4 steps for how to draw hair in pencil
Drawing realistic male hair
How To Draw Hair Realistic

How To Draw Hair Realistic How To Draw Hair Realistic

It helps to make loose outlines of the skull before you start drawing hair. If you draw hair without the 3 dimensional shape of the human head in mind, it will lack volume and you risk chopping off a part of the skull. Hair hugs the head, but it isn’t plastered to it. For most people with long hair, you can expect at least 2 centimeters of “hair height” on top of their actual height and at least 2 centimeters on the sides as well.

Our character has a somewhat complicated hairdo, but yours can be as simple as you like.

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Using a light pencil, draw your outline of the shape of the hair. You can draw lines to indicate the shape and direction of the hair, but be careful not to get carried away at this point. Note that hair does not always fall down away from the top of the head. In this woman, the hair at the front of the hairline is pulled back behind the ear, and it droops enough that the shape of hairline between the ear and top of the forehead is concealed. This will not always be the case, so observe carefully.

Start with a bald head. Once you’ve done this, our friend will be in need of a snazzy new hairdo.

It contains additional tips, techniques and close ups so you see exactly what I’m doing.

1. Construct the shape of the head and position the ear in the correct place. (4B) Click here to learn how to draw a head/face from the side and where to draw the ear. 2. Draw a loose outline of the hair using strokes that flow in the actual direction the hair is pointing. (4B) 3. Shade the dark areas, keeping in mind this step is for helping you see the big picture. (6B) 4. Add texture by working on one area of the hair at a time. Outlining groups of hair and then adding texture is also a good technique. For thin hair, use ‘v’ shapes to taper most hair ends. Keep in mind that thick hair usually does not taper at the ends. Instead, most hairs will stand on their own. (4B, 6B, 8B)

This drawing could be simpler still.  Even if you only focus on shape and value within the hair, you can still show hair effectively, as the Seurat drawing at the top illustrates.

Drawing short hair is really no different than drawing long hair, except that you will find yourself covering less ground in the same amount of time because the strands are much shorter.

It seems we’ve gotten ourselves in a bit of a hairy situation! We’ve embraced the buzz of Movember and created this tutorial on how to draw hair in detail. (If you possess almighty beard growing capabilities, you need to read this review and it’s never too late to join the movement on the Movember Foundation website.)

And of course let’s not forget good old beards and moustaches!

Are you ready to draw some hair? Let’s implement the steps and techniques above in the 2 mini tutorials below! Pencils I will be using: 4B, 6B, 8B

Another method you can try for practice, is rendering the hair completely in black and white and then overlaying the colour after so that you can easily translate visually without getting mixed up in your colour palette.

Not all hair is the same, which means you will need to alter your technique when you are drawing hair textures. With all the crazy hair types out there you want to be able to accurately portray each unique texture using the right strokes. Hair types generally fall into the three categories: straight hair, wavy hair, and curly. 

Drawing realistic hair can seem daunting because we artists sometimes get caught up in just how many strands of hair we can see, and lose sight of the big picture. The key to drawing great hair is to think about shape and value, and not always the finest details.

UPDATE: I’ve broken the steps down further (7 steps) in video format. It’s a really detailed video tutorial that covers 6 different hairstyles:

1. Practice drawing curls using a cylindrical shape. This will help you achieve realistic curls with plenty of volume.

Hair is made up of thousands of strands layered on top of one another. To save you the pain of drawing each individual strand, understanding shadows, midtones, and highlights will help you achieve realistic texture without all the extra time. I start by filling in the overall mass with a fancy midtone colour of my choice as a base colour. I then go in with a darker shade and add shadows around the sides of the mass following the direction of hair flow. For the final shine factor, add in thin highlights in areas that you want to pop forward.

One tip to to consider when trying to achieve a look with hair that is tightly pulled back or wet is that it will appear flatter. You can draw the hair much closer to the scalp to create this effect. I am going for a slightly volumized look in my drawing, but you can also consider these other options for more straight hair (below).

You can rough out the character’s hairline in a temporary layer. The blue coloured area represents the scalp which determines the edge of the hairline and where all the hair grows from. This is helpful when framing the face with hair and will help you as a guideline in determining where your characters hair is rooted.

Start to fill in the mass with more detailed lines to give the volumes more texture so that they don’t look like solid chunks.

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When creating your first layer of pencil strokes, mix it up with a variety of different line weights. I use a mixture of dull and sharpened pencils as well as mechanical pencils. As you are creating each stroke, remember to press and then lift as you approach the area you want to highlight. Work your strokes inwards so they fade in the middle of the lock.

