #818, Brown Rose #803, Basic Skintone #815, Light Flesh #928
Strawberry Blonde: Flat Brown #984, 60% Orange Brown #981/ 40% Flat Brown #984, 50/50 Orange Brown #981 and Flat Flesh #955, 70% Beige Red #804/ 30% Iraqi Sand #819
Skin: Mahogany Brown #846, 70% Beige Red #804/ 30% Iraqi Sand #819, Basic Skintone #815, 80% Light Flesh #928/ 10% Beige Red #804

Once upon a time there were two brothers, Romulus and Remas... Romulus went on to build an empire that spanned across France, England, Italy, Egypt and Spain.. Remas became cement for masonry..
Anyways, like the story says, the Romans made a big Empire, and in doing so made a lot of regions where Europeans have tanned to mild complexions with dark hair and eyes. I was again stumped in finding some typical so here’s Reno and Bellucci.. and in case you can’t tell, I gave up apologizing long ago..

Man: Chocolate Brown #872, 50/50 US Tan-Earth #874 and Cork Brown #843, Cork Brown #843, Flat Flesh #955, 80% Light Flesh #928/ 20% Beige Red #804
Woman: Chocolate Brown #872, Chocolate Brown #872, Medium Flesh #860, Iraqi Sand #819, Dark Sand #847, Beige #917

Now, there were these crazy, longhaired blonde guys to the north and since “barbaros” meant both hairy and foreign, the Romans called them Barbarians. : ) People from Normandy, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Finland are all descended these barbarian tribes. Since it’s very cold and the sun is non existent (what with Fenris eating it all the time) not much sun needs to be absorbed, so most northern Europeans will have very light complexions and blonde hair.

Man: Flat Brown #984, 60% Mahogany Brown #846/ 40% Cork Brown #846, 50/50 US Tan-Earth #874 and English Uniform #921, Cork Brown #846, Dark Sand #847
Woman: Mahogany Brown #846, US Tan-Earth #874, Beige Red #804, Iraqi Sand #819, 50/50 Basic Skintone #815 and Light Flesh #928

Actually, I have no idea exactly what ethnicity this model is.. I’ve seen it a couple of times, but I’m thinking it may be a problem with lighting or something.. You see, her skin appears slightly greenish. I put her down as Romanian because the other times I’ve seen it was supposedly girls from around that region.. Baffles me a little...

Woman: English Uniform #872, Green Ochre #914, German WWII Beige #821, 90% Tan Yellow #912/ 10% German WWII Beige #821, Flat Flesh #955, Beige #917

Now, it should be stated Albinos are not a separate race, every race can have albinos. I’m not really certain what causes it, but I know it’s genetic and rare. Basically, your skin and hair cannot make Melanin to protect from the sun. People with Albinism, therefore have a tough time with sensitivity to a lot of sunlight. Their hair is usually white or platinum blonde and their skin is only pigmented by their blood, but it should be said that unlike animals human Albinos do not have red eyes. But, they sometimes do have reddish or violet eyes, but normally they have light brown eyes... For more pictures and info Please visit NOAH (Nat’l Orgainzation for Albinism and Hypopigmentation) and Positvie Exposure, a website devoted to Albino Photography Models.

Hair Swatches: 80% Ivory #918/ 20% Tan Yellow #912, German WWII Beige #821, 90% Ivory #918/ Brown Red #803, 50/50 Beige #917 and Ivory #918, Ivory #918
Skin Swatches: 50/50 Cork Brown #846 and Beige Red #804, Beige Red #804, , 70% Beige Red #804/ 30% Iraqi Sand #819 , Brown Rose #803, Basic Skintone #815, 90% Ivory #918/ 10% Deck Tan #986, Ivory #918

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