How To Draw Realistic Hair Step By Step For Beginners – The first thing to remember about drawing realistic hair is: don’t get caught up in all those individual strands. As with so many aspects of drawing, less is more, and overworking one area can detract from the rest of the image. Instead, you want to use value and shape to define your subject’s hair. This is how.
Good to know: We used charcoal in this tutorial, but the method can be replicated in any medium.
How To Draw Realistic Hair Step By Step For Beginners
Before you draw the hair, you need to have something to draw it on. Start by lightly sketching the subject’s head without any hair and detailing the facial features. Even if your subject has a lot of hair (maybe some curls?), it’s important to know where the bottom is, because this will determine how the hair falls.
How To Draw Realistic Hair With Techniques For Beginners
It is also useful to indicate the shape of the hairline at this stage and show the position of the ear, even if the hair covers it.
With a light pencil, draw the outline of the shape of the hair. You can also draw lines to indicate the direction of the hair, but be careful not to overdo it, this should be basic.
Pro tip: Hair doesn’t always fall off the top of your head. In the photo above, the woman’s hair at the front of the hairline is pulled back behind the ear and spilled enough to hide the hair between the ear and the top of the forehead. Look at your subject carefully to reproduce how their hair falls.
Using a darker drawing tool, such as a crayon or charcoal, start adding the darker values into the hair. Use the edge of your drawing tool and place the values in blocks.
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Finer and narrower value zones can be established with a charcoal pencil. Keep some light areas, to serve as highlights, and follow the contours of the head.
Pro tip: Not every hair needs to be listed. Some strands will cross other strands and some strands may look different if they stick out or don’t follow the shape of the head. (For example, the cluster of strands behind the woman’s ear.) It’s okay to allow darker lines to cross the highlights, but not show them.* This post contains affiliate links. I receive small commissions on purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you. These commissions help me keep this site running, so I can continue to provide useful and inspiring artistic content. 🙂
What are the main things I need to achieve realistic results when pulling hair? How can I break down the hair drawing into simple steps to follow?
And for those of us who like to draw portraits and animals, it’s important to know how to add texture to hair in a believable way!
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I am very happy to share with you a very useful step-by-step tutorial prepared for us by the very talented Austrian artist and illustrator Sabrina Hassler. Today, he will be explaining his method for adding beautiful (and very realistic) hair to his graffiti portraits!
It only takes a quick look at Sabrina’s website and social media to know that she is the real deal when it comes to realistic drawings.
She loves to draw portraits, animals and botanicals and, like me, has a passion for sharing her knowledge with other creative people who want to improve their skills.
In this tutorial you will learn how to draw hair in 8 simple steps, using the example of long wavy hair.
Drawing Hair For Beginners
Print the original photo once on regular printing paper (preferably greyscale/black and white if you are drawing with a pencil).
In the lighter copy you will be able to see the dark areas in more detail and in the darker copy the highlights will stand out even more. This will help you create a high level of contrast between the lights and darks later, which is important for realism.
To begin, carefully draw the outline of the head, neck and hair on your drawing paper. Use a harder pencil grade (eg H or HB) and make sure you don’t put too much pressure on the paper when creating your sketch.
It is completely normal to make mistakes at first, and often you will need to fix something. That is why your strokes should not be too dark, so that they can be erased easily.
How To Draw Realistic Hair!
If you’re having trouble getting the proportions right, try breaking the subject/reference down into simple shapes (like circles and rectangles). It also helps me draw guidelines, for example along the central axis of the face (from forehead to nose to chin).
In this example you can draw a circle for the head (from the chin to the top of the head) and then draw an identical circle below, to get an idea of where the hair is.
It is time to analyze the separated strands of hair. To do this, make your own additional copies of the reference photo and try to identify abstract shapes along the hair. Draw these abstract shapes with a pencil or drawing tool that you can clearly see in your photo. I used a yellow acrylic pen in the example below.
Once the hair is divided into shapes, transfer those shapes into your drawing, again, without putting too much pressure.
Drawing Tutorial, About How To Draw A Realistic Hair By Ballpoint Pen Only, I Will Leave You A Video Link Of The Drawing Process In The Comments
The next step is very basic shading. I recommend using a softer pencil grade, such as B or 2B, and shading the darkest areas of your drawing where the least amount of light reaches the hair. Mostly, the areas around the neck and parting are very dark. It starts here. Look at your lighter copy of the reference photo and look at the areas where the image is darker.
Then give your hair more volume and three-dimensional shape by adding individual strands of hair to the basic shapes you’ve created. By dividing the strands into shapes (step 2), this process will be much easier for you and you can proceed over one strand at a time.
Make sure your strokes flow in the same direction as the hair naturally grows. Always look at your reference photo for clues. Try to leave the highlights (highlights) free of graphite and focus on the dark tones and midtones.
In the sketch below, you can see how you can make a shadow in a head of hair. Always trace your lines from the ends of this thread, going (see the direction of the arrow) so that your strokes gradually end at the widest area in the middle. In other words, these pencil strokes go towards the highlight on that strand of hair. The hair tends to shine more in the middle of the strand as this part sticks out more and therefore catches more light. So it helps to work from the ends to the middle section and not fill so much graphite on the middle area because this is the lightest part.
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Your focus should be more on the overall shape of the strand rather than individual hairs. The more lines you draw, the darker everything will look. This creates more contrast with the lighter (empty) areas in the middle and will make your booth look three dimensional and bright.
The next step is a recommendation and not a requirement. It mainly depends on the overall look or the result you want to achieve. I think smoothing out the transitions between values (lights, midtones and darks) is a big difference to smooth individual lines. I like to use a paper bending stump for this part of the process, but you can also use a cotton swab. Carefully (and gently) trace over your previous pencil strokes and let the flow of the hair guide you. Do your best not to go through areas of more obvious values/highlights. It often happens that I accidentally smear something or put graphite on areas that I wanted to leave very light. But don’t worry if that happens! We will correct this in the next step.
Next, take your pen/pen eraser (or pointed eraser) and erase the highlights (ie the bright spots that reflect the most light). Most of the time, I accidentally remove these bright spots with my blending stump in the previous step, so I have to remove them by erasing the graphite. Note your darker copy. Here, you will be able to look at the lighter areas even more clearly. A pen-style eraser is perfect for this because it provides a lot of precision and you can even erase individual hairs.
Using a black pencil, darken the darker areas of your drawing again, using the same strokes/direction/general movement you used earlier with your pencil.
How To Draw Hair (realistically!): Step By Step Tutorial
Colored pencils provide a softer/less glossy finish than regular pencils and will help add deeper contrast, giving your drawing a balanced look.
The final step will make your drawing really stand out. If you want your drawing to look natural, you should spend some time adding the final details. This means details like smaller hairs that don’t follow the general flow of the hair like flyaways, stray hairs and every little thing.
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