The hair is a crucial feature of the human portrait. But it seems that curly hair is even more complicated to draw than straight hair. Not quite. If you want to draw beautiful curls, you can follow the systematic approach we will discuss in this article.
First, we will look at the basic “structure” or the flow of a curl before we turn to draw locks of varying density.
- HB Pencil for the initial drawing
- 2B Pencil
- 4B Pencil
- Kneaded eraser
- Drawing paper
The tutorial on how to draw curly hair
Tip: Try to draw all construction and reference lines thinly so that these lines do not become visible when shading.
Step 1: Understanding the structure of a curl
Let us first sketch the structure of a strand of curly hair. In a sense, curls have a back and forth zigzag pattern like this. The front parts of the strand are apparent, whereas the back parts are covered by the front part.
Step 2: Draw different densities of curls
The distance determines how thick the hair strand will be. If you want to draw tight curls (1), you should keep them close together, but not too close to each other to have enough space for the back parts of the strand.
Next, we will draw wavy hair with more loose curls. For this, we create two other boundary lines. A narrow shape that is curved and wider at the top than at the bottom (2).
There are two things you should keep in mind when drawing loose curls:
- The angles of the curls to each other: The steeper they are, the looser and more open the curls appear.
- The distance between the strands of hair: The hairs overlap and lie on top of each other like waves. Only by layering the hair can an entire hairstyle be created (3).
Step 3: Determine the light source
If you want to draw realistic hair, the light reflection of the individual strands is an essential factor. Decide on a direction from which the light should reach the hair. Then shade all the strands according to the direction of the light.
Always make sure that the areas of a strand that are closer to the light also reflect this light more strongly. The more distant regions are darker, although here too there is a slight difference in values within an area.
If you have difficulties with this, it will help you to first work through our tutorial on drawing straight hair.
Step 4: Increase Contrast
You can probably guess what’s coming next. Once you’ve drawn the first priming areas, use your 2B and 4B pencil to work out the highs and lows of the shading.
It is crucial to take into account the incidence of light, to make curvatures a little darker, and to indicate individual hairs to give the curly hair structure and flow.
And there you go. You learned how to draw curly hair.
Let’s repeat the process on wavy hair with less dense curls.
Step 5: Learn to draw different curls
The procedure for drawing is the same. Only the thickness of the strands and the curvature of the hair differ.
Proceed systematically again:
- Determine the direction of the light source
- Prime the hair according to the light reflection
- Blend the first layer of graphite with a blending stump
- Increase the contrast with the 2B and 4B pencil
- Draw individual protruding hairs to make the curl look more realistic