How to draw hair

Jaysen Batchelor
A free video tutorial from Jaysen Batchelor
Illustrator & Designer
4.5 instructor rating • 13 courses • 613,615 students

Lecture description

In this lecture you are going to learn how to draw hair form and also realistic hair texture. Hair can also be tricky and difficult to draw because of all those lines. In this lecture I will clear up some misconceptions about hair and you will learn a proper technique for drawing realistic hair. Drawing hair is broken up into two parts, drawing the form and drawing the texture. 

Learn more from the full course

The Ultimate Drawing Course - Beginner to Advanced

Learn the #1 most important building block of all art

11:07:03 of on-demand video • Updated January 2019

  • Draw objects out of your head
  • Draw realistic light and shadow
  • Understand the fundamentals of art
  • Draw perspective drawings
  • Draw the human face and figure
English [Auto] All right in this lecture we're going to learn how to draw here. So we're going to do two examples were first to do an example on a male and then an example on a female. Now now the first thing to understand about drawing hair is that you're drawing a form. So just like anything else you're drawing the shape and adding highlights and shadows through it. You're not drawing individual lines that are strands of hair. If you think about it that way it's just going to look like you have lines and sticks sticking off of your character's head. So let's go ahead and get started. We're going to start with our male character. Now I'm looking at some reference right now and I recommend that when you add hair to your characters or your portrait or drawings that you have referenced Also you can go back and compare it and try to understand what's going on with the hair. So the first thing I like to do and I'm drawing my hair is how I like to establish my hairline and the hairline is just the line between the skin and hair. So go ahead and start to sketch that in. So first we get the sideburns right here. And then it that cuts and curves in just a little bit like so and then it comes back up. Same with the other sides of the curves in just a little bit. And then comes back up and then we have a widow's peak on this hairline. So first it comes up like so. And then it comes back down just a little bit like so. So that's her basic hairline for male character. Next we want to go ahead and start adding in the shape of our hair. So the hair up here is basically slipped back into almost a big sort of a bump or poof and it comes off the head quite a bit. That's the thing that people make a lot of mistakes with them they're drawn here. They draw the hair right up to the skull or the shape of the head. And really your hair usually comes off quite a bit maybe not as much but it still comes off quite a bit. Now we're going to go ahead and add and this part over here in scene with this. So now we have the basic shape of our hair. Now we can go ahead and we're adding in some more details so I want to start by raising what my head guideline is and then we're going to go ahead and start adding in the detail of where that hair is so we're not drawn to individual hair strands but we are drawing some lines to indicate in which direction the hair is going. So I'm going to start sketching those in and go ahead and start sketching out an over here. Also and again look at your reference and study it and try to understand where the hair is going and where it's coming from. Sometimes you have pieces that are going off in the opposite direction or it might curve around a little bit. So make sure you add those in that'll make your hair look a lot more realistic. You know over here we have a part and it starts to go in the other direction. Sounds going in that direction rather than going in this direction. Go ahead and add in the sideburn. Go ahead and move on to the other side. So on this side it's actually pretty short looking. And then this hair comes off the head like so and then we can go ahead and start adding in the hair over here so the hair on top is much longer than the hair on the bottom. The shorter the hair the closer it will be to the actual shape of the head. But in this case the hair is really long and so it comes off the head quite a bit. Now we can go ahead and drop it in just a little bit Durkan some of these areas to make our hair stand out. Perfect. Now like I said you have to think of hair as a form and not just individual strings. So we're not going to go into great detail yet on how to add texture to this hair but we will go ahead and add in some shading that will then later be able to add in some texture. So down here we're going to get a lot dirtier of a value because it's on the bottom side of our hair not on the top side. We're going get a highlight right across through this area. And this is coming from my reference. I'm not making this up. I'm looking at my reference and understanding where the highlights are. So I want to go ahead and fill in this area. So some folks here will go ahead and fill this in or here. And now we have some form in our hair. So now we have that form in our hair. Now you'll see later how we use this forum to create realistic hair texture. All right. So now we understand how to make form and shape with our hair. Let's go ahead and move on to the female head. So the female head is going to have longer hair. So let's start off by adding in the part in the hair. So the part in the hair is going happen right about here on that line right there. Now it can go ahead and add in the hair. So the hair line is going to come down and around like so now the hairline on this hair doesn't matter too much because you're not going to see very much of it. But we do want to get the hair line up here in this top area in the side area. Now this hairstyle is actually