Learn to Draw People - Drawing Hair




Drawing Hair

Hair. Long, beautiful hair.

Draw the hair contour shapes

Short hair contour

Draw shadow shapes on the hair contours

Shade the hair in the direction the hair is going

Try drawing her hair

Now that we've looked at the facial features, let's turn our attention to the top of the head - namely the hair.

I would think that drawing the hair would be the easiest thing for people to draw because you can draw shapes and lines and not really worry about making the shape or line look exactly like your subject. The trick to drawing hair is not drawing each hair, but drawing the shapes that the hair is creating. It doesn't really matter if the hair is dark or light, long or short, you would still draw it in the same way.

First, draw the contour of the hair. If it's long hair, draw several contours of the various shapes that the falling hair is creating. Draw these contours lightly because you'll probably want to erase them before you start filling them in. What drawing the contours of the hair does for you is help define where it's going, you also can get the shape of the hair in rough proportion to the rest of the head. Measure from the hairline to the top of the hair to get how tall the hair will be. Then also take a measurement of the forehead by measuring from the bridge of the nose to the hairline. Get these two measurements correct before you start drawing hair. Of course, if you're drawing some big haired person from the 1980's then you probably won't need to do a lot of measuring because it won't matter how big you make the hair. The hair contour shape for short hair may follow the shape of the head more than long hair would.

Look for shapes that shadows are creating in the hair and draw and shade these shapes. If it's darker hair you're drawing, you may want to lay down a flat gray tone over all the hair (if the highlights aren't too bright) before you start drawing shadows. Don't have your pencil sharp as you draw hair. If your pencil is dull, you'll get fatter, less harsh lines. With a dull pencil you won't be drawing really thin, sharp lines that will make your hair look "stringy". Start with the darker shapes, these are usually closer to the head, then draw the lighter shapes. When you draw these shadow shapes in the hair, draw in the direction the hair is going. For example, if your hair shape starts at the scalp, draw your shadow shape starting at the scalp. With lighter hair the shadow shape probably won't be all one tone, there'll be several tones within the shape. Negative space you leave will become a highlight in the hair.

I can't stress enough to draw in the direction the hair is going. This is what's going to make your hair look like hair. Go with the flow of the hair. If you just draw a bunch of hair shadow shapes without watching out for the flow of the hair, your drawing will look like a bunch of shapes floating around in the contour of hair.

Work your way from close to the face outward as you draw the shapes. In lighter hair, the shapes may get lighter the further out you go.

HINT: To prevent smearing graphite all over your carefully drawn hair, I suggest getting a blank sheet of paper and resting your drawing hand on that as your hand travels across the drawing.

Depending on the hair, drawing it may take longer than drawing the face. You're in no rush, so come back to the drawing if you'd like.

Your Assignment: Draw hair. I would recommend starting with dark hair because it should fewer and larger hair shadows that you would draw. Try drawing this woman's hair. Draw and finish the face and hair, or just sketch in the face and really work the hair. I see four or five big shadow shapes in this hair, do you? Try and draw short hair, and try blonde or white hair.

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