How to Draw Hair

Step by Step Video

This tutorial will show you how to draw hair that look realistic and shiny. When drawing hair, it is important that you choose a specific modeling style and decide whether it falls into one of this three basic forms of hairs: short hair, long hair or curly hair.

I know that many people just can't be bothered spending enough time on hair drawing, and that's not what I suggest you do. Knowing how to draw realistic hair can be a deciding point whether your portrait or face drawings turn out to be lively or 'dead' (soulless).

Observing human hair, I found that all styling can be broken down into some very fundamental shapes and types. In this lesson you'll how to sketch these original forms.

Draw the Head as Foundation

head base to draw hair As you see, this is just like drawing heads of fabric dolls (the ones people use to try clothes on). Keep it really simple, you only need the central and eyebrow lines, and ear placement. Sketch them very very lightly at this point.

Drawing Hair Outline

drawing hair outline

Now this is where your choice of how to draw hair really starts. As I mentioned, we're going to draw three basic hair styles - the short mens cut, a womens soft long, and curly frizzy hair.

At this stage you can erase the head's outline we did in previous step to minimize distraction. Again, keep your pencil sketch very light to make sure your final illustration is clean.

How to Shade Hair Drawing

When drawing hair, it's just like treating any other objects that have three dimensional quality.

shade hair drawing

I found this technique work very well to draw many things, and not just shiny hair: always start by shading the darkest area first, then move onto mid-tone value areas and lastly are the light parts. Use a very soft pencil (around 2b+, 5b is ideal) and spread its graphite at a very low angle to your paper surface.

Don't worry about any single strands or shaft of hair yet, at this step we are only trying to establish tone and values to give it depth and realistic look. But using pencil strokes that contour (follow the direction of curl) is a good practice you should not skip.

How to Draw Hair Strokes

how to draw hair strokes

Now this is the drawing stage when you start to use smaller strokes to give hair strands impression. Sketch it with harder graphite pencil (2b) and go against direction of hair growth. Remember to follow the curly shapes of your chosen male or female style.

Final Hair Drawings

how to draw hair

Above are my finished examples of how to draw hair. At this final steps you can use some medium hard pencils (HB) to draw single hair strands at some spots to create interest in you drawing. Bear in mind that you don't have to do that all over the place - it will be over worked!

To give brownish shiny quality, you can use either pastel or similar mediums to color over your finished-shaded hair sketch.

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