Drawing Hair

Drawing Hair

Drawing Hair is easy, Just Don’t Draw the Hairs


“Drawing hair is easy, just don’t draw the hairs?” What is that supposed to mean anyway?


There are some preconceived notions that you will need to get out of the way before you begin drawing hair

Stop avoiding drawing it!

It can be intimidating to see all those lustrous locks and just say forget it.

You don’t have to draw each strand of hair.

When drawing hair, trying to draw each strand of hair will not only lead you to pulling your own hair out but also look exactly like you tried to draw every hair. Even extremely detailed pictures will not have every strand of hair drawn. If it is realism you are after then it will not only NOT look realistic it will look cartoonish if every strand of hair is drawn. You want to suggest the form and texture thru tone, not line.


So How Do We Draw Good Looking Hair?



Step 1

Step 2

Step 3



[tab_data id="content1"] [text] drawing-hair-step2 drawing-hair-step3Generalize the Shape


The first thing if drawing from real life or a picture is to draw the basic masses of the hair. Draw large groups or sections of it. Basically you will draw the main "clumps" of hair. Follow the curves of major shapes with your pencil strokes. If the hair is sweeping to the left use sweeping pencil strokes to the left. Go with the flow. You are creating a line drawing of the hair that will later be filled in with tone to give it depth.



Squinting can help you get the main shapes down. It diffuses the detail into large masses and allows you to draw just that. 


When drawing the shapes pay attention to the highlights and darks of the hair. This will form the actual body of the hair.
It is not important that you fill in the darks and lights fully at this point , just make a note of where they are. You can even draw light outlines of them. Any hard lines will be filled in or blended anyway later.



A trick  to draw a large group of shadows is draw some light diagonal lines in the shape of the shadow. It not only helps with remembering where the shadows are so that they can be filled in easier later on but it also gives you some graphite to work with.

The small amount of graphite will help create the lighter tones and then the darker tones can be added as needed. A 2B pencil is perfect for this as the lead is soft and let's you smudge it easily. [/text] [/tab_data]

[tab_data id="content2"] [text] drawing-hair-step3Start Filling in Tones


Remember those diagonal lines that you laid down to remind you of the shadows you needed to draw?


Now you will get your paper towel or what ever you use to smudge and start spreading those lines around. This will give you a good rough idea of the masses of the hair and it gives you the light/medium tones. It's easy to erase to get the lighter tones but it looks a lot smoother if you have the medium tones laid out before hand.



The light and dark tones are what create the texture when drawing hair. They give it that depth and body. They can also be simplified to create cartoon hair as well.


Lay the medium tone down by smudging the diagonal lines first before adding anything else. Then add the darkest darks and work to the light. At this stage start paying attention to the individual strands of hairs that will make the most impact.


The darkest areas will obviously have darker clumps of hair that will not be seen. When drawing hair you'll see that the highlights hold most of the details. If you look in a mirror or at any picture notice that the highlight are the strands of hair that you actually draw.


Since hair is shiny the highlights are what create the strands, but again not every one will be drawn. Still draw groups of hair in the highlights but  refine them a little more. The strands of hair will reveal themselves thru tone if you focus on the lights and darks of the highlights more than drawing straight lines to indicate the strands. This is really a battle of draw what you see not what you "know " hair looks like. [/text] [/tab_data]

[tab_data id="content3"] [text] drawing-hair-step4The Little Details


Drawing hair can seem complicated but the 2 first steps will get you a solid head of hair. The little details are what is going to get you a great head of hair.


Once the major parts of the hair are done, blending the hair can really make it come together. Blending the highlights to the darks can make the entire head of hair become one cohesive piece. You don't want to over blend because then the hair will lose it's form and shape. Lightly blend the highlights into the mid-tones so that they create that nice clean healthy shine.


One extra trick that I use when drawing those straggling hairs is to draw a very light line for them then blend them away. Using an 2H or 2B pencil works great. Lightly smudge the lines perpendicular to the way they were drawn. This will soften it and put it out of focus. You can also use a blending stump to draw them. Just rub the tip in graphite and then lightly draw them in. The line will be soft and defined at the same time.
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That’s It!

That is all there is to drawing hair. Not just average hair really great hair that stands up right off of the paper. You just have to tackle it one clump at a time and as always Keep it Simple!


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