going to hang over half the face. So let's go ahead and sort of sketch it. So the hair swoops up off of this partly so and then it comes down and it wiggles across the face or it waves across the face I guess you could say. And then we get down here are some more hair. And so now we just want to go out and start blocking all of it. Let's try to get the country in line down first before we move on. But like I said it's all about creating a form and a shape for your hair. It's not about the individual strands. It's about the overall shape that it makes in the flow of the. Sure to keep looking at your reference and using it for the information that you need all the information you need is right there in your reference to just look at it and then draw what you see. The more hair you draw the better you're going to get at drawing hair and you're also going to start building up a visual library of different hairstyles so you can see here her hairs come in off the shape of her head quite a bit. It's going to add in more hair. All right. Now that we have the basic lines and shapes in there let's go ahead and start Darkman this in and adding more detail. Now when you're drawn long hair like this you need to think of it in sections and the sections are most of the time broken up into separate locks of hair. So let's go ahead and get started. So first I'm the sort Durkan in this area and my contouring line. But then when I get to lines like this where the hair is coming in front of another piece of hair we need to make sure that we draw that over the top of the other one so he can go ahead and continue making sure that we're paying attention to which locks of hair are coming over. The other piece of hair so we have one big wad of Harry here. Let me go ahead and start recently with a drawing of my head in my ear. We don't need that any longer. Same with this do you see a little bit of that right there. Similarly that there is. Go ahead and continue to draw. All right. Great. Now let's go ahead and move on to the other side. So this lock of hair comes off like so. Curls over and then swoops down like this then going to come up here and at a little bit more detail so you can see some more of these strands of hair that are swooping around and turning into this sort of bump right there. All right great. Now we can go ahead and start adding in some vowels. So first off right underneath here we're going to get a dark shadow like so and then we're going to go ahead and add in some more dark shadows so between each piece of a lock of hair we're going to add in some shadow on some shadow back here. But we just want to think of each lock of hair like a sheep and a three dimensional form and then we need to sheeted in as it calls for. All right. Perfect. So now we've added some three dimensional form to our hair by adding in some highlights and shadows. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to teach you how to add actual realistic hair texture to your hair drawings now hair texture is very shiny. So it's kind of like a reflective type of texture but it's still very different from doing say a reflective sphere. So let's go ahead and get started. So right you are you can see I have a circle and two rectangles drawn. We're going to use these to practice a drawing our hair texture. So first we're going to start with art. Rectangles are going to start with this one right here. When you're drawing hair you basically want just really quick lines that sort of fat and dark and then get thinner so if you push a little hard with her pencil and then we go like that and slowly let up off of it. You'll see that and becomes more thin and also lighter. So let's go out and do another one and they can be pretty long too. Like so. And what we want to do is we want to add a whole bunch of these to this side. Another thing we can do is we can go ahead and shade this area in and as we get to the middle we want to lighten that up can make it a little bit further down to this end. And this is representing our volumes. So once we have our values in there and we can also add those down here at the bottom. So now that we have her values in there we can go ahead and continue to add these long strands of hair just like so. And so we're not necessarily drawing every individual strand of hair of what we're doing is we're drawing the space in between hairs. That's what these dark lines are the light areas are the actual strands of hair that have some reflection on. And as the hair strands curve around into this darker area they all become darker. But up here in this area these lighter areas those are actually strands of hair. And the closer to the side you get the darker you want it to be. Now it's probably good for now let's go ahead and move on to this bottom. So we're going to go ahead and draw the same type of lines across. So we can have some lines that come all the way across. Great. Now the reason why we're doing this is we're practicing creating hair texture in a very simple form. So now we practice it going vertically. We want to practice doing it horizontally so let's go ahead and practice that down here. So just do the same exact thing. We can go ahead and add in our value right there and go ahead and do the same thing on the side. Now we can go ahead and draw in those strands of hair. So just straight lines are pushed really hard. And then lot of to get that nice thin and light one US. Now let's go ahead and practice doing this. But in a circular motion. Go ahead and bring my paper over so I don't smudge what I've already done. And it's just going to be the same exact way this time. We need to go ahead and make these curved lines so we're going to go ahead and press and then come around like so in this case I'm not going to add in my values. It's not 100 percent important. It's more important that you add in your