How to Draw Hair in 4 Steps With Photoshop

Learning how to draw hair is a critical part of creating identity in your characters. Find out some key point of drawing hair as you follow along with these examples of hair drawings showcasing critical ways of figuring out hairstyles.

In the art world, using hairstyles to distinguish individual characters is a common practice to save time when used on characters with the same face. The hairstyles must be fairly easy to draw but unique enough that it works on the character.

Since there are an unlimited ways you can style hair, it would be impossible to show every possible combination. So rather than examples of specific hairstyles, the goal here is to help you critically think about hair and how it flows through common styling elements with the goal of combining multiple forms to create specific hairstyles.

The secret here would be figuring out how hair is parted on the scalp and how it interacts with the rest of the character's bust. This is the first step in understanding how to draw hair effectively.

How to draw hair: parting lines

Based on the head's curvature, drawing hair will require you to start where the scalp meets the forehead as you work from the front to the back. In figure A, hair is parted in the front to create bangs to cover the forehead.

On the other end, figure B shows hair that is completely swept back. The forehead and sideburns are clearly visible while the parting line are clumped in the center as it it being swept back.

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Figure C shows a common parting pattern where hair is parted to one side while figure D shows hair that combines bits from the other examples. Here, the hair contains bangs, but are parted in the center with the rest of the hair swept back.

Through these examples, how will you divide hair on your character and what can you suggest through it? For example, age can be a factor where a young character will have bangs while a mature character will sweep her hair back.

How to draw hair: length and curvature

Length and curvature could play a role in determining masculine or feminine traits in your character. Figure A not only show really short hair, but it outlines the perimeters of where the scalp is. Using little brush strokes, you can create a simple buzz-cut to show a masculine character.

Figure B increases the length of the hair. Here, you are increasing the length of each brush stroke while creating a style based on where the hair is parted. The trick here is to have smaller strands flaring to show length variation and realism.

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Figure C is a more feminine approach with long flowing hair. Longer hair will require you to focus on the curvature of the entire head and making sure the shadows are in the right places to depict volume.

Lastly, Figure D shows hair that is permed or curved. The strands are usually straight near the scalp. However, the hair will start curving after that. The trick is to creating overlapping light and shadows to create the necessary curved clumps.

How to draw hair: complicated styles

Using what you have learned about parting hair, length, and curvature, try designing a complicated hair style. Figure A shows the initial step of creating a gesture or line drawing with the style in mind. Again, focus on where each block of hair parts from the scalp.

Figure B simple just colors in the entire area of the particular hairstyle to create the base necessary to contrast with the individual strands of hair that you will add. You may want to consider adding some 'open spots' to break up the dark patches.

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Figure C is where you will be drawing individual strands. Near the roots, you will decrease the pressure of your strokes while increase it as you draw the strands coming out. This will create direction in your hair strands.

Finally, glaze over the entire hair with a lighter color in Figure D using a sponge brush tip. Finish the drawing by creating random singular strands of hair near the tips. In essence, this exercise builds on the idea of suggestion where there is no need to draw every single strand of hair.

How to draw hair: dynamic movement

The way hair flows in the presence of wind will require you to think about perspective, overlapping hair strands, as well as flaring out the hair towards the appropriate direction. Remember, it takes a lot of critical thinking to guide hair to the right place.

Figure A shows perspective. In addition to flaring out the hair, you have parts of the bangs hanging down the neck as well as hair in the back looking 'shorter' than the rest even though length is a lot longer than that.

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Figure B has the same idea where you have parts of the hair covering the face and the rest of the bust. In these difficult instances, bend the hair curvature to flow around how your character is being positioned.

Figure C shows hair at another angle. Take care in analyzing individual groups of hair near the scalp as it flairs out near the ends. You will have a variety of large clumps followed by individual strands of hair flowing in opposite directions.

Not only that, but you can start looking at hair decorations and how it retains certain types of hairstyles. For example, how will a headband hold the rest of the hair together? How will that effect where the light is reflecting off the hair?

If you want to challenge yourself, there are more complicated hairstyles like braids. How will you overlap and suggest this particular hair style? Regardless, so long as you critically analyze the hair and the particular style you are looking for, drawing hair can be easy.