This includes most of the traditional colors recommended by renowned watercolor portraitist Charles Reid, as well as my own additions. Lighter fleshtones are created with new gamboge (or mix a little hansa yellow and yellow ochre together), cadmium red scarlet, and cerulean. Take this trio a step richer for darker fleshtones: Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, and Cobalt. And for deepest fleshtones, use Raw Sienna, Perylene Maroon, and French Ultramarine.
Tip: Believe it or not, we still mix directly on the paper for portraits, letting the colors run together. You can be very free with the first few washes in a portrait. Take flesh color clear up under the hair. Gradually build up shadow shapes. Remember, you'll get richer, more realistic color if you add combinations of blue, green, and purple to your hair color. Straight brown will always look flat.
Da Vinci 6, 8, 12, Rafael 16 (all Kolinsky sable) -- these hold a lot of water and keep a beautiful point for detail work.