How To Draw Anime Hair

How To Draw Anime Hair

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How To Draw Anime Hair

Anime, a style of animation that originated in Japan, has gained immense popularity worldwide, captivating audiences with its unique characters and vibrant worlds. A key element that contributes to the distinctiveness of anime characters is their hair. Anime hair comes in a multitude of styles, colors, and textures, reflecting the individuality and personality of each character. Whether you're an aspiring artist or a seasoned illustrator, understanding how to draw anime hair is a fundamental skill to master.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll break down the intricate process of creating anime hair, from understanding the underlying principles to mastering various styles and techniques. So, let's dive into the world of anime hair and unlock the secrets to creating stunning and expressive characters.

Understanding the Basics

Before we embark on the journey of drawing anime hair, it's crucial to comprehend the basic elements that govern its structure and appearance. Here are some fundamental concepts you should keep in mind:

  • Shape of the Head: The first step in drawing anime hair is to sketch the head. The shape and size of the head will determine how the hair sits on it. Pay attention to head proportions and angles as they vary between characters and genders.

  • Hairline: Anime characters can have different hairlines, and understanding these variations is essential. Hairlines can be straight across the forehead, V-shaped, or even irregular. The hairline shapes the overall look of the character's face.

  • Hair Direction: The direction in which hair flows is crucial for conveying motion, personality, and emotion. Be aware of how hair parts and flows, as this can differ significantly between characters. Experiment with various directions to find the best fit for your character.

  • Volume and Thickness: Anime hair can be thick and voluminous, or sleek and thin, depending on the character's design and style. Experiment with different volumes to achieve the desired effect.

  • Layers and Sections: Anime hair is often divided into layers and sections, with each part contributing to the character's overall look. Identify the different sections and their characteristics, as they can vary from character to character.

Drawing Anime Hair: Step by Step

Now that we've covered the basics, let's break down the process of drawing anime hair into a step-by-step guide. We'll begin with a simple, classic style and then explore more complex variations:

Head Shape and Hairline

Start by drawing the head shape. Determine the character's gender, and sketch the hairline accordingly. For a male character, the hairline can be straight across, while a female character may have a more rounded or V-shaped hairline.

Base Shape

Create a rough outline of the hair's base shape. This should be a simple, organic shape that follows the head's contours. The shape can be round, oval, or any other form that suits the character's design.

Hair Parting

Decide where the hair will part. This is a crucial step as it determines the direction in which the hair will flow. You can use a curve or zigzag pattern to indicate the hair parting.

Main Strands

Draw the main strands of hair. These should follow the direction of the hair parting and flow over the head. Keep them relatively simple and uniform in thickness at this stage.

Adding Detail

Now, add detail to the main strands. Create smaller strands that branch off from the main ones. Vary the length and thickness of these strands to give the hair a more natural and dynamic appearance.

Shading and Highlights

To add depth and dimension to the hair, use shading techniques. Darken areas where shadows would naturally fall, such as under overlapping strands or near the roots. Add highlights to areas where light hits the hair, creating a sense of luster.

Classic Anime Hair Styles

Anime hair comes in a wide range of styles, from simple and realistic to wild and fantastical. Here are some classic anime hair styles that you can explore and incorporate into your character designs:

  • Straight and Sleek: This style features long, straight hair that flows down the character's back. It's a common choice for female characters and can vary in length and color.

  • Spiky: Spiky hair is popular in shonen anime and often seen on male characters. The spikes can be sharp or rounded, and the style can convey a sense of energy and intensity.

  • Twin Tails: Twin tails are characterized by two ponytails on the sides of the head. This style is often associated with cute and playful characters, particularly in the "moe" genre.

  • Bob Cut: A bob cut is a short, stylish hairstyle that can be adapted for both male and female characters. It's a versatile choice that conveys a sense of modernity and sophistication.

  • Wavy or Curly: Wavy or curly hair adds a touch of elegance and charm to characters. It's often used for romantic or elegant roles and can be adapted for various hair lengths.

