Mars' Mediocre Skinning Tips for Newbies

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avatar Jessique
Level 42 : Master Pokemon
oh mah lawd, she's finally done it --

Once simply aesthetic that really didn't have much of an impact or influence within the Minecraft community -- I'd argue that 'skinning' wasn't a thing when Minecraft was a MASSIVE deal -- I say this as someone whose been playing for over six years! Now, an actual community where creative souls develop masterpieces and show a completely new art-form.

My journey through skinning roots back to good ol' 2012 - or at least what dates prove - where tutorials weren't a thing, bases weren't popular & the shading you see today was only seen on 'professional websites' and were typically only character skins (i.e. Alice in Wonderland). Now, you see incredible skinners creating unique & beautiful skins; video tutorials, bases of all different types & shading that varies in so many different styles to which are distinct to some master skinners.

Of course with this ramble comes to the actual point of importance here : my journey. My first skins are bundles of cringe (to which you can experience here) and have developed into something that I can stand back and be proud of.
My pride made me refuse to watch actual tutorials as I wanted to develop my skills alone - however advice is something important to foresee growth! While my skins still aren't on the same level as other skinners, I still feel I have gathered enough knowledge to now be confident enough to share my tips and tricks with the public - or more - to those who're interested in joining this amazing community.

I'm going to be going over my ten tips for beginning skinners in hopes to give those who lack it, confidence, in starting up as a skinner.
feel free to share your personal tips that aren't covered here -- this is positive vibes for those who want to learn!

✪ 1 : Observing
Probably one of the most important parts in becoming a skinner is observing other developed skinners. By this, I mean, studying the shading, colour palettes and general techniques of skinners you create a liking towards. Gather inspiration - but if you take a concept of shading or anything along those lines remember to credit the original creator - people put hard work into what they put out there!

✪ 2 : Choose a style
When you observe current skins, you may notice there'll be very different (but effective) styles out there. It all really simmers down to two types : detailed or simplistic. I also feel palettes conjoin into styles (i.e. dimmed, bright, contrasted) but that's something that comes into play later down the track. The simplistic style is probably more ideal if you have little to no practice in general - however of course you can step off with a more detailed style.

✪ 3 : Practice
This is probably the most obvious tip you'll find here, but it needs to be said - practice some simple shading techniques. I personally use the Skindex editor (been procrastinating downloading something that's probably better than the Skindex editor but whatever...) however you can find a large variety of editors, some even for your smartphones as apps and whatnot. Regardless of what you use : practice!! I will insert some examples of very simple shading types. More often than not, I use 4 hues to create a silhouette. We'll get into palettes later though.
Arm/Leg/Torso Shading Ideas

4 : Reference Bases
This kind of goes in hand with observation, but is more 'hands on' - reference bases. There are many, many different types of bases out there - clothing, hair, skin bases and so on. Go ahead and go into editing with a base. You'll see the breakdown of said base, the overlay techniques and so on.

5 : Create a basic template
What do you mean by basic template, Mars? -- Well, also (more commonly) known as 'unshaded skins', a template is a simple starting point for you to shade. Blocks of colour to reference to keep a general idea together. You'll be able to tell if certain colours work, different shapes and whatnot look good without jeapardizing a complete skin you've put a lot of hard work into. Some people always do this, some go off the fly - it's up to you - but as a beginner, I feel this is a great idea to do. You can find unshaded skins all over the place, often with reshade contests (will cover shortly!) if you require a reference!

6 : Create a skin base
I don't see really anyone give this tip - but I feel this GREATLY influenced my growth as a skinner. Skin bases are a useful starting point if you do not wish to create a complete basic template. They can vary in colour tones, shading styles and so on. The reason I feel this are useful, are, once you create one, you can simply change the colours and just reference the pre-existing shading. Make a good skin base you're proud of? Just use the shading to make a complete skin! Of course you'll have to do tweaks, but in general, they're a great reference. If you'd like to see my own skin bases you can check this out.

✪ 7 : Enter contests
A great way to practice your newly found shading abilities is in reshade contests. Rather self explanatory, a user will post an unshaded skin - so peeps far and wide can put their spin on the template and show off their abilities. Don't be intimidated - I haven't witnessed any bitterness or rude comments in reshades from other contestants - we've all been in the same boat. Take it as a learning experience! Who knows, you might even win!

✪ 8 : Practice colour palettes
This. This is intimidating (at least to me). Colour palettes are something that takes a lot of patience and practice. Palettes make a big impact on how a silhouette appears, and the harmony of colours used. My only advice to learn to do it yourself? Muck around with your colour wheel. Don't be afraid to change hues completely, in fact, start with two completely different colours and see if you can blend them together. Just play with it.
One fantastic website that includes premade colour palettes is color-hex. I've gone here before to gather inspiration - very useful for premade palettes.
Another incredibly useful site is meyerweb which features a colour blending tool. Either take hues from the side or add in your own and select how many hues you'd like to be popped out - and there you go! blended colours for your using.

✪ 9 : Be willing to exit your comfort zone
I don't feel there's ever an end to developing in skinning - there's always room for improvement. Try not to box yourself up in a certain style. While it's great to be identified for certain features of your skins, you should always be happy to experiment, at any state in your skinning - whether this be in colour palettes or shading, small or big changes - give anything a try.

✪ 10 : Stay confident & don't force it
Something I have fallen victim to & know many others who've, is losing confidence in your skinning & forcing yourself to come out with skins you aren't always inspired by. Look at how far you've come! Look at the fans you've acquired! Yes, there will be moments where you hate your skins. Be prepared for it, but don't let it stop you. Inspiration is something that comes and goes. Don't be ashamed or upset that you aren't 'feeling' it. Skin when you want to skin and know people will patiently await your return. Remember - practice is the only way for you to develop and grow.


There we have it! My 10 tips for skinning. I hope you can find use of this and dabble into skinning - I'd love to see new members of the community popping up! Thank you for reading! <3


09/17/2018 10:07 am
Level 1 : New Miner
This helps a lot! I am a fairly new to skins and this will help a lot!
09/17/2018 10:39 am
Level 42 : Master Pokemon
awesome! glad to be of assistance!
06/17/2018 10:32 pm
Level 2 : Apprentice Miner
Awww this is such good advice, you're the best!
09/17/2018 10:39 am
Level 42 : Master Pokemon
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