Review: Paint Better Portraits: Realistic Skin Tones by Brian Neher (Craftsy course)

Brian Neher is the kind of artist whose work reminds me of classic painters of the past. The rendering of the light, the nuances of tones and expressions in his portraits are all captured so flawlessly and beautifully.

He contacted me recently to offer me access to his portrait painting video course in exchange for a review. His work is essentially too good for me to turn down the offer. Note that the video course is on Craftsy, just like many of the Craftsy courses I've featured over the last few weeks.

Paint Better Portraits: Realistic Skin Tones is a portrait painting course that uses oil paint.

The course focuses specifically on mixing colour to create realistic skin tones. It's an advanced course so to get the most out of the course, you should already to know how to paint with oil pigments and have some knowledge on portrait drawing.

Here are all the lessons in the 163-minute course:

  • Selecting a Reference Photo - 21 min
  • Mixing Warm & Cool Colors - 24 min
  • Gray Matters - 18 min
  • Application to Canvas - 36 min
  • Blending on Canvas - 29 min
  • Finishing Your Portrait - 21 min
  • Variations: Skin Tone, Age & Gender - 14 min

The titles for the lessons are self-explanatory.

It's an incredibly insightful course that goes into the theory on how to choose and think about colours when it comes to painting portraits. I would have never guessed the type of colours that are picked to go into the portrait. But somehow, the colour mixing works and the colours that come out are almost perfect. It's amazing. Brian has a knack of explaining the rationale behind each colour used. It's so enlightening.

You can get an idea of what his course is about from this related video below that also talks about colour mixing.

The lesson in the course talks about colour mixing and colours that are specific for portraiture use.

Here's another video that I found on his Youtube page that talks about colour mixing for flesh tones.

The video above is not from the course, but it's quite similar in essence. In the course, it goes on further to actually using the mixed colours to paint a portrait. You'll get to see the progress of the portrait from start to end. And there are explanation for the colours that are picked to represent different planes where the light is hitting or not hitting the face.

Here's the trailer to the course:

Other than colour mixing, the course also covers blending, specifically on the techniques to create those smooth transitions between colours, light and shadow. There are also many tips on how to improve your portraits, the things to look out for, how to deal with skin tones from different ethnic groups.

Another thing I like about the course is Brian has a really amiable and enthusiastic personality. It makes learning from him so much more enjoyable.

Overall, I highly recommend to oil painters who paint portraits.

Enroll for Paint Better Portraits: Realistic Skin Tones on Craftsy, and also check out the paintings by other students there.

Check out other video courses from Craftsy that I've featured at

Disclosure: This course was provided to me by Brian Neher for review purposes. You can support Parka Blogs by using the affiliate links as I get a little commission from each sale. :-)


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