  • Ahoge: The "ahoge" is a single, unruly strand of hair that sticks up from a character's head. It's a fun and quirky addition that can symbolize a character's eccentricity or cluelessness.

Tips for Achieving Realistic Anime Hair

While anime hair is known for its exaggerated and fantastical qualities, achieving a touch of realism can make your characters more relatable and engaging. Here are some tips to add realism to your anime hair:

  • Study Real Hairstyles: Take time to study real hairstyles, as they can provide a solid foundation for your anime character's hair. Understanding how real hair behaves will help you create more convincing styles.

  • Use References: Reference images of anime characters or real people with similar hairstyles can be immensely helpful. These references can guide you in terms of shape, texture, and shading.

  • Observe Hair in Motion: Watch videos or observe people with the same hairstyle to see how their hair moves and behaves in different situations. This will help you capture dynamic hair in your illustrations.

  • Texture and Shine: Pay attention to the texture of hair, especially when it comes to different types of hair, like straight, wavy, or curly. Also, consider how light interacts with hair to achieve a realistic shine.

  • Layering and Overlapping: Realistic hair often involves layering and overlapping strands. This creates a sense of depth and volume in your illustrations.

  • Practice Regularly: Like any art skill, practice is essential for improving your ability to draw anime hair realistically. Regular practice will help you refine your technique and develop your style.

Creating Unique and Expressive Characters

One of the most exciting aspects of drawing anime hair is the opportunity to create unique and expressive characters. Your character's hairstyle can convey their personality, backstory, and even emotions. Here are some tips to help you make your characters stand out:

  • Personality and Style: Consider your character's personality and style when choosing a hairstyle. A spiky, energetic style might suit a hot-headed character, while a more reserved character could have a sleek, straight hairstyle.

  • Cultural Influences: Research different cultural hairstyles to add depth to your characters. Anime often draws inspiration from various cultures, and incorporating this into your designs can make them more interesting and relatable.

  • Accessories and Accents: Accessories like ribbons, headbands, or hairpins can be used to enhance your character's hairstyle and add a unique touch. These details can also convey aspects of the character's personality or story.

  • Hairstyle Changes: Consider how your character's hairstyle might change over time or under specific circumstances. A character's hair can be a powerful storytelling tool.

  • Experiment with Color: Anime allows for a wide range of hair colors, from natural shades to vibrant and otherworldly hues. The color of your character's hair can greatly influence their overall appearance and impact.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

As you embark on your journey to master the art of drawing anime hair, it's essential to be aware of common mistakes and pitfalls that can hinder your progress. Here are some mistakes to watch out for:

  • Overcomplicating: While complex hairstyles are impressive, they can be challenging for beginners. Start with simple styles and gradually work your way up to more intricate designs.

  • Neglecting Proportions: Ensure that the size and shape of the head, as well as the hairline, are proportionate. Neglecting these aspects can lead to unbalanced and unrealistic characters.

  • Inconsistent Direction: Make sure the direction of the hair flows consistently. Hair should naturally follow the head's contours and the chosen hair parting.

  • Ignoring Shading: Shading is crucial for creating depth and realism in anime hair. Neglecting shading can result in a flat and unrealistic appearance.

  • Copying Without Understanding: While it's useful to reference existing characters or styles, copying them without understanding the underlying principles can limit your creativity. Always strive to create your unique designs.


Mastering the art of drawing anime hair is a journey that combines creativity, technique, and a keen eye for detail. It's a skill that requires practice and patience, but the rewards are well worth the effort. With a solid understanding of the basics, an appreciation for different styles, and a commitment to continuous improvement, you can create stunning and expressive anime characters that captivate and inspire audiences.

So, grab your sketchbook, reference materials, and, most importantly, your imagination, and begin your adventure into the captivating world of anime hair. Remember that there are no limits to your creativity, and each character you create is an opportunity to tell a unique and compelling story through their hair and overall design. Happy drawing!

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