Since it is the start of a New Year , we’re getting back to basics with a fast, easy drawing tutorial. I promise it will be easier than getting up at 4:45 AM to get to the gym or giving up every single delicious food in the world or finally cleaning out that storage shed out back! Follow along and you can learn to draw hair, which, unless you plan to make a career out of drawing Magic Johnson, Yul Brenner or James Carvelle, might come in handy someday.
If you do not want to just draw a pile of hair you probably ought to have a head to park it on. For a refresher on facial proportions check out this tutorial from 2012. I teach my students to make a basic head shape by starting with a circle and then adding a triangle (ish) shape to the bottom.
We then draw a set of intersecting lines to divide the center so we can make a mostly symmetrical person…which was my same goal when I was making children !
The lower edge of the curve can turn in to the cheekbones and the horizontal line is where we will add eyes. You can refine the jawline shape as well.
People have necks too. You know, to attach their hair holder to their body.
Once you have a head you can begin drawing the big shapes of the hair. Use a hard drawing pencil to sketch in light line that will help define the sections of hair. Be sure you make the hair start a bit off the top of the head and guide your pencil lines in the direction the hair grows. If your person has a part in her hair, that means finding it and working away from it.
The biggest mistake beginning artists make when drawing hair is trying to draw too many lines and represent every single hair. Just look at anyone and you will observe that although our brain knows there are thousands of hairs on there, our eyes do us the favor of reading them as a unit and we see the texture of the hair only in places. That is just one of the services your busy brain performs for you daily, along with remembering that Monday is recycling day and that fire is hot.
Generally hair will be darker near the neck and close to the face because it is in shadow, so use a darker pencil and bolder line to get your darkest values there. You’ll see the light reflecting off the top of sides of hair usually so use fewer lines there. When you are happy and you know it, erase any extra pencil lines. If you overdid the dark and need to add a few highlights then use a small eraser to lighten some areas up…so much less expensive than that head full of foil I sit around with every eight weeks!
All you really need to remember when drawing the texture of the hair is to use the lines suggest the texture, don’t attempt to render every single strand of hair!
So , what if you want to color in the hair? Easy Peasy!! This drawing started off just like the previous one but once I had the pencil drawn in I used a .02 Micron to trace over the lightly drawn pencil lines.
After using Copic Sketch Markers to color the face, I used a light brown to add color to the hair, focusing on any part where it is a medium value or darker. I left any areas that would be lighter uncolored.
Once I laid in the big sections of medium tones, I used a darker brown to add the very deep tones. Remember you are trying to suggest the hair texture with lines, not draw every single hair.
The BEST way to get better at drawing hair is to draw hair. Lots of it. Short, long, curly, straight…just keep practicing and don’t be discouraged if your early attempts look like the home perm you got in seventh grade, or that time you drank too many wine coolers and cut your own bangs, or that terrible “I don’t CARE if he dumped me” revenge haircut from sophomore year of college. Just keep at it and I promise you will get great in no time. After all, your hair looks fabulous now!