How To Draw Hair

How To Draw Hair

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How To Draw Hair


The art of drawing hair is a skill that can elevate your artwork to new heights. Whether you're a budding artist or a seasoned pro, mastering the intricacies of drawing hair can be a challenging yet rewarding journey. Hair is not just strands of texture; it's a dynamic element that can convey character, emotion, and style. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore various techniques, tips, and tricks to help you draw hair with realism, creativity, and precision.

Understanding the Basics of Hair

Before delving into the techniques of drawing hair, it's essential to understand its fundamental characteristics:

Hair Types

  • Straight: Smooth and sleek, straight hair flows downward in an even manner.
  • Wavy: Wavy hair consists of gentle, flowing curves, creating a more dynamic appearance.
  • Curly: Curly hair is characterized by tight, coiled spirals, with lots of volume and texture.
  • Frizzy: Frizzy hair appears disheveled and chaotic, with plenty of volume and unpredictable strands.

Hair Texture

  • Smooth and silky.
  • Coarse and rough.
  • Shiny or matte.

Hair Length

  • Short.
  • Medium.
  • Long.


  • Ponytails.
  • Braids.
  • Updos.
  • Loose.

With these basics in mind, let's explore various techniques to draw hair effectively.

Observational Skills

To draw hair realistically, it's essential to be a keen observer. Pay attention to how hair behaves in different situations. Observe hair under various lighting conditions, from different angles, and on people with different hair types and styles. Sketching from real-life or photographic references can be a valuable practice for enhancing your observational skills.

Construction Lines

Before diving into the intricate details of hair, start with basic construction lines to define the overall shape and volume of the hair. These lines will serve as your guide throughout the drawing process. Consider the head's shape and the direction in which the hair flows.


Hair is rarely just a single layer; it's composed of multiple layers of strands that overlap. Start by drawing the hair in layers, working from the base to the outermost layer. This method allows you to create a sense of depth and dimension in your drawings.

Shading and Highlights

Shading is crucial to creating the illusion of depth in hair. Pay attention to where the light source is coming from and adjust your shading accordingly. Use a range of values to capture the contrast between light and shadow within the hair. Highlights are essential to make the hair look glossy and realistic. Leave some areas of the hair untouched to represent these highlights.

Hair Direction

Consider the direction of the hair strands. Hair doesn't grow uniformly in one direction but has natural variations. Make sure to convey these directional changes in your drawing. Use subtle, flowing lines to represent the flow of hair.

Fine Details

To make your hair drawing truly realistic, focus on adding fine details. These can include flyaway strands, split ends, and variations in thickness. These small details can give your hair a lifelike quality.

Color and Texture

Choosing the right colors for hair is essential. Different hair types and ethnicities have various shades and textures. Experiment with colored pencils, markers, or digital tools to find the perfect color palette for the hair in your artwork. Consider the texture of the hair as well. Smooth hair will have a different texture than curly or frizzy hair, so adjust your drawing accordingly.

Practice Different Styles

Variety is key when it comes to drawing hair. Practice drawing various hair types, lengths, and styles. Experiment with different characters and settings to hone your skills. The more diverse your practice, the more versatile you'll become as an artist.

Drawing Different Hair Types

Now, let's dive into specific techniques for drawing different hair types and styles:

Straight Hair

  • Start with simple, smooth lines to outline the general flow of the hair.
  • Use long, even strokes to depict the straight strands.
  • Consider adding a slight curve or waviness to avoid making it look too rigid.
  • Utilize soft shading to maintain the smooth and sleek appearance.

Wavy Hair

  • Begin by drawing the hairline and the direction in which the waves flow.
  • Create loose, flowing curves to represent the waves.
  • Add variation in wave size and spacing to mimic natural wavy hair.
  • Use a combination of shading and highlights to create volume and depth.

