How to draw hair

Jaysen Batchelor
A free video tutorial from Jaysen Batchelor
Illustrator & Designer
4.6 instructor rating • 13 courses • 667,610 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. 

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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 hair. So we're going to do two examples. We're first going 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 a shape and adding highlights and shadows to 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 drawings that you have reference 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 when I'm drawing my hair is I like to establish my hairline and the hairline is just the line between the skin and the hair. So I'm going to go ahead and start to sketch that in. So first we get the sideburns right here and then that goes and curves in just a little bit like so and then it comes back up. Same with the other side. So 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 our basic hairline for our male character. Next, we want to go ahead and start adding in the shape of our hair. So the hair up here is basically slicked 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 when they're drawn here is 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 in this part over here and sing with this side. So now we have the basic shape of our hair. Now we can go ahead and start adding some more detail. So I'm going to start by erasing away. My head guideline. And then we're going to go ahead and start adding in the detail of where that happened, so we're not drawing 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 that in 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. Then over here, we have a part and it starts to go in the other direction, now it's going in that direction rather than going in this direction. Go ahead and add in the sideburn. Let's go ahead and move on to the other side. So on this side, it's actually a pretty short looking. And then this hair comes off the head like so and then we can go ahead and straightening 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'll 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 draw that in just a little bit darker and some of these areas to make our hair stand out. All right, perfect. Now, like I said, you have to think of hair as a form and not just individual strands. 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 darker of a value because it's on the bottom side of our hair, not on this top side. We're going to 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, like, so smooth over here. I'll go ahead and fill the center 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 form 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 to happen right about here on that line right there. Now, we can go ahead and add in that hair line so the hairline 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 hairline 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 start the sketch that it so the hair swoops up off of this part like so. And then it comes down and it wiggles across the face or waves across the face, I guess you could say. And then we get down here, there's some more hair. So now we would just want to go ahead and start blocking all of that. Let's try to get the country 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 shape. Sure, to keep looking at your reference and using it for the information that you need, all the information you need is right there on your reference. So 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 hair is coming off the shape of her head quite a bit. Go ahead and continue to add in more hair. It's. It's. All right, now that we have the basic lines and shapes in there, let's go ahead and start darkening this in and adding more detail. Now, when you draw long hair like this, you need to think of it in sections. And these 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 going to start darkening this area and my contouring line. But I want to 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 that we 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 lock of hair here, I'm going to go ahead and start a race in a way. Under drawing of my head in my ear, because we don't need that any longer scene with this side. Do you see a little bit of the ear right there, so I want to leave that there. 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 I'm going to come up here and add a little bit more detail so we 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 values. 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 and 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 shoot it 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 here, you can see I have a circle and two rectangles drawn. We're going to use these to practice of drawing our hair texture. So first, we're going to start with our rectangles. So we're going to start with this one right here. When you're drawing hair, you basically want just really quick lines that start out fat and dark and then get thinner. So if we push a little hard with our 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 ahead and do another one and they can be pretty long to 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, make it a little bit darker down this end. And this is representing our values. So once we have our values in there, we can also add those down here at the bottom. So now that we have our 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 drawn every individual strand of hair, what we're doing is we're drawing the space in between the hairs. That's what these dark lines or the light areas or 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 onto this bottom. So we're going to go ahead and draw the same type of lines across, so. You can have some lines that come all the way across. All right, great. Now, the reason why we're doing this is we're practicing creating hair texture in a very simple form. So now that 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. Go ahead and do the same thing on the side. Now we can go ahead and draw in the strands of hair so the straight lines that push really hard and then let up to get that nice, thin and light line. Correct. Now, let's go ahead and practice doing this in a circular motion. Going to 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. But 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 our lines like so and we'll go ahead and get it from the side. Try to have these lines curve right into each other as best as possible. And you may have to make these ones a little bit shorter so that you leave a light space in the middle and you want that light space because that light space is your highlight on your hair. As you get closer to these edges, you're going to really darken those in and have some short, dark, fat lines so you can add a couple of dark lines 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 here on my paper. So basically what we're going to draw is we're going to draw sort of a squiggly type of form. So it's going to come over like this little squiggle back over like so and we want to draw this pretty lightly, too, because this is just the outline of our hair. All right, perfect. Now, I want to go ahead and erase away some of this area that I don't want anymore. So now what we can do is we can go ahead and start adding in our values, 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 daqing in all the areas that don't include our highlight's. So we have a highlight there, so we'll leave that out, we can durcan this top area like so and then this shadow is going to come all the way down like this. You can darken the tip of our hair. We can go ahead and darken that even just a little bit further. And we can work in this area up here, too, and then we want to go ahead and darken this edge of our lock of hair because the light's not really going to be hitting it. All right, great. So next, we want to do as we want to go ahead and start adding in our lines like we did over here. So we're going to start up here and all we want to do is want to follow this curve. So we're going to start their 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, so push hard and flick it off, but try to go with that curve as much as possible. Now, I want to go ahead and move on to this bottom part down here, so we'll do just like we did with this rounded area of our circle, and we'll start right there in the middle of where our dirt line should be. 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, only we're going to come down. So we're just going to continue to do that until we get the lines looking the way we want, and this is bad right there. You want to make sure that that's curving in. So I'm going to go ahead and embrace that. Make sure that the Kurds back up into this curve right there. I'll go ahead and start darkening in some areas like this, and that way we can start to break this up into separate pieces of hair or locks of hair. It will come down here and start doing the same thing. So this line, it's going to curve into a highlight and then we can also add in some darker lines over here. All right, great. Now, what I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and switch over to a different pencil. So right now I'm using a three pencil, but I'm going to switch over to what's called an eight pencil. If you're not familiar with this, this basically just means that this pencil is darker than a pencil. So what I'm going to do now is I'm going to go ahead and add even some darker values in here. So I'm going to go ahead and start 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. We can also add some darker value into these sort of cracks in the hair or crevices. When we can come all the way down here, the same thing, and you can also add some hairs that are sort of strain off the lock of the hair, that'll make it look more realistic. That's. You may have some coming off in the opposite direction over here. So, all right, great. So now we have a pretty realistic looking wave lock of hair. So basically, if you take this technique and apply it to any form that you've drawn 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 election, 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 strands of hair. Which brings us to the second part of this trial 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 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 will look much better. Thanks for watching and I really look forward to seeing you in the next lecture.