Tutorial – Creating wet / oily skin

How to make wet or oily skin appear believable

Playing around with different states of familiar materials, like for example wet skin can be great fun. You can even do this easily with old painting you’ve got laying around, just to add the final realistic touch.

Wet or sweaty skin can be tricky, but let’s focus on creating the illusion of wet skin without actually painting any actual droplets. Think in 3D, and which direction the light source would bounce off the different angles of the characters body.

Start off by adding a new layer on top of your base painting, fill it with 100% black and set the layer blending mode to “Colour Dodge”. Here, we will paint the highlights in the skin. Use a noisy, pixelated brush. This, as noisy brush strokes will give the impression of water or sweat pearls attached to body hair or skin pores. If these highlights are too soft and perfect, it will appear more like plastic instead. So; grainy highlights is the key to realistic wet skin.

You can quite easily paint on wet-highlighted skin on your art works. All it takes is a little practice, some patience, and an eye for details and shape.

By painting the wet-highlights in a separate layer, set to “Colour Dodge” layer blending mode, use a noisy brush to make the highlights appear realistic. Soft brush strokes will create a plastic-like effect.


Published by

Henning Ludvigsen

Norwegian digital artist geek!

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