At the end of the post, I will include a walk through on how I approached a darker black skin tone.
Figures are 28mm and were sculpted by Kev White.
I have included a group shot to show the five figure team together.
To aid in the discussion about skin tones, I have included a close up shot of the females face.
All paints used were from Reaper Miniatures.
I photographed the paints as some people do not use Reaper and may be able to find comparable colours by their favourite manufacturer. From left to right are: Nightshade Purple, Dark Skin Shadow, Dark Skin Base, Dark Skin Highlight, Green Ochre and Twighlight Purple.
Normally I would use Dark Skin Base as my base colour. This time however, I used Dark Skin Shadows as my base and worked into the shadows by adding increasing amounts of the Nightshade Purple until I was using pure Nightshade Purple in the deepest shadows.
I then applied thin glazes of Dark Skin Base and worked up to Dark Skin Highlights to create two mid tones. From there I added increasing amounts of Green Ochre to the Dark Skin Highlight until I reached the highest highlight. For this I used pure Green Ochre. All layers were applied as thin glazes. Although this is time consuming, it does allow for smooth transitions as one works up such a steep gradient.
Finally I added three thin glazes of the Twighlight Purple. That final glazing step unifies the layers and helps to provide depth of colour.
I want to take a moment to discuss the difference between painting Caucasian skin and Black skin. The basic principals are different with a black skin as the gradient from shadow to highlight is very steep.
This can be illustrated by looking at these paint samples. At the top is the darkest and lightest colours for a dark Black skin and the bottom is for a warm Caucasian skin. A fundamental difference between Dark skin and Caucasian skin is where the contrast occurs.
In Caucasian skin all the contrast occurs when going from mid tone to shadow. The transition from mid tone to highlight is subtle and is to be kept very soft. The opposite applies to Dark Skin. In Dark Skin, all the contrast occurs when going from the mid tone to the highlight. The transition from mid tone to shadow is less exaggerated. This is due to the differences in the reflection of light in the respective skin colours.
Those principals can easily be seen when looking at photographs. Notice the depth of shadow in Cillian Murphy's face and subtle transition from mid tone to highlight. However, when looking at Omar Epps, we see the opposite is true. While there is little difference between mid tone and shadow, there is a great deal of contrast between the mid tone and the highlights.
I realise this is quite wordy, but I hope that it is of help to some people when they are painting character figures.