How to draw hair? In order to create realistic portraits and figures, it is important to know how to draw hair, including different lengths, styles, and textures. You may find this a difficult task if you’re a beginner since it can take longer than any other part of a drawing.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, though. Artist Lee Hammond explains how to draw hair in graphite and colored pencil. These realistic drawing techniques, straight from Lee Hammond’s All-New Big Book of Drawing, will have you drawing hair like a pro in no time. Have fun!
Drawing Hair | Graphite
Various types of styles and textures of hair are shown in a number of segment drawings below. These small studies can provide you with good practice with a variety of methods.
A graphite drawing by Lee Hammond of Selina Quintanilla Perez on smooth Bristol paper.
Here are some tips for drawing hair before we start:
- Every pencil stroke replicates the direction and length of the hair.
- Whether your pencil lines are dark or light determines whether your hair will be dark or light.
- Every time there is a curved area in the hair, a band of light is created. As the hair curls and wraps around the head, you will notice it.
- The highlights will appear on any protruding or rounded area.
- Before lifting the highlights, blend the paper to a gray tone. This makes the highlights appear to be on the surface.
Curls form tubular shapes, similar to cylinders. A highlight can be seen wherever the curls protrude the most.
The pencil lines create the hair’s texture, indicating the direction the hair is growing. Similarly, the highlights are highlighted with a quick stroke. From the depth of the tones, you can tell that this is dark hair.
Frizzy or Permed Hair
Frizzy, permed hair appears in this study. A random pattern of hair direction and overlapping of hair strands makes the curls less distinct.
Because of the frizzier texture of the hair, the pencil strokes are more blended out. It looks lighter than the previous illustration.
In layered hair, like in animals’ fur, feathers, and flower petals, V shapes appear. V shapes indicate where things overlap or recede, and the deep V of darkness gives the illusion of depth.
Band of Light
Here is an example of a band of light – areas where the hair is curved, such as bangs and around the head. The most obvious example is with long, smooth hair.
Drawing Demo | Straight and Curly Hair
Different types of hairstyles and textures are available. The exercises below will give you some practice with some of the most common styles.
There is a different approach for each type. Color and texture vary depending on how the pencil is used and how much pressure is applied.
Materials you’ll need:
- Drawing paper
- Kneaded eraser
- Mechanical graphite pencil
- Stump or tortillion
Lay in the shape.
To begin drawing the hairstyle, lay in the general outline with a pencil.
Apply the Darks
Creating the illusion of length can be achieved by applying dark lines in pencil. Look at the bands of light. They suggest rounded curves.
Blend, Reapply Darks and Lift
After blending, use a stump or tortillon. Apply a firm, quick coat over dark areas. With a kneaded eraser, lift the bands of light.
Lay in the Shape
Start with a sketch of the entire hairstyle. Create the curls by using long, curved pencil strokes.
Build up the Hair Strands
To build strands of hair and dark areas of overlap, use more curved lines.
Blend and Lift
Create a gray tone for the drawing. Remove the bands of light from each curl using a kneaded eraser.
Drawing Demo | Hair in Colored Pencil
The addition of color can make your drawings of people come to life, but it can also complicate the drawing process. A day cannot be spent learning how to draw, especially portraits. A solid understanding of anatomy and a lot of practice is essential to drawing people accurately. You’ll need to spend a lot of time practicing before attempting to draw your loved ones.
Drawing hair correctly is an important part of drawing more realistic people, as mentioned previously. So now that we’ve learned how to draw hair in graphite, let’s learn how to draw hair with colored pencils.
Color can be reflective, as shown in the above full-color portrait. Observe closely and you can see the subtle blue reflections on the skin and hair of the subject. The waves and colors that are reflected in the hair are my favorite aspects of drawing it.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the close-up images of the portrait, which demonstrate how different hair types are drawn. If you view them up close, you can see how crucial the pencil strokes are to creating texture.
Burnishing for Long Waves
Long, curved pencil strokes were used to create the curves and waves of the hair. Many layers were needed. We added the blue and orange tones using a burnished finish.
Band of Light
As you can see, the band of light forms a tubular shape where the hair meets the light. The protruding areas of hair gather light when they follow a curve when they are long. Where the hair bends, you will also see this band in curls.
Drawing Demo | Long and Short Hair
The number of hair styles, textures, and colors is endless, so covering them all would be impossible. However, if you want to excel at portraiture, you should know how to draw as many types as possible.
You can practice with two common types of hair with these quick exercises: long and wavy hair and short and curly hair.