How To Draw Hair

how to draw hairDrawing hair is fairly easy if you go about it the right way, and do the steps in the correct order. It can be a frustrating back-and-forth if you try to create details first.  

For this demonstration, I will use only three items: a sheet of grey paper, a black Conte crayon, and a kneadable eraser.

The three steps to drawing hair are:

1) Get the mass right
2) Pull out highlights
3) Add details

The first demo is of a young man who sweeps his hair straight back, and presumably keeps it there with 'product.' His hair has a bit of volume, without being a 'pompadour.'

  1. Using the Conte crayon, I block out the shape of the hair, pulling the crayon in the direction the hair flows. You can use Conte crayons either on their ends or on their sides.
  2. After establishing the shape, I smudge the pigment with a finger to smooth out the tone and lay a base of color from which I can pull the highlights. If you don't like getting color on your fingertips, you can smudge with a tool called a 'blending stump' or 'stomp,' which is rolled soft paper. I don't care for them for this application because they remove too much pigment from the paper.
  3. Figure 2 shows the smudged drawing and the kneaded eraser I will use to pull up pigment in areas where I want the hair to appear to shine. You can pull the eraser into any shape, and after you have used it to take off pigment, you will have to pull out another corner to get a 'clean spot' to use it again. Pigment grains are incorporated into the gum, but you can use one of these erasers for some time before it gets so clogged with particles that you have to get a new one.
  4. Figure 3 shows the finished demonstration. I have erased highlights into the 'do' and then gone back over with the black Conte to establish details such as shadows and individual strands of hair. You can either stop at this point for a sketch, or iterate this process adding more and more detail until the effect is as polished as you want.

The second demonstration is of a woman's sleek hairstyle. It is slightly asymmetrical and is longer in the sides than in back. I follow the same process as outlined above, first defining the shape of the hair, and then smudging and pulling out highlights. There are several highlights in this hairstyle, because there are several light sources. Figures 4, 5 and 6 show the progression of this drawing.

I recommend that beginners stick to simpler hairstyles such as these while they are learning the process. Fancier hairstyles with curls are accomplished the same way, however it's just more time-consuming. Each highlight and shadow needs to be defined to present the full effect of the more elaborate 'do.'


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