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Custom Skin Tones Color Palette in Illustrator

For this tutorial you will need a Reference image for the desired Skin Tone/s.

1 - In Illustrator, create a “New Document”.

2 - Go to File > Place (Command/Control + P) and bring your reference image/s. Resize them if needed.

3 - Use the “Rectangle Tool” (R) and click on your Canvas to create a 30 px by 30 px square. Let the default “Fill” and “Stroke” colors for now.

4 - With the Square still selected go to Object > Transform > Move (Shift + Command/Control + M) and input a “Horizontal Distance” of 30 px (same as the “Width” of the Square) and click “Copy”.

5 - Go to Object > Transform > Transform Again (Command/Control + D) and repeat 5 times to create several squares. Select all the Squares and duplicate them by holding the “Shift” + “Alt/Option” keys while dragging them down.

6 - With the first Square selected, use the “Eyedropper Tool” (E) to click on the reference image and sample the shade of skin.

7 - To have a better view of your reference image you may need to place the Squares under the pictures. Start with the darker ones, then medium and finally the lighter ones. Make sure you have an overall representation of the various shades present in the image.

8 - Repeat the process with every Reference image. Then, to save the “Palettes” and if you want to fix some of the shades, use “Recolor Artwork”. Select the shade or shades you want to work with and move the sliders until you achieve the desired changes. Once you are done, click on the “New Color Group” (Folder) icon on the Top-Right and name your Palette. Repeat with the others.

9 - To export, head to the “Swatches Panel”, click on the small Menu on the Top-Right and choose “Select Unused” then on the small Trash Can on the bottom to “Delete” them. This will leave only the Skin Tones Palettes.

10 - Back to the “Swatches Panel”, click on the small Menu on the Top-Right and choose “Save Swatch Library as ASE” select a location to save it and click “Save”. If you get a Pop-Up window, click “OK”.

11 - Now, to access your Palettes, head to the “Swatches Panel” and click on the “Swatch Library” icon on the Bottom-Left and choose User Defined > Skintones1 (or the name you gave yours).

by @lornacane

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