How To Draw Beautiful, Realistic Looking Hair In 3 Simple Steps

Are you struggling to draw realistic-looking hair? If you want to now how to draw hair you will need a good understanding of shading and a lot of patience with the pencil.

This guide is divided into three parts so that you can gradually get closer to an impressive result.

  • First, we will look at the texture of a single strand of hair. How do you draw the light and dark parts to indicate the texture and movement of the strand?
  • In the second part you will learn how to ” deconstruct ” a hairstyle into different sections. This is the only way you can reproduce the flow of the hair as it really looks. For this we will draw a simple hairstyle with a bun.
  • In the third section you will see how to draw wavy hair. To do this you need the technical skills from step 1 and the knowledge of the hair flow from step 2. Combine the two elements and you will soon be able to draw intricate hairstyles.

Step 1: Draw a single strand of hair

When drawing hair, do it systematically. As an example, let us look at a single strand of hair. Apply a first layer to the area with a hard pencil in a uniform grey tone. Keep the area clear which reflects the light and therefore looks brighter.

How to draw hair 1

Next, use a slightly softer pencil like an HB to darken the strokes. Apply less pressure on the pencil in the highlight area to increase the contrast between darker and lighter parts.

How to draw hair 2

Repeat this process with a soft pencil like a 2B or 4B to add the necessary intensity to the drawing. The darker areas of the tip of the hair and the hairline are emphasized, the lighter areas of the strand are marked with little pressure, just to get a smooth transition and to show the texture of the hair.

How to draw hair 3

If necessary, you can also lighten the hair’s highlight area with a kneaded eraser.

Instruction 2: How to draw hair in a bun

Next, we’ll look at how you can draw a proper hairstyle. We want to draw straight hair tied together in a bun. Start your drawing with a rough sketch of the head and the most prominent parts of the hairstyle.

How to draw a bun 1

The hair in this hairstyle can be divided into three sections, each with a similar hair flow. The large part of the back of the head as well as the two smaller areas of the tied hair. Observe the direction of the hair in each of the three areas.

Take a HB pencil and start hatching the different parts. Keep the parts that should be brighter as a result of light reflection uncovered.

How to draw a bun 2

Now blend the individual brush strokes with a blending stump, a cotton swab or a brush to soften them a bit.

How to draw a bun 3

Use a soft pencil to draw darker areas. Typically, the hairline and the places where the hair is tied together are the darkest. When drawing the hairline, note the direction of the individual areas.

How to draw a bun 4

Enhance the contrasts by using an even softer pencil or by increasing the pressure you apply as you move the pencil across the paper.

Now you can highlight the bright reflection areas with a kneaded eraser. Make sure that you use this tool carefully and selectively.

See Also
How to draw a face

Finally, use a very sharp pencil (or mechanical pencil) to suggest individual strands of hair. This gives the hairstyle that little extra.

Instruction 3: Draw wavy hair

This step-by-step tutorial is all about how to draw hair with waves. Find a template and draw your motif.

Analyze the flow of the hair and the direction of individual strands. Then carefully mark them in with an HB pencil.

Now start shading as we have practiced in the previous steps. The hair on top that is facing the light source is lighter than the hair closer to the head. There are also different shades of gray within individual strands to emphasize the texture.

To finalize the result, you can use a dark pencil to draw the darkest areas of the hair one more time and use the kneaded eraser to brighten up the highlights.

If you shape a fine tip with the eraser, you can even “erase” (e.g. expose) individual hairs to create a more realistic work.

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