values to create the form of the shape of your hair. But in this case we don't really have any form here so we're just going to go ahead and start practicing drawing lines like so and we'll go ahead and get it from this side. Try having these lines curved right into each other as best as possible. And you may have to make these ones a little bit shorter see that you leave a white space in the middle and you want that light space because that white space is your highlight on your hair and as you get closer to the edges you're going to really Durkan those and not some short dark fat lines. So you can add a couple of dark ones that go all the way across. All right. Great. So go ahead and practice this all the way around your circle until you really get the hang of it. All right. Great. So now that we've done these exercises we can go ahead and actually apply this to some hair form. So I'm going to go ahead and draw a lock of hair right through my paper. So basically what we're going to draw is we're going to draw a sort of a squiggly type of form. So it's going to come over like this not a squiggle back over like so. And we want to draw this pretty lightly too because this is just the outline of our hair. Perfect. Now I'm going to go ahead and erase away some of this area that I don't want anymore. Send out what we can do is we can go ahead and start adding in our thousands. So basically we're going to have a highlight right here and a highlight right here and a little bit of a highlight down here. So what we want to do is we want to Durkan in all the areas that don't include our highlights so we highlight there so we'll leave that out. Can Durkan this top area like so. And then this shadow was going to come all the way down like this. You can Durcan the tip of our hair. We can go out and Durkan that even just a little bit further. In this area up here to and then we want to go ahead and Durkan this edge of a lock of hair because the light is not really going to be hitting it. All right. Great. So next we want to do is we want to go ahead and start adding in our lines like we did over here. So we're in a store up here and we want to do is we want to follow this curve so we're going to start there push hard and slowly let it come off so. And the quicker you can do it the better because the smoother your lines are going to be if you go really slow and it gets all wiggly and it's just not going to look good. So you want to make sure that you go quick push hard and flick it off but try to go that curve as much as possible. Now I want to go ahead and move on to the bottom part down here. So will do just like we did with this rounded area of a circle. We'll start right there in the middle of where our derk line should be. We want to curve those in and then back up and they're going to do the same thing down here like we did over here on over and come down. So we're just going to continue to do that. We get the lines looking the way we want. And this is bad right there. We want to make sure that that's curvy. I'm going to go ahead and embrace that make sure that the curves back up into this curve right there go ahead insert Durkan in some areas like this and that way we can start to break this up into separate pieces of hair or locks of hair. Will come down here and start doing the same thing. So this line is going to curve into our highlight and then we can also add in some darker lines over here. Great. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going go ahead and switch over to a different pencil. So right now I'm using a 3-D beat pencil but I'm going to switch over to what's called and eat the pencil. If you're not familiar with this this basically just means that this pencil is darker than a three pencil. So what I'm going to do now is I'm going go ahead and and even some Dogar values in here. So I want to go ahead and stir at the top here and I'll go ahead and start adding in some darker lines like so you know I'm down here in this area and we can also add some darker value into these sort of cracks in the hair or crevices where we can come all the way down here. Same thing. And you can also have some hairs that are sort of strain off the lock of the hair that that'll make it look more realistic. UW-Madison coming off in the opposite direction we're here. So all right grinned. So now we have a pretty realistic looking wavy lock of hair. So basically if you take this technique and apply it to any form that you do for the hair such as these forms that we drew for this male and this female Well then you can create some very realistic looking hair. All right that brings us to the end of this election. So in this lecture you learn how to draw form for a male and a female when it comes to drawing their hair. And remember that it's all about the form. And once you get the form down then you can go ahead and actually add in the strains of hair. Which brings us to the second part of this tour trio was how to add in the strands of hair and make it look realistic without drawing a ton of lines that just look like black lines. You want to actually keep that highlight in there. And that's what's going to create that realism isn't in your hair. Your assignment for this lecture is to go ahead and draw this diagram right here with the circle and the two rectangles. In practice doing this hair texture. Once you've done that I want you to go ahead and try drawing a lock of hair. And then once you've done that I want you to go ahead and draw the form for some type of a hairstyle and it can be for a girl or it can be for a guy. But then I want you to apply your hair texture that you learned to their hairstyle and see how real you can get it to look. Make sure you look at reference when you do this and it look much better. Thanks for watching and I really look forward to seeing you in the next lecture.