The steps below can be used for drawing all sorts of hairstyles from short to long and straight to curly hair. So without any further ado, let’s jump right into the lesson! Here are 4 things you need to keep in mind when it comes to drawing realistic hair:

To some of us, drawing hair can be a nightmare. But a change in your approach can help you leave those fears behind. In this tutorial, I will introduce 4 simple steps for drawing realistic looking hair.

Drawing hair isn’t just a bunch of lines in boring repetitive patterns. Use the 4 techniques below to make your drawings more interesting to the eye.

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Tip: You can produce long, continuous and smooth lines using an overhand grip on your pencil  while harnessing the power of your elbow and shoulder instead of your fingers and wrist.

For hair ends, work outwards so your hair tapers nicely without looking too blunt and dull.

Finer and narrower areas of value can be laid down using a charcoal pencil. Some areas need to remain light, as they will serve as your highlights. Also, remember that it’s not necessary to indicate every hair.

This is my longest tutorial to date! I hope it covers everything. If you want to see more tutorials like this one, please let me know. Also, don’t forget to share the love using the share buttons below 🙂 Does the thought of drawing hair make you cringe? Let me know in the comments!

Drawing curly hair is really fun and absolutely great for building confidence when it comes to adding texture.

3. Pay attention to the highlighted areas of the hair and keep it consistent. For this example, the highlight is in the center. As you can see, the hairs closest to the front have more prominent highlights than the back. (6B)

Once you have the lighting down, start drawing boundary lines between groups of hair that appear to be overlapping. Decide where you want the light to fall and then outline those areas using the shadow lining technique. Shade your way around the highlights. If you often find yourself getting lost in the details, this step will help you keep track of the overall lighting so you can be more confident when drawing the individual hairs.

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Using a darker drawing tool such as conte crayon or charcoal, start to lay down the location of the darkest values in the hair. It often helps to use the edge of your too here, and to lay down the values in blocks, rather than think too carefully about the direction of the hair.

Next, draw the overall volume of the hair and then break it up into pieces. Hair sits above the head so the overall mass will extend around the scalp. Big hair don’t care! There is no right or wrong way to draw hair as they come in different volumes and thicknesses. It all depends on how you want your character to look.

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You can add more or less detail depending on the level of realism you are trying to achieve.

The top layer is much larger to show looseness in the bun. It is followed by a layer beneath showing hair that is pulled much tighter on the sides of the head. The bottom chunk is hair that is falling loosely at the bottom that is being pulled down as well by gravity.

The last section is the bun outline showing hair that folds and wraps into itself.

Before we get started we need to figure out what hairstyle we want to draw on our character. The easiest way to start is by locating the hairline and determining how the hair is going to fall over and frame the face.

There are as many hairline types as there are people, but here are a few general examples to get you started on drawing different frames.

Are you struggling when it comes to drawing hair? Drawing hair can be an intimidating task for those who are just learning how to draw. With the overwhelming amount of detail and commitment required, many people lose their patience and resort to a series of sloppy scribbles.

The way you render the strands of hair makes a significant difference on the overall texture you are trying to emulate.

Outlines of various hairstyles you might want to consider to frame your characters face.

Tagged with:Ashley Bachar, figure drawing, hair, how to, how to draw, how to draw hair

I added in thin lines underneath the outer layers to show dimension in the hair in order to show volume and create depth and overlap. I also added thin lines around the outer masses to show that the hair has dimension to it.

As with so many aspects of drawing, less is often more. Overworking any area can detract from the rest of the image, and hair is one of those areas that can easily be overworked. For the ultimate lesson in just how simply hair can be drawn, look at George Seurat’s The Artist’s Mother from 1883.

Pay close attention to how you want the hair to be chunked together and how the hair will fall over the head. These arrows show the direction in which the hair is being pulled into a bun. Think about the direction you want the hair to go in and what parts will overlap each other. Start to define more pieces of hair.

In order to draw hair with flow, you need to be aware of the structure underneath. For long hairstyles in their resting state, the hair flows down, hugs the head and wraps around the shoulders. Somewhat like a liquid. You want to begin by sketching the basic structure of the hair and keep your strokes loose and simple.

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To create this messy bun (above), I drew four sections. In each section the hair is doing something different:

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Add a second layer of strokes. In this stage, I usually opt for a 0.5mm HB–4B for touch-ups and a very dull 6B to fill some white space without making it look too busy.