Curly Hair

  • Start with a loose sketch of the overall shape and direction of the curls.
  • Use tight, spiraling lines to represent the individual curls.
  • Emphasize shadow and highlights to add depth and dimension.
  • Be patient and take your time to create intricate, realistic curls.

Frizzy Hair

  • Begin with a sketch that captures the chaotic, voluminous nature of frizzy hair.
  • Use a combination of jagged lines and curves to represent the unruly strands.
  • Add varying levels of shadow and highlights to create texture.
  • Pay attention to the tangles and overlaps in frizzy hair.

Hairstyle Variations

Drawing different hairstyles can add character and uniqueness to your artwork. Here are some common hairstyles and tips on how to draw them:


  • Start with a rough outline of the head and the ponytail's base.
  • Draw the hair being pulled back and secured with a hairband or tie.
  • Depict the hair strands falling from the ponytail, emphasizing the direction of the pull.
  • Add highlights to the hair gathered in the tie for a polished look.


  • Begin with the hairline and a rough guide for the braid's path.
  • Draw three main strands for a simple braid or more for complex braids.
  • Interlace the strands, creating a pattern that is consistent throughout.
  • Add shading to give the braids depth, and use highlights to make them stand out.


  • Start by drawing the hairline and the base of the updo.
  • Sketch the hair being pulled and twisted into the desired style.
  • Add details like hairpins or accessories if needed.
  • Highlight the hair in areas where it catches the light, and shade the recessed areas.

Loose Hair

  • Begin with construction lines to define the hair's flow and volume.
  • Draw individual strands, paying attention to their direction and thickness.
  • Vary the lengths of strands to create a natural look.
  • Employ shading and highlights to add texture and dimension.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When drawing hair, several common mistakes can hinder the realistic representation of this essential element. Here are some pitfalls to watch out for:

Overly Smooth Strands

  • Avoid making hair look too perfectly smooth, as it can appear unnatural. Introduce subtle variations in thickness and texture.

Unnaturally Sharp Lines

  • Hair rarely has sharp edges. Instead, use flowing lines to depict the strands, ensuring a more natural appearance.

Neglecting the Hairline

  • The hairline is a crucial aspect of hair drawing. Pay attention to how it frames the face and shapes the hairstyle.

Ignoring Lighting

  • Proper lighting is essential for creating realistic hair. Neglecting to account for light and shadow can result in flat, two-dimensional hair.

Failing to Represent Volume

  • To make hair look three-dimensional, it's essential to convey volume. Use shading and highlights effectively.

Overwhelming Details

  • While fine details are important, avoid overwhelming your drawing with too many intricate strands. Balance is key.

Tools and Materials

The tools and materials you choose can significantly impact your hair drawing process. Here are some options to consider:

  • Pencils: Traditional graphite pencils are great for sketching and shading hair. They allow for fine control over line weight and intensity.

  • Colored Pencils: Colored pencils can add vibrancy and depth to your hair drawings. They're especially useful for adding color and texture.

  • Charcoal: Charcoal can create rich, dramatic effects in hair drawings, perfect for capturing deep shadows and contrast.

  • Ink Pens: Ink pens, particularly fine liners, are ideal for creating detailed hair strands and textures.

  • Pastels: Soft pastels can be used to create a more textured, expressive appearance in hair, especially for curly and frizzy styles.

  • Digital Tools: If you're working digitally, use software like Adobe Photoshop or Procreate to achieve precise control over your hair drawing.


Mastering the art of drawing hair is a rewarding endeavor that can elevate your artistic skills to new heights. Remember to observe, practice, and experiment with different techniques, tools, and styles. Whether you're drawing straight, wavy, curly, or frizzy hair, each type offers a unique challenge and an opportunity to showcase your creativity. Through patience, practice, and an understanding of the basics, you can bring your characters and artwork to life with lifelike and captivating hair. So, grab your tools and start drawing, and with time and effort, your hair drawing skills will undoubtedly improve.

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