How To Draw Hair Step By Step
There are many challenges in drawing a portrait, including drawing a nose, ears, lips, eyes, and hair.
Drawing hair is one of the biggest challenges artists face in the beginning.
Hair comes in many different colors, shapes, and styles. Some people you draw will have curly hair, straight hair, or wavy hair.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to draw curly hair that will make your portrait drawings come to life. The same techniques can also be used for wavy and straight hair.
There is also a video at the end of the post that shows the different steps outlined in this post.
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Drawing supplies needed for this lesson:
Draw Outer Contour And Clumps Of Hair
This tutorial shows you the techniques of drawing curly hair and is a good practice to enhance your drawing skills.
Start by defining the outer contour and clumps of hair.
If you are drawing curly hair for a portrait, you will want to map out the hair’s outline contour on the head’s face and sides.
At this point, you are not concerned with each strain of hair, just the clumps of hair. This will allow you to add value to the different clumps of hair instead of drawing a full head of hair at once.
Step 2 Draw In Dark Values
Draw the darker shadows of the hair with a 2H and an HB pencil. Start by adding in the darkest lines that separate the clumps.
Continue to add value to the hair working from dark to light, and follow the curls’ shape.
Identify where the light source is coming from. Depending on where the light source is coming from will determining the lighter sections of the curls.
Do not be concerned with drawing perfect lines. Instead, you want the lines to go in different directions because hairs flow in different directions.
Step 3 Blend The Graphite
Next, blend the graphite with a soft camel-hair paintbrush. You can also use a blending stump to blend the pencil lines.
Blend from dark to light, just like you draw with a pencil.
Follow the shape of the curls when you are blending the graphite.
This step will soften the values so you can continue to add layers and depth.
Step 4 Add More Value
After you have blended the graphite, add more graphite to the dark shadows to define the clumps of hair. Still use an HB pencil for this step, continue to work from dark to light, and pay attention to the curls’ lighter sections.
The darkest areas will outline the hair’s clumps, which will separate the curly hair. The lighter areas will be where the light source is hitting.
Drawing Hair Tip:
When you are drawing curly or wavy hair, you are not drawing the strands of hair. The lines you draw are the shadows the hair creates when light hits the hair.
The different tones you draw will create a realistic illusion of hair.
Step 5 Pull Out Some Highlights
Start to separate the hairs by pulling out some highlights with a kneaded eraser. Do not take too many highlights out at this point. This is just the first step, and you will continue to repeat the steps above to continue to add depth to the hair.
The highlights aren’t strands of hair, they are the hairs that the light is hitting so there will be times when the highlighted area is larger than other times. It all depends on how the light is hitting the area.
The kneaded eraser is a great tool to remove graphite from a drawing surface, however, there will be times when you want a thinner line erased. In those situations, a Tombow Mono Zero Refillable Eraser will work better.
Step 6 Repeat
Continue to repeat the steps above by adding graphite, blending the graphite, and lifting some highlights.
The more times you repeat the steps, the more realistic the hair will look.
Adding graphite, lifting highlights, and blending the graphite will create a wide range of tones that will create the illusion of different hair strands and curls. The more time you spend repeating the steps, the more realistic your curly hair will look.
Watch the video below to see how to add multiple layers of graphite to the curls.
Study your reference before you start to draw curly hair and identify how curly or wavy the hair is and where the light source is coming from.
How To Draw Curly Hair Tips
- Where the hair recedes, the values will be darker.
- Every color of hair will have lighter and darker values.
- Hair and curls that protrude will be lighter.
- Hair closer to the light source will be lighter, and hair that is farther away from the light source will be darker.
- Draw the contour lines with a 2H pencil and start adding value with a 2H pencil.
- Gradually add layers to make darker values.
- Blend the graphite from dark to light in the direction of the curls.
- Remove highlights gradually with a kneaded eraser.
- Repeat the steps until you are satisfied with the way the hair looks.
How To Draw Curly Hair Video
Final Thoughts On How To Draw Curly Hair
Anyone can draw curly hair by following the steps outlined above. It will take some practice to get used to the techniques, but with practice, you will be able to draw realistic wavy hair and curly hair.
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