How to Make Tan Paint?

Most art paint sets rarely contain tan color. This is because this color is often only used for creating a portrait. In most paintings such as abstract, nature, etc., tan color has minimal use and its use can be substituted through other colors.

If you are making a human portrait artwork and you come to find that tan color is missing from your paint colors set, this can be a real headache. Now there is obviously an option of purchasing an actual skin tone color or tan color. These can be easily obtained from any arts and crafts shop.

But there is another way too and this way is much cheaper and can be achieved from inside the comfort of your home. If you think of how to make tan paint, then read along and you will learn how you can create your own tan color or skin tone color by merely mixing paints.

One the benefit of doing this will be that this will enable you to create such a custom tan color that perfectly matches the color that you are going for, in your artwork. 

How to Make Tan Paint?

Tan paint can be made by mixing brown and white with a hint of red. To add a tinge to your color related to the character you are drawing, add a little bit of yellow, brown, etc. Mix thoroughly to get rid of patches.

How To Make Tan Paint Out Of Primary Colors?

How to Make Tan PaintA lot of people show interest in being able to make tan color using only primary colors. Although, tan color can also be made through other methods that are comparatively a lot easier, yet most artists want to go back to the basics.

The Science Involved

Different colors, tones, and hues can be created when two or more colors are mixed together. There are some terms used in color science that most artists are familiar with. Such a term is “neutral hues”.

Now we all know that there are three primary colors that are blue, red, and yellow. All other colors except these three are made using different combinations of these three, and the resultant colors are called “secondary colors”.

A ‘neutral hue’ is a color that is achieved by either mixing primary and secondary colors together or by merely mixing primary colors together. Examples of ‘neutral hues’ are gray, black, etc.

To break it down, black color is achieved by mixing together green, orange, and purple. But then again, these three colors that are mentioned, are not even primary colors, to begin with. These are secondary colors.

Green is made by mixing yellow and blue. Orange is made by mixing red with yellow and purple, by mixing red with blue.

Another ‘neutral hue’ is brown. You can make brown by mixing together secondary colors or by mixing only primary colors.

Now there are two major methods if you want to make a tan color using the only primary colors.

How To Make Tan Paint Without Brown Color?

How to Make Tan PaintThis has to be done by making your own brown color at first. This can be done by mixing just the primary colors and then using this newly made brown color to make tan paint.

As told above, brown is a ‘neutral hue’ and can be made by mixing secondary colors.

This method is comparatively longer as one firstly has to make brown color and then has to proceed further. But this method is ideal for those who want to go back to the most basic of basics and want to keep it old-school.

To make brown, one has to mix together blue, red, and yellow. Mix these three primary colors and the result you will have, will be a rich brown color.

Now as your goal is to create tan color, so we’ll proceed further.

Tan color is also a ‘neutral hue’ that falls in the family of colors, somewhere between brown and beige color. This is the reason that if one has known how to make the color brown, they are just one step nearer to making tan color.

Just mix the brown color that you just made, with white color in a controlled consistency, and what you will have is a tan color. But the process has to be really calculated and precise, else you will simply end up with a color that is too unreal for skin tone.

How To Make Tan Paint With Brown And White Color

Follow the following steps in order to know how to precisely mix the brown color with white color:

1)      Add a large amount of white color in your mixing palette. It is very much important to begin with, an extremely light color as it has been mentioned above that only a minute amount of brown is all it takes to alter the whole consistency of the color.

2)      Now you have to rinse off any white paint stuck onto your brush. The best way is to dip your brush in a glass of water and rub the brush with your fingers.

3)      Now you have to dry the paintbrush. You can do it by either using a tissue or a rag. Rag is a better option since it can ensure better dryness. Rags with the towel-like surface are best to be used for these purposes.

4)      Now, dip your brush lightly in brown color and mix it in the white color that is already there on your palette. Observe the darkness of the paint. If it is too light, then repeat the process until you reach a suitable tan color, else stop there.

5)      Now you have to add a little touch of red paint. Most beginner artists refrain from doing so in fear of making the tan too ‘blushy’ but this step is very important for giving the color a life-like feel.

6)      Now here is the important part. It depends on the complexion you have in your mind, for the character or portrait that you are painting. In humans, we all notice that every skin has some sort of tinge in it. Some skins are slightly yellow, red, brownish, or even greenish (depending on health conditions). Just dip your brush only very lightly inside the tinge color and mix it in your already made mixture. Remember, this color has to be very subtle, or else it can devastate the entire tan color that you already made.

7)      Now thoroughly mix up the paint together before using it unless you want to end up miserably with awkward patches of brown or white color that are far from matching real-life complexion.

How To Make Tan Paint Darker?

If you need to make the tan paint darker, then you have to start over by making brown color yourself if you don’t have it. After you have made the brown color by following the steps that have been mentioned at the start of this article (i.e. by mixing blue, red, and yellow).

1)      Mix a little dark blue color to the mixture of brown color that you have just made. The best color that can be used here is ultramarine blue.

2)      Absolutely avoid mixing black color as it doesn’t help in creating a dark but bright brown color and instead results in a muddy tone.


Making tan color in art paints is easily achievable and can be done by mixing primary colors as well as by mixing secondary colors. The key is to follow the instructions carefully and not get too liberal in adding amounts of colors because the consistency of colors does matter a lot in mixing. Now after following the instructions you can say that how to make tan paint is no longer difficult.

Best of luck! 🙂