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Famous Painting Study #2: Homer’s Sponge Diver

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Step 2: How To Paint A Tanned Skin Tone


It’s time to paint! Bill begins with the diver, so he mixes a base skin tone by diluting Yellow Ochre on his palette. He uses his no. 8 round brush, as it will help get both big brushstrokes and fine details. This light tan color isn’t a traditional skin color, but here it’s used as an underlying tone. Bill applies this to the diver’s body, avoiding only the white highlights and the part under water.

Next, he mixes in Burnt Sienna and Umber for a darker tint in the mid-tones and shadows. With just these 2 tones, a lot of the anatomy is defined, so be bold but careful when doing this. Feel free to paint the sea sponge as well, as it’s also orange in tone. Streak some in the underwater area as well to get the impression of a submerged lower body in clear water. Throughout the whole painting study, remember to adjust your values as necessary.