There are no individual strands and dramatic highlights. Only her subtly drawn part gives any indication of the shape of her hair, while the lightness at the top tells us it’s probably light brown or blonde, rather than very dark.

A head of hair contains many shades, so before you start scribbling away, take some time to determine where the light source is coming from and how it will affect the tonal value of the hair. If you are working off a reference image where the lighting is too soft, posterize the image or turn up the contrast using a free image editing program such as gimp in order to exaggerate the 3 different shades – Making them much easier to identify.

How to Draw Realistic Hair: Quick Tutorial Skip to entry content

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The way you render the strands of hair makes a significant difference on the overall texture you are trying to emulate. If you want to draw short hair, draw short choppy strokes. On the flip side, if you want to draw long hair make longer strokes. It might sound a little straightforward, but believe me it makes a big difference. You can also reduce the pen pressure in order to get thin tapering lines that capture the soft wispiness of individual hair strands.

What do you find most challenging about drawing hair?  How might you try it differently? 2 Comments Leave a Reply

An average human head contains around 150,000 strands of hair. Just the thought of this can be very discouraging. First of all, you don’t need to spend 90% of your time meticulously drawing your subject’s hair. In fact, this step can be done so quickly it might even become your favorite step. The key to adding texture is using confident, steady strokes and maintaining a consistent flow.

Work on one part of the hair at a time, while following the general direction in which the strands flow. In dark areas, don’t be afraid to press hard (I used a 6B to 8B for these areas). To bring out highlights, flatten your kneaded eraser and swipe it in the desired direction. The eraser will become too dirty after the first swipe, so fold it in and flatten after each stroke.

4. Use swift strokes to add texture. Break free from patterns and boring lines by overlapping or adding stray hairs. Be creative and look to reference images or even the mirror for inspiration. (4B, 8B)

Click the following link and hit the download button beside the printer icon to download the PDF: RapidFireArt Tutorials – How to Draw Realistic Hair The Ultimate Tutorial

You can allow some lines to cross the highlights, but not all. For the most part, the highlights will follow the contours of the head. Some strands will cross over others, and may have different highlights if they project out or do not follow the shape of the head, as with the group of strands behind the woman’s ear.

Click here to go to the expanded version of this mini tutorial (more than 2000 words and tons of detailed images)

If you’re having difficulties drawing long hair because your pencil strokes are too short or choppy, try holding your pencil further away from the tip. This will give you more range of motion, producing longer, smoother strokes.

2. Sometimes it helps to make associations. So think of a curl as a ribbon. They have many ringlets which stretch further apart near the bottom. Use curvy lines and avoid any straight lines in order to achieve a more realistic feel and flow. (4B)

Home Learn How to Draw How to draw realistic hair: The ultimate tutorial

4 steps for drawing hair Close look at drawing a small lock of hair How to draw curly hair (Mini tutorial) How to draw short hair (Mini tutorial) Expanded tutorial is now available! With over 2000 words of valuable content + detailed images!

Drawing hair is probably one of my favourite things to sketch because you can be completely creative with it. You can invent a whole spectrum of new characters by changing them up with a radical hairstyle. Drawing hair is also great for practicing your brushstrokes if you are new to digital sketching; not forgetting to mention it feels extremely therapeutic to draw repeated wispy details. With a bit of study and practice you will be drawing luscious locks that look just like the real thing. Here is How to Draw Hair in Detail by Ashley Bachar.

Keep doing this until you achieve desired results. If you want to create a shiny look or replicate harsh lighting, try to keep the highlights fairly clean. You can use an eraser if need be.

Straight hair: Straight hair is the easiest texture to achieve. Simply draw straight lines down or in the direction of hair flow if the hair is tied up. Wavy hair: Similar to straight hair but slightly alter your lines into long “S” shapes to give that natural beachy wave effect.

Curly hair: Drawing curly hair is kind of like drawing wavy hair except the “S” shapes are much shorter and more condensed.

Having difficulty drawing heads? Click here to learn how to draw one from the front and here to draw one from side.

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If you love RapidFireArt tutorials and want to support what I do, check out my Patreon page where you can support RFA and earn cool rewards at the same time!

Pencils by Derwent Mechanical Pencils with 0.5mm HB and 4B Ain lead by Pentel Kneaded Eraser

To begin drawing hair, start with drawing of the face and head. Even if your subject has big hair, it’s important to understand where the head is located underneath. The head determines how the hair falls, whether or not the hair is full-bodied and coarse or thin and limp. It is useful to indicate the shape of the hairline at this phase, and show the location of the ear, even if you know it will partially or completely covered by hair.

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